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Reg Nelson reviews Pudsey St Lawrence's  175th anniversary brochure

Reg Nelson reviews Pudsey St Lawrence's 175th anniversary brochure

Pudsey St Lawrence CC 175 Year Anniversary brochure (A Landmark History 1845-2020).

When a cricket club has survived for 175 years and they are still at the `top of the tree’ in terms of cricket excellence, they must have been doing something right over the years.

It could be that players get `sucked’ into the community spirit of the club, and remain at Tofts Road long after retirement, sometimes in high officialdom of the club.

This begins with current players serving burgers on special fund-raisers like Bonfire Night, and offering to do menial tasks at the club. It’s the volunteering from the players, committee, junior coaches and friends of the club that makes Pudsey St Lawrence.

The 175th Anniversary brochure has gone down very well since its publication earlier this year, and it is close to being a sell-out. There are plans afoot for a re-print.

John Snow, being welcomed to St Lawrence by Tony Stillgoe and Phil Carrick for his Bradford League debut, has provided a tribute for the brochire

Mike Stein the writer, has obviously gone down the well-trodden path of acknowledging the likes of Sir Leonard Hutton and Herbert Sutcliffe, but he has very wisely put together tributes from David Leatherdale, John Snow, Mike Bailey, Charles Palmer, Martin Crowe, Colin Johnson and Mark Greatbatch.

In particular, I enjoyed reading about Chris Leathley’s tangles with the great Peter Graham, and his throwaway remark about Keith Smith- “You always heard him before you saw him and some things never change."

Then there was David Leatherdale’s recollection of being asked to bowl against Australia in a one day game for Worcestershire, and promptly took five wickets for ten runs.

Stein has largely let the facts and the statistics tell the story, and in tandem with Neil Allinson’s brilliant photographs, has produced an essential book for league cricket fans, whether from Yorkshire or further afield.

 A cursory glance at the stats reminds one of the major achievers at the club, and to that end Chris Gott stands out as a remarkable all rounder.

Chris Gott has gone from star all rounder to club chairman

To win the Sir Learie Constantine All Rounder’s Trophy once is the pinnacle of a player’s career, but to win it three times is quite fantastic, especially in the same era as Murphy Walwyn and Richard McCarthy.

Nobody could have predicted that in his pomp, this `pin-up’ cricketer of his generation, who once hit a future county cricketer for six sixes in an over, would end up as chairman of the club decades later.

In the confines of a 94-page book it isn’t possible to evaluate all the championship winning sides, or discuss the Toft Road’s reaction to the golden years of Pudsey Congs.

But, it is possible to ascertain how good they were when reading the individual names listed for each championship win.

Keith Smith was a key figure in the club's successes in the eighties

The two acknowledged great teams in their history were the seventies and the eighties versions, when five First Division titles, one Priestley Cup and four Yorkshire Club Champions trophies were won, and the esteemed Keith Smith was involved in every one.

Keith’s son James helped to resurrect the Saints in the post-Pudsey Congs days when they won three titles in four seasons.

James Smith is a similarly destructive batsman to his father Keith

Intriguingly, both Keith and James have the distinction of winning the Bradford League Division One Batting Averages. Keith was a hard hitting, uncomplicated batsman, and James has pulverised many a side with audacious stroke-play, often in critical times of an innings.  

There are other examples of other `father and son’ traditions like Peter and Chris Gott, David and Mark Robertshaw and Iain and Josh Priestley.

Robertshaw of course, was the leading batsman in the modern post Millennium era, not only for the club but the entire league. The records revealed in this brochure have him scoring 1,000 league runs on four occasions and winning the Bradford League First Division Batting Averages three times. That is some feat.

It’s refreshing that officials, volunteers and the fabled junior set-up has got their just desserts in this brochure. The stars are great to read about, but there is always a host of workers behind the scenes.

That pugnacious character Chris `Spike’ Marsden, is now responsible as captain, for the future generation of young cricketers in the First Team. Who’s to say he won’t lead them into another golden period in their history?

It’s appropriate to end with a Tony Moss thought from his excellent President’s introduction: Whilst we should be rightly proud to have reached this fantastic milestone, it is important to take guard, check the field and set our sights on the next 175 years."

Is it me, or does anybody else think he is getting as stately as his father Keith; a man who has helped to shape St Lawrence’s history probably more than anybody else? 

The cost of the brochure including postage and packing is £11.50 and you can order your copy now.

You can order and pay for the brochure for delivery in two ways:

1 Email bookings@pslcricket.co.uk leaving your delivery address and paying by cash transfer to 04-00-04 76641358
2. By sending your delivery details and a cheque made out to Pudsey St Lawrence Cricket Club to: Richard Brown ,Secretary, 19 Priesthorpe Avenue, Leeds, LS28 7TG.