Mods and Blockers:
1965…Mods and Rockers, Vietnam, the civil rights struggle, rhythm and blues, drugs, sex and, oh yes, cricket, lovely cricket. What a summer. Especially for 17 years-old Colin Evans, Lancashire fan, rookie sports writer, pseudo teenage rebel, balancing precariously on the ‘rim of respectability’.
A memorable summer also for David Green, Lancashire’s opening batsman, who made cricket history by scoring over 2000 first-class runs without once making a century. He was a forceful, entertaining stroke-player, not a slow scoring ‘blocker’ like some on the county cricket circuit. Mods and Blockers celebrates the achievements of both Green and Evans – one in lighting up a grey, wet cricket season, the other in escaping the clutches of the law, his Editor, and his Mum and Dad.
While Green stacked up the runs, and Lancashire offered their fans a gleam of hope after a dreadful few years, Evans spent his working week learning the ropes of journalism, often nearly hanging himself. In his spare time he ‘beat up’ the streets of his backwaters home town on a small, bargain priced, and very noisy scooter.
There were weekend forays into Manchester’s booming club and music scene, hitch-hiking expeditions to London and the south coast, pep pills, and all night dancing…the great youth culture revolution, The March Of The Mods, had swept over Britain and he and his mates were there, ‘where it’s at, man’. Life in the fast lane with, as Evans puts it ‘slowcoaches sneeringly overtaken’. Except, after each exciting trip, he skulked back to the humdrum of life in his quiet Cheshire outpost. And, every morning, he pored over the County Championship scoreboard to check on the progress of his cricketing heroes.
Four decades on, Evans, formerly the Manchester Evening News cricket correspondent, has written his first book. Mods & Blockers, Lancashire’s rock ’n’ roll summer looks back at the summer of 1965, what it meant to English cricket, particularly Lancashire and David Green, and what it meant to himself, fresh from grammar school, launching himself into small town society as a
journalist/bit of a raver, constantly under threat from people warning him: “I’ll tell your Mum what you’re really like.”
In this roller-coaster book, generously highlighted by photographs, he also recalls stories and issues from other points of his 40 years writing career. He says: “While writing Mods and Blockers, I tried to stay focused on the main themes of 1965 but, inevitably, wandered off to unscheduled destinations as though flashing my senior citizen’s travel pass at every passing bus.”
As a result, he bumps into sports stars like Duncan Edwards, George Best, Malcolm Allison, Alex Higgins and Eric Cantona. But, though wet and chilly, it was the summer of ’65 which lit up this diverse journey. Cricket and well, what we were all into. Digging life, man. Weren’t we?
About the author.
Born in Cheshire in 1947, Colin Evans picked up his first journalistic pay packet on Christmas Eve, 1964 and promptly spent a huge chunk of it in the pub just across the street. In 1965 he covered his first cricket match for the Manchester Evening News Pink Final, and was barred from entering the pavilion of his local club. In 2005 he covered his last match, and walked out of the Oval to be pushed off the pavement by a group of boozed-up fans celebrating England’s Ashes win. In between he enjoyed himself immensely.
Evans, who still lives in Cheshire, is retired and married, not necessarily in that order, tries vainly to strum a guitar, and is optimistic about the future.
The book is on sale at Waterstones or can be bought direct from the author at 1 Wittenspithall Cottages, Dunham Road, Warburton, Lymm, WA13 9UH. Cost is £9 99p, including post and packaging – please make cheques payable to Colin Evans.