Cameron the sporting all-rounder

CAMERON Mason is best known for being one of the top goalkeepers in non-league football.

But the 25-year-old from Grotton is an all-rounder and excels at many other sports.

Cameron was a member of the Saddleworth team which won the division 2B title in the Greater Manchester Cricket League, is one of the area’s top crown green bowlers and is close to achieving a single-figure handicap at golf.

Cameron Mason, back row, fourth from left, champion cricketer

He has also represented Dobcross Band Club at darts and snooker in their respective leagues.

“A few friends have remarked that is annoying that I am good at so many sports,” he explained.

“I have been lucky that hand-eye co-ordination comes naturally, and it has enabled me to have great experiences in them.”

While football remains his main focus – he is contracted at Southport FC in National League North – he said it is great to escape from the demands of semi-pro football by taking part in other sports.

Football’s remains Cameron’s great love and it has been an eventful journey since he was scouted by Blackburn Rovers’ shadow academy while playing for Saddleworth School.

He was later in the academy at Oldham Athletic and served an apprenticeship at Chesterfield.

After being released by the Spireites, he spent six months in Australia where he played semi-professional football.

Cameron then had seven years at Curzon Ashton before leaving in the summer for Southport FC, a former Football League club.

He said: “I had one year left of my contract at Curzon, but the manager wanted to change things and we struck a gentleman’s agreement for me to leave.

“Southport FC were straight on the phone and it was a no-brainer. It is a great club and it has worked out really well.”

Cameron was also selected to the England C squad for an non-league international against Wales only for the game to be called off because of Covid-19.

Cameron Mason in action for Southport FC

Another highlight was being asked to be the goalkeeper as Nigerian international striker Odion Ighalo performed finishing drills during a loan spell at Manchester United.

Cameron, who played four games on loan at Mossley in 2017, returned to cricket three years ago when he was asked to play for Saddleworth who were short of players.

And the wicketkeeper/batsman helped the team to the title and reach the final of a cup competition.

Cameron, who starred in junior cricket for Uppermill, added the demands of football means he misses the start and finish to the cricket campaigns.

“The first team started their season before I could play so I had a few games for the seconds before stepping up,” he said.

Cameron, who is also deputy steward at Dobcross Band Club, explained that it was by accident he took up bowls.

“They were short of players, and I was asked to help out. It is a step away from football and something I love doing.”

Cameron has won four club competitions also stars for the teams which play in the Chadderton League on Monday evenings and Failsworth League on Wednesday.

He lost only one out of 19 games for both teams during the season just ended and was third in the Failsworth League’s Order of Merit.

“I missed four or five games because of football. Had I played in them, maybe I would have won it,” he said.

Cameron is a regular in the Chadderton League side but usually only helps when needed in the Failsworth League.

He added it is a juggling act with football, cricket and bowls while also working as a car mechanic at the Skoda dealership in Rochdale.

Cameron praised his employers for being supportive allowing him flexibility so he can leave early for training and matches with Southport FC.

Cameron Mason in action for Southport FC

Until the pandemic, Cameron was a golf member at Ashton and played off a handicap of 12. He is keen to get back playing next year in pursuit of reaching single figures which is a dream.

Cameron, who also went to school at St Anne’s, Lydgate, has also represented Dobcross Band Club at darts – has a board at home so he can practise – and snooker.

If you thought that was an impressive sporting portfolio, there is even more to come.

When Cameron was at Saddleworth School, he was a keen basketball player and had a spell at Manchester Magic before deciding to prioritise football.

He also ran for school in athletics and played rugby and lacrosse. And during his spell in Australia, he also played mixed netball, basketball and handball.

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