Reporting Paul Joannou’s new book on Newcastle United’s World War I heroes, the column a fortnight back mentioned Captain Thomas Sowerby Rowlandson MC, from a landed family at Newton Morrell, south of Darlington.

Attention’s now drawn to a website simply called Corinthian, which offers a wonderful portrait of a true sportsman.

The Corinthians were a national touring team, genuinely amateur and doubtless self-supporting. Tom Rowlandson was goalkeeper and captain in Edwardian times, given to playing in cricket sweater and natty cap and credited with the convention that goalies now wear different colours from the rest.

The website also recounts a Corinthians tour of South Africa in 1907. In the first game, against Western Province, the hosts were awarded a penalty.

The Corinthians felt “disgust” at the penalty rule, introduced in 1891. It acknowledged, says the website, that a player would deliberately foul another.

So when the ref awarded Western Province a penalty, Rowlandson – in the pristine belief that the referee was always right – stood aside to expose a genuinely open goal.

A short time later, the Corinthians were themselves awarded a penalty. Rowlandson insisted upon taking it and deliberately shot wide.

The FA subsequently debated whether the captain and his Corinthian colleagues should be called upon to explain themselves. “Then as now,” adds the website, “the bureaucrats were obtuse.”

Former Durham County cricketer Henry McLaren, an occasional visitor to these pastures and to Hear All Sides, now pops up in the Cricket Society newsletter.

Henry’s 79, still umpiring, lives in Brancepeth, near Durham and laments the rules now governing the junior game which mean that a player can’t be out – or, at least, doesn’t have to walk. They bat for a fixed number of overs, in pairs.

At a recent match in which he officiated, says Henry, an under-13 gained late promotion to the senior side, was caught in the slips and just stood there smiling.

Despite opponents’ “advice” to be on his way, Henry had finally to raise his finger and was afterwards approached by an irate mother. “Explaining that on one day edging to the slips was out and on another it wasn’t was rather difficult,” he writes.

“Similarly a young bowler had to be removed from the attack after bowling his mandatory overs, to be replaced by a 63-year-old who bowled 12.

“It used to be a simple game until a certain organisation took control.”

Andy Turner’s funeral at Wear Valley crematorium on Tuesday took a distinctly tartan turn: flower and flag of Scotland, Runrig, pipes and drums Amazingly Graceful.

Raised in Cowdenbeath, as previously we’d noted, Andy was not just a football nut – assistant manager at Evenwood Town, physio at West Auckland – but a dedicated Durham County councillor for both communities.

Durham was well represented. Before the service, the column found itself talking to council leader Simon Henig, the region’s most fervent Leicester City fan, just hours after their defeat by the mighty Arsenal.

Simon not only lamented that City hadn’t won at Arsenal since 1976 but that during Martin O’Neill’s managerial reign it was the only top ground on which they never triumphed. The reason, he reckoned, was Patrick Viera.

We’re thus engaged when the company’s joined by Rob Yorke, another council cabinet member, who’s not only a Newcastle United fan but has an executive box at St James’ Park.

It’s then that Coun Henig is reminded of the truth of the old adage: there’s always someone worse off than you are.

Almost incidentally, last week’s Railroad to Wembley column mentioned the funeral of Tom Clish, Philadelphia Cricket Club’s celebrated skipper in the all-conquering 1970s. There’s a PS, and perhaps a recurring nightmare.

Tom’s funeral was at Sunderland crematorium, the morning wet. Bill Fisher, who’d been taught by Tom at Houghton-le-Spring Grammar School, left his Spennymoor home early in the hope of beating the anticipated throng.

Finally inside, though without a seat, he noticed several familiar faces but was surprised to see a female officiant and not the Rev Derek Newton, another of Tom’s former proteges.

Then a friend of the deceased’s started to speak and slowly it dawned on Bill that he was at the wrong funeral. “Looking around, I was by no means alone. What can you do but sing the hymns, say the prayers and add a few amens?”

Afterwards he bumped into Derek Newton. “They’re running late,” he said.

The Railroad had stopped at Barton-on-Humber, prompting David Walsh in Redcar to recall that his plastic bait box, full of cheese and pickle sandwiches, lies buried beneath the steel work on the north bank. Investigative journalism demands details. “It’s a long story,” says David.

Recalling Robert Percival’s still-credited record for throwing a cricket ball – 140 yds 2ft at Durham Sands, Easter Monday 1884 – last week’s column noted with some hesitancy that he was claimed by Shildon.

Consequently we’re referred to Jack Chapman’s incomparably joyous Cream Teas and Nutty Slack – a history of club cricket in Durham County – in which Jack describes the swelling scene. “An animated occasion with freak shows, shooting galleries and shuggy boats.”

Percival, says the book, was from Shildon – and if it’s good enough for Jack, it’s gospel.

….and finally, the three greyhound tracks still running between Tyne and Tees (Backtrack, October 20) are at Sunderland, Pelaw Grange and Wheatley Hill.

Today back to Gary Bennett’s Sunderland debut – opposite page – a match in which Southampton manager Lawrie McMenemy had six former England captains at his disposal.

Readers are invited to name them. Back next week.