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Peter Greenwood interview-part 2

Peter Greenwood interview-part 2

Paul Edwards continues his chat with former Lancashire all rounder Peter Greenwood

Todmorden-born Peter Greenwood was an all-rounder who played 75 games for Lancashire between 1948 and 1952. He took 208 wickets with his off-spin and, later, seamers, and he also scored 1,270 runs. He dismissed Len Hutton four times and ran the great batsman out for nought in the Roses match of July 1949. He is now one of the few surivors from the side which shared the title with Surrey in 1950. But professional county cricket was only a part of Peter Greenwood's rich life. Paul Edwards visited him at his home in Chester.

This is part two of his interview - click here for part one
 
We've left your batting out of this interview, so far, Peter, but you did score one first-class hundred and that was against Kent at Old Trafford in a game in which you also took five wickets in the first innings against a team which included Doug Wright, Godfrey Evans and a very young Colin Cowdrey.
 
Yes and we were in the fertilizer at one stage in that match and then I put on 55 for the eighth wicket with Tommy Dickinson - he got one of the 55 - and then 68 for ninth with Malcolm Hilton. We only got 230 odd and I got five wickets in the first innings to prove I was an all-rounder. After I'd made that hundred I was queueing up for the tram to go home and a fella next to me said: "That was a good innings by Greenwood wasn't it?" I didn't know what to say, so I just replied: "Did you think so?" And he replied: "Yes, I did!" and I think he was ready to have a go at me!   
 
I think you got Len Hutton out four times. What were the Roses matches like in those days   
 
With Yorkshire, you're talking about a blood match, aren't you? They were very intense, especially with Huton on the prowl. One of the times I got him out he'd made 201 and another he'd got 104. [The other two occasions Hutton made single figure scores.] And then in 1949 there was a full house at Headingley and Hutton played the fourth ball of the match to me at mid-off, set off for a single and Frank Lowson sent him back. Fortunately, it was ball over the top of the stumps and bails off and Hutton's out! My God, I've never heard a silence like it!
 
Was there any tension between the younger players at Old Trafford and people like Dick Pollard and Cyril Washbrook who'd been there before the war?
 
Possibly, but it eased off a bit. Washy had his moments of course. He was at cover against Somerset one year when someone took a one to him and Washy didn't run him out. Alf Barlow was keeping and he had a bad hand at the time, but every ball that went to Washy was - whang! - straight back into the wicketkeeper and Alf was in considerable pain.

When I arrived at Lancashire I was allocated a place in the junior pros' room - which was known as the dog's home - and then once I got my cap I went up into the main dressing room and you were allocated a hook.
 
People have always told me that Nigel Howard was a very popular captain.
 
Yes, he was and I've no complaints about him. I always thought he had Washy on his shoulder as senior pro and a bit of information from Washy could be useful. Whether it went a little bit over the top at times I wouldn't know. That could happen, I think. High standards were demanded of us to get in the team. You didn't get in unless you could do a bit.
 
What were players like Winston Place and Geoff Edrich like?
 
Placey was smashing. I think he would have played a lot more games for England in another era. Geoff was a good player, a gritty sort of a batsman. On bad wickets he'd stick at it and he was having trials at Old Trafford the year I went up to the club.
 
The travelling must have been very intense in those days too?
 
Oh yes, I remember one week when we played Nottinghamshire at Liverpool and we were playing Glamorgan at Cardiff the next day. We'd had two days in the field at Aigburth and we were in the small hours of the morning before we got to Cardiff. Well, we lost the toss and we were in the field again. It could be a bit heavy when you got three days in the field on the trot like that. 
 
You give the impression, Peter, that you enjoyed every moment of your various sporting careers.
 
Well, what would my life have been without sport? For instance, when I used to go on the ground at Todmorden as a young boy they used to let us do the scoreboard and then gradually I moved into the nets. They had first team nets, second team nets, a ladies net and a boys' net....
 
They had a ladies net in those days?
 
Oh yes, and there was a knockout competition with all the mills competing and you could only have one or two first team players. Nelly Jackson played as a fast bowler for her mill in that knockout competition and it was a mixed competition.
 
Did you stay in contact with Lancashire players after your career at Old Trafford ended?
 
Apart from the Old Players' Day, not really, no. I moved on to the next part of my life. I was professional for West Bromwich in the Birmingham League and the Bolton League for 12 years and then I played as an amateur and worked for the county council up here in Chester. I'd married a girl from Shotton and I was happy here. I played for the county council team and Joan came and did the teas like the other ladies. The one thing I wouldn't do was umpiring: the concentration needed to do that job must be tremendous.
 
Which was your favourite ground apart from Old Trafford ?
 
Trent Bridge, I think. I played my last game as a professional there and bagged a pair, which was a bit sad, but John Ikin and Winston Place said you could put a wicket anywhere on that ground.
 
After you were released by Lancashire, Warwickshire, Somerset, Hampshire, Northamptonshire asked you to play for them? Why did you turn all the offers down?
 
By that stage of my life, I'd got a full-time job and I'd decided to to make some progress in that. I decided I'd gone as far as I could as a professional and I opted to entertain myself with sport rather than make a living at it. And now if ever I feel neglected a can get my file out and look at the letters from the clubs that wanted me then. But as far as I'm concerned I've had a wonderful life. I was lucky, I married the right girl and we had 56 years of marriage and I followed my sport right through my life.


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