Recollections of Grace Road over the last 50 years (50 ! - Good Lord!!!)
By John Harris
My interest was first ignited - as far as I can remember - by my Godfather (Uncle Albert - who was a travelling salesman from Nottingham) winning and giving me a cricket bat signed by the Australian tourists of 1959 (?) including the captain Bobby Simpson. He's won it in a raffle at Trent Bridge (I still have it) and soon after that my Mother took me on a Friday afternoon to Grace Road to watch Leicestershire. I recall we weren't doing very well and recall Terry Spencer and Brian Boshier (who for 50 years I thought was Bosher) batting rather hopelessly and not for very long and then seeing them bowl faster than I thought possible.
I remember the wooden benches which we sat on in front of the Pavilion (are they still the same ones or have they been replaced in the last 50 years !!??) and the flowers.
We lived on a farm the other side of Wigston and so didn't get to go very much but I remember avidly reading the Daily Mail and the Leicester Mercury to see how "The County" were doing - usually not too well. I remember Maurice Hallam as a batsman who would never give his wicket away easily and then the romance surrounding those two men from a land called Ceylon - Clive Inman and Stan Jayasinge - who always seemed to be smiling. Didn't Inman score 50 off 8 balls once?
I grew up, moved away but still followed The County through Illingworth, Davison (who lived next door to my parents when they sold the farm and moved to Wigston town) and Gower who visited Brian and Caroline Davison and asked my sister out on a date. She wisely turned him down. I played golf with Brian Davison just once - he hit the ball further than I could see
Over the last 10 years I've become a Member - an expensive and nonsensical financial arrangement for me as I usually only get to watch the team 2 or 3 times a year - but I reckon they need my £120 and after all the years of fun and enjoyment I have had I don't begrudge a penny.
Poignantly, I took my Mother to see the game against Worcestershire on July 14th this year. We had a wonderful day - sitting on those old (or new) wooden benches - and saw Leicestershire win having enjoyed an excellent lunch. Sadly my Mother died the following Friday - but at least the last time I had seen her alive was spent cheering "The County" on to an improbable victory
It's been quite a memorable 50 years - and counting