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Club histories
Updated: Wednesday, December 14, 2016 21:31
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BAILDON
Bao;don
The Baildon side that won the Division One championship in 2009 under the captaincy of Ian Philliskirk
 
by Reg Nelson

The club was formed in 1850 as Baildon Green Cricket and Skating Club. As the name suggests their first home was on Green Road, which doubled in winter as a Skating Club. For the first forty-odd years they were content to play 'friendly' matches, but in 1893 they joined the Airedale and Wharfedale League for competitive cricket, before entering the Bradford League in 1910.

In 1913 Baildon had to apply for re-election and, although they were unopposed, they were not successful. However, they were allowed to appeal and at a meeting at the County Restaurant in Bradford town centre they pleaded their case and were successful. The main part of Baildon's case at the appeal was that negotiations were taking place for an enclosed ground.

Ronnie Burnett
Ronnie Burnet
Brian Close
Brian Close
Andy Baxter
Andy Baxter
John Marshall
John Marshall
Rihard Robinson
Richard Robinson
Mushtaq Ahmed
Mushtaq Ahmed
Mark Bray
Mark Bray

The Jenny Lane ground was acquired and skating dropped from the name in 1914. The ound was leased for £25 per annum, which increased to £60 in the subsequent years. Unfortunately, with the additional overheads this proved almost beyond their means, so the rent was reduced to £45. In the first year they suffered the ignominy of being dismissed for 10 runs by Windhill, which is still a league record.

In 1915 the Saltaire bowler SF Barnes took all ten Baildon wickets for just 14 runs and following that were victims of another all-ten feat in 1917 when in a match against Undercliffe, Cecil Parkin took all ten for 15 runs. Baildon reached their first semi-final of the Priestley Cup in 1918, but went down to Salts by 230 runs. They were in the record books for the wrong reason again in 1927 when S. Culpan of Great Horton became the third, and the last opposition bowler to take all ten Baildon wickets, on this occasion for 49 runs.

Two records, which still stand today, are noteworthy. J. Hill and J. M. Crossley of Brighouse put together a third-wicket partnership of 203 runs against Baildon in 1932. Three years later W. Cawthray and H. Stenion of East Bierley had a tenth wicket partnership of 114 runs.

The record books show that in 1938 in a match against Saltaire, the highest number of centuries in one match was scored.  J. R. Burnet 152 not out ( highest that season) and R. E. Ednie 100 not out were the Baildon centurions with E. A. Hutton 106 not out and W. Farndale 102 not out replying for a victorious Saltaire.

In 1945 a public subscription was organised in memory of Moses Mellor, a man who had worked so zealously for the club over so many years. So much was raised that not only were Baildon able to build the score box as it is today, but the ground was purchased for the princely sum of £1,200.

Undoubtedly the halcyon years for Baildon were in the 1950s when, under Ronnie Burnet, they achieved their best results. Baildon won the Second Division in 1949 to ensure their centenary year were back in the first division. To celebrate this feat they dropped Green to become Baildon CC and begin an unprecedented march to fame. Baildon's hat-trick of championship wins in 1950, 1951 and 1952 was not unique, but in the post war era it has only been equalled by Idle (1965 to 1967), Pudsey Congs (2000 to 2002) and Woodlands (2005-2007).

Ronnie Burnett was a colourful statesman like figure who was always considered an excellent club cricketer who was slightly lacking in First Class terms. However, he did a fine job as captain cajoling the Yorkshire Colts team in the fifties winning the Minor Counties Championship and helping to nurture many fine prospects.

Baildon 1966
Baildon 1966:
Baildon 1996
Baildon 1996: Winners of the Priestley Cup
Baildon 2001
Baildon 2001 Priestley Cup winners

When the senior Yorkshire team were in turmoil in the late fifties he was a shock selection to steady the boat as captain. His influence was so great he won the county championship in his second season in 1959 carving the way for his county to dominate the sixties. Two players from this Yorkshire dynasty Brian Close and Chris Balderstone saw service at Jenny Lane.

The club completed the double in 1952 by winning the Priestley Cup. Notable Baildon bowler  Wilf Burkinshaw achieved a personal hat-trick when, in his first over, he clean bowled three Keighley batsmen with his sixth, seventh and eighth balls in the era of eight ball overs.

It would be 40 years before the club would have the chance to win the cup again. They nearly won the title again in 1953 and 1954, but had to settle for second place on each occasion.

The remaining years in the 1950s and indeed 1960s and 1970s saw them win various awards but they could not shake off being a yo-yo side. The existing pavilion was opened by Len Hutton in 1955, but the club were relegated in that same season. Baildon were promoted in 1958 but were subsequently relegated in 1960 and then suffered the agony of a re- election plea in 1963.

Martin Sherred won the league bowling award in 1964, the youngest bowler to win the award, with 42 wickets at ten runs each. His best bowling was nine for 20 against Yeadon beating his brother's (Dick) nine for 31 feat against Idle in 1959. Sherred who also starred for Idle in later years was a formidable seamer and could be listed amongst the top five leading post-war bowlers in the league in that era. He was a regular choice in the early Bradford League Representative side.  

Baildon’s fortunes sank somewhat in the late sixties having to seek re-election to the league in 1969 and 1970. Roger Pawson, a leading committee man after retirement, achieved the remarkable bowling figures in 1974 of ten for 32 against Yorkshire Bank, becoming the 22nd bowler in the Bradford League to achieve this feat, and at the end of that season Baildon were promoted, only to be relegated in 1978.

In 1984 they gained promotion to be followed by several uneventful years. They were relegated in 1990 and 1992 but somehow reached the Priestley Cup final in the latter eason. However, they were no match for a strong Yorkshire Bank who eased home in a one-sided final.

During these turbulent times Baildon possessed one of the league’s best all-rounders in Andy Baxter who won the prestigious Learie Constantine All-Rounder’s Award in 1989. He was an aggressive batsman and potent fast bowler who oozed competitiveness.

Another award winner for Baildon was Andrew Walker who they recruited from East Bierley; a handy off-break bowler who could also bat. He won the League’s Bowling Averages in 1987, followed by John Marshall the following year. There was another promotion year in 1993, but they were relegated at the end of the next season. During these erratic times for the club the one constant of excellence was Geoff Kay who continued to be one of the leading wicket-keepers in the league winning the League’s Safe Hands Stumping Award in 1982, 1984 and 1992. Kay would become a leading committee man in subsequent years luring many a fine player to the club.

The inspirational appointment of Mick Emmerson as captain in 1996 gave the Jenny Laners five successful years. By August they were Second Division champions, 29 points ahead of second place, and also winning the Priestley Cup, beating Bradford & Bingley in the final at Undercliffe. This was in impressive achievement for the club and proved to be the catalyst for top ranking in the league. Baildon’s score of 198-7 in the final proved to be 56 runs too much for the favourites from Wagon Lane. Seamer Mark Bray proved to be the key bowler for Baildon picking up the Man of the Match Award for his efforts.

The 1998 season was an extraordinary one for Baildon. It didn’t look promising in May when Spen Victoria's Wasim Jaffer and Andy Bethel plundered 277 runs off their attack for a first wicket record. However, by half way they were in the top-half with a record of played 13, won six, lost two, drawn five securing 47 points.

During a summer affected by inclement weather matches on the opening day were called off and were rearranged by the League for the last Sunday in the season. No one was to know how important that game would become for the destination of the title.

By August Baildon were firmly challenging for the title but their luck appeared to be running out losing points to rain in winning positions at home against Hanging Heaton and away at Pudsey Congs. Their closest rivals managed to avoid the rain and Baildon went into their last match of the season against Bradford & Bingley at Jenny Lane knowing they had to win. In a winter temperature Baildon had the neutrals on their side and seemed as if they would prevail in a low scoring affair. Baildon’s off spinner John Marshall was at his immaculate best despite his veteran status but was powerless to prevent his team sliding to a narrow defeat in a controversial match.  

Marshall was very much an off-spinner of the old school tieing the batsman down with a teasing flight and accuracy. He saw fine service with Yorkshire Bank, but played the bulk of his career with Baildon and is one of only a handful of bowlers to have taken a thousand career wickets in the league.  Baildon replicated their position in the league in 1999, before falling to fourth in 2000 as the Emmerson era came to an end. Another major achievement for Emmerson was guiding Baildon to the Heavy Woollen Cup Final at Ossett against Woodlands in 1999. Woodlands made a cracking start but Baildon fought back and when the match went into Monday night because of the rain they eased to victory with that man Richard Robinson guiding them home with 51*. 

Richard Robinson was and still is a fine player and can be realistically classed as one of the all-time greats of the league. He was a fixture in the Bradford League Representative side scoring runs for fun against all the senior leagues. In 1997 he scored a remarkable not out century at Rotherham when the Bradford League successfully chased Yorkshire League’s massive 285. The left-hander had every shot in the book and was a distinctive figure with his long fair hair creeping out of his green cap. He rarely played himself in carefully preferring to take the game away from the hapless bowler. He scored a thousand runs in a season twice for Baildon in 1995 and 1995.

Mick Emmerson might not have been in Robinson’s class but he was a pugnacious batsman signed from the York Senior League who made his name as a very shrewd captain. He pulled the Baildon side together in his image of thinking and managed to engender every morsel of ability and effort from each individual player. He was a brilliant fielder winning the League’s Fielding Award in 2000. The opening pair of seamers who were so influential in Baildon’s Heavy Woollen Cup victory in 1999 was Craig Hitchenor and Mark Bray who were a perfect foil for each other. Bray moved onto the legendary Pudsey Congs side, while Hitchenor left and returned to Jenny Lane twice. Baildon continued a fine Heavy Woollen tradition reaching the final in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006 and 2009 but not able to bring the historic cup home again.     

Baildon under the leadership of James Goldthorp clinched a third Priestley Cup triumph in 2001 when they defeated Yeadon in a twice-delayed final at Undercliffe. The final was an anti-climax in so far as it was a one-sided affair with Baildon winning by over an hundred runs. Simon Davies was deservedly awarded the Man of the Match trophy for getting his side off to a fine start. They also excelled in the league finishing runners up to Pudsey Congs. Opening batsman Simon Davies was appointed captain in 2003 when they finished third as they sought to find the formula which would bring more trophies to the club. Paceman Jaffer Nazir, a prolific wicket-taker with East Bierley and Undercliffe was engaged for the 2004 season. This was an inspired signing as Nazir topped the league bowling averages with 66 wickets while his team finished eighth.

Baildon also turned to pace when they recruited their overseas player for 2005 bringing in Mohammad Siddiq who had taken 110 wickets for Bowling Old Lane the previous year. The Jenny Laners hoped that Siddiq's pace plus the addition of former Yorkshire batsman Scott Richardson would enable them to challenge the top teams. Richardson scored 968 runs and hit three centuries including the season's highest score of 180 not out against Bankfoot.

Left arm spinner Mushtaq Ahmed was Division One's most economical bowler but the team could only finish sixth. Baildon appointed a new captain in 2006 with the prolific left-handed batsman Ian Philliskirk being recruited from Farsley. Philliskirk was a marquee signing for Baildon with a batting repute second to none in the league. He soon made his mark with the bat and helped the club finish sixth in 2006.

Baildon climbed to fifth in 2007, a position they again held in 2008 when injuries to opening bowlers Craig Hitchenor and Andy Walker hampered their efforts. However, the best was to come the following year when virtually every Bradford League pundit was confounded.

Andy Walker
Opening bowler Andy Walker was a key figure in the 2009 championship triumph

 

Jenny Lane Alight With Emotion

When the triumphant firecrackers erupted over Jenny Lane to drown out Keith Moss’s speech on the 12th September 2009 year it heralded a most remarkable title-winning season for Baildon CC. They had lost their last two league matches while their closest challengers East Bierley had contrived to be beaten by two basement teams in the final run-in to hand Baildon the title.

But, one has to wind the clock back to the 2009 pre-season to understand the enormity of Baildon’s achievement. Baildon’s followers were rather pessimistic when key performers Simon Davies and Matthew Duce followed Phil Slater to Wagon Lane to play for a much-heralded Bradford & Bingley side.

The pundits were not particularly impressed by the signings of Matthew Webb, Harry Smallwood and Naeem Ashraf, and a lower mid-table place was predicted. But, there was favourable news about the redoubtable seamer Craig Hitchenor who had confounded everybody by declaring himself fit.

Baildon were off to a flier but few took them seriously at this stage. Even after eight matches- all won, the cricket intelligentsia preferred to look to East Bierley or Bradford & Bingley who were both chasing valiantly. A sudden dip in form resulting in three defeats saw Baildon lose the leadership for several weeks, and it did appear that their critics had a point. In the closest title race in years their rivals floundered and they were back on top with seven matches to go. They held on despite sketchy form in a league where every team could beat every other. Indeed, the bottom team Manningham Mills beat the champions twice, while third bottom Saltaire accounted for the Mills three times!

In the final analysis Baildon had four really influential players. Skipper Ian Philliskirk (677 runs) scored runs quickly and led from the front. Seamer Andy Walker was a total revelation bowling left-arm at a brisk pace with an immaculate line and length capturing 59 wickets. He was the deserved recipient of the League’s Player of the Year Award. One could argue that Ahmed could have also won the aforementioned award.

Not only did he win the League Bowling Averages he also topped Walker’s haul with 62 wickets. Hitchenor was the fourth key player- back to more or less full fitness he was the second most economical bowler in the league, and finished fourth in the bowling averages. These were the quartet that effectively won the title backed by useful contributions from Ahsan Butt and Tabassum Bhatti.

In receiving the trophy from league president Keith Moss skipper Philliskirk spoke of how the title win was dedicated to club stalwarts Tony Reid and Mick Illingworth who had died in recent years.

Baildon fame as a top-notch club soon disintegrated when they were heavily defeated in the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Cup at York in the following year. Injuries to key players also negated their progress as they finished mid-table in 2010. Hitchenor took the reigns as captain as Philliskirk returned to Farsley.

Mustaq Ahmed continued his wily ways with the ball but could not prevent them from the drop in 2011, a mere two years since winning the title. Since joining Baildon from Lidget Green Ahmed continued to bamboozle the opposition batsman with his eccentric brand of left-arm spin. When occasions warranted he opened the bowling and invariably conceded a miserly run-rate while picking up wickets. In his peak years he was a very dangerous late order hitter with legendary tales of six-hitting at Jenny Lane. 

Baildon were promoted at a canter for the 2013 season with Jonathan Reynolds second in the league batting averages with 603 runs. East Bierley recruit Gharib Razak also excelled with 639 runs, while Ahmed’s 57 wickets took him to second in the league bowling averages.

Skipper Hitchenor tried manfully to consolidate his team in the top division in 2013, but they were short on strength in depth. Their fate was effectively sealed in August when Bradford & Bingley discovered enough form to draw away from them. Bizarrely in this relegation season they performed a remarkable double over mighty Woodlands, and also knocked Huddersfield League champions-elect Shepley out of the Heavy Woollen Cup.        

After Hitchenor’s retirement Simon Bailey took over as captain in 2014 and worked hard to get together a team that would challenge for promotion. New recruit James Ford from Follifoot caught the eye ending with 514 runs, but the batting was not good enough to sustain a promotion challenge. Despite finishing third they were 41 points behind Saltaire who were in second place.

The bowling strength was good with Pakistan overseas player Waqas Maqsood proving his worth with 63 wickets at 13.85, while skipper Bailey chipped in with 32 wickets with his off spin. However, the bowling plaudits went to Ahmed who won the Division Two Bowling Averages with 52 wickets at 10.52.

Baildon again finished third in 2015 with the point deficit on second place increasing to 50 points. For most of the campaign they were in the mix for promotion but they faded after suffering a demoralising 10-wicket defeat in late July to their main rivals for second place Scholes.

Skipper Bailey, who scored 400 runs and took vital wickets, tried manfully to rouse his troops, but he was too reliant on the deeds of overseas all rounder Maqsood. He took 59 wickets at 13.22 and also scored 335 runs. Jonathan Reynolds was the outstanding batsman with 622 runs.     

Baildon were very much in transition now with a disappointing 2016 campaign resulting in fifth position. At one stage, their Championship One qualification for 2017 was in doubt as they only mustered eight wins, but rallied towards the end.

Despite this, Jonny Reynolds, who often carried the batting, won the Championship B Batting Averages with 606 runs at 55.09.  Mustaq Ahmed nearly made it a double finishing second in the Bowling Averages with 39 wickets at 10.49. The only other player of consistency was skipper Simon Bailey who scored 322 league runs and took 28 wickets. 

MODERN BAILDON LEGEND- CRAIG HITCHENOR

Craig Hitchenor
Fine bowler Craig Hitchenor

Craig Hitchenor was a seamer who gave his all often ignoring the prevailing injuries that blighted the latter part of his career. His characteristic little angled step at the start of his run launched a heavy-footed stampede to the crease that sent shockwaves to the uninitiated batsman.

Many years ago he appeared in a Heavy Woollen Cup-tie at Broad Oak when one local wag described him as an escaped buffalo running on the square. Buffalo or not, Hitchenor proceeded to bowl the home team out in tandem with his best ever opening partner Mark Bray.

He personally lists Andy Walker (Baildon) and Jimmy Anyon (Farsley) as his best partners but Bray was the perfect foil for him. In some ways Hitch could be described as the last of the wily old seamers who had a kick in pace. At his peak he would give the batsman no peace or scope for a freebie ball to ease the pressure.

He came from an Aire Wharfe background starring at Rawdon during 1989-1996 before commencing his Bradford League career with Baildon in 1997, helping them to win the Heavy Woollen Cup in 1999. Unfortunately, he was not part of Baildon’s Priestley Cup win in 2001 when he chose to help Bilton to the First Division title that very season.

However, he had made an impression on the Bradford League and he returned with Farsley the next year and stayed until season 2005. When he returned to Jenny lane in 2006 he suffered from injuries but battled on through sundry pain barriers. He fulfilled a great ambition in 2009 by winning the title in the Ian Philliskirk side and was a major influence bowling in tandem with Andy Walker.

A surprise decline in team affairs after that and the loss of Philliskirk led to him taking the helm as captain. It was a difficult time for him suffering two relegations with an emphatic promotion year in between. He stuck to his task and continued to bowl his heart out when fitness allowed.   

Statistics can be made to prove anything- the following Bradford League statistics featured in the fabled handbook may not look earth shattering, but it’s an impressive account of bowling against the very best batsmen in the First Division of the league. The thirty four wickets at 14.38 in 2009 proved priceless in their title winning season.

1998   35 wickets at 19.80  Baildon
1999   35 wickets at 22.34  Baildon
2003   49 wickets at 20.47  Farsley
2004   51 wickets at 17.37  Farsley
2005   37 wickets at 17.59  Farsley
2009   34 wickets at 14.38  Baildon

 
One of his personal career highlights was being selected for the Bradford League Representative side in an era when Neil Gill, John Carruthers and John Wood were still about. That is probably the ultimate accolade for a selfless bowler who worked his socks off for his team’s cause. His career best bowling in the Bradford League was 8-29 against Bradford & Bingley in 2008.

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