A few weeks ago the sad news came to us of the passing of Dave Wild.
Dave was an extremely popular member of the club. Dave first became a member in 1953, and during that 70 year membership put in countless hours of volunteer work in various different roles, that quite rightly resulted in him being made a life member.
Dave was born on the 23rd December 1943 and spent his early years living on Edenfield Road. During the 50’s and the 60’s the club did not have a bar and virtually closed down between September and April.
Dave was a keen cricketer and soon made his family home on Woodhouse Lane. It was in the late 60’s / early 70’s that Dave become more heavily involved at the club. His trade of an Electrical Engineer was put to good use as the likes of him and Bob Fee re-wired the whole clubhouse at nights / weekends as an extension and a new bar were built.
During the 80’s and 90’s Dave became involved with coaching the juniors cricketers, as his two sons Gareth and Leon had now joined the club. Alongside Dennis Hardman it was a formidable coaching duo that brought through some of the finest cricketers the club has ever seen. Dave was a tremendous organiser / administrator and his passion for the game was second to none.
This passion was most evident when Leon would come in to bat. An often regaled tale is of a young Leon coming out to bat for the second team. The bowler sent down his first delivery and Leon thought (as he often did) that it was in his slot and took an almighty swipe but missed the ball. Luckily the ball went safely past the off stump. “What you doing Leon, get your head down” roared Dave from the sidelines. The bowler ran in with his second delivery and Leon took an even bigger swipe. Unfortunately, he missed the ball once again and it sailed just past the off stump. “Bloody hell Leon, get your head down lad, play straight” shouted an exasperated Dave. The bowler trundled in for his third delivery which he put in exactly the same spot as the first two. Leon swung even harder, but this time connecting with the ball and sending it flying towards the War memorial for six. An expectant crowd turned to Dave… “Wonderful shot our Leon, brilliant”.
During this time Dave was also instrumental in gaining Norden CC 3rd XI entry into the Halifax Sunday League. Back in the days of the Central Lancashire League it was the norm to have 30-35 games a season in the 1st and 2nd division. This left very little time for any 3rd XI cricket. Dave, seeing a burgeoning junior section realised that these young players needed an introduction into adult cricket. Dave somehow persuaded our Yorkshire friends to not only let us join the league, but to play the vast majority of our fixtures away from home.
The Halifax league was a tremendous success with several generations of 1st XI cricketers having gained great experience of adult cricket. Dave would often umpire when called upon and was Norden’s league representative for 22 years. Whenever you attended the annual dinner it was obvious the extremely high regard in which Dave was held by the other clubs.
Two of the most successful 1st XI captains the club have ever seen came through the ranks during Daves time as coach in Stuart Fern and Simon North.
Stuart, who was the captain for the CLL league winning season of 2004 recalls “Dave Wild was one of the first coaches we met at Norden and even sourced my first pair of cricket boots. His enthusiasm and passion for the game is all any youth player remembers. And it’s just that made him such a special member of the club. He helped impact Norden in a huge way with a batch of juniors that went on to transform the club. With successes at youth level culminating in many graduates that won the CLL for the first time in 17 years back in 2004. A great coach, character and friend to all who met him. He’ll be truly missed by all!”
Simon, arguably Norden’s greatest ever youth product having representing England Schoolboys, captained the 1st XI to League and Wood Cup doubles in 2014 and 2015 said “Dave was an extremely generous and genuine man. My first coach. Dave would be very generous with his time with all the kids in our junior set up and I certainly benefited from this as he would regularly take me to and from games.
A good motivator, passionate about his club and with a patience you need to coach young lads with maybe the exception of his sons!
Dave was always a stalwart Stag and always had the best of the club at heart.
That said he had the best of hearts.”
Dave spent a lot of time watching cricket, he was a permanent fixture under the scoreboard with Fee brothers. For many years he would be one of the helpers rolling the wicket or re-painting the lines at the mid innings break. Dave would often enjoy a drink with the lads after a game. I remember one year in the early 2000’s when it was the clubs annual BBQ and Karaoke. Dave and his son Gareth went up to do a song. I can’t 100% rememeber, but i think it was Irish Rover. The chorus involve a lot of loud clapping. To the DJ’s great annoyance Dave was getting enthusiastically into the clapping parts… but was doing so with an expensive wireless mic in between his hands. It didn’t matter how many times the DJ warned Dave, when the chorus came back round that expensive mic was getting walloped in between his hands. It really was a sight to behold.
For a man that lived in Norden all his life you could mistakenly think that Dave wasn’t very worldly. However, after a few whiskeys he loved regaling stories of holidays in South Africa or running round New York with Peter O’Toole. Don’t be mistaken… this Norden boy had lived!
Around 2010, or just before, the cricket club entered a side in the Rochdale Darts League. Dave was one of the first members of the team, and played right up until the league folded in 2020 Dave never missed a game, even whilst undergoing treatment at Christies he would turn up week in week out. Dave was a very popular member of the team. Every darts player needs a nickname and somehow he was coined ‘Dangerous Dave’. In truth, the only thing dangerous about the man was his mathematics. He was soon banned from scoring and nearly set Paul Morrell off in to a fit every week when he got his sums wrong and was throwing for the wrong double. Darts team captain Graham Fletcher added “After a few years he settled down into his position, and was always our first man off. It was a well known tradition in the league that Dave would beat you (or try to) then rush off to buy you a pint. He was a wonderful bloke, the heart and soul of the darts team really”.
Dave was one of life’s good guys. Our sincere condolences go out to Gwenn, Gareth and Leon.
Dave… we thank you for all the memories and happy times. Norden CC owes you a great debt of gratitude for all that you did for so many years.