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Having beaten Leicester City on Good Friday, Burnley won again a day later in 1960 with a 3-0 home victory over relegation strugglers Luton Town, and what a difference it made to the league table.

It was a case of false alarm when someone phoned Burnley Fire Brigade after seeing smoke in the distance. No fewer than four engines turned up. Because it was over the border outside the County Borough and the county brigade also had to attend. What they found was a nearly derelict mechanical excavator in the midst of the Extwistle Hall open-cast mining site and the fire was causing no concern to anyone. The excavator had ended its useful life that had involved working on the Mississippi River in the USA. When being dismantled, a spread of oil and diesel fuel caused a fire with smoke which could be seen for miles. The men dismantling it were not concerned until the four fire engines arrived. Fire officers said the reporter was correct in alerting them even though a lot of time had been wasted.

The excavator at the end of its life

Some weeks ago we reported on the theft of some guns from a collection at Towneley Hall, a theft that had caused great upset to curator Mr Hector Thornton. He perhaps should have been reviewing his security because in a further theft there were more guns stolen along with two bayonets, seven keys and a clock handle. This time he saw a light go on in the hall from his family home and alerted police. The culprits had gone by the time the police got there but some great detective work by Detective Inspector John Rushton led them to five boys, four aged 15 and one aged just 13. One of the older boys had a collection of fire arms and had decided to add to his collection. Police found all the stolen guns under the floor in his bedroom.

The magistrates were informed that one boy, the ring leader, had an interest in historical objects, an interest encouraged by his parents, and in particular an interest in collecting guns and collecting them by dishonest means became a great thrill and a further hobby. He was fined £5 for each of the two offences of breaking into Towneley Hall and was ordered to spend 12 hours at the Accrington Attendance Centre. Mr T. Cook, chairman of the bench, told him: “You were the person profiting from the offences. The proceeds all found their way into your hands.” Another 15-year-old was fined £3 for each offence and the two other 15-year-olds fined £3 for one offence each. The 13-year-old was fined £1 for each offence.

From old guns to new choppers, and news of progress on Burnley’s Heliport was reported to the Town Council’s Improvement Committee by Alderman J. Herbert. It appears some on the committee thought there was no need for a heliport but Alderman Herbert told them they should look ahead to a time when one would be a necessity. Alderman Herbert was thanked for his wonderful efforts by Councillor T. Burrows who said it would all be down to his hard work and commitment when the heliport finally opened.

Burnley Licensing Justices approved a licence for new premises on the corner of Croft Street and Boot Way which would provide refreshment facilities close to the new bus station for all ages. The new premises were to be a modern type of refreshment bar with catering on a Corner House style. A substantial portion of the premises would be used for the supply of non-intoxicants. The intention was to have a place to fit in with modern trends and the premises would be open the whole time buses were using the new bus station. When the venue did eventually open it was named the Concorde and later became known as Sidewalk.

There were long queues for the Rawtenstall bus in the evening as crowds flocked to the Astoria to see Acker Bilk and his Jazzmen. Tickets had been 5s in advance but there were a lot who paid on the night at 5s 6d. There were no strangers on the bus on the way home.

Easter didn’t just bring the crowds in for the football. Easter Saturday in 1960 was also the opening day of the Lancashire League cricket season and both Burnley clubs were in action, Burnley against Accrington and Lowerhouse against Ramsbottom. Lowerhouse proved to be the better on the day. They scored a creditable 189/7 declared with professional Jim Minhas top scoring with 69. He went on to take 3 wickets for 24 runs as Ramsbottom replied with 91 all out and the professional claimed the prize wicket of Ramsbottom professional Peter Philpott for just 1. Burnley had to settle for a second best draw against Accrington and their professional, the West Indian opening bowler Wes Hall. Accrington batted first and posted 144/6 declared. Burnley pro Dattu Phadkar took 3 for 63. He made 21 not out with the bat as Burnley struggled to 93/8 with captain Derek Riley top scoring on 32.

Whilst the cricket was being played, the football got underway with Burnley keen to take another two points from Luton. John Connelly, injured right at the end of the game against Leicester the day before, was ruled out with Trevor Meredith making his home debut.

The pipes and drums of the Highland band played at Turf Moor during the interval, and later in the afternoon the results of rivals Wolves and Tottenham were a cheery reminder that although, as the late Sir Harry Lauder used to put it, Burnley will have to ‘keep right on to the end of the road’ it need not be a ‘tired and weary’ affair as they chase league championship honours. Indeed the 2,684 fans who were disappointed with Friday’s display and stayed away on Saturday, missed a game that had none of the end of the season flavour, and in addition to netting three goals and registering two valuable points on the credit side, Burnley turned in a workmanlike, if not sparkling, performance.

In addition to that, the ‘first team only’ followers met, for the first time at home, 22-year-old Trevor Meredith, Burnley’s smallest (in inches) professional, but a Cagney-like bundle of pocket dynamite with the guile of a Matthews in the making. He stamped his authority on this game to such a degree that Connelly was never missed, and that would have seemed unlikely at 3 p.m.

Ray Pointer comes close to another goal for the Clarets

Ray Pointer reached the heights by netting Burnley’s first goal with a remarkably well taken half chance. Then he was plunged to the depths by an injury which brought that grimmest of all sights on a football field, a stretcher to carry him off. Although it was good to see him return after the interval, if only as a passenger, the episode was bound to throw the highly geared Burnley attack into difficulties.

His goal, in the 15th minute, came directly from a high clearance from Adam Blacklaw. POINTER beat David Pacey for position, chested the ball down and cracked it 20 yards hard and low into the corner of the net. Ron Baynham dived desperately but a save was never on.

Blending stocky assurance with a deceptive swing-and-sway advance which had Luton’s defenders repeatedly wrong footing themselves, Meredith laid on Burnley’s second goal for Jimmy ROBSON. Then, in the second half, he gained a penalty when sandwiched by the full backs, in the dramatic style of a Harry Potts or a Jimmy McIlroy in their most stylish swallow-dive moments. McILROY delighted the crowd with his performance, indeed he seemed to delight himself, spraying passes which cut the Luton defence to ribbons, taking the ball through, and crowning his display by disdainfully stroking the penalty kick past Baynham as if he nor anyone else had ever missed a spot kick.

It was a very incident packed match with Pacey once kicking off the Luton goal line and it ended 3-0 although McIlroy, Meredith, Pointer and Robson all hit the crossbar. Throughout there was a prospect of a goal at any time which kept the crowd happy to the final whistle.

The teams were;

Burnley: Adam Blacklaw, John Angus, Alex Elder, Jimmy Adamson, Tommy Cummings, Brian Miller, Trevor Meredith, Jimmy McIlroy, Ray Pointer, Jimmy Robson, Brian Pilkington.

Luton: Ron Baynham, Seamus Dunne, Ken Hawkes, Robert Morton, David Pacey, Alan Brown, Billy Bingham, Gordon Turner, Joe McBride, George Cummins, David Noake.

Referee: Mr A. Murdoch (Sheffield).

Attendance: 20,893.

Things got even better when news came in of the other results. Second place Wolves had travelled to Newcastle and lost, leaders Spurs had also been beaten at home to Manchester City. All three of us were now level on points with Burnley having played one game less than Wolves and two less than Spurs. We were behind them both only goal average and now potentially we were favourites for the title. At the bottom, things were looking bleak for Luton although less so for Leeds who had beaten Bolton to stay within two points of Birmingham.

The reserves played at Manchester City but we were beaten 3-1 although the teams had been level at 0-0 until right back Dave Smith received an injury and left us with just ten men.

First Division Results

16th April 1960

Birmingham 3 Arsenal 0
Burnley 3 Luton 0
Chelsea 1 Nottingham Forest 1
Leeds 1 Bolton 0
Leicester 3 Everton 3
Manchester United 1 Blackburn 0
Newcastle 1 Wolves 0
Preston 4 Blackpool 1
Tottenham 0 Manchester City 1
West Brom 3 Sheffield Wednesday 1
West Ham 1 Fulham 2

League Table

Pos Team pld w d l f a ga pts
1 Tottenham 39 19 11 9 79 47 1.68 49
2 Wolves 38 22 5 11 97 62 1.56 49
3 Burnley 37 22 5 10 80 57 1.40 49
4 Sheffield Wed 39 18 10 11 75 54 1.39 46
5 West Brom 38 17 10 11 73 53 1.38 44
6 Newcastle 39 18 8 13 82 72 1.14 44
7 Bolton 39 17 8 14 52 49 1.06 42
8 Manchester United 39 17 7 15 90 72 1.25 41
9 Preston 38 15 11 12 74 71 1.04 41
10 Fulham 39 15 9 15 68 79 0.86 39
11 Blackpool 39 15 8 16 57 66 0.86 38
12 West Ham 39 16 5 18 70 82 0.85 37
13 Arsenal 39 14 9 16 63 74 0.85 37
14 Chelsea 39 13 9 17 74 84 0.88 35
15 Leicester 39 11 13 15 62 72 0.86 35
16 Everton 39 12 10 17 72 73 0.99 34
17 Blackburn 38 15 4 19 56 65 0.86 34
18 Manchester City 38 15 3 20 73 78 0.93 33
19 Nottingham Forest 38 12 8 18 46 70 0.66 32
20 Birmingham 37 11 9 17 56 69 0.81 31
21 Leeds 37 10 9 18 59 86 0.69 29
22 Luton 39 8 11 20 46 69 0.67 27
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