Two Overs At ... Pete Allen

Pete One of our all-time favourite players, Pete spent 6 years down at the Meadows and forged many strong bonds. After an illustrious career at Bury and Totts, Pete now plies his trade down South, but here he looks back on his time at Totty and reflects on the good and bad that he's seen in his 50 year love affair with the game

Tell us about the various clubs you've been involved with over the years?
I started out at Bury, I played under 18s, then played 3s, 2s and then spent 25 years or so in the firsts including a spell as captain. That was enough of a grounding to qualify me for a 6 year stint At Totty. I now play for Shenley Village in the Herts league.

Did you always want to be a wicket keeper, or did it just happen by chance?
I was drawn to keeping, the first cricket I ever played was at primary school and I used to volunteer to keep for both sides. Probably explains why I can't bat!

Who is the best bowler you've kept to?
I've been lucky to take catches and stumpings off a few Test players but the best understanding I ever had was with Dave Leach at Bury, I knew exactly where the ball was going as he hit his delivery stride.

What are your 3 favourite ever cricketing moments?
I'll stick with personal ones at Totty. Scoring a fifty in a low scoring win at Ashton Ladyboys. Catching Derek Faulkner at Robinsons (who had scored a double ton the week before) with a full length dive at cover and a legside stumping off Doc P at Rochdalians to remove their number 3 (Ed: That was absolutely marvellous, not sure who was more astonished, me as the bowler, the batsman or the square leg umpire!).

Which wicket keepers have impressed you most, both at club level and first class?
Alan Knott was just different class. I played in the thirds at Bury when Frank Oldroyd was keeping, he took a legside stumping off a medium pacer and he was in his sixties at the time. I remember thinking, I want to get that good.

How did you wind up playing at Totty?
I was talked into coming to Totty by Big Bird. I was working with him at the time. Clive was on holiday and he played the "come on, we're desperate" card.

Who is your favourite ever teammate, and who's your favourite at Totts?
What makes you think my all time favourite wasn't at Totts?! I'm way too polite to put anyone's nose out of joint but I have to mention Nelly B cos he gives me bed and breakfast everytime I come back up.

If you could pass on 3 pieces of advice to young keepers, what would they be?
Soft hands...let the ball melt into your gloves, keep low and if you are good enough, stand up to the wicket, you will miss the odd catch but you will pressurise batsmen into getting out in lots of other ways.

Aside from cricket, what fills your time?
I try to get to as many Shakers games as I can, apart from that I waste far too much time on Facebook!

If you were locked in the changing rooms for a week, what 3 things would you miss the most?
Knowing many changing rooms, fresh air springs to mind first. Newspapers, love a read. Not having anyone to take the p##s out of.

Have you noticed any big differences playing "darn Sarf"?
It's a lot more polite, I was just engaging in a bit of banter in one match and this batter said I was just rude! I mean me! I just said, mate for Christ's sake never go playing cricket up North. They'll eat you up.

All I'd said was after he played an ugly shot was "That was more Sharapova than Chanderpaul."

What are your ambitions for the rest of your career?
To avoid getting hit in the mush, I keep wondering how long I should keep standing up to the quicks, the legs don't move quite as quickly now. And of course to keep enjoying it.

I Will if You Will Biffaward

Beryl Avenue, Tottington, Bury, BL8 3NF
Twitter: @TottyStJohnsCC