JONATHAN Fielding became a hero to two sides on Saturday as he not only helped Ramsbottom to a fourth straight Lancashire League win – he did his bit for troubled Colne at the same time.
The 41-year-old spinner starred with the bat at The Horsfield as he helped Rammy from a precarious 87-5 up to their 226-8 with a league-best knock of 92.
And while Colne, who need to raise £100,000 to pay off crippling debts, were frowning at being knocked out of the game by the bat of Fielding, they were soon smiling when the veteran handed over his £51 collection to their Save Our Ground campaign.
“It’s just the right thing to do and I hope other players do the same,” said Fielding. “Yes we are rivals and you want to beat your rivals – but at the end of the day you don’t want to see another club struggling.
“I know the collection is a drop in the ocean but every little helps and I was happy to do that.”
Fielding’s gesture meant that the cricket tradition of buying a round out of a collection went out of the window but he laughed: “The lads let me off on that.
“But I sorted them out on Sunday. I got 70-odd against Bootle in the Lancashire Cup and stood my corner in the bar after that match.”
Fielding, who stood down as Ramsbottom skipper over the winter, has only claimed three wickets so far but has been bang in form with the bat this season and already has 171 runs in five league games. He has shot past last year’s total of 116 and he added: “I’m feeling and playing like I did years ago.
“I do like batting and new skipper Rob Read has put me up the order and I am getting a few touch wood. Maybe when I was captain I was batting myself too low but it seemed the right thing to do at the time.
“And despite not taking as many wickets as I am used to I feel that I am bowling as well as ever and the wickets will come.”
Despite spending the majority of his career outside of the league after being snapped up by Lancashire after impressing as a teenager with Ramsbottom, Fielding is closing in on 700 wickets and says he is enjoying his cricket as much now as ever.
“I am relaxed and happy after stepping down as skipper,” he said. “People don’t realise just how much time away from the weekend goes into being captain.
“Rob has taken over and is doing a really good job but I am still there if he needs any advice.
“We have a good team here have won four on the bounce in the league with the Worsley Cup also coming up and things are going pretty well.”