After playing in the Second Teams top division for a year or two I have come across some very good players who would have done a great job at first team level for the right club.
All the players I have chosen for my select team deserve recognition and have been extremely loyal servants to their clubs. Most importantly, all have had great careers and earned respect throughout the league.
It’s been a tough gig picking this team and among the fine players I have left out are James Byrne, the late Jed Din, Chris Brook, Arron Brook, Dan Abbott, Phil Carter and Alex Towler.
I made it easier by not picking any of my fellow Yeadon stalwarts but a number are worthy of mention.
Nick Darfield aka Gaffer (573 wickets and my ‘Go To’ bowler in his prime). He is a big worrier but his passion is unrivaled. Loves to win, and hates losing.
Richard Machell seemed to take 400 wickets in no time while.Paul Machell has contributed so much with bat and ball when injuries have allowed.
Kevin Gilks was a dangerous player who would sledge the fielders from ball one and was great to open with while.all rounders Jon Carey and Tony Gilks served Yeadon well, and Ryan Mooney has proved to be a great finisher with the bat and his well thought out bowling.
One of the great features of second team cricket is camaraderie. I just hope this isn't eroded by the temptation to pay quality players to play at this level rather than developing and nurturing young talent.
I do worry that money will one day ruin our great game and I hope that a greater realism emerges after Covid 19. Our clubs have never needed loyalty and support from their players more than now.
ANDREW PICKERING'S SQUAD
1 Michael Brooke (Lightcliffe)
Although didn’t seem to do too much damage against Yeadon, one of my openers is Brookey who has been as consistent as anyone for Lightcliffe and is the only player to notch 1,000 runs in the last 10 years - great achievement. Gaffer notes he notched 0 & 4 v Yeadon that season!.
2 Cieran Garner (Woodlands)
At second team level Cieran is a class above and easily seals the other openers slot. We've had good battle or two over the years, Cieran has definitely got the upper hand and I couldn’t be happier to see what he is achieving at Woodlands. Mystery how he’s never reached 1,000 runs in a season.
3 Steve Simpson (Farsley, East Bierley & Yeadon)
‘Simmo’ is one of the best I've played with or against at second team level for Farsley, East Bierley & Yeadon..Has an amazing eye, and if he's in the mood can destroy any attack. Decent pair of hands too.
4 Sajjad Haider (Bradford & Bingley & Bowling Old Lane)
Saj would go after the bowling from early doors. Would hit the ball as hard as anyone and was great square of the wicket. It was always good to see him back in the pavilion on the day.
5 Terry Staniforth (Farsley & East Bierley)
As with a lot of second team lads they are extremely loyal to their clubs and Tel is up there with his continued service to Farsley. In his prime he was a brutal middle order run maker, but don’t forget what a superb fielder he was/still is. Although it was at East Bierley the left arm spin of Nick Robinson and Tel at silly mid-off combination that won them a lot of games. Great attitude.
6 Matt Anderson (East Bierley) Captain
My choice of skipper has been there and done it and this level. Great poker player and a master at playing Mr nice guy and then when your back is turned he’s won another game for East Bierley with either bat/ball/or his reading of the game. Great servant to East Bierley and an all round nice lad.
7 Phil Wilson (Pudsey St Lawrence) wicketkeeper
At his most aggressive Phil was as dangerous as anyone smashing the ball to all parts at Tofts Road. His batting played second fiddle to his top ability with the gloves. If it was not for Craig Thomas producing at the time for the first team, Phil would surely have been in frame for St Lawrence's first team when at his best.
8 Rob Medcalf (Woodlands)
Rob's been at Woodlands nearly as long as I've been getting blown about at Yeadon. Absolutely rock solid clubman who gives his all on and off the pitch. Dangerous customer with both bat and ball and has a good cricket brain. One to have on your side when it gets tough.
9 Phil Walker (Woodands)
Competitive is one word to describe 'Philly' and will argue he’s too low at number bibe! His record speaks for itself at Woodlands. Could do it with the bat as much as the ball in his prime and has been a massive part of Woodlands success over the last 20 years.
10 Mick Horner or Pete Byrne (Hanging Heaton)
Two top loyal lads who love arriving at the ground just as the Hanging Heaton warm up is warming down. Can’t split em, and with both getting 1000+wickets they’re both in my matchday squad. I'll live it to skipper Matt to decide who to leave out.
11 Jamie Abbott
Jamie is another one club man who has hardly ever missed a game with his top commitment to his club. His bowling record speaks for itself and anyone with 1000+ wickets as a leg spinner can bowl.