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Updated: Sunday, November 27, 2016 18:59
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HANGING HEATON
Hanging Heaton 2013
Hanging Heaton's 2013 Heavy Woollen Cup winning team. Back, from left, Dan Busfield, Joe Fraser, John Carruthers, David Stiff, Jamie Sykes, James Stansfield, Simon Woodhead. Front: Joe Suggitt, Imran Dawood, Mark Lawson (captain), Gary fellows, Jamie Baulk.
Picture: © Mike Baker JCT600 Bradford League

The club was founded in 1876 and entered the Heavy Woollen District League in 1898. In 1899 they tasted fame by reaching the Heavy Woollen Cup Final only to fall to an inglorious defeat when being bowled out for 28 in reply to Dewsbury & Saville’s 173.

They had a short spell in the Wakefield League before joining the Heavy Woollen League and Yorkshire Council in 1916. Following an altercation with the Heavy Woollen League which resulted in a rift between the Yorkshire Council and Yorkshire Federation, they became members of the Leeds League from 1939-1943.

They didn’t enjoy much success until 1941 when Ronnie Robinson joined the club from East Leeds. He made an immediate impact and Hanging Heaton became Leeds League champions and as such played Jack Appleyard’s XI at Roundhay Park in one of the annual war time spectaculars watched by 10,000 people. The club played a number of matches on Sundays in the war years against guest teams containing star players stationed in the region and as a result they prospered as a club.

Hanging Heaton left the Leeds League to join the Central Yorkshire League in 1944 which swallowed up the remnants of the Heavy Woollen League to create a two division structure. They were placed in Division Two and in winning the title gained promotion and as a bonus clinched the Yorkshire Council Championship.

Robinson led from the front as one of the great all-rounders of his day and won the Council bowling award with 75 wickets at an average of 7.37 just ahead of former Yorkshire star Johnny Wardle who was playing at Denaby taking 113 wickets at 7.85. The following year, 1945, the club became Central Yorkshire League champions for the first time. They again won the Yorkshire Council championship in 1946 and followed up by lifting the Heavy Woollen Cup in 1947, the Central Yorkshire League championship in 1948 and the Heavy Woollen Cup the same season.

Longevity seemed to be the name of the game for several Hanging Heaton stars of this period and no more so than batsman C.McNair who took the league batting award in 1949, 1958 and 1962.  D.Haigh must have been an influential bowler in the title wins of 1951 and 1952 having won the league bowling both years. Other notable players to have won individual league silverware between 1945 and 1962 were B.Brown, C.Sykes and H.Shaw.

The 1951 season was a golden one for the Teewitlanders. Robinson became the only captain to collect the Central Yorkshire League championship, the Heavy Woollen Cup and Yorkshire Council championship in the same year. Many good players were associated with Hanging Heaton during this successful period, and many more were to follow to maintain the highly successful tradition of the club. Success followed success.

They won the Central Yorkshire League title in 1952, 1956, 1957, 1962, 1969 1972, 1974 and 1975, and in addition were Yorkshire Council champions in 1962 and 1975. They continued their excellent record in the Heavy Woollen Cup by winning it 1969 and 1974.

1946
Ossett 146, Hanging Heaton 147-9
1948
Hanging Heaton 151-2, Heckmondwike 97
1951
Hanging Heaton 153-4, East Ardsley 67
1957
Dewsbury 150, Hanging Heaton 143
1958
Hartshead Moor 131, Hanging Heaton 87
1959
Cleckheaton 134, Hanging Heaton 112
1960
Cleckheaton 151-6, Hanging Heaton 97
1962
Mirfield 110-5, Hanging Heaton 81
1965
Hanging Heaton 77, Heckmondwike 78-5
1967
Thornhill 68, Hanging Heaton 69-2
1969
Hanging Heaton 172, Wakefield 108
1970
Hanging Heaton 205-6, Chickenley 209-6
1972
Heckmondwike 142-5, Hanging Heaton 141
1973
Hanging Heaton 122, Morley 125-1
1974
Hanging Heaton 216-9, Kirkburton 81
1975
Thornhill 151, Hanging Heaton 132
Nat Lawrence
Nat Lawrence received the Sir Leonard Hutton Trophy from league president Keith Moss in 2011
Hanging Heaton 1986
Hanging Heaton's 1986 Priestley Cup winning team
Hanging Hjeaton 1989
Hanging Heaton celebrate their 1989 title success
Hanging Heaton 1995
Hanging Heaton's 1995 title-winning side
Steve Foster
Steve Foster joined the club in 2000
VVS Laxman
Indian Test star VVS Laxman featured in the 1995 Division One championship triumph
Alan Mynett
Wicketkeeper Alan Mynett was an influential figure behind the stumps and with the bat
Alan Mynett record score
Alan Mynett after his superb 179
David Stiff
David Stiff won the Sir Learie Constantine All-rounders Trophy in the 2012 season
John Virr
Scorer John Virr receives a medal from Keith Moss after the 2013 Heavy Woolen Cup final wi

The title win in 1962 was brought about in no small measure by Yorkshire Colt Tony Nicholson who had a remarkable return of 8-16 in 16 overs against Cleckheaton. Nicholson, a medium pace bowler who could make the ball talk, went on to have an excellent career with Yorkshire as the perfect foil for Freddie Trueman.

Described by many critics as the best bowler in the post-war years not to have played for England, he took 879 first-class wickets at an astonishingly low average of 19.75.  He claimed 100 wickets in a season twice, in 1966 and 1967, and was part of the 1964-65 tour of South Africa but had to withdraw injured.

Hanging Heaton’s Central Yorkshire League history was nothing short of remarkable. After their initial unbeaten season in the Second Division in 1944 they played 713 top section matches with 343 wins, 281 draws and 89 losses. In their latter years in the league despite their dominance they had a fierce rivalry with Heckmondwike who were almost as successful.

Seamer Harry Atkinson was a true legend at Bennett Lane having proved a star in the Central Yorkshire League he also enjoyed an equally successful career in the Bradford League. He was a feared bowler in the seventies particularly if there was something in the wicket. He won the league bowling averages in both 1971 and 1974, and also performed an all-ten wicket feat in 1972 against Wakefield.

The initiative and drive to apply for entry into the Bradford league was orchestrated by the late Brian Wilkinson whose efforts for 25 years as cricket chairman proved invaluable and the club are indebted to him. Totally committed to supporting all the club’s teams, he provided an air of stability and confidence to everyone while still working within financial constraints affordable by the club.

David Garner, captain of the side for the previous decade, led the club into the Bradford League in 1980. His side included Atkinson, taker of 100 league wickets in 1974, Ronnie and Raoul Hudson, Carl Bielby, John Crowhirst, David Legood, Roger Braithwaite and Malcolm Preston.

It was the second time in the club's history up to then that Second Division cricket was played. Once again it was only for one term because they went through the season unbeaten. Hanging Heaton finished second in the league to Eccleshill but most importantly gained promotion into the First Division. Most pundits backed Hanging Heaton with their pedigree to take the title but it was not to be as they were edged out of it by four points.

Hanging Heaton’s players certainly made their mark in that first season. Ruel Hudson scored the club’s first century in the league at Queensbury but it was his brother Ronnie who captured the headlines. On August 3 he hit the first double-century in a Bradford League match when he made 201 against Keighley. He went on to score a season’s tally of 1,210, ably assisted by brother Ruel who scored 774.

On entry to the First Division in 1981 Hanging Heaton had no plans to quietly consolidate. They competed at the right end of the table to finish third, fourth, fourth and second up to 1984 with silverware just around the corner. Left-arm spinner Roger Braithwaite was a tower of strength during these years winning the WH Foster League Bowling Trophy in 1981, 1984 and later in 1987.

Seamer Atkinson was consistency personified with hauls of 43, 48 and 34 wickets.  Ronnie and Ruel Hudson scored the bulk of the runs with Chris Leathley having a particularly good season in 1984 with 798 runs. However, Ronnie Hudson was becoming a legend at Bennett Lane with hauls of 854, 827 and 838 runs. 

The 1983 campaign was a remarkable season for Simon Lax who was recruited from the Aire-Wharfe League. Not only did he register the highest individual score in the league with 159 against Farsley, but he became the only player to have scored four-successive centuries in Bradford League cricket.

Pakistan Test cricketer Iqbal Qasim was contracted in 1984 and had a season to remember with 433 runs and 54 wickets. Qasim ended his Test career with 171 wickets with a ratio of approximately 3.5 wickets a match. His accurate bowling saw his economy rate at a very low 2.21.

He pushed the ball through quicker than normal, but extracted great turn, and deceived batsmen through variations in pace and trajectory. He is most notable for spinning Pakistan to victory in the fifth Test at Bangalore of the 1987 India-Pakistan series, and thus securing Pakistan's first series win on Indian soil. He took 9-121, including the key scalp of Sunil Gavaskar for 96 in the last innings of the game. Qasim remained in the shadows of his teammate, leg spinner Abdul Qadir, although his career returns are superior by average and very similar by strike rate.

Ironically Qadir was also contracted as Hanging Heaton’s overseas player in the eighties and he experienced mixed results. Natural talent combined with aggression and passion made Qadir one of the most-successful spinners of his era. He had a distinct run-up, bounding in to the crease, and a great variety of deliveries: there was the orthodox leg-break, the top spinner, two types of googlies and the flipper.

Qadir was unique for bowling leg spin at a time when it was not only rare but considered obsolete, and he kept the torch alight for a generation. His fervent appeals made him a great favourite with the spectators but sometimes got him into trouble with umpires. Qadir played 67 Test matches during and took 236 wickets, with an average of 32.80, including 15 five-wicket hauls. His best bowling performance was against England at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore in 1987. He also scored 1,029 runs including three fifties.

Wicketkeeper David Legood was an integral part of the Hanging Heaton side that was slowly building itself up for future glories. He proved his expertise by winning the league wicket-keeping award in 1984, before repeating the feat in both the 1986 and 1987 seasons.

Their first major Bradford League honour arrived in 1985 when they defeated Undercliffe by 12 runs in a fine Priestley Cup final. Openers Roy Spencer (91) and Peter Ingham (50) laid the foundations for a total of 208-5. Undercliffe threatened to challenge the total but the ever-reliable Atkinson made sure they didn’t snatch victory. He took 5- 77 in 25 overs to keep Undercliffe in check and earned the man of the match award.

Hanging Heaton retained the trophy in 1986 thanks to another stunning individual performance from the inspirational Ronnie Hudson. He smashed eight sixes and 20 fours in an unbeaten innings of 152 as Hanging Heaton made 289-6. Eccleshill were dismissed for 174 in reply and Hudson was named as Man of the Match.

During the cup triumph years they were still highly competitive in the league with impressive fourth and second positions. Yorkshire’s Chris Pickles who had more than a useful season in 1985 with 377 runs and 34 wickets, followed this with 654 runs in 1986. Another county cricketer Chris Lethbridge emerged in 1986 scoring 628 runs and taking 43 wickets. He gave sterling service at Bennett Lane and fitted the profile of a very competitive cricketer.

Lethbridge was a right-handed batsman who bowled right-arm medium pace. He made his first-class debut for Warwickshire against Yorkshire in the 1981 County Championship. He made 49 further first-class appearances for the county, the last of which came against Derbyshire in the 1985 County Championship.

In his 50 first-class matches, he scored a total of 1,033 runs at an average of 22.95, with a high score of 87 not out. This score, which was one of three first-class fifties he made, came against Somerset in 1982. An all-rounder, with the ball he took 77 wickets at a bowling average of 38.90, with best figures of 5-68. These figures, his only first-class five-wicket haul, came against Glamorgan in 1982.

Hanging Heaton were establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with when they won their first Bradford League title in 1987 edging out East Bierley by two points. This time much of the credit had to go to Braithwaite who took 54 wickets at 12.54 runs each. The most famous name that year, but certainly not the most influential, was Indian Test star Dilip Vengsarkar who contributed 478 runs at 36.77. Former Yorkshire player Ingham scored 512 runs, while Pickles chipped in with 644.  

Vengsarkar played in 116 Test matches scoring 6,868 runs at an average of 42.13 with a top score of 166. His greatest claim to fame was handling the West Indies pacemen during their fast bowling heyday - he scored six centuries against the likes of Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Andy Roberts. He also scored a century at Lord's in 1986 and thereby attaining the distinction of scoring three-consecutive Test match centuries at Lord's. For his effort to help India win the Test series in England he was named man of the series.

Hanging Heaton slipped a little in 1988 to sixth with Ingham starring with the bat with 687 runs. Ingham made eight first-class appearances for Yorkshire  between 1979 and 1981, scoring 290 runs with a top score of 64, at an average of 20.71. In 13 one-day games he averaged 45.85, with a top score of 87 not out. In cricket beneath first team level – namely Second XI and under-25, Ingham scored over 1,000 runs for Yorkshire in 1979 and 1981.

In 1989 an incredible seven Hanging Heaton batsmen made the league averages – Kevin Plant (357 runs), Lethbridge (540 runs), D Adams (634 runs), A Arif (810 runs) .Leathley (721 runs), RonnieHudson (589 runs) and Ingham (598 runs). This array of batting talent pointed towards the club’s second title win in three years as they pipped Bradford & Bingley by four points.

The title win allowed them to enter the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions in 1990 which they duly won beating Batley in the final at East Bierley.This was ample consolation for an uninspired eighth-place finish in the league with Leathley (793 runs), Ingham (648 runs) and John Whittle (553 runs) being the prominent performers. 

During 1991 Hanging Heaton fielded a couple of highly competitive, bristling opening bowlers Lethbridge and Mark Beardshall who found greater fame at East Bierley.

Several quiet seasons followed with John Whittle proving to be a prolific scorer with tallies of 972, 649 and 860, but more significantly was the emergence of pace bowler John Carruthers who took 73 wickets in 1993 and 71 in 1995.

Another star player of the era was Indian Samir Dighe who scored 981 runs in 1994. He was a right-handed batsman and a wicketkeeper who was a late entrant to Test cricket during 1999–2000 season, at which time he was 31 years of age. On the final day of the Third Test against Australia in Chennai, Dighe made an unbeaten 22 on debut, after a collapse during the run-chase, helping the Indians secure a historic 2-1 series win.

It was in the early nineties wicketkeeper/batsman Alan Mynett began an illustrious career with Hanging Heaton that would bring top honours for himself and the club. He was primarily a team man and the epitome of the Hanging Heaton tradition of competitiveness. He was as agile as any other keeper, but also bailed his team out on numerous occasions with his effervescent strokeplay.

 In 1994 his 729 runs for his team was only topped by Dighe that season. He was a regular selection in the fabled Bradford League Representative team led by Chris Gott who swept all before them for five years in the nineties. In 1996 his wicketkeeping ability was rewarded when he won the league prize for this skill.   

In 1995 Hanging Heaton assembled a team that was good enough to pip a very strong Windhill side to the title by two points. This was their third title win in eight years. Although future Test player VVS Laxman was the most famous player in the side his 619 runs were bettered by David Snelgrove (710) and John Whittle (649). Laxman debuted at Test level in 1996 scoring 50 against South Africa. He went on to play 134 Test matches scoring 8,781 runs at an average of 45.97 with a top score of 281.

Ismail Dawood also contributed 560 runs. Dawood played first-class cricket for Northants, Worcestershire, Glamorgan and Yorkshire. In 39 first class matches Dawood scored 1,122 runs at 22 with a best of 102. He took 94 catches with six stumpings. In 51 one-day matches he scored 732 runs at 21.52 with a top score of 60, taking 44 catches and making 14 stumpings. He played Twenty/20 cricket in 2004 and 2005 for Yorkshire, scoring 44 runs at 8.80. The opening pair of seamers Carruthers (71) and David Watts (44) was consistent enough to back the splendid batting of 1995, while Mynett swallowed up most of the edges.

Surprisingly their fortunes dipped in the next three years with a highest position of eighth. Former Yorkshire contracted player Steve Bartle emerged in 1997 with 725 runs, while Paul Spragg was also a heavy scorer. Left-aArm spin bowler Simon Purdy gave the team much needed balance with a season best of 44 wickets in 1996.

Hanging Heaton was back in business in 1999 winning the title for the fourth time in a close run race with Baildon. Although the batting was solid with Payne (775), Bartle (697), Mynett (424) and Steve Bourne (557 ) being the chief run scorers, the catalyst for this title win was the 95 wickets Carruthers took. He was at his peak in 1999 and he had the ability to extract real pace from even the slower wickets.      

Hanging Heaton boosted their squad in 2000 by signing England Cricket Board captain Steve Foster from Gomersal to form a powerful opening partnership with Bartle. Foster had won individual honours with Gomersal in the Central Yorkshire League and would have probably stayed with them if they had not started their Bradford League career in the second division.

The 2000 team were a formidable outfit with players of the calibre of Foster, Carruthers, Bartle, Elliot Noble, Mynett and Purdy in their ranks, with the tenacious back-up of Javid Umarji. It was a mystery why they missed out on domestic honours that season finishing a disappointing sixth, but endured terrible luck in the Priestley Cup final at Undercliffe against East Bierley.

Bierley made a formidable 241-7 with Yorkshire’s Anthony McGrath scoring a century on one of his few appearances that season. Hanging Heaton went off like a train in reply until heavy rain halted proceedings. Returning on the Monday night in less than favourable conditions they were bowled out for a disappointing 173. It was impossible to regain the momentum they had achieved before the rains came the previous day. Amid this disappointment there was a resolution amongst the players to hit back on the field of play.

As entrants in the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy and the Heavy Woollen Cup for 2000, they had a great chance to put the Bradford League on the map as they negotiated the early rounds.

Blacksheep Trophy 2000:  After accounting for Streethouse and Bradford & Bingley (holders), they were matched with a formidable Doncaster Town side in the semi-final. Having been put into bat, Bartle and Foster put on 68 for the first wicket to lay the foundations for a final score of 207, with the latter scoring 97. Doncaster never came to terms with the seamers of Hanging Heaton with Noble (5-23) and Carruthers (3-41) reducing the Yorkshire League team to a meagre 119 all out. Doncaster Town were the current holders of the NCA Club Cup won at Lord’s, and contained three Yorkshire contracted players in their team, namely Simon Widdup, Simon Guy and Richard Dawson who would go on and represent England. The final at the Leeds Police ground was an anti-climax as Hanging Heaton knocked over York Senior League club Clifton Alliance by ten wickets, Foster taking the man of the match award.

Heavy Woollen Cup 2000: Hanging Heaton meant business in this trophy with decisive victories over Broad Oak, Methley, Mirfield and Elland on the way to a deserved final against Baildon at Liversedge. Baildon batted first but were skittled for 146, with Noble being the chief destroyer with a fine 5-55 in 19 overs. Hanging Heaton had no trouble knocking off this modest total with Foster carrying his bat for 71, with Bartle (64) the only dismissed batsman. Hanging Heaton had beaten all their opponents with ease and had thoroughly deserved their success.

This remarkable inter-league double was an unprecedented achievement for Hanging Heaton and has not been achieved since.

Between 2001 and 2008 Hanging Heaton were relative under-achievers for a club of their standing. To finish tenth in 2006 raised a few eyebrows at the time and nobody would predict it would get worse in 2009.

Ironically this period could have began with Hanging Heaton crowned as the top club side in Yorkshire as they took Pudsey Congs to the last over in the 2001 Black Sheep Final. They also lost in the Heavy Woollen Cup final as Baildon took their revenge with a four-wicket victory.

Individually they could still compare with the top clubs in the league. Foster won the Learie Constantine all rounder award in 2001 after finishing third in the batting averages and topping the bowling. He was an extremely consistent batter who had the temperament to bat through an innings. He could also bowl a brisk medium pace with a consistent wicket-to-wicket offensive. He scored 840 runs in 2001 and 753 the following year.

Seamer Nick Summerscales became Carruther’s opening partner taking an impressive 50 wickets in 2004. Clubman Umarji had his best season in 2004 with 576 runs, while Purdy took 59 wickets in the same year.

The overseas recruits were relatively up to standard with Vikram Rathore scoring 893 and 745 in successive seasons, and Sri Lankan Thilan Thushara, who replaced him, less impressive with 576 and 459. Other notable cricketers at Bennett Lane circa 2005/2008 were Alex Morris, Chris Schofield and Imran Arif who would represent Sussex as an opening bowler. Former Yorkshire contracted playerHaroon Rashid was the leading batsman in 2008 with 586 runs. He would top that in 2009 scoring 794 runs with a top score of 113 not out. But it would be to no avail for his team.

Nobody would have predicted the relegation of Hanging Heaton in 2009. They finished 21 points from safety behind Saltaire with only one player making the league averages. It called for drastic action and old boy Carruthers was brought back from Birstall as cricket chairman. 

With the retention of free-scoring Rashid they also added Robert McFarlane from Birstall and former Yorkshire leg-break bowler Mark Lawson to their squad. Predictably they took the second division title by storm with a 74-point gap on runners-up Manningham Mills. The batting was strong with Rashid (763), McFarlane (746), Lawson (446) and James Stansfield (487) scoring freely, while Lawson (60) and the returning Carruthers (53) twere the key wicket takers.

Lawson did not quite establish himself as a first class leg spinner, plying his trade with Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Middlesex, Kent and Staffordshire. He made his first-class debut for Yorkshire against Somerset at North Marine Road Ground, Scarborough in July 2004. He toured Australia with the England Under-19 team, played against South Africa in 2003, and was a member of the squad for the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh in February 2004.

Back in the First Division with a similar eleven they consolidated in ninth spot with all-rounder McFarlane their key player scoring 589 runs and taking 41 wickets. Mynett took the highest individual league score award with 178 not out against Gomersal, while Carruthers edged towards his 1,000 wicket target with 35.

There was a concern at Bennett Lane in 2012 when they slipped to tenth just above the relegation trapdoor. Individual performances were moderate with Nick Bresnan (309) and Joe Fraser (396), the man runscorers. Fraser was a signing from Driffield- a tall left-hander who batted in the classical style.

The player of the season was undoubtedly former county man David Stiff who took the coveted Learie Constantine all rounders trophy with 402 runs with the bat including a top score of 124 not out, and 41 wickets with the ball.

Stiff had been signed from Pudsey St Lawrence with a reputation of scoring rapid runs in middle-order. He had bowled very briskly as opening bowler without capturing many wickets. For Hanging Heaton he began to take wickets with his pronounced bounce when he pitched fractionally short of a good length. The former Yorkshire fast bowler first made headlines for a spell of bowling against Uganda of 4-7.

In 2004 Stiff decided to leave Yorkshire amid a lot of interest from other counties, choosing Kent. In 2007, Stiff was released by Kent and went to Leicestershire. At the start of the 2009 season Stiff joined Somerset on a two-month trial and on  May 14, 2009 he accepted an extension to his contract which would last until the end of that season. His first class career ended with 43 wickets with a best of 5-91, and 321 runs at 22.92.

There was great optimism at Bennett Lane in 2013 due to the marquee signing of Gary Fellows from Wrenthorpe. He had won virtually every individual and team honour at Wrenthorpe in an era of untold riches for the club. He had previously scored plentifully at Pudsey St Lawrence in a career that put him in the upper hierarchy of the very best league cricketers of his generation.

Fellows, a right-handed batsman and right arm medium pace bowler, played regularly for Yorkshire from 1998 to 2003 in first-class cricket. He was later stereotyped by his county as a one-day player which helped extend his career to 2005. A bustling, busy player in First Class cricket he scored 1,592 runs at 23.41, with a highest score of 109, and he took 32 wickets at 38.37, with a best of 3-23. He played 96 one-day matches for the Tykes, scoring 1,350 runs at 20.76, with a top of 80 not out, and taking 23 wickets at just over 37. He was known as a brilliant fielder on the county circuit.

In 2013 with the recruitment of Gary Fellows and the retention of their better players they were expected to challenge the status quo under the bustling leadership of Lawson. The fact their league form was decidedly patchy must have been a source of great frustration to all at Bennett Lane. Fellow’s 983 runs at 46.81, and Stiff’s 50 wickets failed to lift the team above an uninspired eighth position.

However, they have found solace in cup cricket- reaching the Priestley Cup final with a thumping win at Cleckheaton, and an impressive run chase in the semi-finals against Bradford & Bingley. The outcome of the 2013 final at Farsley where they were paired with Lightcliffe, was based largely on the toss as overnight rain had seeped on to the square rendering it difficult for the first batting side.

Fellows was an early casualty as his side struggled against the pace of Yorkshire’s Moin Ashraf who took 3-32 in his ten overs. As the wicket dried out Stansfield’s heroic 88 deservedly won him the man of the match award and gave the score some semblance of respectability at 189-9.

However, Lightcliffe won at a canter with all their batters scoring solidly in a score of 197-3, on a quickly drying wicket. Ironically the last time Hanging Heaton reached the Priestley Cup Final in 2000 rain hindered their chances of victory. The same could definitely be said in 2013.

Hanging Heaton’s progress in the Heavy Woollen Cup in 2013 was straightforward in respect of comfortable victories against Liversedge, Barkisland and Townville in the semi-finals. The latter were expected to give them a stiff challenge given their runaway lead at the top of the Central Yorkshire League, but after Dan Busfield (3-29) took the all important wicket of Tim Walton with the first ball of the match it was always going to be Hanging Heaton’s game. Fellows (75no) and Joe Fraser (41no) finished the game with some aplomb in a seven-wicket victory.

Some pundits gave New Farnley a good chance with their talisman Ian Fisher available on final day. They elected to bat and were off to a bright start.  Matthew Good (17) and Lee Goddard (36) opened with a stand of 36, and at 83-2 New Farnley looked capable of setting a challenging score. T

he dangerous Ian Fisher (27) was soon in his stride but gave it away when he looked to be getting on top of the bowling. The mercurial Fellows dismissed key batters David Cummings, Peter Ross and Fisher with his gentle medium pacers and it was left to all-rounder Nick Walker (19no) to carry the fight with little support from the tail. It was something of an anti-climax for New Farnley to finish on 158.

Hanging Heaton openers Fellows (79no) and Jamie Sykes (10) faced spirited bowling from Nadeem Hussain and Walker, but a stand of 54 runs confirmed a comfortable passage for the batting side. The crowd was richly entertained when fast bowler Walker sent down six successive bouncers at Stansfield who put one of them into the crowd. He was dismissed trying to repeat the shot in the same over, but in reality Stansfield’s quickfire 36 confirmed a comfortable victory.

It was all change for 2014 with skipper Lawson leaving for New Farnley, and Stansfield departing to Scholes who had gained entry into the Bradford League for 2015. Another pillar of the fabled Wrenthorpe side David Paynter joined the club for 2014, along with Methley’s free-scoring Australian batsman Nick Connolly. They finished a credible third but were never in touch at the top.

Fellows had another good season scoring 885 runs at 52.06 to finish second in the League batting averages. He was assisted ably by the runs produced by newcomer Ben Elvidge (373), Paynter (402) and Connolly (419), but they had no cutting edge with the ball to really challenge. It was a landmark season for Carruthers who finally got over the line in achieving 1,000 league wickets.

Former county seamer Stiff, who had a disappointing return of 25 wickets, excelled in the middle order with the bat scoring 316 runs. This was amply illustrated by his 23-ball half-century against Yeadon.

It was more of the same in 2015 with a formidable batting force in Connolly (928 runs), Fellows (953 runs) and Ian Philliskirk (759 runs) who all averaged in excess of 44. Former Methley batsman Connolly had a particularly good season averaging 54.59 and finishing second in the League Batting Averages.

Despite this batting power Hanging Heaton were only on the fringes of the title race, often conceding too many runs in the field, and having to settle for 4th position. Stiff, who was the pick of the bowlers with 40 wickets, scored quick runs in late middle order, and Elvidge proved himself their best all rounder with 578 runs and 31 wickets.

Carruthers called time on his glittering career to retire from First Team cricket with the knowledge that his chairmanship of the club has seen them return as one of the elite clubs in the league.

Hanging Heaton were genuine title challengers in 2016 and at one point late in the season led the table. However, Pudsey St Lawrence prevailed at the top by four points as both sides netted maximum points from the last fixture.

The batting was again strong with Connolly averaging 49.53 from 743 league runs, and Fellows just behind with 46.11 from 830. The aforementioned openers also took the Highest Partnership Award for the second successive season.

Pakistan overseas left arm spin bowler Muhammed Rameez impressed with 60 wickets at 13.77 with a best of analysis of 6-9, while Stiff provided the penetration with the new ball, taking 50 wickets. Rameez was not only the leading wicket-taker of the Premier League; he also won the Player of the Year Award.

The club was not without silverware in 2016 as their 2XI won the Cro wther Cup Final against East Bierley at Cawthorne.

Mark Lawson Gary Fellows
Mark Lawson lifts the Heavy Woollen Cup after the 2013 final triumph over New Farnley
Gary Fellows was man of the match in the 2013 Heavy Woollen Cup final victory at Bennett Lane

JOHN CARRUTHERS
John Carruthers
John Carruthers has been a prolific wicket taker
When one considers the best home grown post-war seamers in the Bradford League one has to consider John Carruthers on the short list. He will certainly go down in Hanging Heaton’s folklore, such was his consistency in a ten year period when Hanging Heaton seemed to knocking on the door of every trophy race. In later years he has reduced his pace and had a sojourn at Birstall before returning to the fold as cricket chairman and captain.

So what was so unique about JC in his prime?  Well, he always refrained from running in from an exaggerated long distance.  He glided in from an economical run up with a gradual acceleration and suddenly erupted like a coiled spring skipping into his delivery stride.

It was rhythmic and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but one pitied the poor batter who rarely appreciated such style! He was an attacking bowler who was never discouraged by the odd boundary as he sought to release the killer ball. He had no patience for steady stock balls that could have assisted his economy, instead he strained every sinew to find the deadly yorker or short pitched lifter to hasten the batter from his crease. JC's slower ball came down from the clouds with amazing accuracy and an astonishing lack of pace. Even batters familiar with such a ball were clueless as to how to play it!

There is a fund of memories about him, but one day at Spen Victoria stands out. Playing for the Chris Gott-led victorious Bradford League Representative Team he demolished the Yorkshire League with a spell of hostility rarely seen. They just could not cope with his pace. As he drifts into the twilight days of his career he still soldiers on for his club edging closer to his holy grail of 1,000 wickets.
JOHN CARRUTHERS' GOLDEN SEASONS
YEAR CLUB DIVISION OVERS MAIDENS RUNS WICKETS AVERAGE
1992
Spen Victoria
1
257
38
913
38
24.03
1993
Hanging Heaton
1
391
60
1341
73
18.37
1994
Hanging Heaton
1
402
57
1563
76
20.57
1995
Hanging Heaton
1
409
86
1217
71
17.14
1996
Hanging Heaton
1
429
88
1393
86
16.20
1997
Hanging Heaton
1
331
65
997
68
14.66
1998
Hanging Heaton
1
421
73
1349
82
16.45
1999
Hanging Heaton
1
453
94
1230
95
12.95
2000
Hanging Heaton
1
298
53
994
57
17.44
2001
Hanging Heaton
1
300
69
1112
46
24.17
2002
Hanging Heaton
1
259
49
994
47
21.15
2003
Hanging Heaton
1
221.2
23
971
33
29.42
2004
Hanging Heaton
1
280.1
28
1216
54
22.52
2005
Hanging Heaton
1
226.1
21
1000
39
25.64
2010
Hanging Heaton
2
224.2
36
744
53
14.04
2011
Hanging Heaton
1
157.3
17
795
35
22.71
2012
Hanging Heaton
1
132.2
13
682
26
26.23
2013
Hanging Heaton
1
96.3
9
533
13
41.00
2014
Hanging Heaton
1
39
5
216
9
24.00
 
5326.4
884
19260
1001
19.24
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