Very little is known of the clubs early history, but Emanuel Scott a former Yorkshire player was engaged as a professional from 1873 to 1875. Scott made his only appearance for Yorkshire against Kent at Middlesbrough in 1864. A right handed batsman and medium pace bowler he made eight runs with the bat, but did rather better with the ball taking 2-27.
Largely composed of village players the club’s history has been traced back as far as the Yorkshire Central League, where they had long spells before joining the Leeds League. They then spent five 5 seasons in the Central Yorkshire League from 1944–1948 before re-joining the Leeds League.
Gildersome’s participation in the Heavy Woollen Cup in the forties had modest results. However, in 1944 they made their mark and it was not without controversy. They dismissed Scholes for 55 in the First Round and went on to win by eight wickets. Questions were asked as to whether Gildersome should have played a player named A Booth. After protracted enquiries, which led to resignations from the cup committee, the result was allowed to stand.
In the 2nd round Gildersome defeated close neighbours, Morley, by two wickets, in what was widely acknowledged as the shock of the day. The next tie scheduled to be against Batley was washed away by bad weather, and after complicated fixture re-arrangements, Gildersome opted to seek permission to withdraw from the season’s competition as their players were engaged on war and civil defence duties.
In the 1950’s the club was given the title deeds to the ground by a local family who had a big interest in cricket and were keen to preserve the well-being of the village club. Their generosity, although magnificent at the time, turned out to be a bonus that never became apparent until much later.
No tangible success was enjoyed by Gildersome, but Dave Charlesworth won the Leeds League batting prize in 1966. Charlesworth became something of a folk hero at Gildersome enjoying a 20-year longevity as the club’s leading batsman before serving on the club committee after retirement.
The initial facilities were an adequate ground, one sight screen and two wooden huts (one for changing and one for teas) however the foresight of a small number of individuals in the 1970’s were to transform the club in to the facilities that the club currently enjoys. The club was far from affluent but due to the thriftiness of an active Ladies committee they acquired £300, followed by a contribution in excess of £1,000 from supporters and club members.
This was entrusted to the current Trustees to attempt to improve the facilities. A new clubhouse was built by club members and local tradesman and opened in 1978. Since 1978 extensions have been built including new changing rooms, a driveway laid around part of the field and a small car park. The jewel in the crown was an electronic scoreboard acquired in the 1980’s which was the first of its kind in the area at that time.
This progression would not have been possible without the assorted stalwarts of the club- Ken Beaver, Dave Charlesworth, Vic Kitchen, Terry Marflitt and Ted Yates.
Gildersome decided to return to the Yorkshire Central League for the 1983 season.
They challenged strongly in the 2nd Division with several players winning individual honours. In 1984, D Swaby won the League Batting Averages with 658 runs at 43.80, and the following year in 1985 G Handley replicated this feat with 835 runs at 52.18. A Balmforth made it a double of sorts for the club in 1985 winning the League Bowling Averages with 42 wickets at 13.07.
The club was rapidly developing and in 1986 won the League’s Ground Maintenance Award. But, it was success on the field that would really drive the club forward and in 1987 it duly arrived with the 2nd Division title.
Top flight cricket was difficult to sustain and by the nineties they were back in the 2nd Division. Despite this, they still possessed some fine cricketers with R Kinder winning the League Bowling Averages with 64 wickets at 12.15.
In 1993, they clinched the 2nd Division title with Neil Clay winning the League Bowling Averages with 43 wickets at 14.39. However, it was a battle to preserve their top flight status.
Veteran seam bowler Tony Pickersgill led the team for two seasons in this decade. He had found fame at East Bierley where he helped them win the National Village Trophy at Lords in 1979, and later figured in their cup and league double success. He built a reputation as an extremely competitive and accurate opening bowler.
By 1997, the club had fallen from grace with arguably their worst season in history. Not only were they bottom of the 1st Division and relegated, they failed to win a single league match, and didn’t have a player in the averages in either the batting or bowling averages. The second team suffered the same fate.
A remarkable innings was made in 1999 by Gildersome batsman Muenoddin Kadri who scored an undefeated 200 against Wakefield St Michael’s. Strangely enough this was beaten that year by Shahid Tanvir, who would enjoy several successful seasons at Gildersome, when he established league record score of 222 not out for Staincliffe against Wakefield St Michael’s.
Following the demise of the junior sections in the 1990’s these were resurrected in 2003, and in subsequent years they ran junior teams at every age group including girls.
At the turn of the century things went quiet at Gildersome, but by 2005 they possessed three fine players in Shahid Tanvir, Simon Stirling and Naveed Bhatti.This was illustrated that season by a resounding 1st Division league victory against Moorlands. Gildersome posted a score of 255-2 with Bhatti (55 runs), Tanvir (76*) and Stirling (66*) excelling with the bat, and Tanvir also proving to be the key bowler with 4-24.
That season they also had a huge victory in the First Round of the Jack Hampshire Trophy, scoring a formidable 377-3 against Hopton Mills, with Stirling (137 runs), Bhatti (107*) scoring the bulk of the runs, and Tanvir again the key bowler with 4-14.
Stirling was an explosive cricketer in his pomp able to dictate games with both bat and ball. He was quite a swift opening bowler capable of taking the early key wickets. In the latter part of his career he specialised with the bat taking on the bowlers with his special brand of power strokeplay.
Stirling was a native of New Zealand who played forty games for Manawatu. He settled in the UK starring for Rawdon, East Ardsley, Gildersome and Wakefield St Michael’s, and latterly for Carlton.
In 2006, Gildersome finished third in the 1st Division, ten points behind Liversedge who were in a promotion place in second position.Tanvir won the prestigious All Rounder’s Trophy for the 1st Division having taken 67 wickets with his off breaks, and also scored 532 runs. He was an accomplished cricketer who had played First Class cricket in his native Pakistan.
Stirling finished second in the league batting averages with 621 runs at 44.36, while Bhatti was close behind with 748 runs.
The club had tried to compete with the bigger clubs, but found it increasingly difficult in an era when big money was being paid for players. A decision was made to return to its all amateur status and bring on the juniors in senior cricket.
Fortunes worsened at First Team level with thoughts of Premier League cricket a distant dream. By 2010, Gildersome was in the third tier of the Central Yorkshire League, competing in Division 2.
They finished half-way with eleven league wins to their name, and enjoyed the services of two consistent batsmen in James Thompson who had a top score of 132* in an aggregate of 414 runs, and wicket-keeper James Glover who topped the 500 runs mark. The leading bowler was Martin Morley who took 34 wickets at 18.35.
Morley was the leading batsman in 2011 with 367 runs at 28.23 as Gildersome slipped into the lower half. The pattern continued in 2012 with Morley again excelling in a season when Gildersome could manage only five wins. Morley was the division’s leading wicket-taker with 50 wickets at 13.42 with a 8-12 analysis against Ossett A.
Competing in Division 3 in 2013, Gildersome were effectively in the fourth tier of the Central Yorkshire League, and they could only record five wins. Mark Simpson had a good season with the bat scoring 482 runs at 53.56 with a top score of 133*. Khalil Liaquat was the most penetrative bowler with 41 wickets at 15.34.
After a re-structure of the league, Gildersome were located in the 1st Division (third tier) for 2014 and finished a credible third. Veteran Neil Clay (408 runs) was the mainstay of the batting with junior Jerome Austin averaging 38.00.
In what would turn out to be Gildersome’s last season in the Central Yorkshire League they finished fourth out of seven teams with Haseeb Hashmi proving to be the outstanding performer scoring 413 runs at 41.30. Mark Simpson averaged 58.00 with the bat from just nine innings.
After a multi-league re-structure, the Central Yorkshire league clubs were integrated into the newly positioned Bradford Premier League and Gildersome would take their place in the Conference in 2016.
The last regular First Team to participate in the Central Yorkshire League was comprised of: Haseeb Hasmi, Gavin Dyson, Neil Clay, Martin Morley, Jotham Barnett, Jerome Austin, Liam Pearson, Anil Barot, Khalil Liaquat, Phoebe Austin, Mark Simpson.
It was a real struggle for Gildersome in their first season in the Conference League in 2016. They just managed three wins and finished in the bottom two.
Mark Simpson was again a high achiever averaging 49.17 with the bat, while Haseeb Hashmi was the top aggregate scorer with 413 runs. However, Liam Pearson (29 wkts), had scant support with the ball.