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AN amazing, but little known, sporting achievement from over 60 years ago has come to light in one of DAMHA’s homes.
During research for life stories to feature in our resident magazine, the cricketing exploits of 77-year-old Joe Davison were uncovered.
It was 8th August 1953 and Joe Davison, who now lives in St James Court, Consett, was playing for the Shotley Bridge Cricket Club Second 11 against Craghead.
Joe’s friend and colleague, George ‘Geordie’ Nash had won the toss and elected to bat. Joe, an all-rounder, batted high up the order and he was called into action after Shotley lost a few early wickets.
After “getting his eye” in, Joe soon started racking up the runs and at the end of his innings he was 59 not out, which was a good score for limited overs cricket which he says, back then, actually meant you got a few hours to bat.
It was then Shotley’s turn to field and this is where the magic really started to happen. Craghead were comprehensively beaten in what the press at the time referred to a “one man” display by Joe had a hand in dismissing every one of the ten batsmen.
This is what Joe did:
– Took 4 wickets in 4 balls
– Took 5 catches, including one off his bowling
– Ran someone out
– Took a stumping
Joe still has a nice memento of his achievement, namely the match ball which was presented to him on an engraved plinth.
Joe says: “I played football too but cricket was always my favourite game and through my friend George, who worked at the Consett steelworks with me, I ended up playing for Shotley Bridge from 1954 to 1973.
“Amateur cricket was very different back then. You didn’t have your own equipment like you do now; it was a case of sharing bats and pads and there was no safety equipment like helmets either.
“We had lots of great games at Shotley but the one against Craghead is obviously the one that stands out most. It was just one of the days that everything went right for me.”
When Joe ‘retired’ from amateur cricket he did so without scoring 100 runs in an inning, which was something he always wanted to do. But he was persuaded to come out of retirement for one game in the mid-70s and Joe, being Joe, only managed to do that as well!
He recalls: “I remember being on 96 when the I got a slight touch on the ball which landed at my feet. I looked at the bowler to check if it was ok to pick up as technically you can be given out if you handle the ball, and he nodded, so I throw it back to him.
“Then there was a cry of ‘howzat’ from another player on the boundary and to my shock the umpire gave me out. I couldn’t believe I had been given out when I was so close to 100 so I stood my ground and refused to move.
“The bowler, who was also the captain, told the umpire I wasn’t out, so he let me resume my innings and I went on to make 109.
“So, it’s fair to say I had an eventful career in amateur cricket, but with some amazing memories.”