Watching Jonn y Bairstow’s magic 83 not out on Saturday evening for England against New Zealand before taking part in a 10-mile midnight charity walk in Huddersfield took me back to my days on the staff in the early 90s in the Telegraph & Argus offices in Bradford.
His late father David, some character, used to come into the offices to see sports editor Alan Birkinshaw for whom he did a column. I had also seen him a few times with my father up at one of Geoff Crowther’s former pubs, the Old Packhorse at Hartshead when he was working for a butcher outside of the cricket season.
“Bluey” Bairstow’s chances of either playing soccer as a centre forward for Bradford City or as a stand-off for Halifax RLFC, where then brother-in-law Ronnie Dobson was chairman, for some winter corn had been knocked on the head by Yorkshire CCC scared of injury. Since his tragic death in 1998 I have always kept an eye out for elder brother Andrew’s career –Derbyshire and then Bradford and Airedale & Wharfedale cricket – and then Jonny with Yorkshire and England. Jonny, whose mum Janet proudly follows him around, has a hard job on to replace Jos Buttler behind the stumps but, as Sir Ian Botham said, Jonny could force his way into the Ashes series on his batting alone. On the Sunday, I watched the T-20 Bash between Birmingham and Yorkshire and I was waiting to hear the commentary team mention two Halifax lads were facing each other as Oliver Hannon-Dalby came in to bowl against Alex Lees but it never came. Great to see local lads make it, and one thing about cricket is you still feel you can get close to the players.
PS: The walk along with 1,000 others and my friend Charlotte Taylor, who is a teacher at Park Academy, Exley, was for Kirkwood Hospice and entitled Midnight Memory Walk and we were chuffed to do it in three hours and forty minutes.