The Best of Durham - New book shines light on star players and why Sunderland and Hetton is most prolific breeding ground for cricketers

The Sunderland & Hetton area is named as the most prolific breeding ground for Durham cricketers in a book published this week.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 7:43 pm
Durham bowler Chris Rushworth makes his way down the pavilion steps to the pitch past spectators for the first time at the Riverside this season before day one of the LV= Insurance County Championship match between Durham and Essex at Emirates Riverside.

The Best of Durham is written by Tim Wellock, who covered the first 26 years of Durham's first-class life for local and national media.

He names the following team of Wearsiders as one which could have done the county proud: Michael Roseberry, Gary Scott, Scott Borthwick, Sean Birbeck, Phil Mustard, Ryan Pringle, Paul Coughlin, Graeme Bridge, Ben Raine, Chris Rushworth, Matthew Potts.

All have played first-class for Durham, but plenty of others are named who forged good careers elsewhere.

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The book states: “Hetton's production line dates back to the tragic tale of Maurice Nichol. A batsman good enough to score 2,154 runs for Worcestershire in 1933, he was known to have an enlarged heart and was found dead in bed the following year on the second day of a match against Essex at Chelmsford.

"He had played for Durham prior to making a century against the West Indians on his first-class debut in 1928. He was 12th man for England against New Zealand in 1931.

“The Hetton Lyons club dates back to 1865, taking its name from the Lyon family, ancestors of the Queen Mother, Elizabeth Bowes Lyon. The ground was part of the Bowes Lyon Estates until the club bought it in 1960. Pioneers of youth cricket in the county, their ambition resulted in six successive Durham Coast League titles.

"They applied to join the Durham Senior League and were eventually accepted after spending £160,000 on ground improvements. The progress continued until they became a leading North East Premier League club.

“There was a club at Hendon, where the town's soccer team originally played. It was the birthplace of England footballer Raich Carter, who played cricket for Hendon before his move to Derby County also gave him the chance to play first-class for Derbyshire. A big-hitter and left-arm spinner, he was in the Durham team against the 1933 West Indians and 1934 Australians.

“Carter was one of many who excelled at both games. Among other Sunderland footballers, Len Shackleton played cricket for Wearmouth, Charlie Buchan for Boldon and Willie Watson for Yorkshire and England. Malcolm Scott, a left-arm spinner from South Shields, played football for Newcastle and spent 11 seasons with Northants.

“Bob Carter, from Horden, took 521 first-class wickets for Worcestershire in the 1960s and another seamer, John Glassford, from Sunderland, played twice for Warwickshire in 1969 inbetween several appearances for Durham.”

The author was also Durham's Wisden correspondent for 27 years and is looking for a good home for his copies of the almanac from 1993-2019.

Anyone interested in either The Best of Durham, priced £10, or the Wisden collection should email [email protected] The book will also be available in the club shop at Riverside.