Clubs: South Kelsey
Roles and Representation: Secretary, Team Manager, Groundsman
Honours: Lincolnshire Cricket Lovers Society Services to Cricket award, South Humberside Sports Advisory Council Services to Cricket and Sport awards, Sports Council Services to Sport Award, 1987 Lincolnshire County Cricket League Secretary of the Year
There were three things in life that mattered to Walter Blackburn: South Kelsey Cricket Club, Lincoln City Football Club and his family, and probably in that order!
Walt first became involved in South Kelsey Cricket Club in 1933, only 6 years after it had been formed by Major Wright in 1927. Initially South Kelsey played only friendly cricket but by 1948 had joined the Grimsby and District league. In the fixture list Walt is described as Hon Secretary and Team Manager, a position he would hold for the next 50 years, as well as tending the ground and wicket for many years.
Walt was probably never the best cricketer in the county but somewhat of an all-rounder. His 1948 season figures show he bowled 80 overs at a cost of 135 runs whilst taking 31 wickets, but he scored 138 runs himself. On June 23rd at East Halton Walt scored 54 not out in a Kelsey total of 92 for 7.
In 1954 Walt won the club batting trophy scoring 328 runs in 21 innings with a highest score of 61 not out.
During his working life Walt was on the civilian staff at RAF Hemswell, which brought him into contact with one Fred Trueman amongst other Commonwealth air staff and cricketers. Other jobs included storeman at Nettleton Ironstone Mine and Cherry Valley and until retirement, at Scunthorpe Steel Works, but during all this time South Kelsey Cricket Club was in his heart.
Not only was Walter able to attract some unlikely patrons to South Kelsey, he was also able to arrange some high profile matches at venues many larger clubs were envious of. In 1951 amongst others, patrons include W E Butlin Esq Skegness, and WD and HO Wills Bristol. Fixtures that Walt arranged in 1958 included Burghley Park, Stamford, and Bakewell in Derbyshire. In 1959 and 1960 Walt took his village team to Players works at Nottingham. In 1964 and 1965 it was Cranwell College, RAF Scampton and on the August Bank Holiday Monday, Clumber Park; in 1968 Hawkesworth CC Leeds, for a 2 day match on 6/7th July, and still Clumber on Bank holiday Monday. And so the list goes on: Pudsey Gentlemen, Steetly Colliery at Shireoaks Ground, South Wingfield in Derbyshire during their Centenary week of Cricket.
When asked about how South Wingfield had come to invite South Kelsey, their secretary said he was talking to someone in Nottingham who said he knew of an enthusiastic secretary who would bring his team provided Wingfield could give them a game (Kelsey batted first and the first wicket fell at 212). A big secretary leading his little village club onto some fantastic cricket grounds.