By Bill Marshall
Tweaks will be made for next year, as it is hoped that the match will become an annual event, but considering that it was arranged at less than a month’s notice, the charity floodlit match in memory of former Bradford League cricketer Jeff Slater was a big success.
About 300 attended the contest at Wagon Lane between a side captained by Jeff’s son Phil (pictured above, and including his brother Richard), and a Bradford League Select XI skippered by Mark Gilliver, whose dad Allan, who suffers from dementia, made an appearance.
A raffle and tombola raised money for Dementia UK, and, to add to the occasion, the T20 match went down to the last ball, with left-hander David Clow nicking a ball into his pads before running the single that took Phil Slater’s XI to victory.
An emotional skipper Slater, whose dad passed away last year and suffered from dementia, said afterwards: “What a great night for cricket and the cricketing family, and it just goes to show what can happen when everyone comes together to raise money at a game that my dad loved so much.
“The attendance was fantastic – a couple of hundred at least – and by the sound of it we have run out of everything, which is a good thing in some ways.”
The Bradford League Select XI made 180-7, with openers Mark Gilliver and Lee Goddard both scoring 24 before James Smith clobbered 54, 35 extras also boosting the total, Chris Thompson showing his competitive edge by taking 2-14.
Slater’s XI, which included many of the Bradford & Bingley team-mates that he skippered to Priestley Cup glory in 2010 and 2015, were well behind the eight ball early on.
However, they were rescued by Matthew Duce (51) and Clow (33no), who will doubtless have been asked afterwards if he was making a comeback.
Clow hit the penultimate ball behind square for six to tie the scores, although Slater’s XI were helped by fieldsman running in the wrong direction (or no direction at all) in the latter stages because they could not see the pink ball.
Slater said of the match: “I thought that we were dead and buried, but you are never out of it in cricket, and they were fantastic innings by Ducey and Dave Clow and it was a great finish. No-one likes to lose, especially experienced league cricketers.”
Jeff’s mother Janet said: “It has been an emotional night. We don’t know how much money we have raised but the night has been a success, the weather has been kind to us and we have met so many friends who have come up to say hello. It was lovely.”
Mark Gilliver, whose company Cricket School Limited provided the coloured clothing for both sides, added: “It has been absolutely brilliant and I cannot believe how many people turned up. I didn’t expect that as it has all been arranged in three weeks to a month.
“I really enjoyed it, despite us getting 180 and losing on the last ball, but because I was running in the wrong direction in the field at one point, we will definitely be playing with white balls next year!”
Donations can be made to Dementia UK via the JustGiving page that has been set up: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/phil-slater17