I first met Stewart in 1963, the year that I came to Benwell Hill. He would have been about 24 and was well established as opening bowler on the first team.
The years that followed were to prove very successful for us both. We seemed to forge a good partnership, Stewart bowling from the West Road end, me from Countess Drive, indeed does anyone recall anything other than that arrangement?
I suspect that one reason for our success was that we determined to outdo each other - if Stewart took a wicket then I needed to take two. I’m pretty sure he felt the same.
He was a man of few words or emotions either on or off the field. Certainly anyone playing with him will have heard him mutter “ dear me” on more than one occasion. Two words which by themselves are mild but somehow took on a new meaning the way he expressed them, particularly if embellished in a more colourful manner should anyone have had the temerity to drop a catch off his bowling!
He went on to captain the side for several years, never an easy job at the best of times but particularly as an opening bowler. It also meant of course that no-one was going to take the ball out of his hands now.
Between 1960 and 1992 Stewart took 864 first team wickets at an average of 17.86 and represented Northumberland on 6 occasions. A truly phenomenal record.
Off the field Stewart served on the general committee and was chairman for many years, leading to the Club’s entry into the North East Premier League. I suspect he was a little unsure of the new format, obviously missing return visits to his old hunting grounds such as Morpeth, Alnwick and Tynedale.
During the 58 years I have known him Stewart suffered the tragic loss of his first wife, Mavis who died very suddenly leaving him to care for their two daughters, Tracy and Lyndsey. Later, however he was to marry Irene, surely the best possible outcome at this time in his life.
Stewart Allen loved his cricket, in particular Benwell Hill Cricket Club for whom he worked tirelessly both on and off the field for over 60 years. We will miss him.
BHCC Vice Chairman