It is with great sadness that Mellor Lacrosse Club announce the sudden death of ex President Bob Bardsley. Bob stood down as President in 2017 but his introduction of the Legends game is the reason the club is in such great shape today. On behalf of the club we'd like to pass on our sincere condolences to Bobs family.
Some memories of Bob below from close friends Mike Roche, Steve Goodfellow and Phil Sugden.
"Bob was a fine athlete and a good footballer. As a result, he didn’t start playing lacrosse until the age of 14, which goes some way to explaining his rather ‘inflexible’ handling skills. However Lacrosse very soon became his passion. In those days, there was only one junior lacrosse team – the Under 15’s and Bob only played one or two seasons for the juniors, under the guidance of the legendary Charlie Middleton. He soon caught the eye and was invited to the Cheshire U16 trials, and was just over the age limit, when selection for the inaugural England Juniors tour to America took place. He made rapid progress through the senior teams and at the age of 19 played in his first Flags Final in 1973, as well as representing Cheshire at U21 level. He was a stalwart of the first team for many years, apart from when he worked in Holland in the early 1980’s, returning to captain the side a few years later. He played in the 1990 Flags Final, seventeen years after his first!” He was 1st team captain 1977-1978. We did the double in 87/88, - Bob played on the A team but I think we can say he was in the squad when we won the League and lost the Final in 88/89."
As I recall Steve Goodfellow and I started playing for Mellor when we both about 9 or 10 years old Bob was a little later, in the early years we played without any head protection, a pad around your elbow if you were lucky, and old hand me down gloves with padding missing, Robert had the added disadvantage of starting to play with my sister’s women’s wooden stick the stringing nearly as taut as a tennis racket, little wonder he never really grasped the handling skills of his fellow players
I lived at 154 Longhurst Lane between the Oak and Knowle Road, Bob lived at 104 Longhurst Lane Half way down Cateract we started playing because my other friend Rod Threlfall’s father, Malcolm, was an Old Hulmean,( Rod left us too early!!) and in those days, quite a force in the game, and it was also during that time that our first team won the Championship I think 6 years running. That team included great players some names will be familiar, such as Robin and Mick Hodgson, John Hall , Bill Oxley, Fred Kynaston and Barry McAllister for me, the finest attack player of the time and John Hall who proved that it was possible to play with a stick strung as taut as a tennis racket
Bob’s first game for the Juniors was against Wellacre School, feeder school to the Urmston Lacrosse club, we were coached by Charlie Middleton (there’s a huge stone in his memory at the entrance to the ground) assisted by Mick Hodgson , who we idolised, the opposing side included names such as Gary Edwards, Gary Pollitt, Paul Smith & Peter Bowen the latter two playing eventually for England.
I understand in the evening afterwards in a pub (possibly the Oddfellows) Mick told Bob’s parents, Harry and Nora that Bob was going to be a very good player and he eventually was, which I suppose made up for the fact that he never followed in the Cricketing achievements of his mother’s, (the Woods) side of the family.
Bob contributed greatly to the fabric of the club, was a former first team captain, club secretary in the years before computers, and with Steve Barber ran the entertainment for around 3 years.
Both his daughters Rachel and Sophie followed in his footsteps and played the game for Mellor.
We didn’t know it then but we had the time of our lives,
Thanks to Mike Roche, Phil Sugden and Steve Goodfellow for their memories of Bob above
Bobs funeral will be held at 11am on Thursday 6th June at St Thomas’s Church, High Lane and afterwards at Mellor Sports Club.