HIND legs, hindsight, the column found itself speaking last week at Hartlepool Indoor Bowls Club, home down 40-odd years to top players like former Great Britain team manager Mally Hughes and of internationals like Carole Winn, who was at the talk.

It also offered chance to recall Ron Hails, Hails of Hartlepool, the best friend a jobbing journalist ever had.

Whenever white space yawned, when finally the ink threatened to run dry, a call or a fax from Ronnie would serendipitously save the day.

Chiefly his stories were of the bowls club, or of Hartlepool United in the less-bad old days, of the incomparable Paragonians Cricket Club or of their Patch – who everyone knew, and Ron acknowledged, was the brains of the organisation, anyway.

Carole, when 40, had played her first competitive game against him. “Lovely man,” she said, inarguably.

Ron died several years ago. Since he could hardly report it himself, and since Patch was lost for words, the event passed sadly unrecorded hereabouts.

Speaking at the Indoor Bowls Club revived happy memories of the many times that he helped rescue a column. Belatedly, but wholly affectionately, this one’s for Hails of Hartlepool.

Posthumous acknowledgment may never have been tardier than in the case of Tom Spencer OBE, the delightful old test match umpire from Seaton Delaval – Whitley Bay way – who died in November 1995. His passing was recorded in Backtrack a few days later.

Said by Wisden to have possessed a “gummy” smile, Tom may best be remembered for his close-up reaction in 1975 to Michael Angelow, the Lord’s streaker.

More than seven years after the event – January 2003 – the cricket press and the heavyweight prints finally realised that he’d gone and sought details from the column.

“It seems almost beyond belief that his passing could have gone unnoticed,” said The Cricketer.

Memory fails to suggest who marked our card, but you’d not bet against its having been a former Paragonians wicket keeper from the Pool.

There being a ruby wedding party in the evening, and the ruby wedding being my own, the Railroad to Wembley was necessarily corralled to what formerly was called the North Eastern region.

We headed to Newcastle Benfield v 1874 Northwich, FA Vase second round, but first for a livener at the Anarchy Brewery.

Anarchy makes what these days are termed craft beers, rebellious names like Boot Boys (“Enjoy a kick in the taste buds”), Antichrist and Urban Assault.

It’s hardly their fault that such bare-chested bravado is diluted by memories of Kenneth Williams’s best remembered line, though it was infamy – of course – that Mr Williams supposed his nemesis.

Founded in 2012, the brewery has recently moved to Benfield Business Park, round the back of Walkergate Metro station, where a “tap room” has also been opened.

Though the business park bumph describes its tenancies as “eclectic”, including the UK’s biggest inflatable theme park, many seem to be martial arts gyms – a global embrace from Thai to Brazilian, Indonesian to Japanese.

Were they to be military as well as martial, World War III might be confined to a former factory site a couple of miles east of Newcastle city centre.

The tap room’s effectively part of the brewery and thus can’t always be heated. A pile of blankets, themselves probably ex-Army, sits folded in a corner by the bar lest drinkers feel the need for something warming.

A single hand pump offers Flat Out IPA, a delicious beer sold only in two-thirds-of-a-pint glasses in the hope, says the barman, that visitors might also try something else.

The pump clip script may be anarchic, too, Mr Gary Brand – one of our travelling companions – supposing that it says Fart House.

They also do a coffee-infused breakfast stout and a falling down beer called Lord Comatose, 11 per cent alcohol by volume, but only in third-pint glasses. We stick to Flat Out and after a quick one-and-a-third head, max speed, to the match.

Benfield play at the Sam Smith’s ground, which should not itself be supposed another brewery connection. This Sam Smith was the founder in 1907 of Rington’s Tea, still door-to-doored.

It’s impossible to visit without recalling the late Peter Lax, lifetime stalwart of Billingham Synthonia and master of the malapropism, who on being told that Benfield still sold Rington’s replied that the Synners had Typhoid instead.

It’s a terrific set-up these days, success oft outstripping support, walls of clubhouse and canteen painted with aphorisms from sporting greats like Sir Bobby Robson and Bill Shankly, he who supposed that football wasn’t a matter of life and death but much more important than that.

There’s also a new gym behind the goal though these days it’s termed a fitness academy – or, indeed, a centre of excellence.

1874 are in the North West Counties League, a scion – if not a schism – of Northwich Victoria. They’ve brought two coach loads of supporters and a big little drummer boy, the rest of the crowd listing to starboard in its anxiety to be out of earshot.

There’s also a Green Line coach, said to run between London and Hemel Hempstead and thus seriously disoriented.

Benfield are mid-table in the Ebac Northern League top division, their undoubted danger man the 41-year-old Paul Brayson, whose career began with Newcastle United and whose many travels included three years with Northwich Victoria, 42 goal ins 108 games.

“A legend, a joy to watch,” writes 1874 secretary Vicki English in the Benfield programme.

For the past six seasons the man they call Brassy has Phyllosanned more than 40 goals, twice named Northern League player of the year and when not hitting the net then complaining that his recorded 5ft 7in height significantly undervalues him. He stands out from the crowd, nonetheless.

Andrew Grainger, the long serving goalie, spent ten years as keeper for England’s beach football team. A summer job, no doubt.

It’s goalless until, 60 minutes gone, Brayson again rises to the occasion. Hitherto tense, the game flows Benfield’s way, Scott McCarthy – said in the programme to be a scorer of spectacular goals – heading the second from two feet.

Joined in the last 64 by five other Northern League clubs, Benfield will be at home to Runcorn Town on December 1. The gentleman of the RMT permitting, the Railroad will be headed for Avro, Oldham way, against West Auckland.

West will be desperate to take a step closer to Wembley. The great Shanks was right, of course.

The ruby wedding do’s at Darlington Cricket Club, a perfect venue efficiently and affably run. There’s food by Pete Everett, music by the Old Age Travellers – a brilliant folk band headed by Malcolm Elsbury – special guest appearance of Cameron’s Strongarm, the ruby red.

The ale also has a special pump clip, designed by John Todd in Barton, the celebration photograph taken by that great cricket all-rounder Jonny Barnes, still snaring them in Darlington’s second team at fewer than nine apiece. Next year he’s eligible for Durham County Over 50s.

To Jonny, and to all those who from far and wide gave up their Saturday evening, cheers.