Author: Alan Birkinshaw
The role of the wicketkeeper batsman has become increasingly important over the past 30 years and it is good to be able to celebrate the fact that the league has five men who have completed the double of 500 victims and 5,000 runs.
Dave Hallett, who played for Yeadon, Hartshead Moor, Eccleshill, Cleckheaton, was desperately close to achieving the feat before retiring in 1988 with 491 victims and 10,407 runs.
But the man who really refined the role of the modern wicketkeeper batsman in the league was John Goldthorp.
He was the first keeper to achieve the double and ended his Bradford League career in 2005 with a record 706 victims and 11,056 runs.
Goldthorp won three league championship medals – two with Bradford & Bingley and one with Yorkshire Bank – and featured in Priestley Cup winning sides with Bingley and later in his career with Farsley.
Bill Holmes was the Bingley captain who recruited Goldthorp. He recalls: “We had just lost David Smith who was one of the finest keepers in the league to Birstall when Goldy joined us.
“There was some concern at the time about finding somebody who would be able to cope with our leg spinner David Batty, but people needn’t have worried.
“Goldy came in and impressed from the start. He was an extremely athletic and agile keeper when stood back and was impressive stood up to the stumps.
“The big bonus was his ability to score runs from number three. He knew how to dig in if we lost an early wicket or could pick up the tempo if we got a good start.”
The man who is best placed to overhaul Goldthorp’s record number of victims is the current Bradford & Bingley wicketkeeper Matthew Duce.
He has 608 and needs 99 to take over the top spot that Goldthorp has held for almost 20 years. Duce has also scored 7,660 runs and all of his victims and runs have been scored in the top division.
Matthew Garside is the only one of the five wicketkeepers to do the double who has spent a significant part of his career in Division Two. He has 561 victims and 5,683 runs with the bulk of those coming during his successful spell at Gomersal.
Two more current players have already completed the double, Mark Gill and Mally Nicholson.
Gill is the highest scoring wicketkeeper batsman with 13,504 accumulated in a 29-year career. Gill has also claimed 547 victims which puts him eight ahead of Nicholson who won the league’s wicketkeeping prize for four successive years from 2007. The Cleckheaton skipper has 6,597 runs to his name.
|500 VICTIMS AND 5,000 RUNS|
Mark Gill behind the stumps for East Bierley in the 2012 Priestley Cup final Picture: John Goldthorp
While it is straightforward comparing the victims taken by each wicketkeeper batsman, there are additional factors that need to be taken into consideration when comparing runscoring.
Players like Lee Goddard, Andrew Bairstow, Nicky Rushworth and Ishmail Dawood have had times in their career where they have played solely as batsmen, underlining their value as runscorers. Goddard even won the league batting trophy in 2012.
The numbers of specialist wicketkeepers who bat down the order are diminishing and the ability to score runs means that the majority of wicketkeepers can now be considered all rounders.
The case for that was underlined when Bradford & Bingley's Charlie Best won the league's Sir Learie Constantine All Rounders prize in 2016, prior to his move to Pudsey St Lawrence.
There is no doubt that top wicketkeeper batsmen have contributed greatly to some of the most successful teams in recent years - just as Goldthorp did for Bradford & Bingley in the nineties.
Bairstow made many key contributions when Pudsey Congs dominated the early years of the new millennium while Nicky Rushworth was a big factor in Woodlands' four title wins from 2005-2008.
Duce featured in Pudsey St Lawrence's back to back title wins in 2015 and 2016 while Alan Mynett's contribution for Hanging Heaton from 1992 to 2011 cannot be understated.
In addition to those featured in the charts below there are a number of talented wicketkeeper batsmen plying their trade in the league such as Best at St Lawrence, Dan Hodgson at New Farnley and Greg Finn at Woodlands, all batting in the top four and shining behind the stumps.
|1||John Goldthorp||Baildon, Yorkshire Bank, Bingley, Bradford & Bingley, Farsley||706|
|2||Derek Wainwright||Brighouse, Idle, Queensbury, Bradford, Bowling OL, Lidget Green, E Bierley, Yorks Bank||629|
|3||Matthew Duce||Pudsey Congs, Baildon, Bradford & Bingley, Pudsey St Lawrence,Bradford & Bingley||608|
|4||Matthew Garside||Idle, Morley, Gomersal, Spen Victoria, Scholes, Hartshead Moor||561|
|5||Mark Gill||E Bierley, Windhill, Cleckheaton, Undercliffe,Brighouse, Pudsey Congs, E Bierley, Lightcliffe||547|
|6||Mallyl Nicholson||Windhill, Bankfoot, Cleckheaton||539|
|7||David Hallett||Yeadon, Hartshead Moor, Eccleshill, Cleckheaton||491|
|8||Nicky Rushworth||Saltaire, Great Horton, Hartshead Moor, Woodlands, Spen Victoria, E Bierley, Woodlands||486|
|10||Alan Mynett||Hanging Heaton||444|
|11||Sean Humphreys||Keighley, Queensbury, Lightcliffe||423|
|12||Pat Fordham||Spen Victoria, Yeadon, Bradford & Bingley,||358|
|13||Ishmail Dawood||Hanging Heaton||252|
|14||Lee Goddard||Spen Victoria, E Bierley, New Farnley||249|
|15||Andrew Bairstow||Undercliffe, E Bierley, Pudsey Congs||200|
|RANKED BY RUNS SCORED|
|1||Mark Gill||E Bierley, Windhill, Cleckheaton, Undercliffe,Brighouse, Pudsey Congs, E Bierley, Lightcliffe||13504|
|2||Andrew Bairstow||Undercliffe, East Bierley, Pudsey Congs||11638|
|3||John Goldthorp||Baildon, Yorks Bank, Bingley, Bradford & Bingley, Farsley||11056|
|4||David Hallett||Yeadon, Hartshead Moor, Eccleshill, Cleckheaton||10407|
|5||Lee Goddard||Spen Victoria, East Bierley, New Farnley||9311|
|6||Nicky Rushworth||Saltaire, Great Horton, Hartshead Moor, Woodlands, Spen Victoria, East Bierley, Woodlands||9060|
|7||Matthew Duce||Pudsey Congs, Baildon, Bradford & Bingley, Pudsey St Lawrence, Bradford & Bingley||7660|
|8||Pat Fordham||Spen Victoria, Yeadon, Bradford & Bingley,||7646|
|9||Alan Mynett||Hanging Heaton||7137|
|10||Mallyl Nicholson||Windhill, Bankfoot, Cleckheaton||6597|
|11||Sean Humphreys||Keighley, Queensbury, Lightcliffe||6401|
|12||Ishmail Dawood||Hanging Heaton||6140|
|13||Matthew Garside||Idle, Morley, Gomersal, Spen Victoria, Scholes, Hartshead Moor||5683|
|15||Derek Wainwright||Brighouse, Idle, Queensbury, Bradford, Bowling OL, Lidget Green, E Bierley, Yorks Bank||4414|