Howard Sidney-Wilmot - Past Player Profiles

1st May 2020

What are your early memories of playing cricket at SN? 

I joined South North in 1987 and remember what a great club atmosphere there was, not just in the cricket section but also with the tennis club too. Plenty of socialising after matches by all club members! Cricket wise - we had a varied bowling attack with pace, spin and seam/swing, as well as a fairly strong batting line-up but no club professional. Night time cup matches were played off the main square with the wickets running from the 'High St End' down to the 'Moor Rd North End'. We reached 3 cup finals in my first season, winning just one but the foundations were laid for the team to win the league the following year, as well as reaching the 50 over National Knockout quarter finals.

What was the highlights of your playing career at SN?

Too many to mention but obviously every league winning team I played in (especially the first one in 1988), as well as every cup success too. I was lucky enough to play in sides that had great characters, so being able to share these experiences with them was very special. On a personal note, a highlight was playing well enough for SNCC to be selected and represent England Amateur XI in 1990.  

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

Over the years I've been very fortunate to play in some very strong sides and alongside some exceptionally talented cricketers. The team in the late 80’s and early 2000’s stand out for playing excellent cricket, as well as having a great team spirit. My largest slice of luck was to open the batting with Michael Anderson who in my mind was the most talented amateur batsman I played with or against. His stylish shot selection was classy and effortless, whilst his reading of bowlers was just as good. Michael could take the match away from the opposition in just a few overs or bat for long periods as the situation demanded. I was lucky enough to start opening the batting with Michael allowing me to study and marvel at his talents in equal measure.

Who was your most difficult opponent and why?

As a batsman, I naturally think of bowlers! Playing for South North it would be Rami Verma with his leg spin (great variation) which was always a challenge and Chris Old (swing/seam) who became Northumberland’s professional, after finishing his 1stclass career. He was still quite quick, deadly accurate and consistently hit the seam. In a match at Jesmond, he bowled us out for around 50 and was unplayable. 

Who was the best (overseas?) player you have seen play at SN?

Almost impossible to decide, there have been dozens of brilliant players both amateur and professional! Many of these had successful international careers, so it’s a really difficult choice. Based on his performances against South North and his international career I would choose Jimmy Adams, who went on to captain the West Indies. I remember, the year before he broke into international cricket he scored an unbeaten century against SN to win the match. He just seemed to be playing a different game to the rest of us! 

How has local recreational cricket changed?

The facilities have improved significantly in recent years. All Premier League grounds have covered pitches and good practice facilities, which wasn’t the case previously. Coaching has also improved significantly with players of all ages being able to improve their techniques in a way that wasn’t possible 20 years ago. 

What is your favourite post playing moment at SN?

Watching my two sons (Ryan and Ben) play in the same SN team.

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

I hope SN can continue to be a club that strives for excellence. As well as winning trophies, I hope it can keep developing young players skills and their enjoyment of the game. I hope SN will be thought of as a warm and welcoming place, just as it always has been down the years. Local cricket needs to broaden its appeal and clubs need to find an important role to play within their communities. If this extra interest is created, more people will want to contribute which will strengthen all layers of local cricket, not just the playing side.

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