Noone else to Blain for Tony!

How do you look forward when the best is behind you? Ask Gomersal’s Tony Blain.
Twenty five years ago Blain walked out at the Oval with New Zealand to do battle with an England side boasting players like Ian Botham, Graham Gooch, David Gower and Mike Gatting with his country holding a 10 advantage in the Test series.
Blain was a 26yearold batsman wicket keeper and making his Test debut.
New Zealand had never beaten England on their own patch but Blain was determined to do his bit and there is no doubt he did just that.
In a rainaffected game he dug in to support the more recognised batsmen to defy an England attack of Botham, John Emburey, Phil Edmonds, Gladstone Small and Graham Dilley for two and a half hours, making 37 valuable runs in the process before being caught by Gooch off Dilley.
New Zealand batted for almost three days and though Gower and Gatting both hit centuries they earned the draw that gave them the historic series win.
Blain went on to play in 11 Tests and 38 One Day Internationals but it was his threeyear stint in the Central Yorkshire League with Gomersal in 1983, 84 and 85 that were to prove a lasting influence on his life.
It resulted in him ending a 16year absence from the game to turn out in a few games for Scholes last year and to register back at Gomersal for this current season.
One of the influences behind his return to England was his marriage last year, to his former fiance Sharon, “a long story,” Tony explained, and he now lives within walking distance of the ground.
Although now in his 50th year, and a decidely dodgy back, he happily signed up to help out in the seconds at Oxford Road and his unbeaten halfcentury to beat fellow titlechasers Cleckheaton in their last outing proved only too clearly how much his influence is telling.
His latest knock took his season’s tally to 510 with few players normally passing that total in a full season.
Blain’s efforts, along with Richard Gould and Phil Carter, have ensured over 1,500 runs at the top of the innings and that has seen the Gomersal side secure a place in the Priestley Shield final and one eye firmly on the Second XI Second Division title and already looking forward to that other half century in February and celebrating with another season at Gomersal in 2012.
Next up for Blain and Co is a crucial trip to leaders Pudsey Congs while back at Oxford Road the Gomersal first team find themselves rock bottom in Division One and facing an equally crucial relegation battle at home to Bradford and Bingley.
Cleckheaton, in second place, take on Undercliffe at Moorend looking to put the pressure on leaders Woodlands who are at Farsley.
One man likely to be missing from the Cleckheaton side is paceman Iain Wardlaw who made his County Championship debut for Yorkshire at Headingley on Wednesday.
Remarkably Wardlaw was one of THREE exCleckheaton players in the Yorkshire line up joining skipper Andrew Gale and Richard Pyrah while Joe Sayers has also featured this season.
Hanging Heaton continue their battle to avoid the drop at Pudsey St Lawrence.

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