THE picture of the British Aerospace cricket team that featured in the sporting nostalgia section on August 9 prompted a lengthy response from reader and president and life member of Lostock CC, David Kaye.

He said: "Having been involved in the Bolton cricket scene all my life, I always eagerly await the appearance of archive photographs in the summer sports pages of The Bolton News, since these invariably bring back many happy memories of players and occasions of yesteryear.

"However, the photograph which appeared in the August 9 edition of the newspaper resonated particularly strongly with me, as it featured a club with which I have now been involved for 56 years.

"When I began playing cricket at Lostock as a 19-year-old apprentice in 1963, the club was known as De Havilland, subsequently metamorphosing into Hawker Siddeley, then British Aerospace, and latterly, since 1999, the independent Lostock Cricket Club, with its superb new ground and fine facilities at Chew Moor, to where we moved in 2017.

"Ever since its formation in 1938 – just months after the De Havilland factory at Lostock opened – the company's cricket team had a burning ambition to play in one of Bolton's two senior leagues, and this ambition was finally achieved in 1975, when the historic Bolton and District Cricket Association expanded its first division from 12 clubs to 14, with Hawker Siddeley (as it was then) being one of the two successful applicants.

"Accordingly, this archive picture showed the club's first XI in its eighth season in the Bolton Association, and although no trophies were won that year, it was a very fine team,.

"They are, back, from left, Leslie Barlow, Ian Bentham, Michael Watkinson (professional), Neil Smith, Norman Taylor; front, Philip Knowles, Malcolm Richmond, David Barton (captain), John Norburn, David Beswick and Fred Guest.

"Amongst this team were players who contributed massively to the evolution and success of our club.

"Leslie Barlow was one of the outstanding amateurs in the Bolton League when he was signed in 1966 from near-neighbours and local rivals Westhoughton.

"He was only the second professional the club had employed, and was to perform with superb consistency as the paid man in the ranks for a total of 10 seasons, before he returned to the amateur ranks, although remaining loyal to the Lostock club.

"He continued playing for several further seasons, including four as captain. Barlow is fourth in the all-time run-scorers' list for Lostock, with almost 7,000 runs at an average of 27.50, and the seventh highest wicket-taker, with 650 victims at the remarkably low average of 11.00.

"Then there was Michael Watkinson ('Watky' as he was universally known) who followed the same path as Leslie, joining British Aerospace for the 1981 season, following some tremendous amateur performances in the Bolton League, also for Westhoughton.

"Aged just 19, Michael was one of the youngest-ever professionals to grace the Bolton Association, and in his first year at Lostock he turned in performances with both bat and ball which would not have disappointed had a highly-paid overseas Test star been recruited.

"An aggregate of well over 800 runs, coupled with nearly 90 wickets, meant he was the undisputed winner of the Association's Professional's Prize that year.

"Somehow, British Aerospace managed to fight off intense competition for Mike's services for season 1982, but very early that summer he made his first-team debut for Lancashire CCC, and hence was destined not to play at Lostock again.

"It was, however, with great pride and pleasure we watched Michael's career unfold with ever-increasing success, which eventually led to four England Test caps and an appearance in a one-day international.

"He reached several pinnacles at the county club, including the captaincy, and, following retirement, holding senior coaching roles, ultimately becoming director of cricket.

"Few local cricketers better epitomise the concept of 'the ultimate club-man' than Norman Taylor, who served the club with great distinction both on and off the field for well over half a century.

"Figuring in both first and second teams during 28 seasons, Norman played more than 450 games for the Lostock club, scoring more than 6,000 runs and, as wicket-keeper, claiming more than 200 victims.

"Off the field he was a long-serving club treasurer, chairman for five years, and volunteer groundsman during the early 2000s. He was a hugely successful second XI captain for 13 seasons, during the course of which he secured three championship victories and two knockout trophies.

"Sadly, Norman passed away in November 2018, but his memory lives on at Lostock, both in the club's 'hall of fame', and via a recently-installed superb array of five new honours boards in the Chew Moor clubhouse, which are dedicated to his memory.

"Another name to recall is Philip Knowles who can certainly be bracketed with Norman Taylor as a truly outstanding club-man, as he has served at Lostock for almost 40 years, again contributing massively both on and off the field.

"He is the club's all-time highest run scorer, with his tally of 10,865 making him the only batsmen in the club's history to date to reach five figures.

"Another former first XI captain, he too served for many years as an assiduous treasurer, and for the past few years has been the greatly-respected chairman of the club.

"David Barton is another name synonymous with cricket at Lostock, being a key member of both senior teams over many seasons, and a former captain of both. His 5,800 aggregate runs puts him in eighth position in the all-time run-scorers' list.

"John Norburn was another prolific run scorer and is sixth in the all-time batting list, with a total of 6,337 runs, while David Beswick is the club's all-time leading wicket-taker, with a total of 884 victims at the remarkably low average of 12.77.

"The fact that we are able to produce such definitive career statistics for Lostock CC players – something which very few clubs are able to do – is as a result of some incredibly painstaking work carried out over many years by our dedicated club statistician, Michael Cregan, to whom the club is massively grateful.

"To conclude on a very sad note, just the day after The Bolton News photograph appeared, we learnt of the untimely death of Malcolm Richmond.

"Although a very talented cricketer, Malcolm was best known for his successful career in non-league football.

"He was something of a legendary figure at Morecambe FC, when he was one of the club's goalscorers at Wembley in the 1974 F.A. Trophy victory over Dartford.

After leaving Morecambe, he had spells with Skelmersdale United, Chorley and Horwich RMI."