SENT to bed early, like a recalcitrant child, last week’s column was unable to record a splendid weekend for Willington Cricket Club and for John Coe, its great stalwart and president.

The first team hosted Washington, North East Premier League second tier, Adam Hickey hitting an undefeated 134 as Washington declared on 249-5.

In reply, Aussie pro Will Bosisto was himself 134 not out and Jake Louth unbeaten on 100 as Willington reached 252-2.

Playing for the thirds against Burnopfield the following day, 17-year-old Niall Butler became a fourth unbeaten centurion as Willington clinched the league title.

Across at Bishop Auckland, meanwhile, Jamie Dass – John’s grandson – himself hit 109 against Great Ayton II and bagged 5-18, including a hat-trick. When, John wonders, did a player last score a century and claim a hat-trick in the same match?

John’s own dad was the wonderful Jackie Coe – cricketer, football referee and Willington’s goalkeeper in the 1939 FA Amateur Cup final against Bishop Auckland. “He’d have been very proud,” says John.

That same weekend, Darlington won the NYSD League Over 40s cup with victory at Richmond – man of the match former Durham County wicket keeper Andy Fothergill, who retired on 50 from 39 balls and kept, says skipper Jon Barnes, like it was 1990. The man they call Fothers is 57.

Could one of those with a century and a hat-trick in the same match be Paul Collingwood? Now England’s assistant coach, the 42-year-old all-rounder found time between third and fourth tests to play for Shotley Bridge, his old club, in the North East Premier League. Colly went for a fourth ball duck but then bagged another hat-trick in his 5-18 as Ashington were comfortably beaten.

London bus syndrome, Doc Forster’s name appeared in last week’s column for the first time in ages. Here he is again.

Graeme was at last Wednesday’s match between Esh Winning and Bedlington Terriers when a visiting player injured his knee after ten minutes. A call went out for ice; Esh Winning official Dave Parkinson said he’d find something.

Start of the second half, Dave tried to find the injured man and was told he’d gone home, taking his impromptu ice pack with him – which explains why everyone else on the field had to go without their thawed out post-match chips.

Former teacher Tony Duffy, one of football’s true local heroes – and Britain’s No 1 Prisoner Cell Block H fan, as previously we have recorded – has been recognised by both FA and Durham FA for 50 years service to Bishop Auckland FC.

Now 70, he started following the Bishops as a 13-year-old, joined the supporters’ club committee in 1969 and remained involved despite going off to university in Cork.

“My family would send the Pink, so I’d know Saturday’s score by Wednesday,” he recalls. “Sometimes the Pink would only have the half-time score and I had to ring home. It was costing me a fortune.”

Always enthusiastic, occasionally excitable, he was club chairman in 1997 when Bishops were drawn at home to Conference club Scarborough in the FA Trophy, a televised match which the hosts won 1-0. “We were jumping up and down on the touchline,” says Tony. “I still have the video. The commentator said the chairman seemed a bit pleased.”

Fifty-year awards were also presented to former referees Vic Cooke and Alan Rusk, Vic still much involved as observer and Sedgefield Refs’ Society official and Alan a former secretary of the Darlington Sunday Invitation League and of several local league clubs thereabouts.

Tony, now in his second (or possibly third) spell as club secretary, had a couple of weeks earlier received a free road atlas to mark 50 years membership of the AA – “all that driving to Cork,” he supposes. “I fear it’s a sign of getting old.”

Among other presentations at Durham FA’s annual awards evening were a “volunteer of the year” accolade to the tireless Norman Smith of Shildon – an 18 hours a day man, said the citation – and a special award for Ian Lockey and Mark Wilkinson, who may have saved ref Dickie Longstaff’s life.

Ian and Mark were at the Consett AFC Bulldogs Under 16s match with Shotton Colts Blues when ref Dickie Longstaff became very ill. The pair performed CPR – “it probably saved him,” says DFA secretary John Topping.

Last week’s column noted John Hirst’s attempt, in memory of his wife, to achieve a 24-gour parkrun marathon along the west-east length of the A66. John, himself 66, made it, finishing in Locke Park, Redcar, last Saturday morning. He has topped £1,400 for the Alzheimer’s Research charity.

Never mind the fourth test, now melancholily concluded, global cricket traveller Robbie Young writes from Crook about the third, at Headingley.

Robbie was at Leeds railway station – against his wife’s better judgement, it has to be said – when recent surgery again proved troublesome. Railway staff took him to the first class lounge, called a doctor who at once called an ambulance.

After a day in hospital he was returned to the station, issued without charge with new tickets and got home at 11pm. Robbie’s duly grateful – “everyone at Leeds station was absolutely first class.”

….and finally, Newcastle United’s nine No 9s in the Premier League era (Backtrack, September 7) have been Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Obafemi Martins, Andy Carroll, Papiis Cisse, Howard Gayle, Jose Solomon Rondon and, now, Joelinton.

Readers are today invited to suggest how many goals San Marino’s football team have conceded at home since last they scored one there.

Home from home, the column returns in a fortnight.