Roses at Whitsuntide

 Until 1974 the village of Rimington  belonged to the West Riding of Yorkshire.  Southwards a mile down the lane towards the village of Downham a bridge marked the border between Yorkshire and Lancashire.   This had always been border land. 

Rimington lies on the even older border between the kingdoms of Mercia  and Northumbria .  Remote and far from the centres of authority, Rimington with its lead mines and even a silver mine in Stopper Lane had been a perfect place for coiners to do their secretive, counterfeit work. 

The secluded sites the the Rimington lead mines with Pendle Hill on sentry duty

The 1974 local government reorganisation transferred Rimington and its larger neighbouring village of Gisburn into Lancashire.  At Gisburn they flew the church flag at half mast for many years and tried their best to ignore the insult.

When a friend of Third Man’s moved into Rimington in the late Nineteen Eighties he wandered down to the Black Bull and took a seat at the bar beside a dour old farmer.  To open the conversation the incomer asked whether the farmer enjoyed cricket.  ‘Aye.’  And did he ever go to Old Trafford to watch Lancashire? 

‘Sum ov us go t’Headingley.’  And with this said, the farmer turned his back in disgust never to speak again to this ignoramus with the Brummy accent.

In the nearby small Lancashire town of Whalley the bunting is out in expectation of the start of the World Cup, but Third Man pretends it is in preparation for the fast approaching 143rd anniversary of the first Roses Match which was played at the town’s Station Road ground at the height of mid-summer in 1867.  Cricket Archive provides the scorecard and records that this was also ‘oh my’ Hornby’s debut.  See March posting.

This is a drawing of a cricket match in Brighton in the 1890s but the first Roses match at Whalley might not have looked much different

The first Roses Match to be played over the Whitsuntide bank holiday was in 1872.  By then Cricket Archive records that the match had moved to Old Trafford. 

One can imagine the huge crowds flocking there by tram, rail and on foot from across these two large and heavily populated counties.  In 1926, a record 78,617 spectators paid to watch the three day match. 

This is a photograph of the crowds watching the 1902 Test match at Bramall Lane. Crowds attending Roses matches were said to be greater.

In this match Leornard Green, the Lancashire captain,  batting when his side was 499 determined that it might be many years before Lancashire would again be in a position to score 500 runs against the old foe and, facing Wilfred Rhodes, pushed a risky single to mid-off and ran ‘like the wind’.

Wilfred Rhodes, left arm round.

Emmott Robinson, hurled back the ball striking Rhodes on the wrist while the Lancashire Captain dived to safety.  Picking himself up Green heard Rhodes muttering to himself “There’s somebody runnin’ up and down this wicket. Ah don’t know who it is, but there’s some-body runnin’ up and down this wicket.”

This story is recounted in a 1968 feature on Roses matches by Neville Cardus.  Tomorrow we shall go by train with the Mancunian t’Headingley at Whitsuntide in 1924.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Roses at Whitsuntide

  1. diogenes_1960

    that’s a great picture of Rhodes…he must have been around 50 at that point…you can sense the spin was not there but the arc of the flight and the accuracy and the changes of pace would still have been there…as Trumper is once reputed to have sais…”Give us some peace, Wilfred…”

  2. Yes, interesting loop trajectory. Must be a great deal of spin on the ball to get it down from that height. TM is going to put together another Compare the Drives for tomorrow …

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