All at the Club were saddened this week to learn of the death of Harold at the age of 93. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at the difficult time.

Harold was our oldest member and a former well-respected player. He was one of our star players from yesteryear and his love and enthusiasm for the game was clear to see for all those that encountered him. Harold made his debut in the first team in 1943. He was a right-hand bat and fast-medium right arm bowler. He made just under 20 first team appearances between 1943 and 1945 before his cricketing was put on hold. Harold signed up for active service with the Parachute Regiment in WW2 and saw active service in Europe.  He was part of Operation Market Garden (think “A Bridge Too Far” but in real life) and served with honour and pride.

He returned to cricket with Ramsbottom CC in 1951 and continued with the first team until 1963. He was a consistent wicket taker between 1951 and 1959 taking his wickets at an average of around 17 with some best bowling figures of 6 for 9 v Burnley and 7 for 23 v Bacup. In his first team career he took 325 league wickets at an average of 19.11 in 231 matches. His batting was not his strong suit with his highest score of 31 not out coming in the 1957 season.

He went on to captain the third team and helped to guide and mentor many a young player at the start of their careers (the writer included) before finally hanging up his playing boots in 1983 at the age of 56.

He played with and against some world class professionals in that era. He was teammates with the likes of Eddie Fuller, Seymour Nurse and Peter Philpott. He would have played against Wes Hall, Everton Weekes, Bill Alley, Clyde Walcott to name just a handful.

He was a familiar figure at the club and came down last summer to watch for a few hours. In years gone by when he was ready for a lift home he would let the phone ring a couple of times – his wife May then knew he was waiting. “No need to waste 10p, just two rings do the job”. He will be missed but not forgotten.

Harold’s wife May pre-deceased him. He leaves his daughter Ann, son Steven and 4 grandchildren.

Graham Ratcliffe (on behalf of the Club)