Crowds gather in 1952 to see fastest bowler in world

HALCYON SEASON: Derby day on the horsfield in 1952. (S)
HALCYON SEASON: Derby day on the horsfield in 1952. (S)

It’s back in time almost 62 years this week with a derby-day scene captured on The Horsfield as Colne Cricket Club take on our local rivals Nelson CC.

The date is Saturday, July 26th, 1952, and the largest crowd of the season has gathered to see the fastest bowler in the world, Nelson professional Ray Lindwall, take on Colne’s mighty batsman Bill Alley.

Both of these formidable Aussie professionals would have an excellent season in 1952 with Bill Alley for Colne, for the fifth season running scoring over 1,000 runs and Ray Lindwall with “leather lightning” accuracy for Nelson taking 96 wickets.

The year 1952 was a truly halcyon season for professionals. As well as Bill and Ray, other Australians in the Lancashire league included Cec Pepper at Burnley and Bruce Dooland at East Lancashire; West Indians Everton Weekes was at Bacup and Clyde Walcott at Enfield and Indians Vinoo Mankad at Haslingden and Gul Mohammed at Ramsbottom.

They were days that will live on forever in the annals of the Lancashire League.