Another week of lockdown has brought about another Saturday with no Bradford Premier League Cricket, which I am sure many of you are becoming increasingly despondent about, however, it also means another trip into the archives and the scrapbook left to me by my grandfather who sadly passed away in January of this year.
Many of you may not have read the article that I wrote last week, and many of you may have read it and realised it was then removed from the website a day later. I want to reassure everyone reading my musings via this column that my intentions are only to try provide some light-hearted entertainment via the website, that hopefully generates some interest.
Unfortunately, last week the league received a complaint about my article as one person in-particular felt it did not shed them in the best light. I would like to publicly apologise for any offence caused in that article and re-assure them that it was certainly not my intention. After reading the article again with a slightly different perspective, I can appreciate the frustration caused, sorry.
I have had a few requests for games via social media and appreciate my need to share a game from my time at Farsley CC and a popular request is for me to share my thoughts on that fabled day at Pudsey St Lawrence (which is certainly my darkest day on a cricket field). I am committing now that in future additions of my column I will feature these games, however, given the afore mentioned complaint, now is certainly not the time.
I have instead opted for a game that I will never forget, my debut for Yorkshire CCC v Lancashire CCC at Old Trafford in 2006. I get that it’s not a Bradford League game and that there are not that many Bradford League Players in there, however, I will highlight the players that have played in the league and it’s hopefully still an interesting story for some of you.
Richard Illingworth (Windhill) and Ian Gould (I don’t think a relation of Richard) were the umpires and the teams lined up as follows:
Lancashire: Mark Chilton, Ian Sutcliffe, Mal Loye, Stuart Law, Nathan Astle (Farsley), Luke Sutton (WK) Glen Chapple, Kyle Hogg, Tom Smith, Oliver Newby, Gary Keedy (Cleckheaton).
Yorkshire: Craig White (Farsley, Wrenthorpe), Joe Sayers (Cleckheaton, Farsley), Anthony McGrath (Bankfoot, East Bierley), Michael Lumb, Darren Lehmann, Gerrard Brophy (Wrenthorpe), Jason Gillespie, Mark Lawson (Gomersal, Farsley, Hanging Heaton, Woodlands, New Farnley), Steven Patterson, Gideon Kruis, James Lee (Bankfoot, Undercliffe, Farsley, Cleckheaton).
I was 17 years old at the time and looking back I was incredibly nervous, I was still in sixth form at school, had only played one county second team game and suddenly found myself playing in the biggest game of the county season.
I was part of the academy at the time where I was paid about £35 a week, I remember the night before the first day Anthony McGrath invited me for dinner at the hotel buffet with him, Darren Lehman and Craig White and I was absolutely over the moon, however, it was £30 a head.
I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity for dinner with those guys, regardless of the fact it was nearly a week’s wages, so I went. When it came to paying, I was behind Darren Lehmann and Darren paid for my meal, it was such a kind gesture from a truly kind bloke and is definitely something I will never forget.
My whole family came to watch, including my grandad who I know was incredibly proud. On the morning of the first day I remember making sure I went to see my mum, I may have been playing first class cricket, but I needed some cash to pay for the £30 a night meals for the rest of the week, and the bank of mum was thankfully open.
Fortunately on the first morning we won the toss and would bat first, warming up that day I remember being so in awe of who I was with, I was so relieved that I had another day to adjust to the surroundings before I had to bowl.
The guys played great, we lost Craig White early but Joe Sayers (48) batted most of the day and Anthony McGrath (65) batted nicely. Then came Darren Lehman who played what is still one of the best innings I have seen live. He made 130 and I was amazed by his ability to place the ball in gaps with such consistency, it got to the point where you felt he was just manoeuvring the field around he was in such control.
We eventually got bowled out before lunch on day two with 345 on the board. I was the last man out, I managed to make one solitary run, I honestly can’t remember how that run came about, I imagine an edge of some sort.
I do remember facing Glen Chapple, he could bowl at 90mph on his day and I had never seen anything that quick in my life before, certainly not on a wicket as quick as Old Trafford. I manage to hit the first couple and keep them out, but it wasn’t long until I turned around to see the Lancashire wicketkeeper picking up my off stump from his feet.
Lancashire piled on the runs in the first innings in what was becoming a flatter and flatter surface, Mal Loye (100), Luke Sutton (151) and Kyle Hogg (60) were the main contributors in them amassing 441.
Gideon Kruis was the best bowler for us taking 5-97 and Mark Lawson picked up 2-121. This game will have been the first time I ever played cricket with Mark, we got on so well and have done ever since, and what talent by the way.
I can go 12 months without seeing Mark and when we see each other again, it’s like we have never been apart. The relationships cricket gives you with people truly is unique, I think anyway.
Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to pick up any wickets in what turned out to be our only innings in the field, I returned 9-0-36-0. To be honest Craig White protected me, I bowled at Mal Loye and Stuart Law early in their innings and then had a spell at Luke Sutton and Kyle Hogg later in the innings. I had chances, beat the bat a couple of times, but this was next level compared to anything I had seen before.
In our second innings we batted out for the draw. Craig White made 116, Anthony McGrath (102) and Michael Lumb chipped in with 68. I was required to bat again and did manage to make 21 not out before the close of play, not off anyone bowling 90mph though.
All the fast Bowlers were being rested by the time I got in, I had the pleasure of facing Gary Keedy and Nathan Astle’s little swingers, I was ok with that.
We finished on 450 for 9 at close of play. I know not the most exciting of games for the neutral, but a game that I will remember for its personal significance. Hopefully it provided you with some interesting thoughts from myself and I will be sure to get my Hoover out to pick up the name drops!