Saturday represents a sad occasion in our recent history as we bid farewell to one of our most successful players of recent times as well as a Treasurer and a top bloke.
My two year stint as First Eleven Captain has been described as the club’s “Doldrum Years”. However, I would like to think that one or two good things came to pass and the signing of “Wyles” was certainly one of the highlights for me.
I had heard of the name Wylie as a certain John Wylie, schoolteacher from Aigburth (couldn’t bring myself to mention the L word) had during his stint as Manager of Lancashire Under 11s coached my younger brother.
Of good stock and used to playing on the County Ground at Aigburth. Where better therefore to make your Collegiate debut than Stocksbridge! Anyway he took 8 for 12 and Ian Howe advised me that it might be worth seeing if he fancied changing his mind and staying with us for the summer rather than just the University term.
You have much to answer for Howie!
I remember early on in his first team career Wyles making a favourable impression at Castleford with his trademark fast in swing accounting for among others John Randerson who left one only to hear the death rattle as his off pole cartwheeled towards fine leg.
So following a successful trial period and no doubt after the odd glass of something cold Wyles agreed to travel back each weekend to play in the first eleven.
This in itself brought many a story, not least when he turned up sporting a Harry Potter like scar to his forehead claiming to have fainted in the bathroom at home, fallen and cut his head on the window! Whilst sober! I got some mileage out of that one!
He had his revenge though directing (Harmison style) a delivery straight to me at slip the following season at Doncaster. I still bear the scar today.
Wyles would stay with Tina and I in our house at Crookes. The rare victories were celebrated with some enthusiasm. One such occasion left Wyles a little worse for wear on the Sunday. Not ideal with another fixture to play that day. Drink three pints of water I suggested. He did. We left the house and I was chatting away to an elderly neighbour when the said three pints made a reappearance leaving said neighbour somewhat bemused.
Wyles had the misfortune to be sharing a car with me the day I was run out going for the run we didn’t need and therefore losing a National Knockout game at York. That the journey home was actually more cheerful than it might have been speaks volumes of the Wylie sense of humour!
There are many more tales but they are reserved for the best selling biography due out later this year!
I was lucky enough to succeed Collegiate legend Bill Croft as first team opening bowler and was delighted to pass the baton on to Wyles in 2000. I am sure all three of us have a HB Willey award but only one of us a Man of the Match award from a National Knockout Final and Winners medal. Wyles progressed quickly during that campaign after being carted by Chorley in the Quarter Final he bounced back to destroy Ormskirk and Eastbourne in the Semi Final and Final respectively.
He has worn the shirt with pride( it is slightly tighter these days) and has been a credit to the club winning numerous titles but more importantly many friends along the way. I hope that the talented young seamers we possess rise to the challenge of replacing the number 11 (someone who can score runs in front of square or on the onside would be preferable).
He is fluent in Spanish and French but yet to master English, a goalkeeper in the Grobelaar mould (some of the goals conceded at De La Salle have raised suspicion certainly!) and for someone who supports that lot is an all round top bloke. He is also a talented artist. No seriously! Those of us fortunate enough to have been gifted a “Wylie” may be able to retire early.
I am sure we have all enjoyed happy times with Wyles and will cherish the memories. He has made an outstanding contribution to some of the club’s most successful years and has added positively to the history of our great club.
I have enjoyed reliving some of these memories. Please feel free to add your own but remember it is a family website!
I trust it will be Au Revoir and not Adios Amigo. I am certain that you will join me in wishing him all the very best for the future. Look forward to seeing you back again soon. I now have Randy Scouse Git on the ipod in anticipation!
P.S Tina says the ban on your staying at our house is now lifted as today is the tenth anniversary of the pre Harrogate conservatory session!