A CHANCE discovery has given Northwich Cricket Club some names to conjure with.
Specifically, they are Len Hutton, Jim Laker and Frank Worrall - all cricketing legends.
Correspondence to the club had remained filed away for 50 years, but came to light during a clear out at Moss Haselhurst Solicitors, where former North-wich player and chairman John Pickup, now a leading figure at the ECB, was a partner.
Their letters all concerned invitations to appear at North-wich's Vicarage Road ground when crowds of up to 2,000 were common for gala matches.
All three were polite refusals, however, though each was written in the star's own handwriting and, of course, signed.
Northwich spokesman Simon James said: 'It is an exciting find. The letters will be stored away safely, but the photocopies will be framed and displayed in our pavilion.
'It is a link with the club's glorious past.'
Hutton, later to become Sir Len, was one of England's and Yorkshire's greatest batsmen.
He, alas, was engaged elsewhere when Northwich wanted him to guest in May 1956 in a benefit match against Somerset for former England all-rounder Maurice Tremlett, a handwritten letter from whom was also discovered.
Worrall, who was also knighted, was the West Indian captain and he too was playing elsewhere though he was later to appear at Northwich in a Commonwealth XI that included a young Gary Sobers and Sonny Ramadhin.
A scorecard for that match was also found, along with another for the 1951 visit of a West Indian XI, that included the likes of Everton Weekes and Clyde Walcott.
Laker, the Surrey and England off-spinner who took 19-90 against Australia the same year, seemingly turned down the chance to bring seven-times champions Surrey to Northwich as part of his benefit.
Other correspondence passed to Northwich covers a crisis in 1936 and 37 when, disillusioned officers wound up the club, which was desperately hard up.
Six months later other members demanded an extraordinary annual meeting at which
the club was revived and went on to sell land now occupied by Binney Road and King George Avenue to Northwich Urban Council.
James added: 'We have always believed we were formed in 1826.
'It seems we are a little bit younger than that.'