Dateline: Summer 1951; Venue: Nelson fairground. Who is that swinging the hammer to ring the bell? Why none other than Nelson Cricket Club’s legendary professional Dattu Phadkar.
Dattu, back in 1951, had a superb season for Nelson; the talented, Indian all-rounder hit boundaries galore to finish with a notable batting average of 53.61.
And his bowling of out-swingers, in-swingers and off-spinners saw him take a magnificent 100 wickets at only 9.93 runs each.
Nelson finished runners-up in the league, second only to East Lancs, with the renowned Bruce Dooland.
The Lancashire League pros for 1951 were a stunning array of world-class cricketers: alongside Test match heroes for the West Indies in England in 1950, Everton Weekes (Bacup) and Clyde Walcott (Enfield) were the mighty Australians Bill Alley (Colne), Cec Pepper (Burnley), George Tribe (Rawtenstall) and of course Bruce Dooland (East Lancashire). Not forgetting our very own Dattu Phadkar (Nelson) from India and his fellow countryman Gul Mohamed (Ramsbottom). What a line-up!
I never ever saw Dattu refuse to sign his autograph. He was a true gent, but best of all, he was down at Seedhill when the then young Noel Wild, who was the Leader-Times sports reporter being asked over and over for his signature, as he looked so like Dattu.
This earned the future, notable editor the office nickname of “Nelson Pro”.