Return of a Competition legend
Friday 3rd August 2012

Tony Shillinglaw was 15 years old when he made his first appearance for a Birkenhead Park side in the 1st XI match at Neston on 23rd August 1952 batting at number five. He had been given his chance by Park captain, Alf Liggins, after making the headlines in recent school matches.

"When I arrived at Neston, Ken Cranston was standing outside the pavilion looking over the field. I thought I was in another world. I was a bag of nerves. It was a sweltering hot day and I was wearing a jumper.

"It was a day Cranston got a ton and I had a duck, bowled by a chinaman off Charlie Sowerby. I hadn't seen one before" said Tony as he recalls the day as if it was yesterday. He continued: "I got my own back three years later, in 1955, when I bowled Cranston for a duck, Park going on to win their first post war championship."

Born on 25th May 1937. Tony went on to represent Cheshire in Minor County cricket. He was a member of the all conquering Birkenhead Park side that won five successive Championships between 1960 and 1964 and again in 1966.

With the exception of a season when he won the Championship under the captaincy of Ted Williams at Sefton in 1972, Tony has played all his club cricket at Birkenhead Park.

After being their 2nd XI captain in the early 80s and winning the championship in 1984, he was recalled to the 1st XI in 1986 at the age of 48 by then captain Peter Carlton and won a further Championship. Park were so far ahead of their rivals, the title was decided in the pavilion on August Bank Holiday Monday after matches were called off owing to rain.

Tony returned to the 2nd XI and ultimately captained the 3rd XI where he played his last match in 1997 when Birkenhead Park were still in the Liverpool Competition.

Now, after a gap of 15 years and a replacement hip operation five years ago, Tony is making a comeback tomorrow at the age of 75.

"Park have a few players away and so replacements moved up a slot, leaving a vacancy in the 3rd XI. So as not to leave them short, I said I'd play. It'll be good because I'm playing with my grandson, Daniel . . . and what's more, the match is at Sefton." said Tony.

Tony has also spent many years with his friend, Brian Hale, writing his theory of Bradman . . . but that's another story.

see also:
Tony Shillinglaw's theory of Bradman
The Bradman Phenomenon
Former Aussie captain backs Shilly's theory
Test veteran Cranston dies
Bradman Revisited updated

Return of a Competition legend UPDATE
Saturday 4th August 2012

Sefton Park's players applaud Tony Shillinglaw from the field
after scoring the winning runs for Birkenhead Park.

The match was played at Liverpool College and Tony bowled five overs, having figures of 5-2-10-0. Then, as Park neared their target of 134, he hit the winning runs with three balls remaining. A fitting way to end the day.

Speaking after the match, he said "I thoroughly enjoyed the game and playing with Daniel, but that was definitely the last match I played for Birkenhead Park. Although I consider myself reasonably fit, I'm aching all over. At my age, my body will take a while to recover."

SEFTON PARK 5 133-8d (56.0 overs) (Lomas 50, Taylor 46; Wicks 4-17)
v BIRKENHEAD PARK 3 134-5 (28.3) (B Davies 56, Taylor 49)

Result: Birkenhead Park won by 5 wickets
Toss: Birkenhead Park