CricketEurope, 17 April 2020
It's an iconic image of Viv Richards batting at Bready which is the latest photo to feature in our series.
It was taken by the late Billy McLeod who was one of the leading sports photographers in the region before he died following a heart operation in 2007.
Billy loved his cricket and planned his itinerary carefully each weekend, spending hours upon hours at matches.
He was a great help to me personally when I started, offering tutoring and advice - not common in a field which could be very competitive at times.
I laughed when he told me of his conversion to digital photography, with many snappers reluctant to embrace the new technology.
In the late 90's he was covering a 100m sprint and the photographers were all lined up at the finishing line. The starter gun went and the guy to his left just kept his finger on the button for all 10 or 11 seconds. He then hooked up a laptop to his phone where he studied the 70-80 images, chose the best one and emailed it off to his office - all done and dusted in 5 minutes!
Billy faced a 2 hour drive back to Derry, a spell in the dark room developing his little film and for no guarantee of what he had taken. It was the beginning of the end for old school photography and he knew it.
I helped him with the computer side of things and in return he was always there for me with words of encouragement and lots of little tips.
He had just started to transfer his early images to digital when he sadly died. It's a great pity that many of his photographs will be never seen - there is little/no appetite for governing bodies to help with what is a hugely time consuming project.
I'll add a selection of Billy's photographs to this series. The one below is Viv Richards batting at Bready in the 1980's. The Magheramason club had invited him and Ian Botham over for what was a marvellous day in front of a large crowd.
They also had a special single wicket competition in the 1980's when they had the likes of Imran Khan, Malcolm Marshall and Allan Border participating. Great memories.
Apart from this game at Bready, I never saw Viv Richards playing live until later when I was a student in England going to watch him play for Glamorgan against Somerset at Sophia Gardens in 1990.
The build-up centered on Viv's acrimonious departure from Somerset, but the game itself turned into the Jimmy Cook show.
The South African, who I knew little of, batted superbly in glorious sunshine to score 313 not out as Somerset made 535 for 2 declared.
Viv only made 16 in both innings, and I left bitterly disappointed, consoling myself with a few pints and a trip to the cinema to watch the recently released Krays film.
It's hard to fathom now just how Bready managed to get such world superstars over, but in pre-IPL times cricketers weren't paid anywhere near the vast sums they are today.
The 'Master Blaster ' Viv was box-office and from memory he and Botham scored centuries, although I'm pretty sure there were catches deliberately put down to ensure a happy public!