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History - Honours - Professionals - Frank Tyson - Basil D'Oliveira - Hedley Verity

Roy Gilchrist

1934-2001

A Sign Of Things To Come

Ever wondered who began the long line of successful West Indian Speedsters? Ever wondered who it was who lit the trail for the likes of Holding, Garner, Croft, Marshall, Ambrose or Walsh?

Roy Gilchrist was one of the fastest bowlers ever to have played not just in the Central Lancashire League - but Cricket as a whole.

Gilchrist only played 13 Tests for the West Indies during an era when the Caribbean Kings were already blessed with pace bowlers such as Wes Hall, Garfield Sobers and Charlie Griffith, but for many years he put the fear of God into CLL batsmen. An always controversial figure, he famously was sent home from the 1958-59 West Indian tour of the sub-continent for constantly bowling beamers.

Standing at only 5ft 9in, relatively diminutive for a fast bowler, Gilchrist nevertheless was able to generate formidable pace with his long, whippy right arm action.

He first signed professional for Middleton in 1958, inspiring them to successive league titles. In fact, his first match for Middleton on 25 April 1958, was described as the "most sensational league cricket debut ever". Gilchrist destroyed Crompton at Glebe Street, taking all 10 for 38 including a hat-trick.

Crompton were 63 without loss, chasing Middleton’s 141 for nine, when Gilchrist who had none for 32 at that stage, switched ends to bowl with the sun and wind at his back and the advantage of a downhill slope. He shortened his run and was immediately successful, annihilating the Crompton innings in a 25 ball spell during which he took 10 wickets for the cost of only six runs. The last six wickets he took for just nine balls, including four in four.

The following year Gilchrist came close to beating Dhattu Phadkars all-time season bowling record, by taking 145 wickets.

He then moved into the Lancashire League, and played with Bacup for a year, before joining Great Chell in the Staffordshire League.

He returned to the CLL as professional for Crompton in 1965. Proof that he had lost none of his venom in the intervening years came when his new club shared the CLL title with Stockport that year.

After leaving Crompton, Gilchrist played in the Saddlewoth League, but he was then persuaded to make a comeback in the CLL with Castleton Moor and subsequently played for them as an amateur in the 1980's. He provided the after match entertainment playing to members with his Jamaican steel band.

Gilchrist returned home to Jamaica in the 1990's and it was there that he died in 2001 after a long fight against Alzheimer’s Disease.

Former Moonraker all-rounder Paul Rocca who played with Gilchrist in the 1959 Middleton Championship-winning team said; "That year 99 of his victims were clean bowled. That says a lot about quality fast bowling. I was the only player to field in front of the wicket most games. Gilly always had four slips and two gulleys".

"I think most people who knew him, or played against him, will agree that he was arguably the fastest bowler ever to have played in the CLL".

"It’s curious really, that the two fastest bowlers ever to have played Test cricket, Gilchrist and Frank Tyson, both had the shortest test careers and both played for Middleton.”



Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 April 2017 )
 
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Middleton C.C. currently have three senior teams competing in the Penine Cricket League, and five junior teams.

Senior matches take place on the majority of Saturday and Sundays.

The Junior sides play on various nights throughout the week, as well as the Under 13s playing on Sunday mornings.

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