OUR Greenmount side had a bit of a nerve-jangler on Saturday, tieing the match with Woodhouses after Tom Heaton threw down the stumps for a run-out on the final ball of the match.

They just needed any score off the last ball so we surrounded the batter, trying to stop the single, and he hit it straight to Tom. He basically rolled it at the wicket.

It wasn’t his best throw ever, there was hardly any power in it but it did the job.

We were disappointed not to win, they needed eight an over at one stage but they batted well to pull it back.

I was saved a bit of legwork by our captain, I only got through six overs at the start of their reply and didn’t come back on. I like to think I’m being saved for the really big games but the truth is we just have a lot of players who can bowl well. Our pro, Kaustub Pawar, got through a lot, including the last over, which they needed five from. He held his nerve well, though he did bowl a wide to make it interesting.

He’s been brilliant with the bat this season, especially his 175 not out. I think his lowest score has been 55 so he’s already close to 600 runs. Having him come to the club has been great. I can’t remember a pro joining a club and having a a start like that, and I have seen some all-time greats play club cricket.

It’s all changed now, we used to have really big, household names coming over to play, some of the top Aussie and West Indian players, which was great for the clubs involved because their grounds would be packed out so they’d get their money back and more.

The T20 competitions and the money the top players can make from playing in them for a few weeks means those days are long gone. You just don’t see those type of stars any more, and that’s no disrespect to the players who do come, many of them have the ability to make it to the top, they just haven’t got there yet.

At Greenmount we’ve had Mark Taylor and Matthew Hayden, and I remember Granada Reports doing a feature at Ramsbottom on the ‘new thing’ in cricket at the time – batting helmets. Michael Holding was there for that one, so any protection was gladly worn. Not that Mick Everett, could get a helmet to fit his massive head.

My favourite wicket of all time came because the top pros were willing to come to play in the local leagues. I took Viv Richards’ wicket back in the day.

It doesn’t matter that it was a swipe that went to a very deep backward deep square position by Jack Simpson, our wicketkeeper, who ran for miles to get it. The record says he was caught behind and that’s enough for me.

On the other side of it, a mate of mine, Mike Ingham, was at Haslingden he was facing Allan Donald. He stroked one through the covers for four which didn’t please Donald at all, and after a long stare the next ball was sent with world-class accuracy – right in the middle of Mike’s helmet.

The thing is, he loved it and he’ll remember it forever.

It’s something young players today miss out on and it’s a shame.