There was always a feeling in league circles that Cleckheaton didn’t always punch their weight given the players in their ranks. The closest they got to winning a major trophy in the was when they faced Pudsey Congs in the 2007 Priestley Cup Final, only to close in timid fashion.
Former Durham and Lancashire paceman John Wood led Cleckheaton to the title
This was all to end in 2013, when after a rare good start to the season, they achieved the holy grail of the First Division title, led by an inspiring captain in John Wood.
It was essentially a team effort but Tim Jackson’s 1,018 runs at 48.48 with a top score of 127* was the catalyst for the title win. His batting at the top of the order in 2013 was consistent and ensured good starts for his team more often than not.
This was recognised by his fellow players in the league when he was chosen as the Player’s Player of the Year. He also picked up the League’s Fielding Trophy for the second time in three seasons. Jackson was a good illustration of a cricketer who had worked on his game to reach the very top of league cricket.
Apart from Jackson, vital runs were scored by Amar Mahmood (558), Mally Nicholson (445), Richard Whitehurst (413) and James Lee (pictured below,303). Another key player was the unsung spinner Andrew Deegan, who turned out to be Cleckheaton’s most effective bowler with 41 wickets.
All-rounder James Lee contributed valuable wickets and runs
However, the opening attack of Iain Wardlaw and James Lee had genuine pace, and they capitalised on this, and then there was the unerring accuracy of medium fast Ian Wood to follow.
Long- standing Chairman David Worrall had overseen many initiatives over the years and had been progressive with his outlook. He helped to pioneer Twenty/20 cricket, and was instrumental in bringing Ian Austin to the club. Nobody worked harder than Worrall to pursue the long-term vision of the title with John Wood at the helm.
Cleckheaton had joined the ranks of the ‘big clubs’ and to prove their worth as the top club, replicated the title success in retaining it for 2014.
Adam Waite top the league batting averages for Pudsey St Lawremce
Pudsey St Lawrence tracked Cleckheaton all the way in 2013, but finished 13points adrift. It was the third time in the decade that St Lawrence had finished in the runners up position.
Mark Robertshaw scored 1,000 runs for the second time in three years and forming with Adam Waite, above, the best opening partnership in the league. Waite won the W H Foster Jubilee Batting Trophy after scoring 953 runs at 56.06.
The strength of the bowling came in the way of three spinners Steve Watts (31 wkts), Chris Marsden (37) and Tom Hudson (33) all figured prominently in the League Bowling Averages.
Woodlands were probably the pre-season favourites to win the title, but losing their talisman cricketer Chris Brice with half a season to go to injury, became a bridge too far.
The best performers with the bat were Sam Frankland (699), Simon Mason (642), Scott Richardson (571) and Grant Soames (510), while Sarfraz Ahmed was the most penetrative bowler with 50 wickets. Pudsey Congs’ Glenn Roberts won the W H Foster Jubilee Bowling Trophy with 42 wickets at 12.71.
Lightcliffe skipper Chris Taylor lifts the Priestley Cup after his side's win over Hanging Heaton
Lightcliffe won the Priestley Cup for the first time in 49 years. Nobody could say that they did it the easy way having to negotiate Woodlands on the way to the final. Chasing a score in excess of 200 they were effectively out for the count with ten overs to go until Oliver Robinson turned the game on its head with a brilliant innings.
The outcome of the 2013 final at Farsley, when they were paired with Hanging Heaton, was based largely on the toss, as overnight rain had seeped on to the square rendering it difficult for the first batting side. Hanging Heaton were asked to bat and danger batsman Gary Fellows was an early casualty as his side struggled against the pace of Moin Ashraf who took 3-32 in his ten overs.
As the wicket dried out James Stansfield (88) gave the score some semblance of respectability at 189-9. But, Suleman Khan with 2-35 off his ten overs ensured they would not reach 200.
Lightcliffe won at a canter with all their batters scoring solidly in a score of 197-3. Former Yorkshire player Alex Stead top scored with 45, while Robinson made an entertaining not out 41. Skipper Chris Taylor was magnanimous in victory as he took hold of the prized silverware.
It was New Farnley’s first season in the league and they won promotion as runners-up of the Second Division to Farsley.
New Farnley’s best performers were Nick Walker, Matthew Good, David McCallum, Nadeem Hussain, and Nick Johnson, while Farsley had Joe Greaves, Mark Harrison, Ian Philliskirk and Chris Henry.
It was obvious that New Farnley were going places, and to prove their potential further they reached the final of the Heavy Woollen Cup. They might have lost in the final against Hanging Heaton, but they were not overawed on the big stage.
Hanging Heaton’s progress in the Heavy Woollen Cup 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. Gary Fellows (75*) and Joe Fraser (41*) 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. The 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 Gary Fellows dismissed key batters David Cummings, Peter Ross and Fisher with his gentle medium pacers and it was left to all-rounder Nick Walker (19*) 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 (79*) and Jamie Sykes faced spirited bowling from Nadeem Hussain and Nick Walker, but a stand of 54 runs confirmed a comfortable passage for the batting side.
The crowd was richly entertained when fast bowler Nick Walker sent down six successive bouncers at James 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.
In the Central Yorkshire League, Townville won the title for the fifth and last time. Their rebuilt their team under captain Nick Bresnan, and as Wrenthorpe had shed most of their stars, the door was open for a real challenge for the title.
Indian Kylinn Vardhan had an extraordinary season as their 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.
Another accolade for Townville in 2013 came when Liam Booth winning the League Wicket-Keeping Trophy after snaring 35 victims.
Methley finished runners-up after an exhilarating season that saw them win the Jack Hampshire Cup. They recorded the top league score of the season when they made 359-7 against Mirfield Parish Cavaliers, and their best batsman was Christian Holiday who scored 835 runs at 49.12.
Marcus Walmsley hit an undefeated century as Methley won the Jack Hampshire Cup Picture: Ray Spencer
The Jack Hampshire Cup Final win came against a Wrenthorpe side that battled all the way. Methley made 255-7, with Marcus Walmsley scoring an undefeated 110, and Nick Connolly 85.
Wrenthorpe made a valiant effort to chase down the runs ending on 229-8, with the wickets shared mainly between Nick Connolly, John Rickers and Marcus Walmsley who all got two wickets each.
Rodley’s first season in the Central Yorkshire League ended in triumph, when they were promoted from Division Three a mere three points behind the title winners. It was a team effort with Gary Walton (586 runs), Gary Sagar (631) and Gary Lewsley (47 wkts) all playing a major part. Lewsley took a hat-trick against Adwalton.
However, it was Shane Franklin who took most plaudits, winning the League Batting Averages with 709 runs at 64.18, and also taking 36 wickets. This all round performance also won him the League’s All Rounder’s Trophy. He hit a total of 27 sixes and also found time to captain the side.
Franklin, a left arm pace bowler and free-scoring batsman, played Australian grade cricket before starting a new life in the UK in 2006. He played in the Aire-Wharfe League, and on debut for New Rover hit an unbeaten 56 and took 7-36, and also achieved an all 10 wicket feat against Ben Rhydding.
Rodley recorded their highest ever score in 2013 when they scored 315-5 against Northowram Fields, with Mark Hobson the top scorer with 140.
Great Preston celebrated their 120th year of league cricket by winning the Wetherby League’s First Division title under skipper Stu Ruddick. This was secured with a victory on the final day of the season at Shadwell, following a close battle for top spot with Kirk Deighton. They were good cup fighters too, but were beaten in both the Fred Fleetwood Cup and the Senior Evening Cup Finals.
Jordan Laban scored heavily as Jer Lane did the double in the Halifax League
Jer Lane made history when they won the Halifax Premier Division and Parish Cup double in 2013. They started the season well and were unbeaten after 12 league games, but were chased by former Bradford Central League rivals Thornton. However, they were eventually crowned Champions on September 7 with a league record 192 points. This was a dominant league campaign which showed with a massive 23 points lead on the runners-up.
To crown a historic season the club won the prized Parish Cup in August beating a strong Booth side at Blackley. Chasing 290 they won in the last over with skipper Micky Hustler being awarded Man of the Match for his unbeaten 63. The pressure of the run rate was negated by Jordan Laban who top-scored with a hard-hitting 93.
Jer Lane were only the second club in the entire history of the Halifax League to win the double. The team had worked as a tight unit all season with notable batting performances from Raqeeb Younis (1,273 runs), Jordan Laban (922) and Andrew Pinfield with (873). The most effective bowlers were Junior Williams (65 wkts) and Nabil Khan (41 wkts).