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Bowling green was pride of groundsman.

I ENJOYED reading the memories that Colin Hatton brought to RW 92, particularly the reference to the playing fields and bowling green, which became a happy playground for myself and many others we escaped the attention of Mr Parnaby. Both the football pitch, one of the few in the country that was laid out to the maximum dimensions as laid down by the Football Association, and the cricket pitch were always in prime condition. When it came to the bowling green, Mr Parnaby's pride and joy, the word immaculate was his sole ambition.

My home was in Codrington Crescent so the bowling green became a focal point in my life. As I was always around and Mr Parnaby was getting tired of chasing so he did the next best thing. He gave tasks to do then he knew where I was and what I was doing. From this I became his little helper from repainting the tennis court markings setting up the nets and putting the balls out, being harnessed to the mower to assist caring for the green.

Now to his pride and joy - the green itself, on which he lavished his attention and experience. It had to be the best club green in the league and was appreciated by all who played on it. No ordinary shoes were allowed, only those provided were to grace the green which had been installed using only the best available materials. The words "Silloth Turf" were mentioned in awe as being the best possible playing surface.

With all his time devoted to this his reputation as a green keeper was outstanding then he retired. When Mr Hutchinson arrived as the new groundsman, after his first season he announced that the bowling green was not up to standard and to the consternation of all bowlers announced that he was going to dig it up and lower the whole playing surface some 12 inches.

I don't know what Mr Parnaby might have thought about this radical plan but Mr Hutchinson did it over the closed season and had a perfect green ready for the first match of the year. No one made any comment about the Parnaby green but all agreed that Mr Hutchinson certainly knew about a good bowling green.

- JOHN DOONAN, Hampshire
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Apr 2, 2011
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