Not just a cricket club, but a way of life. By Jack Fox
My first memories of Carlton cricket club was sitting on the boundary edge watching some of the legends of the club.
Alan Wright and Colin Lumb, the best pair of opening bowlers I have ever seen. They were awesome, fast and accurate. Author Sweet opening the batting - he took some getting out. Vic Lightowler, a fine fast bowler who was known to "throw" the occasional one! Fred Taylor (Keith Taylor Snrs Dad) captain and middle order batsman. Ken Oldroyd, captain, opening bat and part time bowler. Tommy Lunn, medium pace/spin bowler. Maurice Priestley, Geoff Moffatt who was known to "sneak up" on batsmen and bowl before they were ready!
In later days there were bowlers such as Paul Stanyard, fast and accurate, Derek Mattinson, Dennis West, Mick Fletcher, short run up but quick off the pitch, Gerald Taylor, who's slow ball always seemed to take a wicket. Laurie Todd, who's "donkey drops" used to bamboozle batsmen, Ken Clayborough dogged opening batsmen, Jack Walsh opener, Gerald Tolley number 3 good stroke player.
My Dad, Jack Fox snr, was the best fielder I have ever seen. Quick over the ground and a good pair of hands. I never saw his drop a catch. After his playing days were over he become one of the most respected and popular umpires in the league.
Keith Taylor snr, who formed a good opening partnership with Arthur Sweet, David Fairburn, a good attacking batsman and Brian Ramsden, a great wicket keeper and batsman. Melvyn Tasker (Tazzy) who was very competitive both with bat and ball. Some people will remember the battles he has with Meryl Francis at Woodhouse!
There were many junior players who came up through the ranks who went on to play second and first team cricket. Ian, Keith and Roy Sampson, Mark Schofield, Mark Ward, Keith Taylor Jnr, Keith Barrett, Graham Colley, Mark Oldroyd, Peter Hartley, David Cooper, Steve Moffatt, Andy Rudge, Chris and Paul Stacey, Paul Tasker, Mark Fairburn, Stephen Smith, Richard and Philip Townsley - all due to the junior organisers that we had. Jack Field, David Stacey and Ken Townsley.
My son Stephen Fox, who blossomed not only as a fine cricketer, but went on to represent the Royal Signals at both cricket and Rugby Union and the British Army at Rugby League - well done mate!
There was no junior organisation in my day, you had to take your chance in the second team when they were short. It always seemed to be between my old mate Michael Ward (sadly no longer with us) and me. He was a good friend for many years. We played cricket and football together for a long time. We always seemed to be fielding at third man and batting number 11 - but it taught us the importance of saving runs in the field and doing our bit for the team.
Behind envy successful organisation (which we were) there are unsung heroes. The ladies in the tea room, my mother, Winnie Fox, Pat Clayborough, Muriel Samspon, Annie Bancroft. The teas at Carlton were second to non and Jennie Ramsden, Helen Ford, my sister Susan Simpson and daughter Lisa carried on the tradition.
Before the magnificent new club house was built we had an old wooden hut, not the best in world but it was home! Norman Bancroft sweeping out the dressing rooms, selling raffle tickets, Tom Brown who used to watch ever match, John Clayton a lovely man with a heart of gold, Brian Ward, Arthur Sampson and his brother Roland - were all people who supported the club and gave up their time freely.
When we decided that the old clubhouse needed replacing we raised the money by organising BBQs in Oldroyd's rhubarb sheds. A tremendous amount of work was put in by all the members. They were a great success and we could have sold the tickets a hundred times over.
We were one big happy family and most years went on a cricket tour. Memories of Ilfracombe, the Isle of Wight, Paignton and Guernsey spring to mind. We always seemed to find an open space either on the beach or some spare ground to pitch the wickets or organise a football match. I remember one occasion when we played football on the beach at Scarborough when we were joined by Brian Poole and the Tremelloes! Whenever we went away we always seemed to find ourselves in a pub on the way back. Ronnie Ward would get on the piano and we took the place over - our sing songs were legendary!
One or two cricketing successes that I can recall we entered a six a side competition and in one round played Pudsey White Cross is December 1986 at Cleckheaton Indoor Arena. Pudsey batted first, and in their 12 over made 130 for 3. In no time we were 3 wickets down for very few runs. Keith Taylor snr was run out for 6, Keith Sampson bowled for 0, Keith Barrett run out for 3. Mark Fairburn and I put on a few runs when I had to retire on 25. My son Stephen Fox, came and went, run out for 0. I then came back in to resume and quickly Mark was run out for 11. The last man batted on and I finished the game on 106 not out, winning with just 2 balls to spare.
The best run chase I have ever been involved in was in 1994 for some reason I found myself as captain of the second team. Where Malcolm Baddeley and myself were the only plays over 18 years old! I think it was East Leeds we were playing. They batted first and scored about 140. We were very quickly in dire straights with 8 wickets down for very few runs. I was at the wicket when the 9th wicket fell. Mally came in and we still had about 100 runs to get with still loads of overs to go. We decided to take as many runs as we could. We ran out winners - what a game!
My finest hour was in one of the last games I played, playing Great Preston sometime in the late 90's. In perfect conditions for swing bowling (I swung it quite a bit in those days) I took 9 for 45 and took the catch of Nicky Walker's bowling to take the last wicket. Very proud of that.
Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you have managed to get this far then you have plenty of stamina! May you enjoy your cricket, either playing or watching. May Carlton Cricket Club go from strength to strength.