Appeal to find family of South Shields cricket legend

Historic cricket balls.   Appeal to trace relatives of record-breaking cricket

Historic cricket balls. Appeal to trace relatives of record-breaking cricket

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A South Shields cricketer’s historic feats are being remembered by his modern counterparts through an appeal to his relations to claim two special match mementos – a century after he bowled himself into the record books.

Durham batsman Gordon Muchall is among those hoping the balls with which Harry McAndrew claimed amazing figures in games four years apart – including all 10 wickets for South Shields in 1916 – can be reclaimed.

- Durham county and South Shields batsman Gordon Muchall, left, and South Shields captain Chris Rainbow, with the historic cricket balls.

- Durham county and South Shields batsman Gordon Muchall, left, and South Shields captain Chris Rainbow, with the historic cricket balls.

But they are not quite as they were on the days McAndrew single-handedly destroyed Backworth Percy that September or claimed six wickets for two runs, when opponents Philadelphia scored a believed league record low of just 11 in 1912.

Both balls were later presented to him by delighted club officials – bound partly in an inch-wide ring of silver and inscribed with his achievements.

They were mounted and displayed for years behind the club’s bar and then stored safely out of sight, forgotten but rediscovered this season and their story brought back to life.

Gordon, 33, who started his career at South Shields and plays for the club as professional when not on Durham duty, said he hoped McAndrew’s family could be found and presented with the prized trophies.

He said: “In cricketing terms, Harry’s achievements on those days were incredible and were quite rightly acknowledged by the club at the time.

“Very few bowlers get to take all 10 wickets in a game and it is the type of local sporting history that should always be remembered and treasured.

“That is why it is important that any of his living relatives should have the opportunity to have what I believe would be prized family possessions.”

South Shields’ first team captain Chris Rainbow, 25, added: “Each season we play on the same field as Harry once did and aspire to give the type of performances that these balls recognise.

“On two days in his life, he was exceptional, writing himself a real and lasting chapter in our club’s history.

“It would be great if these incredible mementos of those days could be given to his family.”

Anyone with information to trace his family can contact South Shields Cricket Club on 456 1506 or email gareth_crickmer@yahoo.co.uk

South Shields Cricket Club was founded in 1850. It has played cricket at its present Wood Terrace home since 1868.