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Top players of the decade

Top players of the decade

Author: Alan Birkinshaw
It will come as no surprise to followers of Bradford Premier League cricket that Mark Robertshaw, Chris Brice and Mally Nicholson were the most successful players in their particular disicplines during the period from 2010 to 2019.

Pudsey St Lawrence opener  Robertshaw scored an impressive 8,100 runs at an average of 47.22 while Woodlands left-arm spinner Brice took 508 wickets at 12.85 apiece and Nicholson claimed 285 victims.

Robertshaw, who helped his club win the league in 2015, 2016 and 2018 as well as the Priestley Cup in 2011 and 2014, was 1,755 runs ahead of the next highest scorer who was Ahsan Butt with 6,414.

Whereas Robertshaw scored all of his runs in the top flight, the much-travelled Butt - who had spells with Windhill, Baildon, Hanging Heaton, Bowling Old Lane (twice) and Hartshead Moor - only had two seasons at the top level.

Third in the decade's batting charts was opener Alex Stead. He scored 6,359 runs with Pudsey St Lawrence and most notably with Lightcliffe. In nine of the ten seasons he was playing in the top division.

Just 13 runs behind Stead was the Woodlands opener Tim Jackson with 6,346. After starting out with Saltaire, Jackson was a key figure in Cleckheaton's two title wins in 2013 and 2014. Since joining Woodlands he has featured in one league title and three Priestley Cup triumphs.

LEADING BATSMEN OF THE DECADE

PLAYER INNS NO HS RUNS AVE
Mark Robertshaw (Pudsey St Lawrence) 196 23 162no 8169 47.22
Ahsan Butt (Bowling Old Lane) 191 27 141no 6414 39.11
Alex Stead (Lightcliffe) 195 14 152 6359 35.13
Tim Jackson (Woodlands) 196 18 141no 6414 39.11

Brice was the most outstanding bowler of the decade with his wicket taking allied to his economy helping Woodlands win three league title and three Priestley Cups in the decade. Of the top four wicket takers, Brice was the only one to play all of his cricket in the top division.

Second place went to Undercliffe's opening bowler Zeeshan Qasim who started the decade with Manningham Mills. He claimed 423 wickets at an average of 17.69.

Baildon stalwart left-arm spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, who claimed his 1,000 Bradford League wicket in 2019, took 406 wickets  at 14.22 apiece, for the Jenny Laners.

Former Yorkshire and Scotland seamer Ian Wardlaw, who was a key part of Cleckheaton's title-winning teams of 2-13 and 2-14 before returning to his first club Hartshead Moor and helping him to a Championship Two and Jack Hampshire Cup double in 2017, was fourth in the bowling charts with 400 at  an average of 15.76.

LEADING BOWLERS OF THE DECADE
PLAYER OVERS MAIDENS RUNS WICKETS AVERAGE
Chris Brice (Woodlands) 2012 386 6530 508 12.85
Zeeshan Qasim (Undercliffe) 2094 444 7483 423 17.69
Mushraq Ahmed (Baildon) 2003 487 5775 406 14.22
Iain Wardlaw (Hartshead Moor) 1667 290 6305 400 15.76

Nicholson was an ever present behind the stumps for Cleckheaton during the most-successful decade in the club's history. Successive Bradford League titles in 2013 and 2014 featured some outstanding glove work by the talented wicketkeeper. His tally of 285 victims included 232 catches and 53 stumpings.

Nicholson ended the decade with 28 more victims than Matthew Duce who featured in Pudsey St Lawrence's title-winning campaigns of 2015 and 2016 before returning to Bradford & Bingley for a second spell. Duce's  257 victims featured 211 catches and 46 stumpings.

Third place on 242 victims went to Luke Heinemann who had spells with Idle and Morley before ending the decade with Undercliffe.

Despite not playing in 2019, Lightcliffe's experienced keeper Mark Horne snapped up 199 victims to finish fourth.

LEADING WICKETKEEPERS OF THE DECADE
PLAYER CATCHES STUMPINGS VICTIMS
Mally Nicholson (Cleckheaton) 232 53 285
Matthew Duce (Bradford & Bingley) 211 46 257
Luke Heinemann (Undercliffe) 193 49 242
Mark Horne (Lightcliffe) 143 56 199
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