1979 - 1980 Season Report
1979 - 1980 Season
Geoff Miller made his first appearance at the Society on 4th October 1979 Still an England regular at the time he was an allrounder whose batting was sufficiently better than that of rival offspinners John Emburey and Eddie Hemmings to earn him 34 Test caps. His visit followed his most successful series, against a Packer-weakened Australia in 1978-79, where he topped the bowling averages with 23 wickets at 15.04. A droll character, he was a popular after-dinner speaker.
Barrie Meyer was our guest speaker on 1st November 1979. Originally signed as a footballer by Bristol Rovers scoring 60 times for them in 139 league matches including one in the famous 4-0 FA Cup victory over Manchester United in 1951 and also had spells with Plymouth, Newport County and Bristol City. Barrie earned extra cash by helping the Gloucestershire groundstaff in the summer. But it soon became apparent that he was a more than capable wicketkeeper, even if his batting was poor, and he was a regular in the county side for 15 seasons. On retiring, he immediately took up umpiring and, by his own admission, "was fairly useless for the first three years but somehow I stayed on". He grew in stature and in the 1980s was one of the most respected officials. He stood in two World Cup finals (1979 and 1983) and some memorable Tests, including Headingley 1981. In the off seasons he coached and umpired in South Africa.
Alan Ealham of Kent was the speaker on the 30th November 1979. Father of Mark Ealham, Alan was a right hand batsman who scored over 10000 runs in first class cricket between 1966 and 1982.
Canon Reg Smith was the guest speaker on the 10th January 1980. Canon, J R “Reg” Smith was Vicar of St. Thomas’s from 1949 to ’59, and was Rector of Bury for over 30 years. Born in 1915, he retained the zest for life that saw him double the number of communicants at the Radcliffe church and transform its social life. Outside church he was best known as a witty after-dinner speaker and for his near-miraculous enthusiasm for Bury Football Club. He was President of “The North West Counties Football League, which was formed in 1982, until he passed away in 1997. When he was 81, he received the MBE, one of the longest serving clergymen in the country, the Rector was a most popular figure in the town and received the award for "service to the community".
Cedric Rhodes the Chairman of Lancashire CCC was the speaker on 14th February 1980.
Geoff Cope of England, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire spoke at the dinner held on 14th March 1980. Questions over the fairness of his bowling action, Geoff Cope was twice suspended by the authorities in 1972 and 1978 each time returning to top-class cricket after re-modeling his delivery action. His England appearances were limited to one series in Pakistan in 1977-78. He almost took a hat-trick on his debut having dismissed Abdul Qadir and Sarfraz Nawaz, he had Iqbal Qasim caught at slip by Mike Brearley who was unsure as to the legitimacy of the catch, recalled him.
The 12th April 1980 saw Geoff Boycott making his second visit to the Society. At this time he was back in the England team after the captaincy fallout when Mike Denness succeeded Ray Illingworth as captain. He returned triumphantly in 1977, scoring a century in his comeback Test and another - his 100th in first-class cricket - in front of his adoring home crowd at Headingley.
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