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1995: Future Indian star VVS Laxman helps Hanging Heaton take title by a single point

1995: Future  Indian star VVS Laxman helps Hanging Heaton take title by a single point

There was a three-way battle for the First Division title in 1995, and a very strong Hanging Heaton side just about edged it from Windhill.

Fast bowler John Carruthers, above, was at the zenith of his career, and if he really was one of the best post-war seamers in the league, he certainly proved it in 1995. If the saying `bowlers win matches’ is true, his 71 league wickets must have gone some way in winning the title for his side,

Despite his tremendous influence, he will probably be the first to acknowledge the support he had from fellow seamer David Watts who bowled `wicket to wicket’ to secure 44 league wickets.

Left arm spin bowler Simon Purdy gave the team much needed balance with a season best of 44 wickets.

Although Hanging Heaton’s future Test player VVS Laxman was the most famous player in the side, his 619 runs were bettered by the consistent David Snelgrove (710 runs) and John Whittle (649 runs). 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.

Alan Mynett, above, was a very lively keeper, who also had the knack of scoring crisis runs down the order. He won the F Milton Watmough League Wicket-Keeping trophy in 1995.

Hanging Heaton won the title by the slim margin of one point from Windhill, and a further two points in front of Pudsey St Lawrence,

Windhill had a fine side with Jonathan Proud scoring 1,175 league runs at 61.84; winning him the W H Foster Jubilee Batting Trophy. They also had Neil Nicholson, Mark Bradford, Mark Gill, Neil Gill and Tony Martin to call on.

Pudsey St Lawrence also had stars in their ranks- Kiwi Simon Doull and Chris Gott were top all rounders, and there were also James Poutch, James Goldthorp, Gareth Clough and Ian Priestley in their ranks.

Farsley had a very solid look about their 1995 team with the likes of Ashley Metcalfe, Richard Gould, John Goldthorpe, Simon Renshaw and Joss Overend easing them to fifth position in the league.

They won silverware in the guise of the Priestley Cup, avenging their 1981 final defeat by East Bierley, with a convincing 112 run victory. The hero of their triumph was Josh Overend, a left arm bowler enjoying a successful first season in the league, and winning the man of the match award.

Undercliffe gained promotion as champions of the Second Division, with Russell Heritage winning the Jack Hill All-Rounders trophy, and Chris Burns the Parkside Wicket-Keeping Trophy.

Burns was one of several top class wicketkeepers in the league that included Martin Redhead, Gary Brook, Colin Chapman, Andy Storr and Alan Mynett.

Phil Carrick of Yorkshire won the First Division’s bowling prize with 58 wickets at 13.34 for Pudsey Congs. Carrick was one of several county players to play in the league in 1995- the others being Ashley Metcalfe, Richard Kettleborough, Chris Pickles, Bradley Parker, Simon Kellett and Simon Renshaw, to name but a few.

Pickles was one of the most destructive batsmen of the decade, punishing the bowler virtually from the first ball. He blasted 1,313 league runs for Spen Victoria, helping his side to mid-table status.

Another punishing batsman was left-handed Richard Robinson who was at the peak of his powers for Baildon. He hit 1,172 league runs, but could not power his team to promotion from the Second Division.  

In addition to the aforementioned First Class cricketers, Gareth Clough (Pudsey St Lawrence), who would one day play county cricket, won the Gordon Bowers “Young Cricketer of the Year” trophy. Another county cricketer of the future was James Middlebrook (Bowling Old Lane) who won the Ernest Lodge Trophy for being the promising young spinner.

The Bradford League Representative X1 completed a hat-trick of John Smiths Yorkshire Leagues Knockout triumphs when they defeated the Huddersfield League in the final at the Magnet Sports Tadcaster ground.

On a Magnet Sports wicket that was invariably hard to score runs on, the Huddersfield League looked set to score in excess of 200. However, Mark Beardshall took 4-35 to take care of the tail as Huddersfield finished with 185-9. Left arm spin bowler David Jay was as miserly as ever with figures of 10-4-22-1.

Openers Richard Robinson (55 runs) and Anthony McGrath (21 runs) laid a good platform for victory, but a collapse necessitated the later batters to dig deep. This they did, as Alan Mynett (30no) and Beardshall (28) ensured victory in the last over.

Skipper Chris Gott, above,, who ended up leading his side to five successive victories in this tournament, had this to say at the time, “We have shown a lot of bottle in winning those three finals. We think we are the best league, and winning competitions like this just confirms that view. When I was out at 128 I thought it was going to be difficult for us, but Mark Beardshall and Alan Mynett played tremendously well.”

Methley were champions of the Central Yorkshire League for the first time in 1995. Their most influential player was David Jones who scored 869 runs at an average of 64.42 and in doing so won the League Batting Averages for the second time.

Townville were taking part in their last season in the Pontefract & District Cricket League, and they marked that by winning the Hepworth Cup.

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.

Carlton also won silverware by beating East Leeds in the Leeds Cricket League’s Senior Cup competition. The 1995 final victory was memorable for David Ripley’s undefeated 133.

Ripley, above, a wicket-keeper/batsman, had joined the club in 1977, as an 11 year old, and went on to play in all the junior age groups. He played at Farsley and figured in the 1983 Priestley Cup Final win against Yorkshire Bank.

He went on to play county cricket with Northants from 1984-2001, and in his 307 first class games he scored 8,693 runs at 28.40 including nine centuries, and with the gloves took 678 catches and 85 stumpings. In 1968 he put on 404 runs for the 5th wicket with Mal Loye against Glamorgan.

Before the Northowram Fields merger, Fields were the more dominant team, and proved it in 1995 when they won the Bradford Central League First Division title and Waddilove Cup. This secured  a League & Cup double for the second successive season, such was their dominance in the league.

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