Author: Alan Birkinshaw
Today sees Bradford Premier League president Keith Moss notch up 70 years as a cricket administrator. It is a remarkable achievement and it is a wonderful example of devotion to the game he loves.
He has proved to be an outstanding official at club, league and county level and a shining example to all those volunteer administrators who are the lifeblood of grassroots cricket.
It is doubtful if there is anybody who can match his longevity and at 85 he is determined to continue to make a contribution with his beloved Pudsey St Lawrence and the Bradford Premier League.
It is fitting on this landmark day that those who have seen first-hand his dedicated work or benefitted from his sage advice, have paid tribute to Keith.
It is a truly remarkable achievement for an individual to notch up 70 years of service as a cricket administrator. Keith is somebody who has always set high standards for himself and continues to be an excellent example to all of us. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge which he calls upon when offering advice whenever it is needed by the members of the Bradford Premier League Management Board.
Keith can justifiably be proud of his achievements at all levels of the game. His club Pudsey St Lawrence and the Bradford League have benefitted greatly from his contribution over many years. He has made an indelible mark on both organisations and is fiercely proud of both.
There surely cannot be many people who can match Keith’s dedication and length of service to the game of cricket. I am immensely proud to have worked alongside him and have appreciated his invaluable support on many occasions.
To be involved in cricket as a volunteer or volunteer administrator, is to be involved in a role that brings very little prestige or thanks. Yet it is the nature of our game that it requires countless people to commit a huge amount of free time and effort to its delivery, it is to their eternal credit that they continue to make that unreserved commitment.
I’m sure every one of those cricket volunteers, that reads about Keith’s 70-year commitment to the game finds his longevity staggering. It is the story of man in love the game and its traditions, who has used his own time, knowledge and at times personal resources to better the game for all.
My own relationship with Keith started in 1987 when he signed me as a Pudsey St Lawrence player, although I wasn’t paid a great deal Keith did provide me with a job working for his company. It is to his eternal credit that he was always more interested in my performances for St Lawrence, rather than my career in the warehouse at Cartwrights, which was very brief due to my lack of interest!
Since then he held the role of St Lawrence cricket chairman and chairman while I was the first team captain and cricket chairman, then the club President when I became the club chairman. At every stage of my own journey with the club, Keith has been nothing less than encouraging, supportive and has always been available to discuss my ideas, club issues and the game in general. His little nuggets of knowledge have proved invaluable to me, many of which I use when trying to support our present volunteers and players.
As Pudsey St Lawrence moves into the year 2020 and celebrates its 175th year, I know that Keith believes the club is in a very strong position to keep moving forward. In my time the biggest single reason for our on and off the field success, has been the leadership and patronage of Keith Moss. He is the man who has set the standards at St Lawrence that the rest of us try to follow, along with Roland Parker he is a living legend of our cricket club.
It is a privilege to be asked to pen a tribute to recognise the immense contribution made by Keith Moss to the game of cricket.
It is a quite remarkable achievement to reach the milestone of 70 years in cricket administration, seven decades that have involved every facet of the game – from Club, to League, to County. Never mind Yorkshire, there will be few in the country who can boast such a record of service.
Players inevitably grab most of the limelight and headlines in sport, but they are provided with the platform and landscape to showcase their talents by the great administrators. Keith clearly falls into that category and there will be thousands involved in cricket who, quite simply, owe him a huge debt of gratitude.
In recent times there has been much debate and effort put into addressing the declining number of players, but high quality administrators and volunteers are every bit as crucial to the future well-being of cricket, and their numbers are facing the same pressures. Without them there would be no game for the players to enjoy and it is important their contribution is properly recognized and applauded.
It is almost certainly the case that administrators of the calibre of Keith, who serve the game for a lifetime, will be few and far between in the future, and this provides even more reason to properly celebrate a wonderful lifetime of dedication. Many many congratulations go to Keith on this quite outstanding achievement.
On behalf of everyone at YCB and the recreational game we wish to congratulate Keith on this truly amazing achievement of 70 years continual service, one that will probably surely never be surpassed.
Amazing man with great courage……”
To celebrate 70 years of stalwart service to cricket is an extraordinary achievement in itself but to carry out that service with three of the sport's greatest institutions - Pudsey St Lawrence CC, the Bradford Cricket League and Yorkshire County Cricket Club - makes it even more remarkable.
Keith Moss has served all three with great diligence and in so doing has strengthened the White Rose county's reputation as being the bedrock of the game in this country and beyond.
After covering the Bradford League's fortunes for the Telegraph and Argus from 1971-1974 and then going on to become the newspaper's Yorkshire cricket correspondent for around 35 years, I have been in close contact with Keith, particularly throughout his years as Yorkshire CCC chairman from 1998-2002.
During that time Keith and his committee saved Emerald Headingley's future as a Test match venue by starting the much-needed redevelopment of the ground , so putting in place the first pieces of the jigsaw that would eventually see it completely transformed into a modern looking stadium with a 20,000 capacity.
Had Yorkshire's financial situation not plunged dramatically in the early 2000s, Keith would undoubtedly have served as chairman for much longer but in order to save the Club from bankruptcy the committee structure had to be disbanded and replaced with a four-man Board of Directors.
The following year, however, Keith's services to Yorkshire were duly recognised when he was elected a vice-president of the Club and during that summer of 2003 he organised a 364 Ashes lunch at Headingley to celebrate jointly the 65th anniversary of Len Hutton's 364 against Australia at The Oval and the 50th anniversary of the great man leading England to their Ashes triumph of 1953. So successful was the event that The 364 Club was formed and its annual lunches continue to attract the finest of cricket speakers.
Keith has suffered some serious health issues in recent years but his organisational skills and his love of cricket have remained undimmed and I hope they continue to shine brightly for a long while yet.
I am delighted to be given the opportunity to congratulate Keith on his outstanding achievement of 70 years as a cricket administrator.
But to both myself and I am sure many many others, he is much more than that.
He is synonymous with the MCC, Yorkshire CCC, Bradford League Cricket and of course his beloved Pudsey St. Lawrence CC.
Keith's CV is second to none and well documented throughout numerous cricketing archives and current reports as can be seen on the Bradford Premier League’s own website, but it is the personal touches that you have brought to both your work as an administrator and the game of Cricket as a whole, which will live long in both my memory and the memory of hundreds if not thousands of people.
My own personal experience of Keith stretches from the 70s 80s and 90s when I, as a player, visited Pudsey St Lawrence to play against them.
Levels of expectation were already high as a player, playing against one of the senior clubs in the league, but for me, there was the added level of expectation of standards, conduct, and above all else, respect for the game which you quietly, but firmly placed on everyone around you.
When I brought my ukele into the clubhouse after the game, I ‘felt’ a sharp intake of breath, the phrase ‘what on earth……’, followed by the ‘Moss look’ ,which was almost enough to remove me from the Clubhouse!
Nevertheless, you demonstrated considerable patience in allowing me, my team mates and opponents alike, to continue and seemed to embrace this ‘new idea’ (at the time) of post match conviviality.
Keith must have enjoyed it as he invited me to speak at the club’s annual dinner some years later.
And now as an administrator myself I benefit from Keith's hugely-experienced input.
His devotion to the game is and always has been unquestionable. It is his life !
Keith's grasp on current issues clearly demonstrates his ongoing passion for the wonderful game of Cricket.
A straight-talking Yorkshireman accompanied with an abundance of gravitas makes it now my pleasure to listen to Keith's words of wisdom. He even allows me to disagree with him – before persuading me through hiswisdom that there are other angles to be considered.
Quite rightly, Keith like things to be done properly, orderly and with due consideration to and for others.
You are a true exponent of and proof that ‘19th Century values in 21st Century Britain’ is achievable and beneficial to all those who take it on board,
On behalf of the many cricket lovers throughout the county, league and at Pudsey St Lawrence , I am sure they would wish me to thank you for your unbelievable 70 years of devotion and your service to Cricket.
As you have said to me in the recent past in your own inimitable way :- 'Keep up the good work old boy.’
The thing that strikes me the most about Keith Moss is his past dedication in going around every club in the league during the season. He will seek out the committee and volunteers of the home club and actually encourage their efforts.
During my time at Saltaire CC on the gate, he would walk spritely through the park, perhaps grumble about the traffic on Leeds Road, and shake me by the hand. I would give him a complimentary match day programme and he would say `keep up the good work’, before doing a lap of the ground shaking more hands on the way.
His first love was, and still is, Pudsey St Lawrence, but he has never been insular or deriding of clubs that could not quite match their cricket excellence. It is also worth mentioning that Bradford League clubs have been the beneficiaries of the profits of his legendary 364 Dinners in appreciation of Sir Leonard Hutton. This is the strength of the man- an unswerving dedication to the Bradford Cricket League.