As Britain was about to enter the Swinging Sixties and I was a callow youth in Liverpool interested only in Everton and the Mersey pop scene – knowing nothing of the B&DCA – Astley and Tyldesley were about to win their third, and to date, last Cross Cup final in 1959.
Familiar names were appearing in the records, Eric Gough, Ralph Livesey, Gordon Hassall and Jim Bennett (5-32) were in the team that beat Barton Hall, including long time Association president, Ken Holt, by six runs.
Little Hulton registered a hat-trick of wins between 1960-1962.
Edgworth were their first victims, failing by 30 runs to match Little Hulton’s first innings total of 112, for whom Ronnie Mann made 52 and Brian Jones, Ernie Machin and captain Bill Taylor each took three wickets.
Atherton were dismissed for 49 (Crowder 6-24) the following year, as Little Hulton won by 10 wickets.
A much closer game (128–124) saw Farnworth Social Circle beaten by four runs 12 months later with Jones taking 7-60. Present Association chairman Frank Jackson made his first appearance in a final during this period.
Barton Hall and Holt gained a second victory in 1963, Bradshaw (Barton Hall) and G Hope (Roe Green) just missing out on half-centuries as Roe Green were beaten by 20 runs.
Edgworth’s 165 was too much for Adlington, Gill taking 6-45 and Guy 4-38, restricting Adlington to 100 all out.
More familiar names were appearing, Lawrence Moore and Frank Ashcroft for Adlington and Wal Luxford and professional Harwood for Edgworth.
The first ever final held on a Sunday in 1965 saw Adlington lose again, this time to Atherton by 30 runs.
Atherton’s strong line-up of Shaw, Brooks, Halliwell and the Bannister brothers, Derek and Gerald, reached 143 with Adlington deputy professional Sher Mohammed taking 6-52.
Adlington fell 30 short, despite Moore’s 30, Kevin Brooks taking 5-22.
Adlington returned in 1966 to claim their third success, easily beating Walker Institute.
Harold Parkinson top-scored with 41 and Banks recorded 5-38.
Barton Hall gave little resistance to Farnworth Social Circle in 1967, notching 54 and losing by eight wickets.
The 1968 clash between Daisy Hill and Walker Institute produced one of the most extraordinary finishes in Cross Cup history.
Daisy Hill totalled 224 with Colin Hughes scoring a magnificent 126. Solid batting throughout the Walker Institute innings left them with two runs to win off the final over with three wickets remaining Amazingly, Daisy pro Brian Gore took all three wickets without conceding a run and the village team won by one run.
Edgworth again beat Adlington in 1969 with Stan Bamber’s 41 out of 88 bettered by Keith Harwood with 51 in a six-wicket win.
Stan Crowther (80) and Barry Stansfield (46) saw Farnworth Social Circle to 202-9 with Edgworth falling short at 165 in 1970, scoring legend Alan Thomas and Brian Hollows taking four wickets each.
Social Circle made it a double at Little Hulton’s expense in 1971 winning by 56 runs, Thomas (4-31) again excelling with the ball rather than the bat, and David McIlwraith at number 10 top-scoring with 28. Jack Mawson’s 5-20 was in vain.
Thomas came good in the 1972 final with 44, but Jimmy Irani won the trophy (54 not out), Edgworth passing Farnworth Social Circle’s total of 98 with three wickets left.
Clifton joined the list of winners in 1973 beating A&T. Deputy pro Rice and Derek Lysons recorded half-centuries in a score of 203-9, with Livesey taking 5-68, the Colliers losing by 66 runs.
There was more disappointment for Little Hulton and Frank Jackson in 1974 as they lost by nine wickets, scoring only 117. Harry Andrew scored 47 but Harwood was again the star man with 74 not out and 4-28.
Social Circle won in 1975 with Thomas scoring 82 of their score of 177-9 and Roe Green were defeated by 60 runs.
l In the next article we will look at the final said to be the finest of them all due to two future Pakistani Test players.