In the five years I attended an all-boys secondary school I can only remember playing cricket once (in the changing rooms Bill Bailey ensured that we all saw he was wearing a box.) Out on the field Jason Rigby bowled a rock-hard ball that passed my shoulder so quickly that it scared me. I soon ran myself out and joined the other softies on the touchline.
The modern corky cricket ball hasn’t changed for over 150 years and here I am in Rochdale stood over the old bones of Hamlet Nicholson who invented and patented it. He worked for his dad who was a cobbler and specialised in techniques when moulding Gutta Percha Rubber. The 18th May 1861 copy of the Rochdale Observer broadcast an advert for his corky:
“It is cheaper than leather”
“It is more durable”
“It is a true sphere”
“It cannot absorb moisture and therefore never varies in weight”
He lived till he was 89 years old and lies in St. Chad's churchyard overlooking the centre of Rochdale.
If you see a war memorial you just have to salute…