Dramatic result as young John saved the day

High drama. It's the Wrekin Knockout final of 1939 and things could not be more tense, with Wellington High School tied with St Georges on 90 runs each.

The Wellington High School cricket team which played that epic final in 1939.
The Wellington High School cricket team which played that epic final in 1939.

And with St Georges batting, there's just one over to go.

Everything now rests on the 16-year-old shoulders of John Madeley.

We'll turn to John's description of what happened next.

"I was asked to bowl the final over. Fortunately I bowled a maiden over and ran out the Rev Leyland, who top-scored for St Georges, on the final ball.

"The replay was arranged for the following week, but because of bad weather it was decided that each team should hold the cup for six months."

Honours even, then.

This picture taken that day of the Wellington High School – later Wellington Grammar School – cricket team which played the tie at St Georges recreation ground has been sent in by John Madeley's son-in-law, Ken Holding.

It is specially poignant, as John, from Onslow Drive in Wellington, died aged 99 on December 3. His funeral is at Telford Crematorium at 10.30am on December 30.

The Wellington team which played that match just before the war was strengthened by a few of the school's masters. The players are named as, back row: J Madeley, J Cooper, G Teague, R Perry, H Evans and L Vogel. Front row: Mr Quinn, Mr Richardson, Mr Tomlinson, Mr Hanby and Mr Priestley.

Wellington's top scorer was W H Evans, who was run out on 43. John himself made 11 before being caught by G G J Mart. The Rev F E Leyland had made 35 when John ran him out in the crucial last act of the match.

It was rain, incidentally, which scuppered the replay.

Apart from playing for the Wellington High School team, John also played for Shropshire Schoolboys, and in his working life was a train driver.

Ken, who lives in Newport and is the Wrekin College fencing coach, says: "On leaving school in 1940 he worked at the Great Western Railway sheds in Wellington.

"Having been made up to a fireman he moved to Crewe, where he worked during the Second World War, this being one of the largest railway junctions in the country.

"During this time Crewe, where Rolls-Royce were producing engines for Spitfires, suffered sporadic bombing.

"In 1945 he returned to Wellington sheds and in 1948 he married Olive whose family farmed at Wrockwardine.

"Having already achieved his ambition of becoming an engine driver he travelled daily from Wellington to his new base at Coleham operating throughout Shropshire, Cheshire, Wales and the West Midlands, driving as far south as Bescot and Swansea.

"In 1978 he was diagnosed with diabetes which forced him to retire from the job he loved as this affected his eyesight.

"He was fortunate to move to RAPRA in Shawbury, working in the firm's library – a job he liked as it did not involve working night shift.

"In 1988 he retired completely and was able to spend more time with his family, his wife Olive, daughters Sandra (my wife) and Janet, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren."

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News