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A Geordie All-Rounder: 17 - The Anchor Held

...Most sensible people would have had a gentle row around the Groyne and pier and then returned the boat. Not Ken, he wanted to go down near the end of the piers. So off we went getting there in no time due to the fast ebbing tide....

Continuing his engaging autobiography all-round sportsman Malcolm Scott tells of a Bank Holiday scare.

It was about this time I discovered the Hedworth Dance Hall - via a small side door. Due to football and cricket commitments and the fact I was so shy, females played no part in my overcrowded life. The possible exception was in 1952 when two former Mortimer Road girls formed a brief friendship with Bob and I. Finding that they couldn't compete with football and cricket they soon gave up.

Now older, much more confident and after a few bevvies on a Saturday night, a group of us used to visit the nearby Hedworth Dance Hall where Stan New had a good band. By the time we got there, after the game in the summer, the 'full-up' sign often appeared at the entrance. This didn't deter my county colleague Ken Land. We followed him to a small side door which was usually open 'to let air circulate'. Sneaking in we were usually just in time to attempt to get' fixed up' during the last couple of dances. Happy times!

Ken, a fitter at Reyrolles, was a fine cricketer and a good rugby player representing Durham County at both sports. He was also very adventurous off the field.

I recall a Bank Holiday weekend when Ken and I together with his friend Lionel Evans, wandered down to the seafront, like bored teenagers, looking for something to do. For some crazy reason we decided to hire a rowing boat. Most sensible people would have had a gentle row around the Groyne and pier and then returned the boat. Not Ken, he wanted to go down near the end of the piers. So off we went getting there in no time due to the fast ebbing tide. We managed to drop the anchor and stop by the lighthouses between the two piers, oblivious to the fact we were in a shipping lane.

Fortunately the anchor held, but we all looked pale and worried as the strong tide attempted to take us out into the North Sea. We managed, with difficulty, to rescue the anchor and started rowing back - or so we thought. The effort of rowing was horrendous. We rowed for a few minutes, stopped for a breather and the tide took us back to where we had started. Ken, ever humorous, said he could see the headline "Durham cricketers found adrift in North Sea". With strenuous efforts from the three of us we sought the lee of the south pier and made slow progress back to the boat yard. It took two hours.

Back on dry land we gave a sigh of relief. Ken and I looked at our bruised hands and wondered how we would manage to hold a bat for the Durham v Northumberland game at Jesmond the following day?

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