Clive Goatman - Past Player Profiles

24th Apr 2020

(Clive is centre of the front row as 1988 Grainger Division 1st XI captain)

University brought me to the North East in 1968 and I joined South North in 1972 having been introduced to the Club via Newcastle University’s use of the indoor practice shed during the winter months. 

I was a soft southerner coming into league cricket for the first time (there was no league cricket in the south in those days) and immediately noticed that there was more ‘edge’ to the matches than I was used to. Some clubs, but by no means all, had a professional and results therefore seemed more important.

South North was, at that time, going through a period of transition with many of those who had been the backbone of a very successful side in the late 1960’s ending their careers and a younger, less experienced cohort of players taking over.

I was among this group and played for the first team for the next twenty plus years, save for a two year work related spell in Leeds in the early 1980’s, and finished my playing days after several seasons in the second XI in the early 2000’s.

What are your early memories of playing cricket at South North?

My early memories of playing at SN recall that we were not overly successful in either the league or the ever increasing number of mid-week cup competitions which we entered. Home league matches were played on the main square which was only available on Saturdays when the grass tennis courts at the south end of the ground were taken down. As an outfielder one had to be wary of the tennis net supports which remained in the ground! We also lost two weeks of ground use in early/mid-June when the open tennis tournament occupied the whole outfield and which left a scarred surface and a plethora of tennis court markings. For the games immediately following it was akin to fielding at Clapham Junction. Cup matches meanwhile were played on the ‘third team square’ which ran east-west behind the northern end of the main square and made for an altogether more intimate relationship with unsuspecting tennis players protected from the cricket by nothing more than six foot high netting.

What were the highlights of your playing career at South North?

The highlight for me during my playing career at SN was most definitely the 1988 season. I was privileged to be 1st XI captain for four seasons 1986-89 but it was in 1988 that everything came together for a special group of players. That year we won the League, reached the quarter-final of the National Knock-Out, won two local cup competitions and reached two other local finals. It was the first period of competition success for twenty years and was achieved with a wholly amateur group of players. Certain other one-off events also stick in the mind, one in particular being an evening cup tie away at Ashington. We had earlier batted poorly and entering the last over of the game, chasing a low total, Ashington required single figures to win with five wickets in hand. Two run-outs and a hat-trick by Gordon Halliday however saw us to an unlikely triumph, much to the silent astonishment of the stunned home support. It is worthy of note that Gordon took a hat-trick against the same opposition in a league game later that season and one of their batsmen featured in both.

Who did you enjoy playing with the most at South North and why?

No one individual stands out for me as the player I most enjoyed playing with. The squad that enjoyed that 1988 success was a happy group of players. Every member of the squad contributed significantly at some stage in the season’s achievements but it was always good to be able to call on the talents of Michael Anderson with the bat and the consistency of Paul Scott, Chris Harker and Chris Campbell with the ball.

Who was your most difficult opponent and why?

The most testing opponent I faced was probably Chris Old (County Club – now Newcastle). As he admitted himself, he bowled with an upright seam and did not know which way the ball was going to move, so what chance had I got? I might say the same of Rami Verma (Benwell) whose variety of wrist spin was always a challenge! As a captain, setting a field for Kelvin Williams (Tynedale) was something of a lottery – no field was big enough.

Who was the best player you have seen play at South North?

In the almost 50 years I have been associated with SN it has been possible to watch at first hand and sometimes play against a number of overseas International test cricketers. Many names spring to mind – West Indians Richie Richardson, Jimmy Adams, Clairmonte Depeiza, Ian Bishop, Courtney Walsh, Reon King and Franklyn Rose, South Africans Hashim Amla and Dewald Pretorius, Sri Lankan Marvan Atapattu, Australians Marcus North, Damian Martyn and Paul Reiffel, Pakistani Wasim Raja, Indian Dilip Doshi and New Zealanders Chris Cairns and Tom Latham. I have doubtless overlooked others to whom I apologise. Picking the best of these is an impossibility but in terms of test match statistics it is difficult to look far beyond Courtney Walsh as having had the greatest impact on the world stage.

How has local recreational cricket changed?

The principal changes in recreational cricket during my time have been the evolution of the Premier League with the associated merger and consolidation of ‘feeder’ leagues but at the same time a worrying reduction in the overall numbers playing the game. The loss of exposure on terrestrial TV, I sense, is a major factor together with the growth of other options. It is encouraging to see the growth of womens cricket but there are certainly fewer matches being played at weekends and in the evening. The Premier leagues has, I believe, raised standards but the opportunities at lower levels are certainly less than they were.

What is your favourite post playing moment at South North?

My favourite post playing moment at SN was seeing the club win its semi-final in the National Knock Out in 2006, surpassed only by winning the final, but we had to go to Lords for that! A special day in the Club’s history.

What are your hopes for South North and local cricket in the future?

My hopes for South North in the future are that we come out the other side of the current circumstances largely unscathed and that cricket playing activity returns to something like normal not long thereafter. The club has unrivalled facilities in the recreational game and I believe is recognised as a valued community amenity. It will have to work hard to maintain standards and cannot afford to be complacent. Regular communication with the membership is, I would suggest, crucial in this regard. 

In the meantime, I am always encouraged when I see the number of juniors emerging from the indoor school after the various coaching courses, usually dragging a bag full of more kit than I got through in a career! 

Long may this continue. 

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