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After Work: 12 - Teenage Years

...We played on Cleadon Hill alongside South Shields and Whitburn golf courses. When it was windy, as it often was, we played airball not football...

Malcolm Scott continues his account of his sporting life.

During the post-war years, the Jarrow and District J.O.C Football League was the main provider for any 15-18 year old who wanted to play organised soccer in South Tyneside. It consisted of a variety of teams from collieries, factories, shipyards, churches or simply boy's clubs.

Perhaps the exception was Cleadon Juniors. It consisted mostly of ex-town schoolboy players, and was managed by the same coach, Charlie Coulson. I signed for them in September 1951.
Cleadon Juniors trained in Cleadon School's gym every Wednesday night, and although the Club had an excellent reputation, its pitch, and changing rooms, did not. We played on Cleadon Hill alongside South Shields and Whitburn golf courses. When it was windy, as it often was, we played airball not football. Our changing rooms were part of old Farding Lake Farm, the pigsty part I was told. If our visitors arrived in a bus, they got changed in the bus not in our very sparse accommodation.

During the 1951/52 season I played for the 'B'team in Division Two of the J.O.C. League. Being still of only average height and weight my dad was very cautious about me playing against older, and perhaps more robust, teenagers. As a result, I missed several games, because at the hint of any injury dad insisted I was rested. He was waiting for me to grow!

We had a fairly good team and finished second top of Division 2. I had an average first season playing left-back, but the Green Sports Final seemed to think otherwise reporting:-

"Cleadon Juniors have gained a high reputation producing stars of the future e.g. Ken Smith (Sunderland) and Harry Thompson (Gateshead) - both centre forwards.

But Cleadon can also produce defenders, and one youngster who is reputed to be making good strides is left-back Malcolm Scott who last year played for the town's schoolboys."

During the winter of 1951/52, South Shields Cricket Club invested in a Youth Policy and booked four places at an indoor cricket school in Sunderland. Along with Joe Woodcock, Gordon Hall and John Emslie I was lucky enough to be chosen to attend one-night-a-week coaching sessions. The two coaches were Albert Watson - the brother of Willie Watson the famous soccer and cricket international. The other was the former Yorkshire and England cricketer, Alec Coxon, who I was to see a lot of during the coming years.

We used to meet at Westoe roundabout every Tuesday night at 7:00pm and High School lad John Emslie, who went on to be a doctor, used to take us to Sunderland in his car. We had two hours of batting and bowling practice with Alec giving us some excellent advice. It was then off to the local chippy to scoff fish and chips followed by an enjoyable drink, again under Alec's experienced tuition. The journey back to Shields was occasionally a bit tense due to the dense fog for which the 1950's were renowned.

In 1952 the Club was effectively led by Foster Coulson (Chairman), Len Corner (Secretary) and Alan Lawson (Treasurer) with Benny Taylor (Captain). It had a mixture of older established players like Bert Land, Bill McCoy, Alan Lawson, Ivor Cannon, Len Corner, 'Tot' and Ronnie Pollard and Ken Thompson. Then there were youngsters from the High School including Heath Innes, Jack Emslie, W L Whiting, Alan Harle, Jimmy Carlisle and Ian McKenzie. Finally, they were joined by three lads from the Secondary Modern Schools, Gordon Hall, Joe Woodcock and myself.

The obvious person missing was a professional -1952 being only the second year - excluding war years - in the history of the Club that a paid player was not recruited. We suffered for it, finishing bottom of the league and only winning three games.

I managed to retain my place in the first XI and during the summer developed both physically and mentally. The highlight of the season was perhaps the Club's tour of Yorkshire in August 1952 when the touring party consisted of mostly under- 18s, ably led by second team captain Ivor Cannon. During a game against a Representative XI, with the help of'Ting' Whiting, I had the pleasure of taking the wicket of Frank Worrell - the great West Indian Test cricketer.

The game was played on a cricket field next to Leeds United Elland Road football stadium, which the Club used for training. When we turned up in the afternoon hoping for some practice before the evening game we found Leeds' players involved in a seven-a-side game. We got some unexpected autographs that day - one of them being John Charles who became known as 'The Gentle Giant' because of his physique and gentlemanly conduct.

The next day we visited Sam Lawrence's well-known cricket school in Rothwell near Leeds. There, some of us saw a television set for the first time. I remember television was the topic of conversation and many papers argued that this leisure trend wouldn't last long! How wrong they were!

Our scorer during the visit to Yorkshire was eleven year old David Cannon - son of Ivor. Not many years later David played for the first XI and went on to make 12 appearances for County Durham.

During the week's tour we learnt that the Club had engaged a professional for the 1953 season (and what a professional he turned out to be). His name was C.S Nayudu, a former Indian Test cricketer.

Another recollection of my first Ml season at Wood Terrace, was the conflict the female tennis players unconsciously caused. The problem was the pavilion was shared by both the cricket and tennis players. Also the tennis courts were adjacent to the boundary of the cricket field and perhaps more pertinent, there were some very attractive young females in short skirts playing tennis.

While fielding and trying to concentrate on cricket, certain fielding positions were very close to the tennis courts and the path leading there. Many a misfield or even a dropped catch occurred when eyes were diverted. I can still see Benny Taylor, our Captain, clapping his hands and shouting across to the offending fielder, "Pay attention to the game - cricket not tennis!"

In September 19521 returned to play football for Cleadon Juniors and got a pre¬season shock when Charlie Coulson informed me I had been chosen for a trial for the league team. Yours truly must have done well because I was selected for an inter-league game against North West Durham at West Stanley. Also in the team were Albert Franks and Tom Watson, my mates from the town schoolboy team, who now played for Boldon Colliery Juniors.

Cleadon Juniors had perhaps, a less than average season, finishing fourth out of nine in Division I.

On reporting for the cricket season at Wood Terrace in April 1953, some of my teammates looked at me in amazement. During the winter I had grown 4 or 5 inches and put on a bit of weight.


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