THE new dawn for Bolton Association brought first-time wins for Astley & Tyldesley Collieries (1935- 1936), Walkden Moor Methodists (1937) and East Lancashire Paper Mill (1938-1939) prior to the suspension of the competition due to the Second World War.
A&T at their first attempt surprisingly beat ELPM. W Ratclife and J Spencer contributed more than half of their total of 208 and the much vaunted Papermakers’ line-up were beaten by 101 runs, although William Greenhalgh, more noted for his batting, collected 7-69.
The Colliers repeated the feat the following year ensuring Horwich RMI’s last season in the Association was not a happy one. W Wright scored 71 as A&T totalled 242 and won by 47 runs.
The first and only all church final in 1937 resulted in a comprehensive win for Walkden Moor Methodists over Whittlebrook Methodists, who scored only 51.
As Roy Cavanagh reported in his “Cotton Town Cricket”, the win was celebrated by filling the cup with Vimto, appropriately, as many years later they were Association sponsors (1990-1999).
ELPM beat Edgworth the final of both their victories by nine and eight wickets, Greenhalgh unbeaten with scores of 51 and 63.
After the Second World War, with the exception of Adlington (1949), a succession of new names were etched on the trophy.
Edgworth’s first win in 1946 was due to the highest score in a final – 316 – as Little Hulton made a spirited but ultimately unsuccessful reply of 177.
John Isherwood (92) and pro Chadwick (9-84) were the match winners.
As often happens, Little Hulton returned the following year to beat Atherton, thanks to substitute professional Steele’s (Bradshaw) 48 and 6-22.
Tootals Sports Club and Taylor Brothers contested a close game (1948), the latter edging the final by scoring 114-9 against 111.
The win was set up by J Bolton (43) and A Hall (50 not out), before Taylor Bros lost four wickets between 105 and 107.
With finals now being played midweek and innings suspended at 130, Adlington’s two-wicket win over Walkden Moor Methodists took two weeks to finish, starting at Green Lane and finishing at Higher Swan Lane.
The highest aggregate score (517) in a one-game final saw Adlington (259-8) win with Jack Woodruff (90no) and Harold Parkinson (80) eclipsing Ken Kniveton’s 95.
Wigan side Poolstock defeated Farnworth Social Circle in 1950 by 11 runs, and despite the efforts of professional Ingham (60 and 6-107), Edgworth lost to Tootals by 22 runs.
In 1952, in another high-scoring final, Hough top-scored with 105 and took 4-92, but his opposite number Peters led Atherton to victory with 74 and 7-62.
The highlights of Walker Institute’s aggregate win in the first two-leg final in 1953 were Walmsley’s 7-45 and 5-43. Walkers took a 13-run lead into the second leg, which was extended to a win by 30 runs.
Barton Hall’s lead after the first leg in 1954 was 40 and Astley & Tyldesley failed to make inroads into this, losing by 50 runs. E Hudson (BH) finished the game and second leg with a hat-trick.
Walker Institute won with the help of two professionals in 1955, Cockburn of Littleborough substituting for Walmsley in the second leg, each taking seven wickets against Tootals.
Walkers beat FSC by 11 runs in 1956 in a second two-legged final, Walmsley adding another 11 wickets to his total and bowling partner Wilkinson taking seven. The seasons 1957 and 1958 saw the end of the two-legged affairs, Edgworth beating Barton Hall and A&T Collieries.
In part four, we will look at finals in living memory, hopefully reviving happy memories for many of our readers.
In the 1957 tie neither side topped the century in four innings, Edgworth inching home by four wickets needing 75 runs to win. Two wickets was the winning margin in 1958, with a target of only 66 runs. Walter Mather took a total of eighteen wickets in the two legs.