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Worsley Cup Winners - 1974

Worsley Cup Final victory in 1974 In 1974, Church Cricket Club won the coveted Worsley Cup for the first and only time in its history. The story is one of team success, and also of personal triumph for long-serving amateur pace bowler, Jack Houldsworth, who bowled unchanged throughout the competition to finish with the magnificent overall figures of 68.2 overs, 19 maidens, 148 runs, 22 wickets.

Church were given home advantage in the first round but were not favourites against reigning champions, East Lancashire, with Neil Hawke as professional. East Lancashire amassed only a disappointing 102-9 with Houldsworth taking 5-51 and professional, Ken Arthur, 4-45. In reply, Arthur was top scorer with 45 as Church passed the total comfortably.

The reward for the first round victory was a difficult tie against Haslingden, in which runs were at a premium resulting in a nail-biting finale. Church batted first and struggled to 95 all out, Stephen Sharpe top scoring with 20 not out, and opposing professional, Peter Swart, taking 7-31. Haslingden failed to reach the taraget by a margin of 16 runs, with Houldsworth taking 5-42.

'Fiery' Jack HouldsworthThe semi-final brought a 'plum' local derby against Accrington. On yet another 'green' home wicket, Accrington struggled to 111 all out, Houldsworth again turning in a match-winning performance of 6-31, and skipper, Tommy Lowe, taking 3-18. Church struggled but compiled a total of 112-8 to win the game despite Accrington professional, Alan Worsick's 7-37. The old tradition of whitewashing a slogan on the Church/Accrington boundary wall was revived with the words 'ACC 111 all out, CHURCH 112-8. CCC - WON, ACC - WOR-SICK.'

Church were awarded a home tie in the final against Nelson whose professional Collis King was having a wonderful season, and had hit a magnificent 125 to guide his team to victory in the semi-final against Lowerhouse. The turning point was early in the game when King was bowled by Houldsworth. Nelson never recovered from this shock, and were all out for 68. Houldsworth took 6-24, and Arthur 4-39 supported as usual by splendid catchingand keen ground fielding. Church passed the total after only 19.1 overs, and the Worsley Cup was theirs for the first time in their history.



King b Houldsworth
D Reeves b Arthur
C Hartley c Wilson b Arthur
D Haworth b Houldsworth
F Taylor c Walsh b Arthur
M Chapple c Sharpe b Arthur
K Bythell c and b Houldsworth
A Roberts lbw Houldsworth
A Haigh not out
P Calderbank c Lowe b Houldsworth
J Greenwood lbw Houldsworth


Fall of wickets: 1/29 2/29 3/32
4/33 5/39 6/45 7/50 8/51 9/52

Bowling: Arthur 18-6-39-4
J Houldsworth 17.2-8-24-6





M Walsh lbw King
W Wilkinson c Taylor b Calderbank
B Wilson not out
Arthur not out

Total (for 2 wickets)

Fall of wickets: 1/32 2/40

Bowling: King 5-0-25-1 J Greenwood 4-0-19-0 P Calderbank 3-0-9-1
F Taylor 4.1-1-9-0 A Roberts 2-0-8-0




Church Team

Worsley Cup winning team of 1974

T Lowe (capt), M Walsh, W Wilkinson, B Wilson, S Metcalf, I Osborne, S Sharpe, G Briggs, T George, J Houldsworth, Arthur.

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