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Interviewed at Rushden Heritage Centre, 8th February 2003
Arnold Maddams - Football & Cricket

Our next contributor is Arnold Maddams who was quite well known for his cricket in and around Rushden.

So, good morning Arnold, can you tell me a little bit about where you came from, were you born in Rushden and your early life?
Yes, I was born in Rushden, born and bred here and lived here all my life apart from of course a short period in the Forces. I attended Newton Road school right through until I was fourteen having failed my eleven plus and after that I left at fourteen and went into the shoe trade in which I remained for the rest of my life. Dad always at home encouraged us to play sport myself, and my brother and I had a great love for football and cricket and most sports I'm interested in.

How many children were there in the family?
There were three of us. I was the younger of the three, Dennis the middle one and brother Ted who lives down in Weston-Super-Mare.

Were you all interested in sport?
Yes, very much so from an early age. Dad took me up to Hayden Road, Rushden to the Rushden football club when I was seven, in the mid thirties and I've supported Rushden, and Rushden Diamonds now of course, ever since.

Is this something that runs through your family, was your grandfather or your great grandfather interested in sport?
Yes, we've got a few old photos. There is a history of sport with dad and his brothers. It does seem to go back and the grandfather, it is a Maddams trait and cousins and so on I've got are also sports people as well.

Right, thank you. Now tell me what are your first recollections of actually being involved in sport, maybe from your early school days onwards?
Yes, at Newton Road I got in the school team as a junior in the junior team and then as I progressed to be a bit older I was in the team straight away in the seniors and we used to play matches with the other schools around. Intermediate, Alfred Street, Southend and Irthlingborough and so on. So I was always in the football team, I don't remember the school having an actual cricket team although in the summer we did play cricket, you know the school played cricket. We were always encouraged very much by Mr. Sherwood who was the headmaster, he supported the boys at school sports, he believed in it and he pushed us along and he was one of the inspirations for me and the other real inspiration was Dennis, my older brother. He was rather a good sportsman and I always tried to emulate him but didn't quite do so.

On and off the field nowadays we see quite a lot of violence and aggressive behaviour when people are play ing football, was it always the same in those days or did your brother protect you?
Oh, I didn't ever play with Dennis in the same team because he was four years older so that thing didn't arise and in those days I think we played hard but it was a different sort of, a better atmosphere all together than it is today in relation to the behaviour and some of the antics they get up to on the pitch.

Which was the first sort of serious football or cricket team that you played for?
Well, football I didn't really go very high. I only played in the local team and carried on playing for local teams until I came out of the Forces and after that I gave up football and I rather went towards the cricket way and so the best cricket I played was for Rushden Town Cricket Club. I joined them you know after I came out of the Forces and I played up there for twenty five years. I spent quite a bit of time in the second eleven but I had a good spell at one time in the first eleven and played along with Mike Dilley and David Roberts and many good cricketers and so I had a good twenty five years spell and then I finished up my career with a few years with Rushden Mission Club and then another couple of years or so at Higham before I retired. I managed to keep playing until I was fifty five so I'd had a good innings.

Were you considered a batsman, bowler or just a general all rounder?
No, I was a batsman who did a little bit of bowling but not much bowling but I was a batsman.

Can you remember some of your memorable scores?
Well, I never got a hundred, never managed to get a century but I had quite a few fifties and sixty, seventy I can remember getting and I can remember, one stands in my memory when I'd just got a promotion into the first eleven, had been in two or three weeks and we went down to Wellingborough and I opened the innings with my brother. Got a fifty so I was rather pleased with that and it remained quite a good memory because Wellingborough were one of the best teams in the county league at that time.

Have you met many of your friends here this morning?
Yes, I have and I would say to any youngsters that have taken up sport to try everything and they'll soon see what they would like to do, which sport they like the best and having done that really throw themselves into it and enjoy it, the main thing is to enjoy it. You meet so many people and you make a lot of friends and I've met many of them here this morning.

What memories do you have of the afternoon tea with cricket because that used to be quite a ritual I believe?
Well, it has, yes that used to be quite a ritual. I remember up at the club there were one or two lads who were jolly good eaters. I perhaps hadn't ought to mention any names but it used to be a standing joke that if you didn't get up to the table before them there was none left.

Oh, dear. Well I think on that note we 'll draw this to a close but thank you very much indeed Arnold for your memories and I'm very grateful to you for answering. Thank you.

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