DIRECTIONS AND PARKING
Parking is no problem with any amount of space being available around the
cricket ground. Obviously there are many different ways of approaching somewhere
as conveniently situated as this. Those coming on the M62 should leave the
motorway at Junction 20 and take the first exit at the roundabout onto the
A627M), continuing on Broadway until picking up the Ring Rd(E&S)/M60 signs. At
Junction 1, take the A5145 exit to Stockport (West) and at the roundabout assume
the third exit to Didsbury Road/A5145. After a couple of miles turn right at
Wilmslow Road, then left at Didsbury Park and then after a couple of hundred
yards, opposite The Towers, an impressive nineteeth-century mansion now a
conference centre, turn right, following signs for Didsbury Cricket Club.
Prices are reasonable and the bar is well stocked with the usual assortment of
bottled drinks, soft and hard. Beer drinkers will be pleased to see pumps marked
Jennings and Mansfield, two good beers from Marstons’.
The Club’s History
There has been jazz at the Cricket Club since 1983 when the City Syncopators
moved across from the Golden Lion in Withington to become the regular Sunday
night attraction. In the 1990s, jazz was so popular that three nights a week
were given over to it, with Harlem Hot Stompers on Fridays and Mart Rodger’s
Manchester Jazz on Mondays.
Currently, Jazz night is Thursday and four top bands, Terry’s Dead Good Boys,
the Savannah Jazz Band, the Chicago Teddybears’ Society Jazz Band and the Harlem
Hot Stompers, play on successive weeks, with the addition of the Old Fashioned
Love Band in a five-week month. It’s worth noting that reedman Paul Broomhead,
now of the Dead Good Boys, was one of the original City Syncopators.
The promoter and ‘general dogsbody’, as he describes himself, is the affable
Roger Wigley, who has been running things since 2000. Roger has missed few
nights since 1983 and it seemed logical that he should take charge when Alan
Downes retired to Colwyn Bay . He knows what local punters want and gives them
it - a heady mix of New Orleans and Dixie. Roger, was occasionally assisted by Geoff
Purdy (RIP), mans the door, arranges the raffle and does all publicity work himself,
using his graphic designs’ skills. A lifelong jazzer, he was originally turned
on when hearing Chris Barber’s ‘Tight Like That’.
The acoustics are particularly good in this compact club which comfortably holds
80 and is generally approaching its capacity. A larger audience can be
accommodated by the simple expedient of removing the tables and having people
sit in rows. With so many packed in, the atmosphere can be electric and the
applause long and loud. This is a commendably gimmick-free club dedicated to
Jazz, where nobody talks during the set. It combines the best of a jazz
residency with all the benefits of having a rotational policy. The audience know
the band and the band, the audience and they greet each other rapturously – once
a month! Not the least of the attractions is the presence of a real piano –
properly tuned and infinitely preferable to the electric keyboard!
Didsbury thinks of itself as a village rather than, say, a suburb of Stockport
or Manchester and it is undoubtedly an extremely affluent, desirable area, with
nice, warm-hearted people. It’s a real delight to turn up on a warm summer
evening, smell the newly-cut turf and take in a few overs of cricket before the
Jazz begins. You’ll have a great night here in one of the few remaining Jazz
clubs in the area. Nice work if you can get it!
Andrew Liddle, 8th February, 2011