There has been many a cricketing caper over the past 180 years since Prestwich Cricket Club was first founded. Some have been retold over time, some forgotten, some no doubt embellished.
Today, we recall three short tales going back to the mid to late 1800s which have stood the test of time in their telling.
One of the first anecdotes dates back to the club’s birthplace in Thatch Leach Lane and involved the curate of the parish church, who was playing for the club one Saturday afternoon.
He had just gone into bat when he was summonsed from the field of play by the chiming of the church bell. It is recounted how he sped off “with most unholy haste” slipping on more solemn clothes over his whites, to conduct a funeral.
During this period, there was a stand-out victory when opponents Rhodes were bowled out by Prestwich for just 2 – and one of them was a bye! But for pure “Roy Of The Rovers” drama, it is superseded by the occasion when Prestwich had a player shortage and could only muster nine men.
At a late hour, they enlisted the services of a schoolboy called Sam Atkinson – who turned hero by hitting 79 not out.
After the club moved to Stack Meadow (occupied now by Highfield Road, pictured above) in 1862, the ground tenant was a well-known character called John Nutter, who was commonly referred to as “Old Nutter”.
However, he became something of a nuisance after a drop too much in the local hostelry. He would interrupt a Saturday afternoon’s play, wanting the wickets to be taken up, proclaiming that he only let the ground out to 11 players, and that until the others went off, he would stop the game.
He was regularly guided off the field by the more persuasive team members and directed back to whence he came – the local hostelry. This became a frequent occurrence and long before he got to the actual ground, Old Nutter’s voice could be heard shouting out: “Only 11 players!”