In his latest feature on the Bradford League's top all-rounders, Reg Nelson looks at the consistent achievements of Tony Moore
When Tony Moore and Tony Stilgoe left York Senior League side Dringhouses CC to join Saltaire CC in 1967, few would have believed that the former would make history, winning the Sir Learie Constantine All Rounders Trophy more than any other cricketer.
He has somehow kept under the radar when the old stars are discussed, but he ranks up there with the very best.
Moore started out as a quick bowler who could bat, but he then developed into a top-class batsman who converted to bowling cutters at medium fast.
However, it was Stilgoe who made the big impact in 1967, and it proved to be a learning process for Moore in the late sixties as he had a counter attraction to concentrate on.
Moore’s cricket season clashed with his semi-pro football career and for a time he could not give 100% dedication to cricket or complete a full season.
But all this would change in 1970 when he gave up football and played a full season for the first time for Saltaire. He would be a major influence in Saltaire gaining promotion from the Second Division as Champions.
His 421 runs at 38.27 contained a top score of 96, while his bowling accounted for 56 wickets at 11.85.
Moore had arrived on the big stage, and for full measure he won the league’s Sir Learie Constantine All Rounders Trophy.
Saltaire were now a highly placed First Division outfit with other quality cricketers like Barry Whittingham, Bob Fisher, Tony Burnett, Malcolm Mawson and Geoff Kay in the side.
Saltaire 1973: Back G Kay, P Baren, M Berry, B Westerman, C T Bradnock, I Burden. Front M Mawson, J A Burnett, R A Fisher, W Metcalfe, A Moore.
In 1973 Saltaire were third, and astonishingly Moore won the Learie Constantine All Rounders Trophy for the second time in four seasons. On this occasion it was a shared award with his old Dringhouses team mate Stilgoe who was now playing for local rivals Windhill.
Moore had played a blinder for Saltaire, scoring 738 runs at 46.12, and took 52 wickets as 12.61. Saltaire supporters were obviously appreciative of Moore’s efforts when they presented him with a Duncan Fearnley bat. This was the bat to have in an era away from the heavy duty successors.
He followed this by performing almost as well in 1974 when he scored 820 runs at 48.23 with a top score of 115 not out, and 47 wickets at 18.87.
This would be his last action at Saltaire as ambitious Idle tied him up to a pro contract at Cavendish Road. They were recruiting well and obviously aimed for silverware, and Moore was impressed by their ambition.
Moore said in 2021, “Saltaire was a fantastic club in the early 70s but I was ambitious and moved on”. Idle were First Division Champions in 1974, and obviously expected more success with the addition of Moore.
His first season at Idle in 1975 was something of a triumph when he won the Sir Learie Constantine All Rounders Trophy for the third time. He finished second in the league batting averages with 837 runs at 49.23, and also took 34 wickets at the cheap price of 10.41 each.
Idle finished third, but they would better this the following year when they finished runners up and won the Priestley Cup Final. Moore would be a major player in the final scoring a well executed 72, and with Brian Lymbery, who top scored with 82, took the score to a challenging 221-4. Bingley could only reply with 156.
Moore remembers: “Peter Kippax was deservedly the man of the match after scoring 45 not out and also taking 4-15. I approached `Kipp’ on the pavilion steps looking at his "man of the match" trophy. Well, done Pete I said- he retorted `P... off’ Moorie, you and Lymbo gets £50 each and all I get is this!”
“Brian and I each got a collection of £100, 50% of which went to charity, while Peter missed out on two collections by 5 runs and 1 wicket”.
Idle had to `cash in’ with players like Peter Kippax, Malcolm Mawson, Mike Bailey and Moore, and they duly did again in 1977 when the title was won.
The consistent Moore scored 673 runs and the left-handed Mawson 607 as they made the bulk of the runs, while Bailey’s 66 wickets were crucial. All rounder Kippax also contributed significantly with both bat and ball.
That season in a Priestley Cup Second Round tie, Moore made 183 not out against Cleckheaton in a record first wicket stand of 273 with Mawson who contributed 96.
This justified Moore’s move to Idle, and he could return home to York with the two major trophy medals in his back pocket. His batting took over in the late seventies as he bowled less, but he did win the Sir Learie Constantine All Rounders Trophy for an unprecedented fourth time in 1979.
In an era when wickets were less looked after in the league, it is remarkable he had averages of 46.12, 48.23, 49.23, 44.86 and 49.42.
Astonishingly, after scoring 1,038 league runs in 1981 for an average of 49.42, Idle were relegated in bottom place. In those days it was rare for a batter to top 1,000 runs while playing in the First Division.
He was given a testimonial/benefit by Idle in the 1982 season and continued to score runs freely up to 1988. His service at Idle between the years 1975-1988 made him one of the club’s legends in their illustrious history.
Idle 1984 Back row, from lef:t D. Riley, Peter Machin, Phil Sant, Dave Pepper, Andy Talk, Phil Woodliffe. Front John Anderson, Richard Sugden, Tony Moore, Brian Hodgson, Bob Turner.
He had plied his trade for 18 seasons in Division One, and two in Division Two. Moore looks fondly back at his time in the Bradford Cricket League and in November 2021 compiled the following memory highlights-
“I was a member of the Saltaire team bowled out for 30 by Bradford. Mike Fearnley did the damage with nine wickets - a wonderful bowler who bowled leg cutters on a wet wicket (yes we got wet wickets in those days and no helmets)”.
“I was a member of the Idle team that was bowled out for 27 by John Snow (7 wkts) and Tony Stilgoe (3 wks)”.
“I scored centuries against Bowling Old Lane (who had former England fast bowler Harold Rhodes) and Manningham Mills (who had Yorkshire’s Don Wilson).”
“I scored 1,000 runs in a season in Division One, (wasn't done very often in those days”.
“I scored 183 not out in a Priestley Cup tie against Cleckheaton”.
“I won the league and cup with Idle”.
Moore concludes- “I remember playing with and against some very competitive and good league players in the 70s, including Brian Lymberry, David Batty, Barry Jenkinson, Mike Bailey, Peter Kippax, Ray Peel, David Dobson, James Dracup and Mike Fearnley”.
“In the 80's there was Murphy Walwyn, Chris Gott and Phil Woodliffe. I could go on about county and international players, but they came and went, the ones above played for years."
It would not be too fanciful to put Tony Moore into the same bracket as the aforementioned players, and it is extremely doubtful that his four Sir Learie Constantine All Rounder Trophies will ever be matched in the future.
A contemporary of Tony Moore was former Bradford & Cleckheaton player Allan Stansfield who remembered him well. He recalls: ” Didn’t play against him that much, but like the best medium pace seamers he always stuck it on a good length, and was difficult to get away. So, you had to go looking for him and that’s when you got out - he was a bloody nuisance bowler”.
“He was also an accomplished early order batter that didn’t throw his wicket away. He was a batter who you could rely upon in your team. Captains needed players of that calibre and the Bradford League had plenty of them in those early years as opposed to the flashing blades of today’s lot!”
Another contemporary was long serving Yeadon sheet anchor batsman Les Wood: “I only had two seasons playing in the old First Division when I was at Eccleshill. I did play against Idle four times and can say that Tony was a very fine all rounder. He certainly played it hard but he was a nice guy after the game. His record is impressive - a good player."
Lightcliffe stalwart Bob Horne had this to say about Moore. “Tony was a medium pace bowler of no great pace but he had good control of line and length. His strategy was to probe until he found the line and length a batsman was least comfortable with. I suppose that’s what we should all have been doing, but somehow he was more clinical than most”.
“He was a thinker and very astute. His batting was, like his bowling, a gradual accretion. Straight bat, very good defence, didn’t take unnecessary risks. A batting all rounder, I’d say. I can’t recall a particular weakness, an absolutely top player. He was also a respectful and respected opponent. Always friendly, even in the middle of an innings”