My Three Favourite Games (but no shirt!). By Dennis West
On the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Carlton Cricket Club I would like to contribute a few comments of my own association with it.
I first became a member as a schoolboy around 1943 and during this time youngsters were encouraged to join their local clubs. As I lived at Robin Hood I was between Lofthouse, Carlton and Rothwell. I chose Carlton and at that time one other young man also set about making a name for himself and was later to be at the club for well over 60 years - Jack Fox. Most of the members at that time were locals from Carlton itself and also from the nearby villages. Having come from Robin Hood/Rothwell Haigh it is fair to say that I was almost a foreigner!
I can remember a number of the well known cricketers of that era, such as Billy Newton, Albert Ward, Jim Ashton, Frank Pugh, following on over the years were the likes of Arthur Sweet, Fred Taylor, his son Keith, Maurice Priestley, Jack Field, Ken Clayborough, John and Michael Ward - and countless others who only wanted to play for Carlton.
I didn't play cricket for Carlton since the mid forties until the 1960s as up to that time I played for the Leeds City Police as the only way I could play cricket was for the police, otherwise on a Saturday afternoon I was "treading the beat!"
Having supported Hunslet rugby league club, I often stood at matches with Arthur Sweet and as at that time I had to travel to Roundhay for home matches with Leeds Police. This was in the early 1960s and I stopped until I gave up cricket in 1975 when I was 46 years of age.
When I returned to Carlton I was in for a culture shock. In the police, we played to win, but it was more recreational and if we lost, so what! We'd had a Saturday afternoon off! At Carlton I soon found that every man who came to bat against and howl against you was an enemy and you didn't take any prisoners.
May I briefly recount three memorable games I was involved in at the Carlton ground:
- My first game was against Highbury in the second team. I opened the bowling and returned 7 wickets for 21 runs. All the victims were bowled out. This justified the advice given to young cricketers "bowl line and length and you can't go wrong". There is no dubious decision to give when the wickets are hit.
- Another game against Highbury was when I played in the first team. They batted first with a team of 10 men. Paul Stanyard and I opened the bowling and they were all out for 17 runs. Paul had the first 8 wickets and I got the last man. On our way to the pavilion, our Captain Arthur Sweet, said "I thought you'd have let Paul get the last wicket". I said "Arthur, if you didn't want me to bowl to take wickets you shouldn't have put me into bowl in the first place!" To which he replied " Get padded up and knock those runs off!". Me opening the batting - no wonder I felt dizzy going in so high up! We got the runs with the loss of just one wicket (that was Paul) so it's fair to say that Paul got the wickets and I got the runs!
- My last story is playing for the Leeds Police at Carlton. On the Saturday morning I bought a new cricket shirt and packed it with my other gear in my cricket bag. The Leeds Police batted first and I was batting at the far end. I always thought that I was a better batsman than I was given credit for, but when it was my turn to bat, I walked past the tea room and one of the ladies said to her colleague "you'd better put the kettle on, they'll soon be back". How right she was - I didn't trouble the scorers! When Carlton batted I couldn't get a wicket and dropped a dolly catch from Arthur Sweet. He didn't help. He said "It's not your day today Dennis!". I didn't feel elated at this either. After the match was over I got changed, put my clothes in my bag - whites, boots, socks, sweater - no shirt! It must have been picked up by someone else. What a day - no runs, no wickets, no catches and now no shirt!
To end, may I wish Carlton CC a happy 150th birthday and may e club continue to flourish in the future.
My thanks to all who made my playing career at Carlton an enjoyable one. It is also with sadness that I recall the large number of my former friends and playing colleagues who are no longer with us R.I.P.