NOSTALGIA: Test match special at Leigh Park

This photograph was published in The News in the 1950s and shows a game of cricket being played at Leigh Park. It was sent by Michael Faithful.

Saturday, 16th September 2017, 7:00 am
THEN: With Michael Faithful guarding the wicket and fielders close in, here are lads enjoying cricket on the early Leigh Park estate.

His family had moved to the estate and a lovely three-bedroomed modern house from war-torn Raglan Street, Portsmouth.

The pitch is on the ‘green’ at the junction of Norley Close and Hursley Road and Michael is the wicketkeeper.

Note the footwear of the day. Plimsolls, wellingtons and Freeman, Hardy & Willis sandals. As I remember they cost 7s 11d (40p) as my mother bought a pair for me.

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NOW: The same location today. The boys were playing on the base of the new road, Norley Close.

Around the pitch you can see the debris from the newly-built houses had not been cleared nor pavements built.

The little lad in the centre seems to be thinking: ‘I wonder if I’ll ever get to bat?’

Michael remembers some of the lads’ names: Terry Rolphe and Ronnie Hayden and the surnames: Childs, Oakes and Shuttleworth.

He says: ‘The stumps and bat were mine, a gift, if I remember correctly, from an uncle who was a keen cricketer. It was a real ball.

NOW: The same location today. The boys were playing on the base of the new road, Norley Close.

‘A funny story attached to why we were playing on that part of the green was that I hit the ball through someone’s front window and had to pay for a new piece of glass.

‘Unfortunately the chap measured the window from the outside so when he put the glass back in it fell straight through. I’ve never forgotten that it cost 1s 8p.’

Michael sent the photograph after my request for pictures of Leigh Park in its early years. This includes the area of Bedhampton from New Road across Woodgreen Avenue to Stockheath School to Redbridge Grove which was built to the same standard as Leigh Park although called Bedhampton.