n the tea train up Wensleydale we find ourselves sitting opposite Dave “Fingers” Morrison, the wicketkeeper with metacarpals like a relief map of the Himalayas.

Now 76 and living near Northallerton, he hasn’t played cricket for ten years since successive first-ballers for Barton – “I never saw either of them” – suggested that retirement might be prudent.

These days he can’t beg a game. “Teams only want young uns,” laments the former publican who had five spells with Darlington RA, two apiece with Darlington, Bishop Auckland and Barton and seasons with several other clubs.

It must be 20 years since Backtrack first fingered Fingers, the column followed up by media worldwide. Until last Sunday, however, we’d not realised that he turned down the Graham Norton show.

“It was his first one on BBC2. The producer rang and said they’d love me to be on it so, naturally, I asked how much.”

The BBC said £50; Dave demurred. OK, they said, £50 plus expenses. Dave stopped at home.

When the show was broadcast, however, it featured a troupe of what the old lad calls dolly birds. “I think,” he adds, “that I might have made the wrong decision.”

The tea was very good though, sadly, without pie. Wouldn’t that have been a headline, Fingers in the Pie?

The conversation turned to who was the better keeper, Dave or Tom Stafford, whose hands are OK but whose knees run on WD40. Dave has no doubt (of course) that it was he, but concedes that, locally, Bobby Cole of Darlington and Durham County was supreme.

It’s coincidental, therefore, that on our return there’s an email from Tom, more than half a century behind the stumps for Yarm and at 72 still keeping very canny.

Particularly, however, Tom draws attention to the feat of 13-year-old Danny Edwards – “five feet tall, but that was with long studs in his boots” – from Yarm’s second team.

Playing against Smith’s Dock in the Langbaurgh League, Danny bagged 6-16 in eight overs, three of them maidens. “He feels seven feet tall now,” says Tom.

Kept chirpy by their keeper, Yorkshire Over 60s are also having a good season, unbeaten in seven games and – “best of all,” says Tom – two wins over Lancashire.

They also beat the Pakistan Super Vets XI, including three former test players, though Tom concedes that that might have something to do with acclimatisation. “They’d come from Karachi where it was 40 degrees. In Bradford, it was eight.”

Not perhaps the happiest of anniversaries, it’s exactly a year since Sir Ian Botham put his Grade II-listed home at Ravensworth, west of Scotch Corner, on the market. Evidenced by a property ad in last week’s Times, on the market it remains.

Park House has 11 bedrooms, 10.9 acres of gardens and woodland, a gym, “golf room” and much else. The asking price remains the same as it was 12 months ago: £2.3m.

Since they were Somerset men simultaneously, the Squire also features frequently in Original Spin, former England all-rounder Vic Marks’s new autobiography. Nice title, more holiday reading.

Marks, known on the circuit as Skid for reasons which need not detain us, regards Sir Ian with much admiration and no little affection. There are no great revelations, save perhaps that the Great All-Rounder is also a dab hand at crib. The author is both diplomatic and self-deprecating.

On page 295, however, he records that Botham’s 50th birthday, celebrated at a golf club in Lahore in November 2005, coincided with news of George Best’s death.

Botham’s sympathies were almost diluted. “I don’t know what George was doing. They say he was drinking four bottles a night.”

Marks remembers his response. “I started an intervention involving pots and kettles but in the end did not bother to proceed.”

Original Spin by Vic Marks (Allen & Unwin, £20).

A bit of a family affair when Darlington West Park RA met Eryholme in the Cec Lees Cup the other night. Eryholme’s captain and wicket keeper was Peter Warne, West Park’s captain and wicketkeeper was his son, Simon.

“I’ve never heard of it happening before. It was a good game, no quarter given,” says Peter, who admits to being “late 60s” and thus 45 years older than his lad, himself a former Eryholme player.

Eryholme’s also the club of Charlie Walker, the dear old Demon Donkey Dropper, who a couple of weeks back took wickets with his first and third balls against Middleton Tyas. “He’s 78, I’ve played with him all these years and I still don’t know how he does it,” says Peter.

West Park, two divisions higher in the Darlington and District League, won by seven wickets. “Simon’s a much better player than I am,” says his dad. “At the end we shook hands and went off for a pint.”

….and finally, the column on June 29 asked how many female jockeys had won at Royal Ascot. It’s just two – Gaye Kellaway and, a few days earlier, Hayley Turner – “pipped one of mine on the line,” says John Phelan, first with the answer.

Since we’ve been taking the sea air, readers are invited to name the team who Scarborough famously beat in the 1989-90 Football League Cup but lost out to in the FA Cup 15 years later.

Another toe in the water next week.