Author: Alan Birkinshaw
We are giving players past and present the chance to discover their Bradford League playing records. Michael Rhodes has records of matches stretching back to the the early 1940s,
Michael, who is scorer for Woodlands, is the man who provides detailed statistical support for this website and he is now offering players the chance to see receive their own figures.
He also has full scorecards of every match between 2002 and 2015 so he has plenty of facts and figures at his fingertips.
If you wish to obtain your playing record, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
To highlight this service we are going to produce a series of articles which will focus on the Bradford League playing records of players who have enjoyed distinguished career at club, county or international level.
Among the players to feature in the coming weeks are Sarfraz Ahmed, Jaffer Nazir, Rana Naveed, Nathan Astle, Ray Illingworth and David Bairstow.
We will then dig deeper into the facts and figures for players such as David Batty, Peter Graham, Murphy Walwyn and other top performers.
The first player to be featured is the league's marketing executive Bill Holmes who joined the management board last year and recently secured the new title sponsorship deal with Gordon Rigg Garden Home and Leisure.
Holmes, now 62, was an opening batsman whose career spanned 20 years and saw him score 12,604 runs for a solid average of 31.04.
He was noted for his determined and patient approach and it is a surprise that a player who scored so many runs only managed to make one Bradford League century. "I got lots of fifties but my conversion rate was worse than Joe Root's," Holmes joked.
His one ton came in 1984 against Spen Victoria at Wagon Lane when he made 114 not out for Bingley and it helped him to his best-ever aggregate of 1,038.
Holmes recalls: "I passed 1,000 runs for the only time during my century. Afterwards my team-mates were saying that I had a good chance to try and break the league record for the most runs in a season as we had three games to play, but I hardly got anything in those matches."
He is convinced that mental tiredness got the better of him. "I had played in New Zealand the previous winter for the Cornwall club in Auckland and I was simply exhausted by the time I had passed 1000 runs.
"Playing in New Zealand certainly helped my game but th the amount of cricket I had played by September took its toll on me."
In Auckland he stayed with the parents of former Kiwi Test player Mark Greatrbatch who is well known for his own performances in the Bradford League.
A Lancastrian, Holmes cut his cricketing teeth with Leyland in the Northern League before going to Durham University where two of his team-mates were the future Lancashire and England duo of Graeme Fowler and Paul Allott.
He launched his Bradford League career in the second team at Farsley in 1980. His performances earned him promotion to the first team and he responded to the challenge with 410 runs.
Holmes followed up with 648 runs in 1981 before moving on to Bingley where he was to be part of their title-winning side in his first season, scoring an impressive 861 runs.
"One of the things I am chuffed about is that in the space of three seasons I had collected Division One championship medals at first and second team level. Farsley won the second team title in my first season and I played enough games to get a medal," said Holmes.
In 1984, Bingley appointed Holmes as captain and in 1987 he led them to a 16-run win over Pudsey St Lawrence in the Priestley Cup final.
The following year he had the honour of leading the new Bradford & Bingley side after Bingley took over the old Bradford club and he made an impressive 934 runs,
He continued to perform consistently and was a part of Bradford & Bingley title-winning sides of 1990 and 1992. The Wagon Laners had a powerful line-up with paceman Richard McCarthy in his pomp, the league's all-time record wicket taker David Batty, former Yorkshire player Neil Hartley and wicketkeeper John Goldthorp.
Holmes had topped 500 runs in 11 successive season's when he left to join Yeadon in 1995. There he made 499 runs in his only season.
He joined Central Yorkshire League side Mirfield in 1986, but returned to the Bradford League with Yorkshire Bank in 1987 for the final four years.
In 1997, his only season in Division Two, he made 637 as the Bank won promotion to the top flight, In his four years at the club he scored 2,158 runs.
He was undoubtedly a reliable performer scoring 1,058 runs for Farsley, 4,040 for Bingley, 4,839 for Bradford & Bingley and 499 for Yeadon.
"It was good fun," he says. "Things were different in my playing days with scores of 200 rare. The wickets weren't as good and there were some good bowlers about."
So who were the bowlers he most admired: "I was glad that Richard McCarthy and David Batty were on my side. Richard was the fastest bowler in the league in his prime while David was a fine leg spinner, but it was always tough playing against Peter Graham, you always knew you had earned your runs if you scored them off him."
When asked about the trickiest bowler he faced he was quick to name the Pakistan leg spinner Abdul Qadir who played part of the 1982 season. I only faced him for seven or eight overs but he was a real bag of tricks.
"I am pretty sure that if he had played for the whole season that Hanging Heaton might have pipped Bingley for the title,"
Having received a copy of his playing record, Holmes said: "I urge other players to take advantage of Michael Rhodes' offer. I have always been something of a stats man and I have enjoyed looking back at my own figures."
|BILL HOLMES CAREER RECORD|
|1988||Bradford & Bingley||1||24||3||93||934||44.48|
|1989||Bradford & Bingley||1||25||3||66||794||36.09|
|1990||Bradford & Bingley||1||25||7||73*||740||41.11|
|1991||Bradford & Bingley||1||23||2||63||597||28.43|
|1992||Bradford & Bingley||1||19||1||89||505||28.06|
|1993||Bradford & Bingley||1||26||3||65||682||29.65|
|1994||Bradford & Bingley||1||23||4||85||597||31.42|