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Legend Ray Illingworth dies aged 89

Legend Ray Illingworth dies aged 89

Ray Illingworth, one of the finest cricketers ever to come out of the Bradford League has died at the age of 89 after a battle with cancer.

He was one of England's finest post-war captains and led them to a memorable Ashes win in Australia in 197. He also captained both Yorkshire and Leicestershire but he never forgot the place where his cricket journey began, Farsley Cricket Club.

It says so much about a man who enjoyed such a high-profile first class and international cricker career that his heart and his spirtual home always remained at Red Lane.

Over more than 70 years he maintained a strong bond with the club. There aren't many top players who have given back so much to their club after playing at the top level.

You were just as likely to see him preparing the pitch, as chasing sponsors or selling raffle tickets, usually sporting his trademark shorts.

He had his own favourite viewing sport where he would park his car and watch the action along with his late wife Shirley who died earlier this year.

Ray loved talking cricket and sharing his incredible knowledge of the game he played with such distinction. An impish smile would invariably tell you that he had a telling point.

There are many outstanding Bradford League players who have benefitted from his wisdom and guidance, players like Pudsey St Lawrence all-rounder Chris Gott who learned so much from him.

Ray's contribution to Farsley has been immense. He was at the time of his death still the club president, and in 2009 his contribution to the Bradford League was marked with the award of the Sir Leonard Hutton Trophy.

Ray first played for Farsley in 1948 but it was during the 1949 Priestley Cup competition that he caught the eye with a stunning century.

Once he made his Yorkshire debut his appearances for Farsley were limited, but he never lost his connection or love for the club.

Farsley and the Bradford League have been priveleged to have seen one of their own achieve so much at first class and international level.

Ray's achievements and contribution to English cricket will not diminish with his passing. He will be remembered, loved and revered in equal measures.

Like those two other greats Sir Leonard Hutton and Herbert Sutcliffe, who were also born in Pudsey, he has ensured the town is known throughout the cricketing world.

RIP Ray.

RAY ILLINGWORTH'S BRADFORD LEAGUE RECORD
BATTING
Year Div Inns No Hs Runs Ave
1948 2 13 2 43 139 12.64
1949 2 18 5 54* 296 22.77
1950 No books available
1951 2 11 1 113 324 32.40
1952 2 16 3 162* 844 64.92
1953 1 2 1 74* 76 76.00
1954 2 5 4 67* 132 132.00
1979 1 4 1 11 22 7.33
1984 1 8 5 21* 52 17.33
1985 1 4 1 17 20 3.33
1986 1 5 4 3* 6 6.00
1987 1 3 2 5* 5 5.00
1988 1 1 1 5* 5 5.00
1989 1 1 1 2* 2 2.00
          1923 32.05
             
BOWLING
Year Div Ovs M Runs Wkts Ave
1948 2 80 11 307 12 25.58
1949 2 74 6 291 15 19.40
1950 No books available
1951 2 89.7 12 380 18 21.11
1952 2 130.7 17 559 36 15.53
1953 1 7 0 37 1 37.00
1954 2 40 7 145 11 13.18
1979 1 51 12 154 5 30.80
1984 1 159.2 39 488 21 23.24
1985 1 96.3 32 196 13 15.08
1986 1 151.3 46 370 19 19.47
1987 1 96.5 30 207 12 17.25
        3134 163 19.23
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