You could forgive the lads from Acre Bottom for being a little peeved as Ian Callen smashed a match-winning half century in the 1983 Martini (Worsley) Cup final.

"I never made a run for Rammy," he recalls.

The Victorian pace bowler was in his second season with East Lancs after having been paid man at Ramsbottom two years earlier.

He had bowled unchanged to take 3-53, helping to restrict his former club to 167.

Then, with East Lancs a slow and disastrous 32-4, the left-hander plundered 56 off 59 deliveries to redress the balance along with Roland Horridge. He recalls watching the final stages on the balcony.

He said: "A young kid, Neil Clemson, was a sensation. He came in and smashed 30 in no time, and that was the end of the game."

Callen rates the win as highly as playing Test cricket, and will never forget the joy on the faces at Alexandra Meadows.

"Blokes like Johnny Isherwood were just absolute legends," he said.

"He was president of the club and just a great bloke."

East Lancs capped off a good season by winning the Holland Cup.

The man known as "Mad Dog" had been recommended to Ramsbottom in 1981 by an earlier professional, Ray Bright - a Victorian team-mate.

He needed more cricket to build his confidence after a long-term back injury that had first flared up on a tour of the West Indies three years earlier.

His only previous experience of English conditions was in the Minor County competition with Northumberland in 1977.

Six months later, he took six wickets on his Test debut in Adelaide, helping Bob Simpson's team win the decider against a full-strength team from India.

But, Callen took only 42 wickets for Ramsbottom, who finished seventh, and he was not re-signed.

However, he'd got to know Jim Kenyon through net sessions at Alexandra Meadows with Church professional, Brendan McArdle.

He said: "I was having trouble with my batting and Jim was trying to help me with that.

"He was a great bloke and a great coach. Jim talked me into coming back, really, for another season. He got me back to East Lancs. We just felt that the wicket would be more conducive to my sort of cricket."

Callen performed well, and also had an influence on youngsters like Horridge and David Pearson.

He said: "You had to, as a pro, to be able to get the side up. You had to be able to work with the weak areas and try to improve on them. And, fortunately, we had some young kids there that we were able to work with."

Such was Callen's resurgence that he had to leave early in 1982 to join the Australian tour of Pakistan where, unfortunately, a bout of dysentry restricted him to the one-dayers.

He damaged his right knee in a domestic accident the following year, but convinced good mate, Jack Houldsworth, to take him on as professional at Church in 1985.

His knee came good to the extent that he was able to return to first-class cricket in South Africa with Boland who won the Castle Bowl.

In 1989, he returned to England to learn bat-making, and took 58 wickets for Darwen in the Northern League.

Six years later, he started planting the first of 3,000 cricket willow trees at a racecourse near Melbourne.

He said: "The plantation at Healesville stores 100 tons of carbon each year. So, our timber will be marketed as such, as an environmental initiative."

Callen is already felling trees and has built a kiln to dry the timber.

He intends to make his own bats and supply other manufacturers.

At 52, the love of his life is six year-old daughter, Teihana. The pair listen to Radio Lancashire on his laptop, evoking long-cherished memories.

He added: "It's a great life experience, and I'm just grateful that I had the opportunity.

"And, I'm really honoured to have played in the Lancashire League."