Tributes have been pouring in from across the cricketing world following the death of Altofts stalwart Clive Jackson.
News of his passing at the age of 81 came in a statement from the club’s chairman Brad Barber on Twitter this morning.
He wrote: “Unfortunately this morning we have woken up to the worst possible mews for our club with the sad passing of club legend Clive Jackson.
“This incredible man dedicated his entire life to Altofts Cricket Club. The list is endless of what Clive has done for the club and quite frankly cannot be quantified.
“Altofts Cricket Club will never be the same without him but to be honest that doesn’t do the great man justice. He was Altofts Cricket Club, and I cannot put in to words how much he will be missed by everyone at the club.
“Clive became a personal friend of mine and was always the man to go to for advice and help. Only two months ago when I became charman he was the first to offer help and guidance for me in my new role. I’m truly heartbroken by the news we have received this morning and it will take time for the club as a whole to get over this.
“We offer our sincere condolences to Joan and his family and off any support they may need. As for Clive, I truly hope we can make you proud that your legacy is being continued at the great club you have kept running for so many years.”
It is a mark of the huge respect in which Clive Jackson was held that club members have gathered at the Lock Lane ground he so carefully tended for so many years and laid flowers on the square.
Jackson served the club for around 60 years as a player, coach, groundsman, secretary, treasurer and league representative.
One of his greatest legacies is the junior section he launched in 1972 and has nurtured and developed over the past 48 years. He loved nothing better than coaching young players and passing on his vast knowledge of the game.
League chief executive Mark Heald reflected the thoughts of so many who knew what Clive Jackson meant to Altofts.
“He was Altofts and lived and breathed the game. He did so much for his club both on and off the field and our thoughts are with his family and the Altofts club at this sad time.”
Club official Pete Chapman has known Jackson since joining Altofts as a seven-year-old in 1978. He said: “There have been tears shed this morning as club members have come down to the ground to pay their respect.
“My phone has been constantly ringing with calls from former players and members who have heard the news. I have had a stream of messages from Australia and New Zealand from former overseas players who Clive brought to the club.
“Clive was hugely respected in Australia and coached there for many years at Sports Camps. Terry Miles who organised the camps has also been in touch to pay his respects.
“It has also been gratifying to receive so many lovely messages from fellow Bradford League clubs. Some lovely things have been said.”
Chapman added: “Both my father and I had the privilege of playing cricket alongside Clive while my son has had the benefit of being coached by him.
“Clive lived and breathed Altofts. I am an HGV driver and every morning as I passed on the M62 I would look to see if Clive’s car was at the ground. I would often see him mowing or preparing wickets. It is going to be strange when I go back to work and not see Clive as I go past.
“It is going to take a time for the club to come to terms with its loss, but when things return to normal, we will make sure that we mark his memory with a tribute he deserves.
“Every clubs needs a Clive Jackson, and we are blessed to have had the original. He is simply irreplaceable.”
Clive Jackson , second from the right in the front row, in the 1981 Altofts team
Jackson was immensely proud of the string of fine young Australian and New Zealand cricketers he brought to Altofts. Among them was the Australian Test batsman Dean Jones who featured in the all-conquering 1981 Altofts side that won the Central Yorkshire League and Yorkshire Council title as a fast bowler.
When Jones died earlier this year Jackson spoke lovingly about the friendship they shared over almost 40 years.
The supply line for Australian players was developed after Ken Broughill joined the club. He married Clive’s daughter Judith and set up home in Melbourne.
It was during visits with his wife Joan to see them that Clive got involved with coaching and eyed up potential recruits. Those visits also gave him time in recent years to spend time with his three grandchildren Scott, Trent and Ashlee.
League management board member Pete Arundel had the privilege to both play with and against Clive. He said: “I joined Altofts a couple of years after they joined the Central Yorkshire League from the Pontefract League where they had swept all before them.
“Clive was a proper opening batsman, He was dogged and determined and never gave his wicket up easily. He was also a deceptive medium pace bowler who nibbled the ball around off the seam. Many batsmen were fooled into thinking he was easy to hit only to find out to their cost that he was.
“I used to open the bowling with Dave Bastow and we were nicknamed ‘Thunder and lightning’. It was a good Altofts side with old campaigners like Tommy Mason and Terry Greaves backed up by talented youngsters like Chris Lethbridge, Tony Sutton and Ian Frost.”
He added: “Clive always had a burning desire to win and I can remember one game when I was captaining Soothill when his efforts ensured an Altofts win.
“We were eight wickets down with no hope of chasing down the Altofts score when it started to pour with rain. There seemed no hope of a resumption and many of the Soothill players had changed out of their whites when the bell rang in our dressing room and the umpires told us we were going to resume.
“It was dark outside. All the vehicles on the M62 had their headlights on and the street lights were on too but the umpires said we could play because Clive had stayed out on the ground throughout the rain break and mopped up all the wet and put down sawdust.
“Both myself and our last batsman succumbed quickly and Altofts, thanks to Clive’s tireless efforts had secured a win and six points.”
In recent years Arundel has seen first-hand the impact his old team-mate has made as a junior coach. “His love of the game and enthusiasm was clear to see. I regularly saw him at under-nine tournaments when I was watching my grandson play for Hunslet Nelson.
“He was happy to give time to everybody and it says much for the quality of his coaching that he has helped turn good players into outstanding ones and helped ordinary players become good ones by helping them understand and develop the things they are good at.
“He has helped produce many fine players for Altofts and both the club and the game of cricket has lost a great servant.”
Perhaps it was fitting that Clive saw Altofts lift a trophy in the final game he was to witness at his beloved Lock Lane.
League Communications & Data Officer Alan Birkinshaw had the privilege to sit with Jackson as he watched them defeat Rodley in the Division Three League Cup final.
“It was amazing to listen to his observations of the game and witness first hand the love the youngest members of the club had for him,” he said.
“A string of junior crickets came passed and all of them stopped to share a word with Mr Jackson. As they moved on he would tell me their names and identify their strengths and weaknesses.
“It is to be hoped that those youngsters who have had their cricketing lives enthused by Clive’s love of the game go on and provide the greatest legacy to his memory by playing their part in future success for Altofts.”
The Altofts team that won the Division Three League Cup