Further to my piece on Lancashire’s overthrow of Sheffield’s Northern 10 miles dominance at Matlock in 1967 memories have been awakened. Within it I speculated that the disqualification of Wakefield’s Roy Thorpe had opened the way to Lancashire’s success. Some of those present agree and add spice to the story.
When dq’ed Roy was indeed in a strong position. If he had stayed in the race it is possible Wakefield might have swept to team victory.
Fast forward to the post-race presentations where as usual a raffle was taking place. Drawing the winning ticket was none another than Jim Hackwood, the redoubtable Northern Area official and the judge, who had disqualified Roy. Remember in those days it was one shout and out! However as Jim drew the ticket, he paused and was obliged to put on his spectacles to read out the number.
You can only imagine the look on Roy’s tortured face, guess at the words muttered under his rapid intake of breath. To put it mildly, ” I have just been pulled by a bloke, who can’t see without his specs!” Evidently Guy Goodair and Chris Bolton counselled Roy through his anguish.
Ironically Jim’s decision, for better or worse, meant his beloved Sheffield lost their title to the club on t’other side of the Pennines.
This engaging tale aside race walking in the North and indeed the UK would not have prospered and survived without the often unsung endeavours of both Jim in the past and Roy up to the present. To both much respect and the twinkling of a smile!