North Rigton postscript. A Community Tea. Maurice and Ivan.
Following the publication of the article, Keith Dibb and myself made contact with the Chairman of the North Rigton Parish council, Mary Hopkins, who kindly invited us to address a group of locals at their July 2016 monthly Community Tea in the Square and Compass. A dozen or so people attended and the highlight was that the audience included two former players, Maurice Scaife and Ivan Barker. Keith, Ivan and Maurice re-acquainted themselves with each other some sixty five years since they had all last played together for North Rigton C.C.
Maurice has lived in the village all his life save one year whilst Ivan moved to Harrogate before work took him to Redcar where he still lives. Both recalled playing cricket as boys in the street outside the Square and Compass (a six counting if they managed to hit the ball through an open window of the pub!) as well as their times with North Rigton C.C. Maurice brought a small cup with him which was played for by the junior sides of North Rigton and Weeton in 1953 and 1954, called the ‘Coronation Cup’, whilst Ivan came with a photograph of the team that we had not seen before and which included Delius.
Maurice and Ivan chatted to me after Keith and I had given our presentations and provided me with their own recollections. They told me that they had all looked up to Delius, whom they described as a ‘marvellous chap’ and a ‘philanthropist’. They addressed him as ‘Colonel’ or ‘Sir’, which was presumably his rank in the 2nd World War, though they referred to him as ‘Danny’ behind his back! As Keith had said, J.D. Delius was a quiet and shy fellow, and Maurice and Ivan told me he always used to ask the boys if they minded him having a bat at their practices.
However, Ivan told me he was also strict in a military sort of way and would not tolerate the boys questioning umpire’s decisions whilst he ran the a.g.m.s in an authoritarian way and had every right to! Ivan recalled it was Delius who decided the side should play ‘friendly’ matches only and not enter a league, perhaps reflecting his time at Harrow and Oxford where the ‘amateur ethos’ of playing for its own sake dominated. He was also keen that the sides comprised villagers only and was reluctant to invite ‘outsiders’ into the side. Delius must have been a thoughtful employer as well as a community-minded resident as Ivan told me that each summer he invited his employees and their families to the village, the highlight being a cricket match between their children and North Rigton juniors, followed by strawberries and cream. Ivan believes the club closed in either 1956 or 1957 and, like Keith, he later played at Bishop Thornton C.C. and used the old North Rigton pavilion.
Maurice remembered that he and another North Rigton youngster, Norman Fell, helped their school team, Otley Secondary Modern, win a knock-out cup competition in either 1949 or 1950 – the Nunn Cup – by beating Pudsey Grammar School in the final at Aireborough Grammar School whilst in a previous round they had defeated a side from Guiseley which included the future Yorkshire and Leicestershire player, Jack Van Geloven. Maurice and Ivan recalled that Norman went for trials with Yorkshire Schools and believe he made appearances for the team. Norman was a left arm bowler who could bat right or left handed and was also an excellent wicket keeper! He later played with success for Undercliffe in the Bradford League. Maurice, who was a bowler and actually took 7 wickets for 4 runs in the final, remembered that their teacher had said that he too would have gone to the trial with Norman had he not left school the previous Christmas. Maurice also recalled that Norman’s dad had a Panther 600 motor bike and sidecar and used to transport several of the boys at the same time up the hill back to the village after practices! Fascinatingly, Maurice remembered J.D. actually taking the boys to Headingley to practice at the Yorkshire C.C.C. Perhaps the link was Major Lupton whom Ivan told me lived at nearby Weeton which will have explained his presence at the ground opening in 1938. All in all, a splendid occasion with lots of happy memories shared.
Spelling Errata: Keith’s grandmother’s first name was spelled Morna not Mona whilst the farmer who drove the pavilion from North Rigton to Bishop Thornton was Alf Sowrey not Sawrey.
Michael Pulford July 2016