It is hard to imagine that any overseas player will ever match the longevity, loyalty and success of Richard McCarthy.
In 25 wonderful years with Bradford & Bingley the talented Australian helped them to four Bradford League titles, two Priestley Cups, two Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy wins and one Division Two championship.
In the process McCarthy became one of the few players who have taken over 1,000 wickets and scored over 5,000 runs.
Individual accolades also came his way. He topped the Division One bowling averages in 1990, 1992 and 2010, won the Sir Learie Constantine All Rounder Trophy in 1992 and 2000 and was voted Players’ Player of the Year in 2010.
If the league had a prize for the most influential overseas player in its 117-year history, it is doubtful that any other contender would come close to matching McCarthy.
He clocked up 1,036 wickets at an average of 15.47 and 6,804 runs at an average of 21.09. They are impressive figures which underline what a special talent he was.
What is not commonly acknowledged is that McCarthy was 28 when he arrived at Bradford & Bingley in 1990 and immediately made his mark with his rapier-like fast bowling..
He was neither brash nor confrontational. He was quiet spoken and was quite happy to allow his ability to do the talking for him.
The player who had made 11 First Class appearances for Victoria and taken a modest 23 wickets at 45.47 and scored 230 runs at 19.16, had come to Bradford & Bingley’s attention through his performances with Adel in the Aire-Wharfe.
He helped them win the Division Two and Division One titles in 1988 and 89 and made it a hat-trick of championships by helping Bradford & Bingley win Division One in his debut season of 1990.
What is not generally remembered is that McCarthy was already 28 when he joined the Wagon Lane club. He was not a young tearaway bowler with pace, he was an experienced paceman who possessed laser-like accuracy.
He announced himself on the Bradford League stage by taking 71 wickets at 12.70 and that was to prove to be the most wickets he ever took in a Division One season.
His best figures in his first season were 8.3- 1- 25-8 against Manningham Mills on June 23. It was the first of five occasions he would take eight wickets in an innings in his league career.
What makes this haul of wickets even more remarkable is the fact he missed the later weeks of the season after damaging the rotor cuff in his right shoulder bowling at Undercliffe.
“It was like a thunder-clap sounding when he injured his shoulder,” recalled team-mate Bill Holmes. “It meant we were without him for the closing weeks of the season and without him we had to settle for a lot of four-point draws because we could not bowl our opponents out. That enabled East Bierley, who were on a winning streak, to close the gap, but we managed to cling on to our lead.”
Bradford & Bingley's title-winning side from 1990: Back, from left,: John Goldthorp, Mark Duffy, James Robinson, Mark Best, Richard McCarthy, Billy Holmes. Front: Chris Dobson, Jeremy Batty, Neil Hartley (captain), David Batty, Phil Padgett
McCarthy’s captain in 1990 was the former Yorkshire player Neil Hartley. He said: “Chris Killen at Bankfoot was the fastest bowler I saw before Richard burst onto the scene.
“Despite being quick, Richard seldom used the short ball unless a batsman was looking set against him.
“He got a lot of lbws because he bowled fast and full after pinning batsmen on the back foot. Richard bowled a good line and just nipped the ball back in.”
Hartley also acknowledged the brave and professional way McCarthy adapted his bowling after the injury.
“It was remarkable the way he cut his pace and learned to do more with the ball,” Hartley added. “He was a great professional who was always working hard at his game. It is easy to forget he was also a useful batsman who scored Bradford League centuries.
“Richard was a good character, very loyal and he contributed greatly to the honours Bradford & Bingley won during his long spell at Wagon Lane.”
Holmes, who is now a member of the league’s management board, often fielded at short leg and saw at first hand the problems McCarthy was causing batsmen.
He said: “Macca was the quintessential overseas league professional..What was amazing about Macca was his ability to bowl fast with control. He didn’t spray the ball around, he was deadly accurate and if we could have taken slip catches, he would have had a lot more wickets.”
He added: “Macca wasn’t the sort of bowler who was interested in hurting the batsman or sledging him, his only intention was to get him out.”
Like Hartley, he reckoned the bouncer was used sparingly, but he can remember one occasion when it was produced.
“We were playing Yorkshire Bank and looking to defend a score of around 170. The former Yorkshire and Essex batsman Paul Grayson played superbly and hit a match-winning century.
“Grayson was well set when Macca let rip with a snorting bouncer. I was fielding at short leg and Grayson came over and remarked what a ferocious ball it was.”
McCarthy was an absolute revelation and when Bradford & Bingley won the title again in 1992, he took 65 wickets at 13.12 and contributed 456 runs with the bat, including a maiden Bradford League century. He hit 106 against Drighlington, the first of three tons he would score.
In 1993, McCarthy made 101 against Spen Victoria and the last of his centuries came when he got 102 not out against Hanging Heaton in 1997
Even at less than full throttle, McCarthy was deadly. That is underlined by the fact that he took an incredible 189 wickets in his first three seasons at 14.19 apiece.
When Bradford & Bingley were relegated in 1994, McCarthy made sure their stay in Division Two was a brief one, taking 76 wickets at 8.78 apiece, and his 57 wickets and 510 runs in 1996 ensured the league title for the club.
He produced his best bowling figures of 8-25 against Manningham Mils in 1997 – one of four eight wicket hauls he achieved in league matches.
Richard McCarthy, centre front row, captained the 1998 league winning side
Another championship winner’s medal came his way in 1998 as he took 41 wickets, but McCarthy had to wait until the new millennium for Priestley Cup success. Bradford & Bingley, who had been relegated in 2001, pulled off a big surprise by defeating much-fancied Woodlands in the 2003 final by six wickets. It remains the last time a Division Two team has lifted the cup.
Bradford & Bingley returned to the top-flight in 2004 when McCarthy claimed 57 wickets and have remained their ever since. His best-ever bowling figures came on the opening day of the 2008 season when he took 8-12 against Bowling Old Lane.
|RICHARD McCARTHY'S BEST BOWLING PERFORMANCES|
|8.3-1-25-8||One||Manningham Mills||June 23, 1990|
|19-3-61-8||One||East Bierley||August 25, 1991|
|19-4-61-8||Two||Great Horton||July 1, 1995|
|15-4-44-8||One||Windhill||August 19, 2000|
|13-5-12-8||One||Bowling Old Lane||April 26, 2008|
Richard McCarthy bowling in the 2010 Priestley Cup final against Farsley at Spen Victoria
Picture: Mike Baker
In 2010, his 21st season with the club, McCarthy, now aged 48, enjoyed a golden summer. He reached the career milestone of 1,000 wickets, topped the league bowling averages with 34 wickets at 11.68, helped Bradford & Bingley to a huge victory over Farsley in the Priestley Cup final, and was named Players’ Players’ of the Year.
He played his last season of first team cricket in 2011 and concentrated on helping the club’s second team until making one last appearance in 2015 for the senior side when he bowed out with 4-58.
What a player, what a career, and what a great ambassador he was for the game. Thanks, Macca, for the wonderful memories.
Richard McCarthy, second from the right back row, celebrates the 2010 Priestley Cup win
Picture: Mike Baker
|RICHARD McCARTHY'S CAREER RECORD|
|1990||Bradford & Bingley||1||292||47||902||71||12.70|
|1991||Bradford & Bingley||1||321||47||1062||53||20.04|
|1992||Bradford & Bingley||1||300||65||853||65||13.12|
|1993||Bradford & Bingley||1||253.4||50||808||31||26.06|
|1994||Bradford & Bingley||1||352||63||1265||51||24.80|
|1995||Bradford & Bingley||2||278||78||667||76||8.78|
|1996||Bradford & Bingley||1||323||68||977||57||17.14|
|1997||Bradford & Bingley||1||202||45||577||33||17.48|
|1998||Bradford & Bingley||1||249||66||595||41||14.51|
|1999||Bradford & Bingley||1||261||78||714||50||14.28|
|2000||Bradford & Bingley||1||288||63||751||67||11.21|
|2001||Bradford & Bingley||1||203||36||706||33||21.39|
|2002||Bradford & Bingley||2||200||29||689||40||17.23|
|2003||Bradford & Bingley||2||154.4||26||433||36||12.03|
|2004||Bradford & Bingley||2||264.5||60||735||57||12.89|
|2005||Bradford & Bingley||1||249.5||50||821||39||21.05|
|2006||Bradford & Bingley||1||218.3||39||819||53||15.45|
|2007||Bradford & Bingley||1||176.5||29||664||27||24.59|
|2008||Bradford & Bingley||1||222.1||54||580||57||10.18|
|2009||Bradford & Bingley||1||139.5||35||419||37||11.32|
|2010||Bradford & Bingley||1||172.1||56||397||34||11.68|
|2011||Bradford & Bingley||1||148.5||37||535||24||22.29|
|2015||Bradford & Bingley||1||15||1||58||4||14.50|
|1990||Bradford & Bingley||1||15||6||66||243||27.00|
|1991||Bradford & Bingley||1||22||3||90||457||24.05|
|1992||Bradford & Bingley||1||15||3||106||456||38.00|
|1993||Bradford & Bingley||1||26||2||101||645||26.87|
|1994||Bradford & Bingley||1||23||5||59*||332||18.44|
|1995||Bradford & Bingley||2||17||4||66||395||30.38|
|1996||Bradford & Bingley||1||22||2||73||510||25.50|
|1997||Bradford & Bingley||1||20||2||102*||368||20.44|
|1998||Bradford & Bingley||1||17||7||27*||143||14.30|
|1999||Bradford & Bingley||1||24||4||92||541||27.05|
|2000||Bradford & Bingley||1||18||4||90||346||24.71|
|2001||Bradford & Bingley||1||19||2||41||251||14.76|
|2002||Bradford & Bingley||2||15||2||94||297||22.85|
|2003||Bradford & Bingley||2||12||2||85||255||25.50|
|2004||Bradford & Bingley||2||15||2||65||330||25.38|
|2005||Bradford & Bingley||1||17||0||39||238||14.00|
|2006||Bradford & Bingley||1||20||1||27||250||13.16|
|2007||Bradford & Bingley||1||19||4||40||323||21.53|
|2008||Bradford & Bingley||1||16||4||43||147||12.25|
|2009||Bradford & Bingley||1||10||3||15*||81||11.57|
|2010||Bradford & Bingley||1||12||1||31||109||9.91|
|2011||Bradford & Bingley||1||11||4||29||72||10.29|
|2015||Bradford & Bingley||1||1||0||15||15||15.00|