1986 to 2011 – LISBURN V NCU SELECT
Did you guess the 2 XI’s ?
The Lisburn team was selected by Michael Bowden with input from Richard Simpson & Cecil Walker
The NCU side was selected by Robin Walsh, Clarence Hiles, Alfie Linehan & Roy Harrison
1: Each player must have played senior NCU cricket in the region of 10 years during the period 1985-2010.
2: The XI should be in batting order with a nominated captain.
3: In addition to the XI one overseas professional was allowed. He was to be the one considered to have made the biggest contribution to NCU / Lisburn cricket during the period. The player’s post NCU career should not enter into the equation.
4: No Lisburn player was considered for the NCU side.
So, what team did Robin and his team come up with to take on the might of the LCC from 1985 to 2010?
Below is the report that came out of the selection meeting on 22nd November 2010 – Did you get close to this?
The best thing about being a non-voting chairman of a selection committee is that you don’t lose friends.
The same cannot be said of Roy Harrison, Clarence Hiles and Alfie Linehan who took the risk of fractured relationships to put names to places.
The places in this case are the best NCU XI of the past 25 years: a daunting task set by Lisburn in a make believe game against the best from the club over the past quarter of a century. A similar exercise from the year dot was done to mark the club’s 150th anniversary, so why not complete the job.
In an attempt to create a level playing field, it was agreed that each player must have played NCU senior cricket in the region of 10 years during the period from 1985. And Lisburn asked that none of its players should be considered.
The final team reads:
1. Stephen Warke (Woodvale)
2. David Dennison (Waringstown)
3. David Kennedy (Ballymena & North Down)
4. Andrew White (North Down & Instonians)
5. Garfield Harrison (Waringstown)
6. Jim Patterson (Downpatrick & NICC)
7. Kyle McCallan (Captain) (Cliftonville & Waringstown)
8. Simon Corlett (NICC)
9. Paul Jackson (wk) (NICC)
10. Paul McCrum (Lurgan, Waringstown & North Down)
11. Alan Nelson (Waringstown)
All 11 players represented Ireland. On the basis of a 50 over match, skipper Kyle McCallan has six frontline bowlers to call on in the make believe match. And depending on the state of play, he has a batting order that can be chopped and changed at will: the lower order would distinguish the top order of any club side.
Without giving too many secrets away, eight of the team were unanimous choices. Three players each received two votes – allowing the selectors wriggling room when disgruntled friends come their way.
Chairman of Selection
Similarly, a meeting took place in the Club to pick the Lisburn XI. Knowing the characters involved, it would have been a meeting were a lot of opinions were expressed
Here’s what the learned scribes came up with
Stephen Hutchinson & Bruce Topping (WK).
Both these players enjoyed long and productive careers at the top of the Lisburn order from the lates 80′s and through the 90′s. They also represented the most settled and most successful opening partnership during the period from 1986 to today. On 2 occasions they recorded double century opening stands, surely a record no other partnership can lay claim to. Both on their day were as destructive against wayward bowling as anything else in the line-up, and while neither went on to grab full international honours, both represented Ulster Country with distinction and both won player of the year awards (see honours section) at NCU level, Stephen Lisburn’s 1st winner of batsman of the year & Bruce our only ever wicket-keeper of the year (twice). “Hutchy” moved to NICC for a couple of years and returned to the club “happy” to play 2nd XI cricket in the late 90′s early 00′s but a combination of unavailability and injuries saw him to return to the 1st XI and how, a 123 in a senior cup match sealed Stephen’s triumphant return to where he belonged. An ulster school’s off spinner in his youth, it was a string to his bow he rarely used, he was good enough to be selected as a batsman. It would be pure guesswork to put a figure on the 50′s he scored for Lisburn, and with his fair share of centuries thrown in, he ranks as one of the most prolific batters for the club in his day. He now lives and works in England.
Bruce has also been selected to keep wicket for the team. He had the honour of captaining the club for only one season, but what a season (1996). Heralded as probably the best in Lisburn’s history, the team were unbeaten until mid July and challenging for the Treble when things started to slip. It was a remarkable roller coaster ride that year and in the end he galvanised the team to grab a last day share of the league trophy. An ultra fit athlete, Lisburn were robbed of his services on a number of occassions due to his International badminton career, most notably the tied 1994 senior cup final. With him in the side surely the tie may have been converted to a win.Bruce continues to don the whites when the weather permits for his now home town club of Donaghcloney.
Both players captained the club during their time, ironically the last 2 times Lisburn won the league it was in years captained by both these guys, Stephen in the famouis 1993 triumph and Bruce in the 1996 nailbiter.
“Uel 3″ Was the call – But not for this game
One of the most talented cricketers the club has produced in the past 35 years let alone 25, this selection may surprise a few in that it is debatable as to whether Jimmy qualifies under the 10 year rule for selection but the selectors are adamant he is in and who could argue. Jimmy falls into that famous old category of “what could have been – if only”. He made his 1st XI debut in 1978 and made an immediate impact as an entertaining batsman and top class wicket keeper. Arguably his greatest performance came in the 1985 Challenge Cup final against NICC when his 1st innings score of 85 stood out against all other contributions throughout the 4 innings of that match and helped a Lisburn team that had been forced to rely on youth following an exodus from the previous year, to their 1st cup win in 23 years. Unfortunately for Lisburn Jimmy was equally (or more) talented at hockey and we didn’t see as much of him in whites as we would have liked. He remains the clubs last dual international having managed 3 caps for the national cricket team (would have been much more but for hockey) and countless appearances for the hockey team – as well as winning Olympic gold in Seoul in 1988. His last appearance for Lisburn came in September 1998 when he came out of retirement to help the team avoid relegation in a play-off at Comber against great rivals Waringstown, taking the gloves and looking like he had never been away. Naturally an opener, he is no.3 in our team of the qtr century simply down to the weight of runs the Topping / Hutchinson partnership produced. Not a bad reserve opener to have as well as cover for Bruce Topping behind the sticks should the need arise during the game.
Uel was the epitome of competitiveness. Not one to give an inch on the pitch he became Lisburn’s no.1 batter from the late 80′s through to leaving for pastures new in the mid to late 90′s. Rarely missed games despite his alternative sport in which he graced the Irish league as Distillery’s stopper, again giving 105% to this. He scored his maiden senior century in a match that saw Lisburn become the 1st team in senior league limited over history to pass the 300 barrier which at the time was unheard of (teams were not restricted to using 5 bowlers then and scoring wasn’t as heavy). Normally batted at 1st down (or 3) but never looked out of place anywhere in the top order. A fantastic driver of the ball but he had the full range of shots in his armory. A regular accumulator of 50′s and 100′s he enjoyed nothing more than batting, batting and then batting some more. Questions were raised from time to time about his running between the wickets but that was easily forgiven for all that he brought to the team during his career. The co-editors abiding memory of Uel however didn’t happen in the top flight but rather in section 2 in 1990. Uel was captain on the day the team went to Cliftonville for a vital match as the team looked to bounce straight back after relegation the previous season. In near darkness, Uel refused to go off for bad light when facing the Cliftonville pro (Raman Lamba) for fear that rain may come on the Monday night and void the game. His words that night to the non-striker were simply “don’t you dare get out”. The non-striker didn’t and Uel continued on to 70 odd not out and won the game which effectively guaranteed promotion – a definitive captain’s innings. Captained the club and earned 36 caps for his country, Uel was a genuine all-rounder carrying out both disciplines with distinction for club and country. He was also excellent in the field and expected everyone around him to be as good as him although in practice, very few were. Returned to the club for a second spell before eventually retiring from the game in the mid 00′s he is still seen regularly at the park supporting the team.
There just had to be a Ging in there didn’t there
No.5 Neil Doak
Of the players selected to date, all have at one time or another during their careers made it onto Cecil Walker’s fabled “World XI”. This guy was a regular and remains in Cecil’s selection to this day. Comfortable anywhere in the order another who had the full compliment of shots at his disposal. Neil played very little for the 2nd XI in his career effectively going straight from the 3rd XI to the 1st XI such was the talent this rotund off spinner displayed at an early age. He turned into one of the greatest cricketers the club has ever had. His career started between the leaving of John Solanky and the years of Steve Perryman so it is difficult to pigeon hole “Doaky” as a Solanky or Perryman boy, however, whichever it was, it was evident very early that it was a case of only needing to polish the diamond as the skill was so obviously already there. Quite obviously categories he fits very nicely into are Top all rounder, excellent fielder and the unfortunate “what could have been – if only”.
One of the best fielders of his generation, he made CNN “play of the day” for a run out he effected during an ICC tournament for Ireland that was viewed world wide, and followed it for his club by unbelievably running Shane Harrison out at the Lawn. Shane was in the middle of the pitch admiring his cover drive which was to accrue 4 runs to his teams total when out of nowhere Neil arrived, stopped the ball with a full length dive, rolled over and fired at the wicket keepers end in what seemed like a single movement hitting the stumps direct (yes, from the boundary). Rumours to this day persist that a supporter caught this on video. I wish it were true, for it would be must see footage.
A quiet but determined individual on the pitch probably his most important performance for the club came with the bat in 1996. Lisburn had gone the complete 1996 season unbeaten until the day after the senior cup semi-final in mid July, reaching the top of the league, the semi-final of the All Ireland cup and had just secured their place in the senior cup final. By the time the team arrived at Greenisland for the last game of the season in early September however, no trophies had been won and now, they had to defeat Cliftonville and in the process deny their opponents any more than one batting point to win the title.
Lisburn did restrict them to a single bonus point and it meant they had to win the game and lose no more than 5 wickets in the process to gain a share of the title. The 5th wicket fell with Lisburn 40 odd runs short and Irelands opening bowler steaming in, but Neil was imperious that day, all those at the ground just knew that he wasn’t going to get out. He didn’t – cooly finishing 69* and securing the title (share of). Just to underline his performance, he hit the winning runs dismissively over mid wicket of Irelands pace man. His ability to remain cool in such circumstances set him aside from most of his peers.
One of the best sweepers of a ball the park has seen, he had the ability to sweep so fine he totally took the men at 45 out of the picture, and his ability to place the ball between fielders with such ease and regularity is a skill usually only displayed in professional cricketers. His gold award (MOM) for Ireland in a B&H tie at Eglinton in the early 90′s against England’s top county side of the time Surrey was (pre the era of Ireland’s semi professionalism) one of the finest displays of batsmanship by an Irish player against such elite opposition.
Very close to succeeding Jim Kirkwood as the clubs last dual international (he made the bench for the Irish Rugby team and won 32 caps for Cricket) his appearances down the years for the club were sadly intermittent due to his Rugby commitments, a fact which remains in his working life to this day. Again, had it not been for Rugby, we an only guess at where Neil’s skill as a cricketer would have taken him when we see some of the players in English county and International Cricket. Never captained the club and there can be no doubt the club was poorer for this fact.
Mirror Mirror on the wall, who was the cleanest striker of them all ?
No.6 Derek Heasley
Quite simply this guy on his day was the most destructive hitter of a cricket ball the club has seen over the past quarter of a century. No matter what the attack, if Derek was in the mood no one could bowl to him as many a senior league bowler discovered. Indeed the author could name a few who endured at least two sleepless Friday nights every season. A dedicated cricketer with no other sporting involvement, he surprised quite a few people with his meticulous planning for the season he captained the club, nothing was left to chance, everything prepared for properly and thoroughly. His 1st innings as club captain against Belfast Harlequins in 2004 was as good as it gets. Chasing a modest (even for early season) 205 for a 1st day win, the team were struggling but Derek’s undefeated 147 simply blasted the team from a position of vulnerability to victory in very quick time. The next highest score was 11. In the crash bang whallop of the modern one day game Derek’s abrasive style was perfect. No game too short, if Derek was in the mood, it usually ended up a good day for the team.
He is a genuine all rounder and displayed a fair amount of pace with the ball along with the ability to move it about all of which convinced Mike Hendrick to debut him for the Irish team in 1996. Of all the club Internationals down the years, only the great Monteith acquired more International caps than Derek’s 60.
Once again however we find ourselves in the “what could have been – if only” debate again with Derek. Captain of the 1st Graham cup winning team for 37 years in 1986 ( successfully defended in 1987) which also contained the individual batting one place higher in this team, the club were understandably excited about the future with such talent in the ranks for the next 20 odd years. However, just as it was blossoming as the potential at u15 had indicated, Derek moved on as the money clubs came calling to the leagues most talented players with the expectation of bypassing the hard yards for immediate gratification and trophies. It was hard to resist, however, spells at Carrick, Glendermott, CIYMS & Lurgan can not rob Derek of his place in this XI forming a formidable middle order of top quality all rounders. He continues playing to this day at Lurgan and his professional approach to the game, preparation and achieving targets looks to be leading his latest club back to the top league.
It’s a young mans game too now !
No.7 Greg Thompson
Greg represents the only selection to date on this talented side that is still playing for the club.
At time of selection, he also remains the clubs last full international making his debut in 2004 and has collected 14 caps to this point. His leg spin bowling brought him primarily to prominence in his early years with his batting being somewhat ignored, however, as his career has developed, his batting has become a key feature of his game and he is now probably Lisburn’s main man with the willow in hand. Unorthodox at times, his game is perfect for the current game as he looks to maximize the scoring potential to every ball whether over the top or into gaps. His running between the wickets can turn 1s into 2s and 2s into 3s and is always putting the fielding side under pressure. His best position in the line-up is something that generates great debate among the clubs supporters and local journalists but wherever he plays, he gives the team a great boost. Whatever Greg scores, you can always add between 10 to 20 runs every week due to his fielding. There are few better fielders in the league today and when you consider how professional the local game has become over the past decade in terms of preparation, training etc, that says it all. As good as Doak and Graham ever where in the field, batters who risk a run to Greg whether to his weaker side or in the outfield really are taking a chance. A brief dalliance with off-spin now appears to be over and his bowling in 2012 looks to be as good as it ever was now he has returned to the art of wrist spin.
A thoroughly nice lad, he is a pleasure to be around but this in no way suggests he is anything other than a hard fighter on the park. Captain for three years before passing on the baton for the start of 2012, he is the last captain to lift silverware for the 1st XI lifting the 2008 T20 cup in his first season in charge (which was 2009! – work that one out). Also a talented hockey player, we all hope that the calling of the Wallace Park remains Greg’s first love. A very useful guy to be coming in at 7 in this line up and along with Doak, gives the skipper two top quality spinners.
And the youthful theme continues.
No.8 David Simpson
Another of the team still playing today. Current captain of the club and an excellent leader of the team who commands respect from his squad. David is a fiery competitor who has managed to find the balance between being a player and the captain where you cannot switch off for a minute in the field and no matter what you are feeling inside do not display it outwardly. He has mastered this without compromising his level of performance which is testimony to the man. A dual sportsman who’s passion lies firmly on the side of cricket when any conflict occurs. Twice NCU bowler of the year, his international or “A” career has been puzzlingly barren in the eyes of those who have seen him in action. Perhaps this is as much due to Lisburn’s performances as a whole over the past 15 years as it is to do with David’s performances, had he played for a more “selector friendly” club would he have had more exposure ? Who knows, but one thing is for certain this guy loves Lisburn and he has done since first walking into the place with his brother Richard. He has been courted by others but his devotion to his home town club should be seen as an example to all and a credit to him. An opening bowler who hits line and length at will and moves the ball about, David has spearheaded Lisburn’s attack for the best part of the last decade, a role few others have achieved such longevity in since the days of McAuley. Consistently in the top performers statistically in the premier league, his lack of opportunities at inter union level is as amazing as his lack of International opportunities. A fine all rounder, he started his batting career as a watchful opener but now, like many captains before him he is happy to promote others in the line-up ahead of himself and now is happy to slot himself in as a game may dictate, a possibility in David’s case as he can adapt as needed. A special gift. Anyone who saw his innings at comber on opening day 2011 when deputising for the missing skipper could not fail to be impressed at how he went about rescuing a seemingly hopeless position against the champions when he came to the wicket in the middle order, coupled with it being his first taste of 1st XI captaincy, it made it a day when a lot of people in the league sat up and took real notice of David Simpson.
It was once said of a former captain of the club that to keep his head when all around are losing theirs shows the character of the man. After the difficult start to 2012, this sentiment applies to this captain. To settle so well into the job in a year which also saw him take on married life and still be as committed as ever makes us all hope it is a job he continues in for the next three to four years and gets the success at club and representative level that his talent, commitment and performances so richly deserve. He is a strong willed character and is not afraid of the tough decisions either within the club or on behalf of the club. David Simpson would not look out of place in any club side in Ireland and anywhere in that clubs batting order. To have him at 8 in this team gives the captain no shortage of talented batsmen and along with Heasley & Graham picked thus far, not a bad seam attack.
I feel the need, the need for speed
No.9 Peter Reid
The wiry, curly haired youngster that broke into the team so spectacularly in 1985, Peter quickly became the hottest property in the NCU. To the rest of the league, he had appeared from nowhere and his pace bowling started collecting senior league wickets very quickly. His 1st season saw him as a vital part of the cup final winning team. His slower ball was (and probably still is today as he keeps himself ultra fit these days) the best disguised this author ever saw, indeed it was remarked upon at the above mentioned cup final when an Irish international stated that “young Reid’s slower ball is too easy to pick”, the late great Monteith simply looked at his former colleague over the glasses as only JD could do and simply stated “Well, it got you twice”. International honours came his way at u23 level and he also became a regular for Ulster Country but a series of injuries down the years perhaps restricted these appearances more than they would have been. A talented sportsman, he played hockey after starting his winter career in rugby but thankfully neither enthused Peter more than our beloved summer pastime. Peter very quickly got the name Speed which sticks with him to this day and was very apt. He was also known as golden arm as few in his day had Peter’s knack of picking up a vital wicket when it was most needed, or invariably when he came on with the team needing a wicket. Slow to develop as a batter in his early days, he soon discovered an ability to hit the ball cleanly and when Peter decided he had the right feeling bat in his hand, he could destroy any attack in a very short space of time. He is one of the very few players to take 5 wickets and score a century in a senior league match, alas however, this was not for Lisburn as he, like others before him, felt the need to challenge himself elsewhere and played for NICC were he enjoyed some success winning trophies. Typical of the guy, he settled into that club and became a popular member of the team, just like he did with Lisburn, though probably not with the same impact he had in 1985! He did return to the club and helped greatly by captaining both the 2nd XI and the 1st XI before retiring to a life of domestic bliss and cycling. A real livewire in the dressing room, on the pitch or waiting to bat, Peter was never happy unless he had a bat or ball in his hand. It was also especially noted that on training nights, he loved nothing more than taking the gloves for fielding drills, thus being involved in every ball during every exercise. He liked nothing more than the big game and his performances notably went up a notch when he perceived a little bit more was at stake. It was hard to play against Peter, especially when he came to the park and I think, if he was honest, he didn’t like playing against Lisburn even though his performances remained high tempo in such matches. A genuine game changer and on his day he could take a match away from the opposition in a matter of minutes with bat or ball, he fully justifies his selection in this side. When and if a rain break comes during this game, there will be no need for boredom in the dressing room with Peter in the changing room.
No.10 David McDowell – Captain
The honour of captaining this team of the 25 years has fallen to this legend. President, Chairman, Club Captain, Life member. Says it all. The man has been an instrumental part of the club for so long, including notably the development of the ground to it’s international standard achieved in 2002.
Davy had been a big part of a side in the mid to late 70’s that included such big stars as the Monteiths, Burton, Kirkwood and Solanky. He was a gutsy left hand bat who could read the situation of the game and play accordingly without any fuss or excitement and a more than useful left arm seamer. Never one to give his wicket away cheaply, he has more “red ink” in his time than the local bic pen factory.
A tragic motoring accident during the winter of 1984 forced the club to attempt the impossible and replace the legend that was JD Monteith who’s career (unknown or accepted at the time) was ended as a result of the accident. Unselfishly, JD McDowell tried to fill that huge void by changing from his seamers to left arm spin. While never attempting to be the next Monteith, McDowell performed the role excellently for the club for the next 20 odd years, invariably ending up as the leading wicket taker for the club, his change of style even opening up the door to representative recognition as he was selected to play for Ulster Country. He knew exactly how he wanted to make the batsmen play, where he wanted his field and who he wanted in each position, often not bowling until all was in place. He also bowled a “world ball” which even the great Anderson had problems playing, though this always seemed to be bowled to Irelands’ best player of the day, Stephen Warke who ended up being one of Davy’s regular scalps or bunnies as they can be unfortunately be tagged. His contributions to the team over the years were so vital and so consistent it is hard to pick out any that were more important than any other but to sum up his ability to remain cool under pressure and do the basic things well and without fuss, we pick out two, both with the bat, both at the end of an innings, both under pressure were the reward for success was high. First up is the Senior Cup final of 1994 when he and Henry McAuley achieved a share of the trophy when all thought the game was lost when the 9th wicket went down. Davy hit a vital boundary in the process. For the 2nd, we go to September 1998 at Comber when David came to the wicket with Lisburn needing 3 runs off 4 balls to beat Waringstown and stay in section 1. It was pitch black and as he came to the wicket, the opposition closed in knowing that depriving him of a single from the next 2 balls would probably relegate Lisburn. David went straight to the non-strikers end and typically told his partner exactly what needed to happen the next ball and what was going to happen. He knew exactly what was required and did exactly what was required with no problem at all, the rest as they say is a matter of history.
One of the proudest moments in his career was when his son Neal made his 1st XI debut against INST. The fact it was done with Davy in the side made it memorable to him.
He is probably the only member of this team who has enjoyed the privilege of playing with all the other selected players (he also played in the same team as Greg’s father and would have played against David’s father), testament to his longevity and the respect he commands in our club and the wider family of the NCU which makes him a natural choice to captain the team, a role he will reprise for this game after having lead the club on previous occasions. Uncompromising, not a man to mess with as anyone who stepped out of line would soon discover. A great believer in players playing were they were picked, when they were picked as the club President discovered when once making the mistake of suggesting that he might be better captaining the 2nds on a particular day than bat 10 for the 1sts. Such a suggestion was never made again, but was never cast up in the years that followed.
Very few of this or indeed any team have the club appearances of JD McDowell although the nature of the modern game (less abandonments, reduced overs, more competitions etc) make in a distinct possibility that Greg & David could achieve this feat. No one would be more delighted with that than David McDowell. He becomes the 3rd front line spinner in the side with his left armers complimenting Doaks off spin and Thompsons Leggies.
No.11 Henry McAuley.
The Dundonald Destroyer, Big H, Our ‘Enry. This man led the attack for Lisburn for nearly two decades and is a legend of the club. He was a shining example to a generation of kids growing up in the club as to how a cricketer should conduct themselves and on a few occasions had to remind one or two of the values of Lisburn Cricket Club when they were in danger of stepping out of line.
For all this, Henry was a winner. Anyone who had the pleasure of playing with him would have known that look in his eyes whenever he crossed the boundary to do battle, a hard competitor but always fair. If he had a pound for every time he went past the outside edge of a batsman’s forward defensive he would have been a very (financially) wealthy man. Consistent, regular, gentleman, legend – words that all sum the guy up perfectly. Henry’s decision not to play cricket on a Sunday (which until circa 1986 meant he never missed a game for Lisburn with the club playing their 1st away game on a Sunday @ Ward Park Bangor in that year) lead to opinion around the league that his decision certainly ruled him out of Ulster Country honours and possibly even the shamrock sweater on occasion. In late 1996 his passion for Lisburn was never more in evidence than when having bowled Lisburn to victory at the Lawn on the Saturday to set up a league decider at Greenisland the following day, he simply requested of the players “Go and win me a medal tomorrow”.
Although known the length and breadth of Ireland for his accurate bowling, Henry always fancied the odd innings here and there, usually getting himself moved up the order in “two-nighters” citing having to leave early to attend meetings as a reason for this promotion. One such instance summed his passion up perfectly. In the late 80’s, Lisburn were flirting with relegation and were playing the famous old NICC in a 2 nighter in the park. NICC batted on the 1st evening and set a modest target. Henry, needing to get away early was promoted to 3 and went about playing with freedom usually afforded him in such circumstances. If Henry had to leave at 7, he was late, as he went about hitting the NICC attack, including Ireland’s spearhead at the time Simon Corlett, all round the Wallace Park. Henry ended that night 36*. The highlight for those young fans of his watching though was the moment he hit Corlett through extra cover for four (or the Henry slap as it was known) to win the game and simultaneously ensuring Lisburn were safe for another season. He simply raised both arms and punched the air. He knew the magnitude of the moment.
Lack of records in the archives deprive “H” of having his best bowling performance quoted as accurately as the performance warrants, but unquestionably his 7 wicket haul against a very strong Downpatrick side in the park was hard to beat. One thing we are sure about, Henry will know – It might even have been 8.
Of the players selected on this team, all but Doak captained the club. Henry was elected captain for the 1980 season but had to step down due to increased work commitment and Roger Monteith took over, although Henry did remain a major weapon in the team that went on to claim to 1980 senior league title. He added a senior cup winner’s medal to this haul in 1985. Towards the end of his playing days he was only too happy to play 2ndXI cricket and pass on his wealth of experience to any aspiring young fast bowlers that were prepared to listen. His passion for fast bowling and passing the art on was so evident when a few years ago he presented an award to the club bearing his name to be awarded annually to the most improved fast bowler under 21 years old for that season. A wonderful gesture and it gave him immense pride to present it in its 1st year. He remains a huge fan of the club and is a respected life member of it. Henry McAuley takes his rightful place in Lisburn’s finest XI of the past quarter century, the best no.11 in the league.
Lisburn have been lucky over the period to have been blessed with some of the most committed scorers, all of which displayed a thorough pride in their work and their book could not and would not leave their sight.
Special mention must be made to the late Dick Shaw who was loved all in the club. Always immaculately presented – complete with club tie on match days, he was never happier than when in his box. Sadly missed
The third member of the trio of the last 25 years is Richard Simpson. Typically, Richard took the role on between Dick’s passing and Seymour popping his head over the fence in the early 21st century. While taking the same pride in his scoring as in everything else he did, he combined the role with youth convener among other important guises and it was a relief to him when “Spud” arrived complete with coloured pens and Frindel. Richard continues to give 100% to the club and on Premier league days you can see him at tea playing with his computer and engaging messers Duckworth & Lewis.
Seymour threw himself into the role from the start and ultimately progressed from the traditional method we all learned to the highly advance linear method of scoring which he still adopts today. He is a statistical junky and no sooner has he returned home from a match than an email arrives with the match report. You can rest assured come the first training night of the following week, the averages will be up to date but more importantly, presented in a format that tells everyone what they need to know.
Although a manager was selected by the committee, It is the opinion of this editor that the identity of that individual should remain silent. With such a fantastic team, the captain would have no need of such an individual other than to ensure the drinks were ready at 25 or whenever agreed during whatever format of game we play. Indeed the need for a team manager seems to have been adopted as a very recent modern trend. With the exception of Simpson & Thompson, few others would have played when such a role was adopted. It is also worth noting that the committee chose not to select one of the professional coaches for the side. A sure indication that the employment of these guys over the years has done it’s job and we have produced players of the calibre named above. The NCU selectors felt likewise.
So, there you have it, the two XI’s selected by our panels of experts. Thanks to Robin & Michael and their respective panels for their input.
All that remains now is for us to decide on the format of the mythical match, the venue, umpires and the result – mmmmmm, if only we could really see these 22 on the pitch for real, surely it wouldn’t’ be possible. Would it ?