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A Geordie All-Rounder: 44 - Cricket With Walsall

All-rounder Malcolm Scott continues his sporting autobiography.

Life was pretty good for a time, but it seems there was always something that crops up to change things. This time it was Grays going into partnership with a boot and shoe firm in Leicester. They had developed a new soccer boot with two tie-ups, one on top of the other which meant tying up two laces per boot.

A meeting was arranged in Cambridge to discuss the pros and cons of selling this boot alongside our other products and I was invited to attend. Everyone had their say and in true north country fashion I said what I thought. I commented that most football boots were bought by Saturday and Sunday afternoon amateurs and although the boots were of good leather and comfortable, I couldn't see masses buying a boot that needed to have two tie-ups. There was silence as my comments went down like a lead balloon.

The Sales Manager remarked "that he thought my comments were negative and not very helpful." I replied "I thought you wanted an honest opinion?" We agreed to disagree, and the meeting continued.

However, in spite of my comments, Grays took the contract and now in the back of my car I had dozens of football boots to sell. My area was from Kent to Cornwall and included everything south of the M4 - a large area which entailed a lot of travelling. At the first pitch on my rounds the boots went very well to our regular customers and I took many orders. The second time around was very different, I didn't even have to get the boots out of the car. The owners of most sports shops just pointed to the shelves; the months had passed and the boots were still there.
One shop in Walton on Thames had bought a huge amount from me on my last visit a few months ago and he told me what he thought of the boots.

From that point my job as a salesman went downhill. At the same time, Mary and I had spent a night 'camping' in the car to put our name on a new house we had chosen in Bognor Regis. We now had a problem. After much discussion I handed in my notice and we withdrew our offer for the house. My two years of travelling in the South were over and Mary and I were together again. The downside was she was now the only readwinner.

I was unemployed for a short period and while looking for another job I remembered the words of the Head at the Royal Wolverhampton School. "Come back if your job doesn't work out" he had said. So I did and true to his word he welcomed me back with open arms.

This time Mary and I moved and found a house near the school where we made some good friends. Alan and Sue Morgan and Barry and Trish Oldham. Whilst working at the Royal Wolverhampton School I was asked by Walsall Cricket Club if I would play for them alongside Tony Durose, another ex-Northamptonshire player, who was their professional. I was pleased to accept.

So followed two years of very enjoyable Saturday cricket at their Gorway ground. The Birmingham league is a very competitive one, but Walsall, led by Captain Peter Godwin, was up there with the best of them. The club was very enthusiastic and really enjoyed their cricket. With good hard wickets and batting up the order I averaged over 30 in both seasons and took a few wickets.


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