CRICKET legend Steve Oldham is proving to be a big hit back at his old South Yorkshire club - after returning to work there for FREE, writes digital editor Graham Walker.
The former Yorkshire and Derbyshire bowler has gone back to his grassroots in a bid to help Barnsley Cricket Club become champions of the Solly Sports Yorkshire ECB County Premier League.
It would be a fitting tribute as they celebrate their 150th year ... and you wouldn’t bet against the man who has already got them into second place. Oldham was formerly Academy Director and Bowling Coach at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, with over 35 years of playing and coaching professional cricket.
Now he’s head coach at Barnsley CC and he explained why he won’t take a penny from the club.
He said: “I always said that when I was nearing the end of my career I would come back to the club which gave me a chance and try to repay them for what they did for me.”
Widely respected in the game, he has an enviable record for identifying and developing young bowlers to county and international levels.
Oldham believes Barnsley CC’s first team could produce the next big names to follow in the footsteps of its former greats such as Geoff Boycott, Dickie Bird, Darren Gough, Arnie Sidebottom, Graham Stevenson, Martyn Moxon and more.
The club’s overseas signing, 24-year-old Guyana bowler Ryan Hercules, believes Oldham can help to turn him into a West Indies Test star.
“Everyone at the club has been wonderful. It’s a beautiful, massive ground and the facilities are absolutely wonderful. That’s why I wanted to play here,.” he said
First team wicket keeper Tom Shaw, aged 19, of Hoyland, Barnsley, said: “Steve has made us a lot more professional and organised.”
All rounder Callum Bethel, 14, of Stocksbridge, who attends Birkdale School and is the grandson of Sheffield United star Jack, said: “Steve has helped me with my bowling, batting and fielding. He’s improved me week by week.”
Bowler Nathan Firn, 16, of Sherburn in Elmet, near Tadcaster, said: “Steve invited me here. I’m playing regular first team. I’ve a scholarship at Yorkshire and I want to get as far as I can.”
Trelford Mills, President of Barnsley CC, said: “Words can’t describe the difference Steve is already making to the club. He’s doing a fantastic job. The place is just buzzing.”
* DID YOU KNOW? Oldham was a right-arm medium-fast bowler and took 273 first-class wickets at an average of 32.67, and a best performance of 7 for 78.
He also took 240 wickets in one day competitions, with a best performance of 5 for 32. He was a right-handed batsman, and played 98 innings in 129 first-class matches at an average of 11.26, and with a top score of 50. He played 63 innings in 177 one day matches.
* VIDEO: Sir Michael Parkinson, Dickie Bird and Geoffrey Boycott, plus Oldham and other former Barnsley CC stars, plus Coronation Street and Emmerdale stars, will reunite back at Shaw Lane for a festival day of cricket, plus a dinner, on Sunday, June 24. Full details - CLICK HERE.