STAN ROBINSON of Wednesfield was reminded, on reading a recent item in our Sports pages, of a name from his earliest working days. He writes:
"With reference to the article on Dudley Wayfarers cricket team, which was published in the Bugle on 18th July.
"I worked in the Estimating Department at Wellman Smith Owen in Darlaston from April 1947 to February 1952, and in that office was a gentleman caled Harold Mayhew who travelled from Dudley to Darlaston every day.
"From his tales he was a member of the Wayfarers' touring party each year. Whether he ever played I do not know, as he was getting on a bit at the time I knew him.
"If any touring party records still exist, he may be mentioned, but in what capacity I do not know. He may even have played when he was younger."
As readers of last week's edition will know, there are indeed a few surviving records from the Wayfarers' touring days, in the form of the club's Chronicles, which are in the safekeeping of former Wayfarer Gordon Smith, and recently loaned to the Bugle. And Harold Mayhew does, as Stan Robinson hoped, feature in several editions of the annual booklet.
It seems that by the time young Stan crossed paths with Harold, the latter was writing the Wayfarers' Chronicles himself, having taken over from original writer, Club Secretary Jim Cartwright, who had died after years of service to the club.
The most recent of the surviving copies is the 1948 Chronicle, written by Harold Mayhew. Helpfully for our purposes, another edition records that Harold Mayhew had first toured with the Wayfarers in 1923 and completed 11 tours in total as a player.
As luck would have it, Gordon's collection features the Chronicle from the 1923 tour, and original chronicler Jim Cartwright mentions the newly recruited Harold in his build up to the season's report ...
"Harold Mayhew, son of the ever popular Frank, was another of our new members. The Tour will have given him a lot of confidence and he should make big strides at cricket next season. He sleeps and looks quite graceful thereat in a car."
The Wayfarers' first game that season was by charabanc to Newport, and Cartwright wrote:
"Billy Ellerker and Harold Mayhew alone seemed able to bat soundly against fairly good bowling which 'kicked' considerably, and six were caught from balls of that description."
The debutante Harold made 14 of the sides 87 total, not bad for a first game. At the Isle of Wight, he took two wickets for 12 runs against Ventnor.
In the 1928 Chronicle, he is mentioned as one of two Wayfaring wicket keepers, along with the suggestion that his bachelor days were perhaps about to come to an end:
"Harold Mayhew, well they say 'All the world loves a lover', and if this saying be true he must be well beloved, as truly he seems to be. He and Dudley Kimber shared the wicket keeping between them and as neither had been able to secure any practice our thanks are due to them for the manner in which they acquitted themselves. Did not get properly going with the bat, though on three occasions he showed that he can still hit with his old power; however, by another season I have no doubt he will settle down
The 1928 Chronicle gives an insight into his life off the field, and suggests that Harold was dabbling with politics, though his persuasions aren't revealed:
"Harold Mayhew, as regards cricket, seems to pick out the wrong 'un to have a go at too early on, and so some of his fierce hitting is lost to an admiring crowd. However youth is on his side and I hope another season to be able to record a welcome return to his best form.
"I extremely keen on photography and the results of his efforts are really very find. He has a good eye for effective surroundings
"Harold is an enthusiastic politician and had a very busy season during the ten days or so previous to the General Election. He did his best, but the tide was too strong for him' still, he loves to fight another day and no doubt is looking forward to the hour when he can tackle hecklers again on the site of the old Glass House."
This latter, we presume, refers to the corner of Stone Street in Dudley, which became a cobbled bus terminus in later years and is now a public square once again.
Despite the many mentions of Harold in various editions of the Chronicle, there are no photographs in any of the available copies which bear his name. However we reproduce here a team shot from 1928 when Harold was still part of the team. He must be in there somewhere
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