It is the middle of June, 1957 and Lancashire are playing Surrey at Old Trafford in a league match. I am 8 years old and my father and a few of his friends are attending a day's cricket; and the sun is cracking the flags. I never got the chance to ask my Dad, but I am sure the only reason he went with his mates is on condition, from my Mother of course, that he took me along. I am as keen as mustard because it is my first visit to see the mighty "Lancs" play. Perhaps I shouldn't be telling you this but I distinctly remember that only two of Dad's pals were members and they employed the old trick of two going in and one coming out, and membership cards being exchanged, eh-hem. Nevertheless, I would be happy to pay the entrance fee if it is required so to do (at 1957 prices of course!)
During the day, the great Peter May batted and went on to make a century. Then, just as he had made his hundred, he skied one from Tattersall to deep square leg. J.D. Bond scampered after the ball and took a magnificent catch, diving the last two yards to hold it in one hand. The ground stood to a man. My father told me that I was very privileged to see such athletic fielding.
Fast forward to 1971, 4 September and the Gillette Cup Final versus Kent. This was only the third match my father and I had attended together. [In 1959 we moved away from Lancashire and therefore didn't get to Old Trafford often.] The second one was a dismal defeat to Hampshire the year before in a limited over match. Lancashire put together a modest score of 224 for 7 after 60 overs (imagine what they would score today!). Only C.H. Lloyd provided a glimmer of hope with a score of 66 before being caught off the bowling of Asif Iqbal. The Kent innings progressed and with Asif Iqbal on 84 and putting together some really good partnerships, it was looking decidedly ominous. Then, out of the blue Asif strikes one at a million miles an hour just over head height in the direction of mid-off. Fielding at mid-off is one J.D. Bond and plucks the ball out of the air with a nonchalance that James Bond would have been proud of. Once again the ground stood to a man. The tide turned and Lancashire won the Cup
I recollect that this was Jack's last game. With the telling of the tale, and the distance of time that often lends licence to actual events, I always tell people that I saw his first and his last game and he pulled off stupendous catches in both. Through the marvellous archives provided on the website, I have now discovered that it was not Jack's first game when he caught Peter May; but it does not remove any magnificence. I think I might just stick to my story, if Jack doesn't object!!
I am now back in my beloved Lancashire and enjoying my second year of membership. I have introduced my grandchildren to Old Trafford; the youngest one being 8 years old when she witnessed the Twenty20 match last year when Andrew Symonds made his debut against Derbyshire, scored a half century took two catches, made two run outs and the only thing he didn't do was water the pitch afterwards and cut the grass. I said to her then that she was privileged to see such a display; and it took me back nearly 50 years………………….