ONE of the county's best-known cricket fans is celebrating an incredible milestone with his 73rd season as a Worcestershire member.

Alec Mackie, who saw the great Sir Don Bradman in action on his final tour of England in 1948, is eagerly awaiting the return of cricket, if and when it does return.

The 81 year-old said: "This club is dear to my heart, like a second home, and through good and bad times, you keep on supporting because it means no such to me.

"My father took me along for the first time in 1947 as an eight-year-old junior member and I was instantly hooked.

"The ground looked a whole lot different than today – no Hick Pavilion, View, D’Oliveira Stand or hotel, but it is always a special feeling when you drive or walk through the gates each morning and that has never changed.

"The 1948 Australians are one of my earliest recollections and Don Bradman ‘failed’ in only scoring a century because he normally got a double hundred at New Road.

"Even though he was in the twilight of his career, you could still see what a great player he had been, someone who came within a small decimal point of averaging 100 in Test cricket."

Seeing the Australian legend is one of the earliest memories of Blackfinch New Road for former journalist Mackie who worked on the Birmingham Post and Mail for 12 years and was Hereford-Worcester County Council press officer for 20 years.

The Second World War had only ended two years earlier when Mackie first stepped onto New Road after being made a junior member by his father.

He has witnessed the many ups and downs in the fortunes of the county – five Championship titles in the space of 25 years but also the great flood of the 2007 season which threatened the future of the club.

Mr Mackie said one of his most proudest recollections is seeing Worcestershire win their first Championship in 1964 under the captaincy of Don Kenyon.

He said: “The team spearheaded by Jack Flavell & Len Coldwell, had been building to that point for two or three years, having only just missed out on the title in 1963 and being runners-up in the first Lord’s final (the Gillette Cup).

“But the signing of Tom Graveney gave them that little bit extra to add to the quality already in the squad – and got back in the England side at the age of 39.

“It was the same 12 months later when Basil D’Oliveira joined and made such an impact and the title was retained in 1965.

“The 1980s produced a similar scenario with a good side developing under Phil Neale given that extra lift with the signing of Ian Botham, Graham Dilley and Neal Radford – and seven trophies followed in five years.”