Today, Dave Morton recalls a curious figure who brought color to his area’s cricket clubs. It’s these roles that make amateur play so rewarding…

You’ve heard this name somewhere before. Jack Price Did he play for Middlesex? Or maybe Glamorgan? Did he pass any tests?

He might have, but not this Jack Price. Unless you’re from Swindon, the small town at the Manchester end of East Lancashire Road, or played cricket in the old Lancashire and Cheshire leagues, you’ll probably never have the pleasure of meeting this cricket club. a legendary person. your loss.

When I started playing in the league in 1967, Plessy was a household name, one of those guys whose age was hard to guess. As a referee, he is highly regarded. “If Jack betrays you, you’re out, young man,” was pointedly told me once, and he certainly was one of the best.

I’ve gotten to know him pretty well over the years. He makes decisions quickly, decisively, confidently, at times even exaggeratedly, and manages the game in his own way. If he is not very good, he will never escape. But he’s good, in a league where referees are generally good. Most of the better ones are serious people, careful and cautious. Some will chat, some would rather not. Expensive is another matter entirely. “Today we have Jack Price,” someone said when we showed up on Saturday, and everyone laughed. No boring afternoon.

The story spread. “We had Plessy last week, and you should have heard what he had to say about . Referees were charged a small fee for every six hours they worked, and Plessy never took the money home when he officiated at the bar after games.

There was one bowler who turned down a wide call. “You’re better at bowling,” he replied. On the next ball, the furious bowler tossed the batsman clean and turned towards the umpire. “I told you you were better,” Plessy said.

Another involves off the ball. “So what’s (beep) wrong?” asked the bowler. “You put your (beep) foot on the (beep) line, that’s (beep) wrong!” The postman bites the dog.

I guess the league commissioners don’t like him, but he’s a player referee and he doesn’t care. He loves cricket and cricketers and will talk about the game forever. He also enjoys a drink or two. Or three.

The best stories were about a club in Cheshire called Brinton and its dictatorial headmaster, whom Plessy always called Billy Brinton. I think they may have been pestered a few times! They are not fully compatible. Bollington is a pretty village with the River Bollin running along the side of the cricket ground where the wicket is. This time, in the first round of the game, the long jump fell into the river and the ball could not be found.

Then (and probably still are), league rules required each team to provide two balls, a new (or nearly new) game ball, and a usable spare, usually after about 20 or 30 wears polishing balls. Plessy gave the spare ball to the bowler, but the skipper wanted an opinion.

“Jack,” he coaxed, “I know league rules call for ball replacements, but cricket rules call for an equally worn ball to replace a missing ball, and this one is brand new.” Take out a new one. ”

So he went up the steps on the far side of the pavilion. Pretty big playing field, Bollington. When he returned, Plessy asked to watch the game.

“Absolutely no problem, Jack, official Union seal, all the same, like lost.”

But Pricey wanted to see. Stick to “Remind me of your thoughts on the rules of the game, Bill. “Change into a similar dress” is that expression? But the other keeps changing, doesn’t it?”

Then he ran away. Throw, splash. “Now fish it out and roll with it!”

“Who does he think I am?” Plessy asked us in a bar a week or two later. Anyone up for a drink? ”

I’ll take one every day, Plessy.

By x59ok

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