FOR many years, Tynedale has celebrated the success of hundreds of elite sporting careers from Olympic medallists to world champions.

It is this sporting heritage that has also seen the world’s sporting stars watch and play in a variety of events throughout the Tyne Valley.

A pertinent example of the area’s global appeal is the success its local cricket clubs have experienced through its touring professionals.

With the West Indies due to play England next month in the first cricket matches since the coronavirus outbreak, the district’s cricket squares have played host to some of the world’s finest players from the Carribean.

Regarded as one of the finest bowlers in the world, Courtney Walsh cut his teeth as a 20-year-old with Tynedale Cricket Club, helping the club retain the old Northumberland County League ‘A’ Division title for a third successive year, and to lift three cups.

Travelling to the district in the summer of 1983, Walsh was instrumental in two Tynedale CC performances against Benwell Hill at Prior’s Flat in Hexham.

The four-month long visit also saw Walsh represent Northumberland, its U25 team and a Northumberland and Durham side who played an International XI at Jesmond.

Walsh is one of many on a long list of overseas pros to grace the square at Priors Flat after joining the Tyne Valley side in their young careers.

Other West Indies internationals include fast bowler Ian Bishop, Clairmonte Depeiaza, nicknamed “The Leaning Tower of Depeiaza” because of the way he leaned forward in his defensive shots and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelvin Williams.

Earlier this year, Bishop spoke of how his experience playing for Tynedale helped develop his career.

He explained: “As you get stronger and as I matured the pace started to come the more reps I had.

“The one thing that worked for me was a season of playing club cricket in the North of England at a club called Tynedale. I just felt that after that season by the time I got home in 1987 my pace had increased without even trying.”