Lancs League: Beyond the Boundary exhibition (14 April 1998)

14 April 1998

Beyond the Boundary

By Bob Frith - League Cricket Review

The Lancashire Cricket League has a singular history. This has been documented several times, most recently by David Edmundson in his book published to commemorate the centenary of the League in 1992. Nevertheless, when Horse + Bamboo Theatre came to devise a programme for their newly-refurbished building in Rossendale, they decided that an exhibition celebrating the Lancashire League would be the perfect subject. Horse + Bamboo has been based in Rossendale for twenty years but, until recently, its programme of touring its own unique shows, nationally and internationally, has taken precedence over working in the local community. However, with support from the National Lottery and the Foundation for Sport and the Arts, the company renovated The Old Liberal Club in Waterfoot, Rossendale. This building, as well as providing the company with offices and rehearsal space, now enables the theatre to open its doors and invite the public in to see theatre shows, participate in workshops - and visit exhibitions.

I read CLR James' wonderful book 'Beyond A Boundary', and saw how the connection between James and Learie Constantine, when both men were living and working in Nelson during the 1930's, provided a fascinating starting point for an exhibition. So 'Beyond The Boundary' (named in tribute to CLR) was planned. From the beginning, the involvement of the League was sought, and their help has been vital as research is undertaken for the documentary elements of the exhibition.

However, the exhibition is intended to be very much more than a straightforward documentary about the League. This, I feel, is best left to books. Instead, 'Beyond The Boundary' will have three sections:

Firstly, a 'Time-tunnel', documenting the history of the League decade by decade, but dominated by large visual representations of some of the 'icons' of the history of the League - such as the famous wall with its scoreboard 'Whitewash Line' which separated Accrington and Church. Second, a video-room, with a specially commissioned video of reminiscences about the League. This is being made by Alick Ormerod, Team Manager of Bacup, and one-time player at Accrington.

The third and final element of the exhibition will be a series of large carnival masks based on some of the all-time great players who have graced the Lancashire League.

Each of the 14 clubs who make up the League have been asked to nominate an all-time favourite team; and, Desert Island Discs-style, asked to choose just one player as their all-time great! The results are revealing:

CHARLIE (Charles Bennett) LLEWELLYN (1876-1964) South Africa. A notable all-rounder. 188 n.o. against Bacup. Chosen by ACCRINGTON.

EVERTON De Courcey WEEKES (b. 1925) West Indies. One of the 'Three W's'. A great attacking batsman, and versatile field. An extremely popular player in the Lancashire League. Awarded the OBE. Chosen by BACUP.

CHARLIE (Charles Christopher) GRIFFITH (b. 1938) West Indies. One of the finest and fastest bowlers of all time - and gained a reputation as a difficult character, with a controversial action. Chosen by BURNLEY.

SYDNEY Francis BARNES (1873-1967). England. Perhaps the greatest bowler of all time. Preferred League cricket to County. A gaunt, brooding, aloof man 'of independent outlook'. Was called from the Lancashire League to play for England. Chosen by CHURCH & OSWALDTWISTLE; and by RISHTON.

COLLIS Llewellyn KING (b. 1951) West Indies. An explosive batsman, a useful medium pace bowler, and an enthusiastic field. Banned (in 1979) from the North Wales League for being too good (made 283 in one afternoon match!). Chosen by COLNE.

BRUCE DOOLAND (1923-1980) Australia. Tall leg-break and googly bowler; and a dogged and effective Test batsman. He also represented Australia at baseball. Chosen by EAST LANCS.

SULAMAIN 'DIK' ABED. Made his name in the Lancashire League. Would probably have had a useful Test career but for the isolation of South Africa during his peak years as a player. A popular man in Lancashire. Chosen by ENFIELD.

GEORGE Alphonso HEADLEY (1909-83) West Indies. Known as 'The Black Bradman', the dominant West Indian batsman from 1929 until 1948, and one of the greatest of all cricketers. Father of Ron and grandfather of Dean. Chosen by HASLINGDEN.

Emmanuel (MANNY) Alfred MARTINDALE (1909-72). West Indies. A small man but an impressive fast bowler. Caused a sensation in the 1933 Test by bowling a form of 'bodyline'. Chosen by LOWERHOUSE.

Sir LEARIE Nicholas CONSTANTINE (1902-71). West Indies. Lord Constantine of Maraval and Nelson. An inspiring cricketer. An all-rounder, brilliant and unorthodox. Prominent in welfare work among black immigrants to England during the Second World War. Much loved in Nelson. Chosen by NELSON.

CHRIS HARRIS (b. 1969). New Zealand. Played for Ramsbottom in 1996 and achieved the unusual feat of making 1,000 runs and taking 100 wickets in the season. Chosen by RAMSBOTTOM.

GEORGE Edward TRIBE (b.1920). Australia. A genuine all-rounder, but best remembered as a back-of-the-hand left-arm spinner. Chosen by RAWTENSTALL.

Charles FREDerick ROOT (1890-1954). England. Shot in the chest in the First World War, but lived to become a master of spin. Started first class cricket with Derbyshire, where a familiar scoreline might be 'c Beet b Root'. Chosen by TODMORDEN.

I have worked for three months to create these heads - which will be seen in local Carnivals before 'Beyond The Boundary' opens in August. They will be installed in the exhibition to make a striking centrepiece. The planning for the exhibition is now well underway, and the 'Lancashire Evening Telegraph' will be producing a special catalogue, with content by Ron Freethy. 'Beyond The Boundary' opens on Saturday 15th August, and remains open until Sunday, 13th September 1998. It will be open daily, but visits on Mondays and Tuesdays will be by prior appointment only. The event currently lacks a sponsor, and a number of marketing opportunities - including a 'Beyond The Boundary' website - are on offer to an imaginative business. For more information contact: Marie Davies, Co-ordinator, 'Beyond The Boundary', Horse + Bamboo, Waterfoot, Rossendale, BB4 7HB. Telephone: 01706 220241.

Source :: League Cricket Review