A Tribute to Gordon Horrocks

We all knew it was coming, that Gordon was terminally ill and would pass away. Does it lessen the impact on us all?

We know the answer to that one.

The word “Legend” is frequently used when describing the life and times of well known people in the sporting fraternity.

If there is one man who richly deserves that accolade, it is Gordon. A lifetime given to producing playing surfaces for people to play the games of football and cricket on. When I say a lifetime of 70 years plus, in most people’s minds that would equate to two lifetimes.

After spells at Gigg Lane, Rawtenstall and Greenmount spanning more than 50 years and achieving the reputation of delivering the finest of playing surfaces, you would have expected that Gordon would have been ready to enjoy a relaxing retirement.

Out of the blue he got a call from the Chairman of RCC, would he be interested in looking after the square as the current groundsman had left the area.

As Gordon said: “I always fancied a challenge at Rammy“. The challenge being to change a playing surface that played slow and low. A decent total of around 120 was thought of as the norm.

He persuaded the committee to replace the Square and after that the hard work began.

The outfield required drainage. Five consecutive winters were spent on hands and knees digging and laying new drains.

Gordon was in his mid 70s. A task some men half his age would have baulked at. Professional pride, determination etc was there in spades. Excuse the pun.

The massive floods of Boxing Day 2015 left the ground and especially the square under 8 to 10 inches of filth. People commented that the ground wouldn’t be playable that season. Not so Gordon.

Maybe only four wickets were useable at the start, but as the season progressed normal service resumed.

Music festivals, bonfires etc. The resulting damage repaired. Double the amount of cricket being played. All leading to a substantial increase in workload.

Now in his early 80s no let up in that personal professionalism.

Gordon the man. 

Having worked alongside Gordon for 15 years until he called it a day at 86 it has been an absolute privilege.

Not a man to have his authority questioned as to what was best for the ground or cricket as one or two pro`s found out. He said “you don’t question a man who has made wickets for some of the best test cricketers in the world”

Gordon’s legacy:

  • Training and advice given to numerous people that has benefitted the ground care industry. No more so than at Bury, Rawtenstall, Greenmount and Ramsbottom.
  • The culmination of 15yrs where in a Worsley Cup final over 300 runs are scored by RCC and over 200 by Rochdale. Kieren Grimshaw scores 149 in RCC’s total.  Nobody would have dreamt that 20 yrs ago. How proud we all where that day.
  • A ground that is now at the top outside of county.

A few men and women have changed the fortunes and the esteem that RCC now enjoys. No more so than Gordon. If ever a man put more back into a game than he ever took out I have yet to meet him.

Those of us who have benefitted from his knowledge owe him immense gratitude. Gordon, you might have been a small man in stature but to me and others you were a Giant of a Man.

RIP Gordon.

Roger Davies 

Gordon’s funeral is at 12:30 pm on 8th January at East Lancs Crematorium and at Greenmount CC afterwards.