Tributes have been pouring in for “Mr Woodlands” David Wharf who died earlier this week aged 81.
Former captains and players past and present have been among those to salute a man who was one of the rocks upon which the modern-day club was built.
There have even been tributes from junior players of years ago who remember with fondness David's milk float being turned into the team bus for away matches.
For over 60 years as player, junior team manager, committee man, chairman, groundsman, bar steward, sports hall manager, league representative and much more, David was always at the forefront of the development of what was an archetypal village cricket club into one of Yorkshire’s most successful club sides.
It was perhaps fitting that the last time he saw his beloved club play was in the Yorkshire Premier League Play-Off final at Headingley – evidence if any was needed as to the transformation during David’s time..
Seeing them win the Bradford League championships seven times, the Priestley Cup on four occasions as well as securing two Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy wins and lifting the Heavy Woollen Cup twice was a source of huge satisfaction for a man who would have considered such a haul of trophies unthinkable during his playing days.
Gordon Rigg Bradford Premier League chairman David Young said: “David has played a huge part in the success of Woodlands. To devote 60 years of service to his club is an incredible achievement and he will be sorely missed.
“He was always very welcoming whenever league officials visited the ground. He was very proud of his club and it is clear that those who have been involved at Woodlands were proud of him.
“This is a sad loss for all at Albert Terrace and on behalf of the league I extend our condolences to his wife Jennifer and his family who have all shared David’s love for Woodlands."
League president keith Moss added: "So sad to read about David, he epitomised all that’s best in our game for which he worked tirelessly. His legacy is without doubt one of the finest league clubs in the country."
As a player, David was a very competitive opening bowler and fearless fielder in the Brian Close style during the club’s Bradford Central League days
His colleague Stuart Tordoff, the club’s treasurer, recalls: “As groundsman he toiled away for years and years with woefully inadequate resources of soil and water to produce a wicket every week.
“David was very generous of spirit, always welcoming visitors with a smile on his face. He was very much a family man and for all his time at Woodlands he was supported in all that he did by his wife, Jennifer and later by his children and grandchildren.
“The word ‘Gentleman’ ‘Legend’ and ‘Stalwart’ crop up time and again in many messages – all very apt tributes to a very special man.
“He will be sorely missed but very fondly remembered by all at Woodlands and beyond.”