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Club histories
Updated: Sunday, November 27, 2016 21:21
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TOWNVILLE
 
by Reg Nelson

 

The early origins of Townville Cricket Club are difficult to research, but it is thought that the club was founded in 1922 and took part in the West Riding League.

In the immediate years before their entry to the Central Yorkshire League in 1996 they took part in the Pontefract & District Cricket League.

Their first trophy success at First Team level was in 1979 when they won the Second Division Championship.

After reaching the top flight consolidation was easily obtained, and in 1983, Townville batsman B Day won the League Batting Averages.

By 1987, Townville had won the Hepworth Cup, the senior cup competition, having built a team that would dominate the top flight until their last season in 1995.

They retained the Hepworth Cup in 1988 and also completed the classic double by virtue of winning the league. This triggered off two more titles in 1989 and 1990 to complete the hat-trick.

In 1989 Michael Byrne increased Townville’s trophy haul by winning the League Wicket-Keeping Trophy with a total of 47 victims.

Batsman B Walton ended the 1990 season with an incredible average of 62.81 from an aggregate of 691 runs and in doing so won the League Batting Averages. Townville went on to lift the Hepworth Trophy again in 1993 and 1995.

It was clear that Townville had the cricket infrastructure to go further and in 1996 they were accepted into the higher rated Central Yorkshire League.

Any notion of quiet consolidation disappeared when they made the final of the Jack Hampshire Memorial Trophy in their first season. Their opponents Gomersal were in the middle of their league and cup domination and proved too strong on the day for a Townville side that had done brilliantly to get there.

In their second season in 1997 they fulfilled their ambitions in part when they achieved promotion as champions of the 2nd Division. Led by M Byrne, it was a tough promotion race with just eight points separating the top three. They prevailed in the end with a six point lead in front of Staincliffe.

The batting was strong with left hander Russell Murray finishing third in the League Batting Averages with 743 runs at a healthy 46.44.  The diminutive opener was a sheet anchor batsman of the old school who would later find greater fame with Woodlands CC.

Murray had valuable assistance from Kevin Rich (579 runs), D Booth (423 runs) and Dave Bradbrook (405) runs, while M Byrne was the second best wicket-keeper in the league for victims.

Probably the real match-winner of 1997 was Ramakrishnan Sridhar, a left arm spin bowler who played First Class cricket for Hyderabad. His career haul for Hyderabad was 91 wickets at 29.09, which he nearly reached  in one season at Townville taking 83 wickets at 10.49. Predictably this won him the League Bowling Averages.

Townville had arrived as one of the big-hitters of the Central Yorkshire League, and after winning the Jack Hampshire Memorial Trophy in 1998 under Andy Ward, entered the new century determined to take over from the dominate Gomersal who had left to join the Bradford League.

In 1999 Townville had given notice of their growing strength with an impressive run in the Heavy Woollen Cup. They had an emphatic victory over Lightcliffe, setting a huge target of 272-7 before dismissing their opponents for 198, with Sridhar taking 7-71. Reaching the semi-final they gave Baildon a good match falling 24 runs short chasing 245-5, Chris Leaf top-scoring with 59.

Townville made a sensational start to the new decade with title wins in 2000 and 2001, coupled with the Jack Hampshire Memorial Trophy in 2001. It was improbable but very worthy to achieve the classic league and cup double in just their sixth season in the league.

Townville had the Premier Division title almost wrapped up at the halfway stage in 2001 with a 22-point lead after 11 straight league victories. They had a strong side with Tim Walton, Giles Boothroyd, Andy Ward and Khasif Ahmed scoring runs heavily throughout the season.

Pakistani Ahmed had played 38 First Class in his own country, mainly as a batsman, with a career best score of 111*. Although he was regarded as only an occasional off spinner he excelled with the ball at Townville. His worth to the team was illustrated by his match-winning performance against Wakefield Thornes when he took 5-50 with the ball before striking 50 not out.

Other notable players in the 2001 team were Adam Walton, David Bradbrook and the immaculate seamer John Rickers.

As entrants to the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy by virtue of winning the title in 2000, they had a mixed experience. They easily defeated Guiseley in the First Round with Ward (76 runs) top scoring in a total of 239-7, before bowling their opponents out for 109. It was a different matter in the next round as Hanging Heaton reached 214-4, and then bowled Townville out for 148.

However, they found ample consolation when they beat Birstall in the final of the Jack Hampshire Memorial Trophy.
Townville’s experience in the 2002 Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy was again mixed as they started with a decisive victory against Caribbean. Scoring a massive 314-3, they then bowled Caribbean out for 94 to record a handsome 220-run victory. After reaching the semi- finals after receiving a walk-over win over Baildon, they were paired with the holders Pudsey Congs who coasted to a 9-wicket victory.

A three year lapse without trophies was a jolt to the Townville system, but there were highlights on the way. Chris Cotton, a fast bowler recruited by Townville from Elsecar, of the South Yorkshire League, marked his debut in 2004 by recording the best bowling figures since the formation of the Central Yorkshire League Premier Division in 1999.
He claimed nine wickets for 10 runs, from 16 overs, as New Farnley were hustled out for 50, in reply to Townville's 198-4, featuring an undefeated 76 from Stuart Clifton.

Cotton was the second player to take nine wickets in the Premier Division, a feat previously achieved by Chris Leaf, who claimed 9-39 for Townville against Northowram Fields in 2002.

Townville were back on the trophy trail in 2005 when they claimed their third title in six seasons. The rise of Wrenthorpe illustrated how important it was for title challengers to keep maintaining their strength and have positive results against them. On July 9th Townville beat Wrenthorpe decisively by six wickets with a fine all round performance. They restricted Wrenthorpe to 153 after a fine opening spell of bowling by Cotton who only conceded 25 runs in ten overs. Glen Yates then made the necessary inroads into the batting with 3-36, while Tim Walton (68 runs) and Ibrar Latif (48 runs) knocked the runs off.

This gave Townville the confidence to go all the way and by August 25th had a clear lead after an eight-wicket rout of lowly Mirfield Parish Cavaliers. Walton made his fifth century of the season and during his innings became the first batsman to break the 1,000-run barrier.

In September Townville had clinched the title when Walton (125no) shared an opening stand of 181 with Stuart Clifton (78 runs) to beat Wakefield St Michael’s by eight wickets. Walton was probably Townville’s greatest signing and could count himself as the league’s leading batsman of his generation. Formerly of Spen Victoria, he played 25 first-class matches for Northants from 1994 to 1997, scoring 653 runs at an average of 25.11, with a highest score of 71, one of seven first-class half centuries he made for the county. He left the county at the end of the 1998 season.

The 2005 title-winning side was: David Booth, Stuart Clifton, Tim Walton, Andy Ward, Ibrar Latif, Glen Yates, Mohammed Asif, Nicky Bresnan, Chris Cotton, Lee Smith, Graham Richardson.

Wrenthorpe wrestled the title off Townville in 2006 and without domestic cup glory they concentrated on a third tilt at the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy.

In the First Round they defeated Wickersley after posting 283-9 (Bilal Hussain 61 runs) (G Yates 76 runs) and winning by 71 runs. The Second Round saw a remarkable victory over former competition winners Pudsey Congs when Townville scored a massive 347. Hussain was the heaviest scorer with 125, assisted by Yates (64 runs) and Clifton (58 runs). Congs made a fist of it but ended 62 runs short with Nick Bresnan (3-78) the most effective bowler.

After a regulation 7-wicket win over Bradford Central League side Laisterdyke in the semi-final, with Walton scoring 81*, Townville met Woodlands in the final at Hanging Heaton.

Woodlands had taken over the Pudsey Congs mantle as the outstanding side in the Bradford League and would complete a league and cup double that season. For Townville, it was arguably their most important match in their history against a side at the zenith of their powers.

Townville batted first with Walton making an attractive 54 with ten fours and a six. He made light of the early loss of both Ward and overseas professional Hussain to put Townville on the front foot. However, when he and Steve Bourne departed, Townville were struggling at 77 for four. Skipper Lee Smith and Clifton fought hard to rebuild the innings adding 55 before Safraz was recalled to the attack and struck almost immediately to remove Smith for 14.

Safraz also dismissed Yates for 13 as the Townville innings went into decline, the last five wickets falling for 28 runs, resulting in a modest final total of 178. Fast Bowler Ahmed was the one to spike Townville’s chances returning the amazing figures of 10-7-3-4.

The total was well below par as Woodlands showed as they rendered the Townville bowlers ineffective as openers Scott Richardson and former Townville player Russell Murray put on 94. Richardson looked particularly impressive with his powerful driving and hit eight fours as he reached 50 before being bowled by John Rickers. Murray hit 11 fours making an unbeaten 87 as Woodlands eased home with 12 overs to spare, and just one wicket lost.

Townville recommenced their battle for supremacy in the league with Wrenthorpe in 2007. Like two years ago when they won the title, they found an inner belief after beating their rivals in early May by 38 runs. Townville batted first and scored 230-7 with Dan Clayton top scoring with 67. Wrenthorpe were well in the picture when replying but Rickers gradually wore them down taking 4-56, with Richard Atkinson providing fine support with 3-68.

Townville won the title as Wrenthorpe took the consolation prize of the cup. This meant that they would have a fourth tilt at the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Cup.

Hopes were high that the elusive Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Cup could be delivered to Poplar Avenue in 2008 when Townville knocked out Bradford League champions Woodlands. It was a thrilling low-scoring affair on a wicket drenched by rain, with Woodlands dismissed for a mere 87. Rickers was unplayable with 5-6, then proceeded to top-score with 26 not out as Townville held their nerve to reach 93-8 in a cliff-hanger. Unfortunately, this was a false dawn as far as this competition was concerned as York and Honley battled it out in the final.

There were no trophies forthcoming in 2008 but mention should be given of an extraordinary individual feat by Peter Hepworth against Townville’s old adversaries Wrenthorpe in the quarter-final of the Jack Hampshire Memorial Trophy. Hepworth scored 123 of Townville’s total of 216 before getting to work with his gentle spin to restrict Wrenthorpe to 185 after taking 4-41.

Previously in the season Hepworth had made his debut in a low scoring first league match of the season. Ossett had limited Townville to 136-8 after opener Walton (50 runs) had given them a good start by steering them to 80-1. In reply, off-spinner Hepworth (7-32) and John Rickers (2-29) skittled Ossett for 95.

Hepworth who had played at Barnsley in the Yorkshire League played 59 First Class matches for Leicester from 1988 to 1994 as a right-handed batsman and occasional off spin bowler. He scored 2,113 first class runs, with a best score of 129 among his 3 centuries, and took 30 wickets. He played 38 List A one day matches, scoring 7 half centuries and taking 25 wickets.

In 2008 Tim Bresnan made one of his occasional appearances striking 147 runs and taking eight wickets against Batley. Bresnan had strong family associations with Townville and whilst reared as a cricketer there, was taken to Castleford as part of his Yorkshire CC development. Not only did he make it as a county cricketer he also played for England.

Bresnan first came to the attention of the test selectors when he made his maiden first-class century in April 2007 against Surrey at The Oval, beating his previous highest score of 94. During the innings, he also passed the landmark of 1,000 runs in first-class cricket. Bresnan scored 116 and in doing so, alongside Jason Gillespie, set a record ninth-wicket partnership for Yorkshire: the pair put on 246 before Bresnan was stumped.

He finished the 2007 English season with 679 runs from 16 first-class matches at an average of 48.50, with three centuries.  He also took 35 wickets at an average of 34.02. He made his test debut in 2009 against the West Indies, and up to 2015 had made 23 appearances for England with a highest score of 91, and a best bowling feat of 5-48.

The all-rounder figured in an Ashes series win, and later helped Yorkshire to two successive county championships.
In 2009 Townville won the Jack Hampshire Memorial Trophy for the third time after beating Wakefield Thornes in a thrilling final. Batting first they had to settle for 207-8 despite a wonderful start given to them by Walton who registered 103. Hepworth’s battling 51 took them to a challenging total.

Wakefield Thornes ran them very close and were in contention to the last ball ending four runs short at 203-9. Andy Carrington was the most successful bowler with 3-42, but it was Rickets who really frustrated their run chase conceding only 21 runs off eight overs for his one wicket. An added bonus to this cup win came the following month when they won the Yorkshire Council  Championship Final for 2009.

By 2010 Wrenthorpe had further strengthened their team and began a three-year domination taking five domestic trophies out of six with Methley taking the other one. This period was far from fruitful for Townville and in 2011 they slumped into mid-table.

Walton carried the batting with league aggregates of 955, 850 and 824 runs, while John Trower gave him the most support from the rest of the order. All Rounder Grieg Batty was a good signing from Barnsley scoring 394 runs and taking 47 wickets in 2010, while junior Jack Hughes emerged in 2011 with 613 runs and 38 wickets with his left arm spin. Hughes would progress to 48 wickets in 2012.

Despite the scarcity of success domestically, glory was still up for grabs in the shape of two cup finals. In 2011 they reached the Jack Hampshire Memorial Trophy final only to fall at the hands of the dominating Wrenthorpe. They did well restricting Wrenthorpe on the day dismissing all their batters relatively cheaply apart from Gary Fellows who scored 110 out of 213-9. Ritchie Bresnan was the pick of the Townville bowlers with 3-23. Again, Walton top-scored on the big occasion, but his innings of 61 found little support as Townville were dismissed for 157.

When Townville reached the final of the Heavy Woollen Cup for the first time in their history in 2012, it was Wrenthorpe again who would spike their chances. However, when they had reduced Wrenthorpe to 17-3 on a damp wicket they were in with a real chance.

Wrenthorpe picked up to reach 198-9 with Ritchie Bresnan the best bowler taking 4-37. In reply Townville were nicely placed at 58-0 before collapsing to the spin of David Paynter (5-25) to finish at 137. Walton again carried the fight for Townville with 51.

Townville rebuilt their team under captain Nicholas Bresnan for 2013, and as Wrenthorpe shed most of their stars the door was open for a real challenge for the title.

Indian Kylinn Vardhan had an extraordinary season as the overseas star- winning the League Batting Averages with 1,015 runs at 72.50, and also taking the League’s Best All Rounder Trophy after a haul of 58 wickets at 10.91. The reliance on Walton (588 runs) was not as marked because of Vardhan’s prolific run-making.

Townville were pacesetters for the title and forged significantly ahead after a commanding 141-run win at Ossett. Townville were soon in control with openers Walton and Vardhan combining for a 169-run stand for the second wicket. Walton fell eight runs short of his century, after hitting 13 fours and two sixes, while Vardhan went on to make 108, including 18 fours and a six. With Jack Hughes hitting 27 and Connor Harvey 22 Townville were able to reach 302-7 from their 50 overs.

Ossett were never in the hunt and were all out for 161 with Harvey taking 4-21 and Hughes 3-34. Townville ultimately won the title for the first time in six years, with Hughes the most potent bowler with 58 wickets at 10.91.
Another accolade for Townville in 2013 came when Liam Booth winning the League Wicket-Keeping Trophy after snaring 35 victims.

The title win of 2013 meant another tilt at the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Cup in 2014 and they started the competition with a narrow win over Beckwithshaw. Townville scored an impressive 275-7 with Conor Harvey (86*), Matthew Bremner (60 runs) and Jack Hughes (58 runs) the main batters, and Beckwithshaw replied with 268-9. 
Townville’s run came to an end when Elsecar beat them in the next round by four wickets despite Walton’s innings of 104 in a score of 215.

The next two seasons Townville went toe to toe with Methley for league honours, but missed out on both occasions as their rivals performed two cup and league doubles. In 2014, Townville ran Methley close in the league as the title race went to the wire.

Townville’s batting w as strong with Conor Harvey scoring 434 runs at 54.25, assisted by Matthew Bremner (560 runs) and Walton (597 runs). Harvey had a fine all round season taking 38 wickets at 11.87 with a best performance of 6-10. However, Hughes was again the best bowler, with a league wicket haul of 51 at 12.12.

Partial revenge on Methley was obtained when they beat their rivals in the semi-final of the Heavy Woollen Cup. Townville scored 237-9 with Conor Harvey top scoring with 55. Methley folded against consistent bowling and in particular Dean Woolsey who took 4-46, and Hughes who supported him well with 2-46.

The resounding 80-run win took them to the final at Spen Victoria where they were in opposition to Pudsey Congs.
Townville batted first and made a solid start with left hander Jonathan Booth (42 runs) scoring runs quickly from both sides of the wicket.

He formed a damaging partnership with Walton (38 runs) which seemed to be taking the match away from the Congs. At the half way stage Townville were 100-2 with expectations of a score of 250-275 in the offing.
Kristian Ward (50 runs) maintained the scoring rate but with little support at the other end an under-par 226-9 was a disappointment on a good batting wicket.

The Pudsey Congs reply was rapid despite losing opener Nick Lindley at 19. However, former Yorkshire contracted batsman Callum Geldhart (102 runs) was in supreme form, and dictated matters keeping his side well in front of the scoring rate. Despite a convincing Congs victory they did lose five wickets in the face of some spirited Townville bowling. Although Nick Bresnan was the most successful bowler with 3-65 from 10 overs, Jack Hughes presented the most problems for the Congs batsmen in a spell of 1-25 in ten overs.

Consolation in part came in September when they won the Yorkshire Council Championship Final against Whitley Hall. They reduced their rivals to 167 after consistent bowling from Conor Harvey (3-44) and Ritchie Bresnan (3-22), and won by four wickets after a precarious start to their innings. Harvey capped a fine day by scoring 47, while Nick Bresnan made a breezy 30 not out to steer his team home.

In 2015 Townville finished third behind Wakefield Thornes who were closer to Methley. There were some notable individual performances- Christopher Holliday scored 1,034 runs at 73.86, while Kristian Ward also thrived contributing 614 runs with the bat.

Hughes had now matured into one of the leading cricketers in the league scoring 653 runs and taking 68 wickets at 9.68. This performance won him the League Bowling Averages and also the All Rounders Trophy.

When the Central Yorkshire League folded at the end of the 2015 season, Townville chose to battle for a Bradford Premier League place. They were placed in one of two Championship Divisions with the battle set against their old rivals Methley and Wrenthorpe. In their relatively brief alliance in the Central Yorkshire League their trophy haul was:
1996-2015 (Twenty seasons).

Premier League Winners: 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2013
Jack Hampshire Memorial Cup Winners:  1998, 2001, 2009   

Despite being in the keenest Championship of the two, Townville made light work of their challengers, winning 19 matches out of 22, resulting in a massive 57 point lead on second place Wrenthorpe. Such was their dominance that they managed to complete most of their rain-hit fixtures using the minimum of overs.  

Although it was an impressive team effort, Jack Hughes was the star performer for the second year, winning the League Batting/Bowling Averages and inevitably the Jack Hill All Rounder’s Trophy. He scored 941 runs at 72.38, and took 58 wickets at 9.40. Hughes also recorded the highest score in the division with 169 v Brighouse.

Jonathan Booth, who was leading the League Batting Averages until the last Saturday, scored 1,083 run at 72.20, while Conor Harvey, Tim Walton and Matthew Bremner all averaged in excess of 40. Harvey also took 37 wickets with his seam bowling to reinforce his rating as the Gordon Bower Young Cricketer of the Year. 

In the Priestley Cup they hammered Bankfoot by 213 runs and set up a tie with Hanging Heaton. Townville’s bowling was found wanting for the first time that season as Hanging Heaton made a challenging 310-5. 

In reply at 89-5, Townville appeared to be sunk without trace, but when Nick Bresnan hit a rapid 52, he set up Conor Harvey to have a dart at the target. Harvey hit virtually everything that came his way and turned the game on its head. Frustratingly, rain came with Townville poised on 232-6 after 37.5 overs, with Harvey on a 47-ball 87 after hitting 8 fours and 6 sixes.  

A faster run scoring rate decided the game in favour of Hanging Heaton, but it was so close that if they had completed the 38th over it would have been in Townville’s favour. 

Townville had proved they could mix it with top flight clubs, and this was reinforced when they ran Huddersfield League Scholes very close in the Heavy Woollen Cup. 

The second trophy of 2016 came when they won the Yorkshire Council Play-Off Final after beating Fairburn and Batley on route. In the Final at Ackworth, after numerous stoppages for rain, they beat South Yorkshire League title winners Hallam by 8 wickets. 

Hallam, batting first, scored 103 after consistent bowling by Townville with four bowlers taking two wickets.  Because of the prevailing rain and possible run calculations, Booth (53*) and Hughes (38*) knocked the runs off with great haste in 19 overs. 

 

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