Looking Back: When cricketers were footballers

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Thanks to Alan Atkins of Browning Road in Hillmorton for this photograph of two rival cricket teams evidently enjoying each others’ company at an unusual match.

It shows a side from Rugby called Bertie Brookes’ XI and their opponents, from Symington’s clothing factory in Market Harborough. Mr Brookes had recently left the factory to become manager of the company’s Rugby branch in Spring Street.

The picture was taken in 1955 and includes, at the left of the front row, Jack Lee, a former Leicester City forward who was capped once by England and was also an accomplished cricketer, playing once for Leicestershire and taking a wicket with his first ball in county cricket. He turned out for the Brookes’ XI. Other notable players include Tony Branston, who captained Northampton Town FC as they rose from the old Division 4 to Division 1. Mr Atkins captained the Symington’s team and is third from left on the front row. Terry Branston, Cecil Rogers, Geoffrey Atkins, Billy Rogers and Mr Brookes are the other names Mr Atkins remembers.