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Pudsey St Lawrence legend Roland Parker dies

Pudsey St Lawrence legend Roland Parker dies

Roland Parker, the man who led Pudsey St Lawrence to their first Bradford League title in 1956, has died aged 95.

He passed away peacefully in his sleep last night with a bad chest infection at Vida Grange in Pannal.

Parker was a life-long member of the Tofts Road club and served it loyally as player, captain, official and president.

He loved to watch his beloved Saints and would often enjoy discussing the action with his long-time friend, league president Keith Moss.

It was Parker who persuaded Moss to join the Pudsey St Lawrence committee in 1972 when both men were on business trips to Cyprus.

Moss said: “Roland was totally devoted to Pudsey St Lawrence and despite his failing health in recent years he still liked to come to matches assisted by his daughters.

“It says so much of his loyalty to the club that he attended to church service to celebrate the club’s 175th anniversary in March.

“It was great that he could be there as he has played such a huge part in shaping the direction of Pudsey St Lawrence.”

Parker`s association with the club started before World War Two, and he played as a young man alongside Sir Leonard Hutton in the 1943 team which won St Lawrence's first major trophy, the Priestley Cup. They scored 149 and bowled out Brighouse for 68 to win by 81 runs.

The highlight of Parker’s playing career was undoubtedly 1956 when St Lawrence not only won the league title but lifted the Priestley Cup as well and he remains the club's only captain to achieve the double in the same season.

St Lawrence started the campaign in fine style and were unbeaten until July 28 when they lost to Brighouse. They lost their next two games to Saltaire and Bradford before regaining their composure to clinch the championship by three points from Bradford. 

Eddie Leadbeater was the main man taking 70 wickets with his special brand of leg-breaks at an average of 10.51 while Parker fought hard as skipper with some crucial innings which resulted in a batting average of 30.50.

In the Priestley Cup final, St Lawrence beat Spen Victoria by 21 runs despite Percy Watson taking a hat-trick for the losers. St Lawrence made 152 and bowled their opponents out for 131. 

Parker was a stylish batsman who played for the Yorkshire Second XI and he was joined in the double winning side by his much-loved brother Albert Geoffrey Parker

The famous double winning side of 1956 squad was R J Parker, A G Parker, B H J Thompson, B Sutherland, T M Wright, M J Riley, K Rankin, K Goddard, G Bottomley, E Leadbeater, D Dobson, C Croft.

Moss said: “Roland was the very essence of a Bradford League cricketer and Pudsey St Lawrence has lost a man who thoroughly deserves to be described as a club legend.”

Picture: Neil Allinson