A General Election in 2010 resulted in a hung parliament, but there was only one winner in the First Division of the JCT600 Bradford Cricket League and that was Pudsey Congs.
It appeared that the Congs great years had deserted them after winning the First Division title for five successive seasons between 2000-2004. They had been caught up by Woodlands, who took over their mantle as the dominant team in the league, and the Congs had a rebuilding job on their hands.
However, with Woodlands in decline, the title race in 2010 was more open than normal with 3-4 teams jostling at the top. There was not an outstanding team among them, with all the top four losing at least four matches during the season. Congs were in contention all season and made their powerful batting line-up pay as they finally prevailed over Bradford & Bingley by five points, and in so doing clinched the title for the sixth time in the decade.
It wasn’t the dominating Congs side of old, but they deserved the title. Mark Gill was a real asset, keeping excellently, and scoring 504 runs at an average of 49.50. Other heavy scorers were Adam Patel (741), Andrew Bairstow (646), Barbar Butt (607) and Andy Siddall (492). All Rounder Eugene Burzler was the leading wicket-taker with 54.
The 2010 title win was a triumph for new skipper Glen Roberts who had taken the reigns from Matthew Doidge who only played occasionally. Roberts led by example taking 43 wickets and proved to be an inspiration through the season.
Bradford & Bingley had a fine season and at one stage looked like performing the League & Cup double. Led by Phil Slater, they finished runners up for the second successive season, a mere five points behind Pudsey Congs. This challenge was built largely by three players- Simon Davies, Chris Thompson and Richard McCarthy. Davies scored 887 runs with a top score of 129* and an average of 44.35, while Thompson’s swashbuckling season resulted in 744 runs.
The mercurial McCarthy, who had replaced his blistering pace with line and length guile, took his fourth W H Foster Jubilee Trophy League Bowling Averages Trophy, with 34 wickets at 11.68, and also won the League’s Player’s Player award. He retired at the end of the 2011 season with 1,032 league wickets at 15.47.
Slater’s consolation for missing out on title glory was a thumping win in the Priestley Cup Final at Spen Victoria when Farsley were beaten easily. He helped his team pile up 309-5 with a destructive innings that won him the Man of the Match Award. In reply, Farsley could only muster 120 to go down to a record Final defeat of 189 runs.
Hanging Heaton had been relegated in 2009, but came back with a bang when they took the Second Division title by storm in 2010, with a 74-point advantage on runners-up Manningham Mills.
The mercurial John Carruthers returned to the club, and his 53 wickets proved to be crucial, while Yorkshire leg-break bowler Mark Lawson bettered that with 60 wickets.
The batting was strong with Haroon Rashid (763 runs), Robert McFarlane (746 runs), Lawson (446 runs) and James Stansfield (487 runs) scoring freely.
In addition to their promotion, Hanging Heaton managed to reach the Heavy Woollen Cup Final which was played on their own ground against the formidable Wrenthorpe. They were no match for Wrenthorpe who crushed Hanging Heaton by 199-runs.
Mark Robertshaw scored his first of several `,1000 league run’ feats in a season for Pudsey St Lawrence, while Chris Taylor (Lightcliffe), Paul Cummins (Brighouse) and Ashan Butt (Windhill) also topped the 1000 in the Second Division.
St Lawrence was still finding it hard, to come out of the shadows of their great rivals Pudsey Congs, but they were in the chasing pack in 2010. James Smith (929 runs) had emerged as one of the hardest hitting batsmen in the league, and could destroy the opposition’s bowling in a matter of overs, while Gareth Clough (711 runs) and Alex Stead (604 runs) merely emphasized why they were the best batting side in the league.
It was widely acknowledged that it was a lack of penetration with the ball that held their pursuit of the Congs back.
Woodlands had a rare season without a trophy, but had the best all round cricketer in Chris Brice who won the Sir Learie Constantine All Rounders Trophy.
There was an incredible coincidence at the top of the First Division batting averages with Lorenzo Ingram (Farsley) and Gavin Hamilton (East Bierley) both scoring 837 runs at an average of 52.31, to share the W H Foster jubilee batting Trophy.
Lorenzo was a supreme all rounder also able to bowl spin, and his lightening fielding in the covers was ranked as the best seen in the league for a generation.
Mally Nicholson (Cleckheaton) won the F Milton Watmouth Wicket-Keeping Trophy for the fourth successive season, and in later seasons proved himself to be the bedrock in his side’s two title wins.
Richard Whitehurst of Gomersal won the Fastest Fifty Trophy achieving it in an incredible eleven balls.
Tim Jackson made his debut season in the league with Saltaire, and in what proved to be his only season at Roberts Park, won the A Waddington Fielding Trophy.
Wrenthorpe clinched the Central Yorkshire League First Division title on 26th August 2010 by beating their closest rivals New Farnley. David Paynter top scored with 108 as Wrenthorpe posted a challenging 280-9. County man Ian Fisher held the New Farnley innings together by making 112, but they fell short of their target on 241-9.
That season, Gary Fellows was the star with 1,226 runs at a remarkable average of 94.31, while Eric Austin managed a more conservative average of 54.11. Fellows won the League Batting Averages, while Paynter won the League Bowling Averages, and Jonny Smith completed the set winning the league wicket-keeping award.
In the 2010 Heavy Woollen Cup, Wrenthorpe secured a record-equalling fourth-successive final win. beating Hanging Heaton by 199-runs. Wrenthorpe’s 298-8 was comprised of innings by Fellows (46), Austin (66), Paynter (53) and Barry McCormack (41), while Tom Glover went through Hanging Heaton’s batting with 4-54.
Wrenthorpe reached their zenith during the three seasons circa 2010-2012 with seven major trophies including a treble and two doubles. They were quite rightly regarded as the best club side in Yorkshire.
However, they lost out on the domestic double in 2010 when Methley beat them in the Jack Hampshire Cup Final.
Methley batted first and registered a mighty 250-5 with Australian Nick Connolly top scoring with 109*, assisted by Hemantha Alles who chipped in with 51. The strong Wrenthorpe batting line-up were not fazed by this run chase, and when former Yorkshire duo Gary Fellows and Bradley Parker made half centuries it looked to be a close run affair.
However, occasional bowler Hamid Khan took three vital wickets, and with seamer John Rickers proving hard to get away, Wrenthorpe came up short with 235-9.
Methley finished in third place in the league in 2010, and then achieved three runners-up positions up to 2013 when they again won the Jack Hampshire Cup in the year they celebrated their 150th anniversary.
Methley’s top batting star was Nick Connolly whose consistency with the bat was unmatched. In a 4-year sequence at the club he had the following record-
2010 956 runs at 56.24 with a top score of 122*
2011 1154 runs at 88.77 (won the league batting averages)
2012 767 runs at 51.13
2013 708 runs at 35.50
Townville were not in contention in 2010, but they had former county cricketer Tim Walton in their ranks who recorded league batting aggregates of 955, 850 and 824 runs in that period. They also had a good all rounder in Greig Batty who they signed from Barnsley for the 2010 season.
Birstall’s title triumph of 2008 wasn’t replicated in 2009 or 2010, but they had a virtuoso Indian cricketer in Connor Williams. Having previously played First Class cricket for Baroda, Williams scored 1,064 league runs at 81.85.