BAIL US OUT!

veteran umpire Harold 'Dickie' Bird points out a feature of today's (Tuesday) action in the one-day NatWest trophy game at The Foster's Oval in London between Surrey and Somerset. He retired from the international Test circuit earlier this summer. By Dave Cheskin/PA.
veteran umpire Harold 'Dickie' Bird points out a feature of today's (Tuesday) action in the one-day NatWest trophy game at The Foster's Oval in London between Surrey and Somerset. He retired from the international Test circuit earlier this summer. By Dave Cheskin/PA.

Times EXCLUSIVE

A STUNNED meeting of Wombwell Cricket Lovers’ Society this week began a fight for its life – after hearing that nearly all the group’s cash had vanished, with the death of its former treasurer.

An Extraordinary General Meeting of the society heard how £14,000 worth of funds departed with David Musgrave.

And shocked members of the famous cricket organisation – the world’s third oldest of its kind – found its existence now pinned on the generosity of its illustrious patrons... among them, famous Yorkshiremen such as Geoff Boycott and Michael Parkinson.

In the society’s 60th year, the members agreed to launch a Diamond Anniversary Appeal, to patrons and cricket lovers alike, to keep it afloat.

One of them, former Test umpire and society president Harold “Dickie” Bird, immediately pledged to stump up to save the cricket lovers.

Before the crunch meeting, on Tuesday evening, he spoke exclusively to the Times to vow: “I think I speak for all the patrons when I say we will do what we can to keep them going”.

The members were told there was no current prospect of legal action to find and recover the missing funds.

At the meeting, members vowed to carry on fighting.

But they were filled with horror at the prospect of selling off their priceless “Holy Grail” memorabilia... such as the Johnny Wardle Bowling Trophy and 1952 members book.

*READ THE FULL STORY IN THIS WEEK’S SOUTH YORKSHIRE TIMES (MAY 12, 2011 EDITION).