JUST over 25 years ago a batsman scurried up the wicket to complete the most exciting and memorable run of his cricketing career. Wearing a huge smile, and with sweat pouring from his brow, he triumphantly raised both arms into the air. With the feel good chemical endorphin flooding his mind and body, he turned towards the pavilion to acknowledge the cheers and applause from his team-mates, only to suffer shock and disappointment: there was not a team-mate in sight.

Simon Raine, now a local Weardale cheesemaker living in Hamsterley recalled: "I was playing for Witton-le-Wear at Cockerton, and I had just scored the first, and only century, of my cricketing career. The only spectators who were watching and who applauded me were the scorer and the wife of one of the opposition players.

"All our lads were in the pavilion watching the England versus Spain quarter-final match at Euro 1996 on TV.

"So every time the European football championships come along I always remember that day. In 1996, the nation was gripped by Euro-fever just as it has been this year. The only difference was that in 1996 we only reached the semi-final whereas this year we got to the final."

Simon would be the first to admit that that he was never a great cricketer or footballer. "My 'inglorious years' were the 1990s," he says, "when I divided my spare time between playing football for the Blacksmith Arms at Spring Gardens and cricket for Witton-le-Wear. Both clubs were run from great pubs.

"I was a gentleman clogger on the football field. In other words, I apologised after hacking someone down.

"On the cricket pitch, I was a nudge and nurdler who normally succumbed to a straight one when I got into the teens or early 20s, who repaid the opposition with his famous curried egg sandwiches.

"Cockerton was not the largest of grounds, and that day I just played the hand dealt to me a lot better than normal. At one point, our skipper Peter Crisp came down the wicket and said: 'You're seeing it like a beach ball, lad'. I wish I'd had a few more beach ball days.

"It was a glance off my legs which took me to the ton. When I returned to our dressing rooms all the lads were glued to a portable TV, but when we got back to the Victoria in Witton-le-Wear, I made sure that I talked them through every run that I scored."

LAST week, we said that in 1888 when William Smith scored 179 not out for Bankfoot, his son John, often called Jack, had opened the innings. However, we have now learnt that John was not born in 1888 and the J Smith in the scorebook was someone else, possibly another relation. In 1913, William's son John was 19 when he played for Barcelona on the Crook tour to Barcelona.

OUR two three-year-old racehorses to follow, Shadwell and Primo Bacio, both ran last week at Newmarket. Shadwell was very disappointing, but Prime Bacio ran a promising race in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes, a hot race with previous Group 1 winners Mother Earth, Alcohol Free and Champers Elysees in the field. Primo Bacio was well back, and boxed in on the rails for much of the race but jockey Andrea Alzeni made his move two furlongs out. He hit a wall of horses and was hampered but Andrea gathered him together and Primo Bacio ran on really well to finish fifth.

Compensation awaits, because at York 56 days earlier, Primo Bacio had beaten the winner of the Falmouth Stakes, Snow Lantern, by five lengths in a listed event.