Part Two: The Characters
It might have been as long ago as 1967, but the Chairman can recall his First XI debut in clear, obsessive detail.
“I was only a young lad when I first broke into the Chapel team in 1967. It coincided with Hawk Green’s first fixture in the D and C, and I remember dropping Edgar Hughes at Point off Roy Buxton”
He also remembers a different type of atmosphere with little dialogue or humour, and certainly no puerile language.
“Cricket was played very hard, and once the stumps went in, all teams meant business, with no quarter given”
Something changed during the mid 1970s
There were characters in abundance, and ironically, they all seemed to surface at one particular club.
“As Alan Johnson will tell you, Buxworth have attracted their fair share, from Tink Taylor and Jess Hill, to the legendary Martin Drabble. However, the stand out character in my cricketing lifetime was the late and sadly lamented, John “Morty” Morton.
Time and space does not permit me to regale the reasons, but those who knew, and played with him at “Buggy” and New Mills will know the reasons why”
There were also two standout umpires, both of whom shared a fondness for the odd tipple
“Ken Dunne and Captain Frank Smith were both fantastic characters. Frank had been a professional left arm spin bowler for Cheetham Hill. He was a fantastic and humorous character, but as soon as the clock struck 7 his finger went up. The pubs were open, and woe betide if the ball hit your pads”
Away from the wicket, the Chairman believes that the DCCL should remain eternally grateful for the efforts of George Mullaney
“Words can’t describe what he did for the League”
So what of the future?
“Well firstly we’re still going whereas countless neighbouring and national leagues are not. We’ve got a lot to offer, our clubs work hard, and the facilities are second to none.
Sadly, cricket isn’t the go-to place anymore, with too much distraction and competition.
However, if we stick together and work collectively, there’s a chance that some clubs on the periphery might join us, mainly due to the lack of travel time in our league, when compared to the distance covered in others”
The grass isn’t always greener indeed!