Clubs: Garthorpe, Redbourne Steelworks

Roles and Representation: Umpire (including for Minor Counties) and Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph columnist

Honours: Umpired all around the world

John Harrison

John Everatt Harrison started out as a cricketer whilst at Drax Grammar School and played for the school club. It was here that he also learned his umpiring skills.

Whilst completing his National Service in Catterick (1948), John played alongside Brian Close (later England Captain) and Frank Tyson (later England’s fastest bowler). John was an all rounder, but preferred batting.

John then played for the Garthorpe Village Club and Redbourne Steelworks Club. Whilst in the Redbourne Steelworks Club team he played against Phil Neale. Phil, who had attended Frederick Gough Grammar School, Scunthorpe, played for Appleby Frodingham Steelworks and then went on to become famous as a national cricketer for Worcester.

John is proud to describe himself as an “independent” umpire – not aligned to any team. He used to coach new umpires throughout the Lincolnshire area.

John umpired for Minor Counties (Darlington, Jesmond, Norwich, Hull & Boston) and also West Riding Cricket League. He also umpired matches in the Scunthorpe and surrounding area, including a match at Crowle with Ian Botham playing for a local team.

John was the first umpire in the area to wear white cricket boots as he considered these smarter than the customary black shoes!

John also used to write a weekly article on Cricket Law for the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph.

John has many happy memories of umpiring and it has taken him not only around the country, but also the world. This all started when Phil Neale invited John to accompany him, and the Worcester cricket team, to The West Indies (Barbados, Bahamas, Bermuda) as “guest umpire”. John also acted as guest umpire at mixed nationalities games in Canada – in full view of the beautiful Niagara Falls.

John later visited Thailand at the invitation of Maurice Bromley, a cricketing official, of London. Maurice ran a cricketing tournament in Thailand, visiting Mae Sai, Mae Song, Bangkok and Phuket. They also visited Tibet (playing right alongside Mount Everest!) and Rangoon. The Thai team played visiting teams from the rest of the World and John umpired these matches. He went over five times (even missing the opportunity to go to South Africa with the Norfolk team). Famous names who joined these tours included Dennis Lillee, Frank Tyson, Mike Gatting and Allan Lamb. He also met Denis Compton and Bill Edrich and used to correspond regularly with Don Bradman, the great Australian cricketer.

One claim to fame is that his uncle, Frank Rishworth, once played W.G. Grace!  Frank, who was young at the time, played for Warwickshire 2nd team as an amateur player.

Some time ago, John wrote to many captains of cricket teams across the world. He asked them: “What did it feel like, to you, when you walked out onto the cricket pitch as captain of your country, for the very first time?” He collected and compiled all of their replies and signatures into a highly treasured item of memorabilia.

In the words of John: “Cricket has added so much to my life and brought me great happiness. I have visited many wonderful countries and also places in our own country, meeting and communicating with a lot of very interesting and pleasant people. Some of those people have been famous and others not at all famous…but they have all been a delight to meet!”