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Lancs Cricketing Footballers

Lancs Cricketing Footballers

After the war: Part 3 of our look at Lancashire's cricketing Footballers

Above: Jack Dyson scores for Manchester City in the 1956 F.A. Cup Final as City beat Birmingham City 3-1.

Dual sportsmen are virtually non-existent in modern times, but the resumption of football and cricket after the Second World War in 1946 saw several Lancashire players prosper in both codes.

Bill Lawton was a left-half who played for Oldham Athletic in 1947, before spells with Chester, and non-League clubs Bacup Borough and Colwyn Bay. A right-arm medium pace bowler from Werneth, he played midweek games for Lancashire’s 2ndXI from 1946 while at St. Annes CC. In 1948 he played his only two first-class games, against the Australians and Oxford University. He had a lengthy league cricket career as a professional in the Bradford League, and he also played for Ashton, Cumberland, Whitehaven, Walsall and Castleton Moor. Married to the actress Dora Bryan and living in Brighton, he continued to play club cricket in Sussex and also played for the Sussex 2ndXI between 1962-67.

Peter Greenwood was a dependable right-arm bowler and hard-working centre-forward for Chester. He travelled to matches on the bus and pocketed £5 a week when he signed for Burnley after leaving the Navy in 1946. Chester signed him from Burnley’s reserves and he was a regular for the Sealand Road side between 1948-52.

He scored Chester’s second goal as the Cheshire side went 2-0 up against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the 1952 FA Cup 3rd round. A shock was on the cards, but Chelsea pulled two goals back to take the tie to a replay where Chester lost out 3-2 in a spirited contest. The following year he signed for Witton Albion and went on to play for Caernarfon Town and Nantle Vale before beginning a long association with Chester Nomads in the early 1960s.

Greenwood played 75 first-class matches between 1948-52, helping Lancashire to a share of the 1950 County Championship title. [Click here for our recent interview with Peter]

Australian Ken Grieves (left) arrived in England after the Second World War to take up engagements with Bury FC (as goalkeeper) in the winter and Rawtenstall CC during the summer. He played for four seasons at Bury before making the short trip in 1951 to join Bolton Wanderers where he stayed a further six years. He finished his football career with one season (1957-58) at Stockport County, making a total of 147 Football League appearances.

His brilliant close-to-the-wicket catching earned him 556 catches, a Lancashire record that will taking some beating, and it is said that his colleagues reacted with general astonishment if he ever spilled a chance. During his 452 match career, Grieves scored nearly 21,000 runs and took 235 wickets for the county, and subsequently served on the Club’s committee for 13 years.

Jack Dyson won an FA Cup winners' medal with Manchester City, scoring a goal in the 1956 3-1 win over Birmingham City at Wembley. A sharp, incisive inside-forward, he scored 26 goals in 62 matches during four seasons at Maine Road between 1955-59, but his brief football career ended prematurely because of injury. Dyson left City and played 9 games for Stirling Albion before retiring.

A few weeks after that cup victory, Dyson helped create an unusual record, as Lancashire became the first team to win a Championship match without losing a wicket (Leicestershire 108 and 122; Lancashire 166 for 0 dec and 66 for 0). Dyson shared unbroken opening stands with Alan Wharton as Lancashire declared their first innings to catch Leicestershire on a drying wicket. The heroes were rewarded with a crate of beer by the committee!

Dyson was awarded his county cap in that 1956 season but left in 1960 after being disciplined by the committee. He played for Staffordshire before returning in 1963 for a couple of seasons back at Old Trafford. He played in a total of 150 first-class games scoring over 4,000 runs and taking 161 wickets with his handy off-spin. Dyson also won the Man of the Match award in Lancashire’s second-ever Gillette Cup match in 1963 after his 5-47 skittled Essex in the 2nd round at Old Trafford.

A half back, Fred Goodwin was signed as a trainee from Cheshire Schoolboys by Manchester United in 1953, making his senior debut the following year. He helped the club win the 1956 and 1957 League championships, and was a member of the United team that made a comeback from the Munich air disaster to reach the 1958 FA Cup Final losing 2–0 to Bolton. He was not on the plane to Munich, having been left out of the squad for the quarter-final second leg tie with Red Star Belgrade.

He made 107 appearances before being signed by Leeds United in 1960 for £10,000. In the 1963–64 season, a collision with former Leeds team-mate John Charles in an FA Cup tie against Cardiff City caused him to suffer a triple fracture of his leg, eventually resulting in his retirement from playing in December 1964. He scored two goals in 120 appearances for Leeds.

Goodwin went on to become a player-manager at Scunthorpe United, although he did not play many games due to his injury, making six appearances and scoring one goal for the club. He left Scunthorpe to manage the New York Generals in 1966 and had further managerial roles at Brighton and Hove Albion, Birmingham City (where he introduced the young Trevor Francis into league football), and the Minnesota Kicks in the North American Soccer League before retiring to the Pacific Northwest.

A fast opening bowler, he had a brief spell at Lancashire playing 11 games over two seasons (1955-56), taking 27 wickets, including 5-35 in an innings victory over Middlesex at Lord’s.

Jim Cumbes, now Lancashire’s Chief Executive, joined Tranmere Rovers from Runcorn in 1965 and went on to play over 200 games for them in the Third and Fourth Divisions. He joined West Bromwich Albion in 1969 who were then a First Division (Premier League) club, and for a time his was the second most expensive transfer fee for a goalkeeper at £35,000!

Cumbes had moved from Lancashire after five years to join Surrey in 1968, but his football commitments meant his cricket was restricted to just eight weeks in the summer.

He returned to Lancashire once again in 1971 as a non-contracted player, and later that year, dropped down two divisions to join Third Division Aston Villa. The Midlands club had great ambitions of regaining their former glories in the First Division, and Villa returned to the Second Division as Champions in 1972. Three years later Villa won both the League Cup at Wembley with a 1-0 victory over Norwich City (see picture left), and promotion back to the top flight.

By then Cumbes had joined Worcestershire, winning the County Championship in 1974 – consolation for defeat in the Benson and Hedges Cup Final the year before at Lord’s – and in the process he became the only sportsman to win a League Cup Winners Medal in football and a Championship Medal in cricket - both within a seven month spell. He is one of only two players to have appeared in a cricket cup final at Lord’s as well as a football cup final at Wembley (Graham Cross, Leicestershire CCC & Leicester City is the other).

After 157 appearances for Aston Villa, Cumbes joined the Portland Timbers in the North American Soccer League for one year in 1976, playing against players such as Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, and George Best before returning to England. Although ‘retired’ from football, he played one match for Runcorn in the FA Cup as emergency cover, before being persuaded to help Southport for 12 games at the end of the 1977/78 season. He then played occasionally for Worcester City between 1978-82.

After ten seasons at New Road, he moved to Warwickshire for one season in 1982 before joining the county’s commercial department as Marketing Manager.

And, for 30 years, that seemed to have ended our story of Lancashire's cricketing footballers. Even in Jim Cumbes' time, there was huge pressure from the footballing side who didn't approve of their players going off to participate in the 'summer game', worrying the player would return injured. Promising young cricketers such as Phil Neville (Manchester United, Everton & England) and Andy Goram (Oldham, Rangers & Scotland) played for Lancashire's second team, but their footballing careers took precedent. Quite understandable, given the huge rewards in football in the modern era.

As the two seasons continued to expand and overlap, it subsequently has proved to be virtually impossible to combine the two. Unless, of course, a player follows the path of former goalkeeper Gary Montgomery who played for Coventry City, Rotherham United and Grimsby Town in a ten-year career between 1999-2009 before leaving football and playing professional cricket. Left-arm swing bowler Montgomery had played league cricket regularly and in 2009 had games with Warwicks 2nd XI (taking 5-59 against Lancashire), before making a spectacular debut for Lancashire's second team later that season, while on trial, taking 7-29 against Notts at Liverpool and ten wickets in the match. His performances led to a one-year contract in 2010 during which he played in 3 Clydesdale Bank 40 matches, before being released at the end of the year.

So those, we believe, are Lancashire's cricketing footballers. Will there ever be another?

Other players worth mentioning
Quite often, other Lancashire players not mentioned in this article are mistakenly thought to have been professional footballers. If there is any former Lancashire player missing from the list below, please let us know. We are always interested to find out more about our former players.

Three players who fall in to this 'nearly' category are Don Davies, Ken Higgs and R.G. Barlow, but there may well be more.
Don Davies
Outside right Davies was also an England Amateur International who signed a professional contract with Stoke City for the 1914-15 season but never played due to outbreak of war. The nearest the Lancashire batsman got to top flight football was playing for Port Vale in the 1914-15 wartime league. We told Don Davies’ story in 2008 and it really is worth reading. [Click here]

Ken Higgs
As a centre-half he was making steady progress with the Port Vale junior sides but military service intervened and checked his progress.
When released from military service Higgs returned to football with Port Vale and cricket in the Staffordshire League. His consistent performances led to his selection for Staffordshire in Minor County cricket. He was recommended to Lancashire, and John Ikin, who was leaving Old Trafford at the end of the 1957 season, persuaded Higgs that there was a future ahead of him in cricket. How right he was! Higgs signed for Lancashire without playing a senior game for Port Vale, and went on to open the bowling for England. [Cricket career]

Richard (R.G.) Barlow played football for Lancashire County as a goalkeeper and later became an F.A. Referee. He officiated at Preston North End’s cup-tie in 1887 when Preston beat Hyde 26-0. It is still the record score in the F.A.Cup! [Cricket career]

Ken Grime
Photos (c) PA Images

Lancashire's Cricketing Footballers part 1 - Early pioneers

Lancashire's Cricketing Footballers part 2 - Merseyside stars


Double Internationals
(played cricket and football for England)
Harry Makepeace (4 Tests: 1920-21, 4 Caps: 1906-12)
Right half-back, Everton (1903-15)
Jack Sharp (3 Tests: 1909, 2 Caps: 1903-05)
Outside Right, Aston Villa (1899), Everton (1899-1910)

England Footballers
Francis Birley (2 Caps, 1874-75)
Half back, Oxford University (1872-74), Wanderers F.C. (1875-77)

Fred Hargreaves (3 Caps, 1880-82)
Half back, Blackburn Rovers (1875-82)

Gordon Hodgson (3 Caps England, 1930-31, 1 amateur Cap South Africa)
Inside Right. In South Africa: Benoni, Rustenburg, Pretoria (1922-24), Transvaal (1924-25), In England: Liverpool (1925-36), Aston Villa (1936-37), Leeds United (1937-39), Hartlepools United (wartime guest)

Scottish International Footballer
Hugh McIntyre (1 cap, 1880)
Centre-half, Glasgow Rangers (transferred 1880), Blackburn Rovers (1880-86)

England Cricketer
Frank Sugg (2 Tests, 1888)
Centre Forward, Derby County (1884), Burnley (1884-88), Bolton Wanderers (1888), Everton (1888-90), Southport Trinity (non-League, 1892)

First-class Cricketer/Footballer
Arthur Paul
Goalkeeper, Blackburn Rovers (1880’s)

Albert (AN) Hornby
Blackburn Rovers (1878)

Harry Pennington
Notts County (1900)

Lawrence ‘Lol’ Cook
Centre Forward, Blackpool (1904-05), Preston North End (1905-06)

William ‘Billy’ Cook
Full back, Oldham Athletic (1907-20)

Bill Barron
Forward, Charlton Athletic (1938), Northampton Town (1938-39 & 1947-51)

Bill Lawton
Left half, Oldham Athletic (1947), Chester

Peter Greenwood
Centre Forward, Burnley (1946-48), Chester (1948-52)

Ken Grieves
Goalkeeper, Bury (1947-51), Bolton Wanderers (1951-57), Stockport County (1957-58)

Fred Goodwin
Left half, Manchester United (1953-60), Leeds United (1960-64), Scunthorpe United (1964, player-manager)

Jack Dyson
Inside left, Manchester City (1955-60), Stirling Albion (1961-62)

Jim Cumbes
Goalkeeper, Runcorn (non-League 1964-65), Tranmere Rovers (1965-69), West Bromwich Albion (1969-71), Aston Villa (1971-75), Portland Timbers, USA (1976), Runcorn (non-League, 1977), Southport (non-League 1978), Worcester City (non-League, 1978-82)

Gary Montgomery
Goalkeeper, Coventry City (1999-2003), Rotherham United (2003-07), Grimsby Town (2007-09)


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