Tributes to cricket legend Ernie Telfer

Ernie Telfer.
Ernie Telfer.

WITH 20 to his name, Stocksfield farmer Ernie Telfer holds the record for the most centuries scored in the West Tyne Cricket League.

A maestro with the bat, and nearly as impressive with the ball, he is arguably the best all-rounder to ever play in the league.

And the debate about whether Ernie or his father Edward was the better player will be sparked again at Ernie’s funeral this week after he recently passed away aged 86.

Ernie was born into the Telfer farming and cricketing dynasty and joined his father, himself a West Tyne legend, at Newton. Edward played there for 52 years, and Ernie for 35.

Cricket took precedence over farming in the early years, with holidays taken between Saturday matches.

Before limited over matches were introduced, games would regularly last until 8pm, and Ernie would often return home from a match at Haltwhistle or Bellingham and then milk the cows after 9pm!

Ernie first made his mark in 1950 when he took 9-17 against Matfen.

Another highlight with the ball came when he took 9-26 against Wylam BBOB in 1963, after having scored 100 in the Newton innings.

It was with the bat that he excelled most, his total score of 20 centuries taking him to the top of the league’s charts. The second best total is 14.

His halcyon years were the 1960s when he scored 100 on 14 occasions, and he recorded the league’s best batting average in a season six times and twice racked up the best batting performance of the season.

His close friend, Edward Taylor, who played with Ernie at Newton during the 60s, said: “The bald statistics, while impressive, cannot convey the exhilarating, quickfire way he made his runs.

“They do, however, suggest that he was the greatest all-rounder to play in the West Tyne League. For all his success, Ernie remained a modest man who was much respected in the cricketing and farming communities.”

Ernie was married to Dorothy for 48 years until her death in 2001, and is survived by his daughter, Jane, and sons Peter and Roger.

His funeral was set to take place yesterday morning at St James’ Church, Newton.

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