THAT extraordinary all-rounder Steve Greensword, now 75, finds himself included in Wisden Cricket Monthly’s Club Cricket Hall of Fame – No 25 it says, to which a reasonable response might be “What kept you?”

The magazine recalls Geoffrey Boycott’s observation that “he were a good bowler, that Greensword” – Sir Geoffrey nursed memories of Yorkshire’s 1973 Gillette Cup defeat – but Greensword was some batsman, too.

In the Durham Senior League, nomadic but chiefly with Philadelphia, he scored 23,000 runs at an average 55, included 36 centuries and eight times topped the league batting averages. He also bagged 1,400 wickets – “a parsimonious wicket-to-wicket medium pacer, all nibble and nous,” says Wisden.

After seven early years with Leicestershire, the former milkman also took 464 Minor Counties wickets at 20.6 for Durham and averaged 32.5 with the bat. After retiring at 51, he turned to umpiring and for three successive seasons was named the North East Premier League’s umpire of the year.

The column’s card’s marked by Steve’s old Durham team mate Henry McLaren, who recalls the time that Steve gave him a lift to a county game down country. “All the way there and all the way back he affably talked cricket, a man in love with the game.”

A few days later they met again in a club match, Henry trapping his mate LBW. “He came past me with a face like thunder. ‘How are you getting to the next bloody away match’?” he said.

THE note two weeks ago on the death at 63 of Jim “Flash” Elliott led to memories of Barry Bolton, a team mate in the Bishop Auckland schools side of 1970-71 who later played for Chelsea and Ajax.

Dale Daniel sends a February 1971 cutting previewing the Bishops’ English Schools Shield sixth round tie at Huyton – managed by Alan Bleasdale, who became better known as a playwright – the first time in 45 years that Bishop had reached that stage.

The side which left for an overnight stay in Southport was Brian Gregg (Woodham), Ken Brown (Staindrop), William Hull (Teesdale), Jim Elliott (Woodhouse Close), Tom Summerson (Woodham), David Heslop (King James), Shaun Vickers (Woodhouse Close), Geoffrey Smith (Woodham), Jim Rooney (Crook), Barry Bolton (Staindrop) and Paul Romaines (Leeholme.)

Paul Romaines? Son of affectionately remembered Shildon lad and One O’Clock Show singer George Romaines, Paul had five cricket seasons with Durham – coinciding with a 65-game unbeaten Minor Counties run between 1976-82 –before a successful decade with Gloucestershire.

A Christmas Day baby, like Marcus Trescothick, he’s now 63 and a teacher in Bristol. Dale Daniel also sends a picture of Durham’s 1980 Minor Counties winning team. Who’s the guy on Romaines’s immediate right? It’s none other than Mr Greensword.

RICHARD Jones, our man in the Quaker cowshed, reports that a Boston United supporters’ flag was somehow stolen during last Saturday’s match at Darlington. Raising the standard somewhat, a group of Darlington fans have clubbed together and bought them a new one.

RECALLING some “second division” heavyweight boxing champions, the Sunday Times had cause last weekend to mention West Hartlepool warrior Brian London – long in Blackpool – who in 1959 fought Floyd Patterson for the world title.

Knocked out in the 11th – considerably longer than he lasted against Muhammed Ali a few years later – London is said to have been philosophical. “I was only a prawn in the game,” he said.

It also recalls the late Alan Ball, mates with London – now 85 – when he managed Blackpool FC, addressing a dinner at the Scotch Corner Hotel. Brian London, he said, was the only boxer he knew with a cauliflower a**e.

THAT one was spotted by Martin Birtle in Billingham. Rather further afield, and presumably in the overseas edition, my younger son – temporarily in Singapore – eyes the headline “Amos set to leave the waiting room.” That one refers to Welsh rugby player Hallam Amos, and must not to be assumed to have any connection with the final paragraph of the Railroad to Wembley report on the opposite page.

CLUB presentations last Wednesday acknowledged Bishop Auckland FC secretary Tony Duffy’s 50 years service to football – and with an unexpected little bonus at evening’s end.

The match against Penrith was the first time this season that they’d not picked up so much as a booking – “I’m elated,” said Tony, though with caution of his own.

Last season’s first disciplinary clean sheet came at about the same time, Tony so similarly pleased that he omitted to enter “None” in the “Number of cautions and dismissals” section of the match return form. The league fined Bishops £10.

Last Wednesday he contemplated a second pint of Fosters by way of celebration – “but not until after I’ve filled in that blooming form.”

….and finally, the only one of English football’s “92” not to have won an away game since January (Backtrack, October 12) is Spurs, of all teams.

Readers are today invited to suggest the sport in which former Arsenal and Spurs goalkeeper Petr Cech saved two penalties in a shoot-out last weekend.

On the spot again next week.