The club was formed in 1850 as Baildon Green Cricket and Skating Club. As the name suggests their first home was on Green Road, which doubled in winter as a Skating Club. For the first forty-odd years they were content to play 'friendly' matches, but in 1893 they joined the Airedale and Wharfedale League for competitive cricket, before entering the Bradford League in 1912.
In 1913 Baildon had to apply for re-election and, although they were unopposed, they were not successful. However, they were allowed to appeal and at a meeting at the County Restaurant in Bradford town centre they pleaded their case and were successful. The main part of Baildon's case at the appeal was that negotiations were taking place for an enclosed ground.
Their reprieve allowed H Whitham to record the highest score in the league in 1914 when he scored 154* v Low Moor. He finished fourth in the league batting averages that season with an average of 39.00.Baildon finished ninth in a 24-club strong division with another notable success in bowler H Claughton who took 56 wickets at 9.08.
The Jenny Lane ground was acquired, and skating dropped from the name in 1914. The ground was leased for £25 per annum, which increased to £60 in the subsequent years. Unfortunately, with the additional overheads this proved almost beyond their means, so the rent was reduced to £45. In the first year they suffered the ignominy of being dismissed for 10 runs by Windhill, which is still a league record.
After a nondescript start to their Bradford League career Baildon eventually made an impact reaching their first semi-final of the Priestley Cup in 1918. They were then brought down to earth with a bang losing to Saltaire by 230 runs.
Despite the Final humiliation they finished their league season in a healthy position with an outstanding bowling performance from W Rhodes who took 68 wickets at 10.83.Pockets of excellence surfaced at Jenny Lane during some barren times and in 1921 R Moulton recorded the highest score in the league when he scored 135 v Idle. Another excellent batting performance came from George Beet who averaged 50.75 in 1921.
During the 1924/25 seasons Baildon had the services of a fine all-rounder in Amos Spring. His best score was 98 v Eccleshill- but his finest achievement was winning the League Bowling Averages with 67 wickets at 9.50 in 1925. Spring played 68 matches for Surrey as a batsman/fast medium bowler, having a career highest score of 135, and best bowling analysis of 6-34.
Times were hard at Baildon and it wasn’t until 1932 that they had anything to gloat about. Star batsman George Senior scored 844 league runs at 52.75 at a time when wickets were sportier than today. He scored centuries against East Bierley (107) and Undercliffe (137).
In a strong batting line-up which did not result in a high placing, B Hipkin supported Senior impressively with 337 runs which included a top score of 115 v Lidget Green. Several more lack lustre seasons resulted with only Senior excelling:
1933 574 runs
1934 648 runs HS 112* v East Bierley
1935 615 runs HS 142 v Great Horton, 100 v Saltaire
The record books show that in 1938 in a match against Saltaire, the highest number of centuries in one match was scored. J. R. Burnet 152 not out (highest in the league that season) and R. E. Ednie 100 not out were the Baildon centurions with E. A. Hutton 106 not out and W. Farndale 102 not out replying for a victorious Saltaire.
Baildon’s R E Ednie was the third best batsman in the league in 1938 according to the official averages when he recorded 47.10 runs per innings.
Arthur "Ticker" Mitchell, who played for Yorkshire and England was born in Baildon, but initially played his senior cricket at Tong Park. The record books state he played at Jenny Lane but statistics are hard to come by. He was nicknamed "Ticker" because of his famous habit of chatting to himself while batting.
Mitchell was a solid, determined and sometimes dour middle order batsman who converted to become an opening batsman after the retirement of Percy Holmes in 1932. An accumulator of runs rather than a stroke maker, he very occasionally allowed himself to bat more freely, and when he did he revealed himself as a particularly fine cutter. He scored centuries in four consecutive innings for Yorkshire in 1933.
Mitchell's Test career might have consisted of just three matches on the 1933-34 tour of India when he performed without distinction in what was, in effect, an England second eleven. But an injury to Maurice Leyland just before the Headingley Test against South Africa in 1935 led to Mitchell being summoned, literally, from his back garden.
With scores of 58 and 72, he retained his place for the final Test, and played once more, against India in 1936. His first-class career lasted from 1922 to 1945. Mitchell was appointed Yorkshire coach after World War II and remained in the job until 1970, and was known to be a disciplinarian.
In 1939 promotion was achieved in second place with Senior (529 runs) again being the most influential batsman. However, the penetration of F Clayworth with the ball was a decisive factor.
Consolidation in fourth place in the top flight in 1940 was down largely to the all-round skills of Horace Fisher. With the bat he scored 612 runs at a staggering average of 74.42, with a top score of 140*. Not content with that he also took 54 wickets.
Fisher, who was 37 at the time, had played 52 games for Yorkshire, after being awarded his Yorkshire cap in 1935. In the first-class game he took 93 wickets at 28.18, and as a lower order batsman, scored 681 runs at an average of 15.47.
He can claim to be the first bowler in county cricket to claim a hat-trick of lbw victims, in the course of taking 5 for 12 against Somerset at Sheffield in August 1932. In the same match, Fisher posted his highest ever first-class score in Yorkshire's only innings, an unbeaten 76, as Yorkshire ran out winners by an innings and 93. Earlier that week Fisher took six wickets for 11 runs, against Leicester at Bradford, which remained his best bowling return.
Fisher had another excellent season for Baildon in 1942 when they were back in the second division. He took 52 wickets with his left arm spin for an average of 8.03, which enabled him to finish second in the League Bowling Averages. He also finished third in the League Batting Averages with 444 runs at 44.40.
Yorkshire’s fast bowler Frank Dennis was the next best bowler for Baildon in 1942 securing 35 wickets. Dennis played in 89 matches for Yorkshire from 1928 to 1933, taking 163 wickets at 29.26, with a best of 6 for 42 against Northants, one of 5 'five fors' in his career.
A left-handed batsman, Dennis scored 1,500 runs at 19.73, with a top score of 95 against the West Indies tourists. He also took 59 catches.
Another worthy cricketer in 1942 was batsman T Walker who scored the highest score in the league that season with 158* against Bankfoot.
Baildon had another player with county associations in 1942 in Leslie Bulcock who had a season best tally of 8-30 against Eccleshill. He managed one first class match for Lancashire.
In 1945 a public subscription was organised in memory of Moses Mellor, a man who had worked so zealously for the club over so many years. So much was raised that not only were Baildon able to build the score box as it is today, but the ground was purchased for the princely sum of £1,200.
In 1946 Baildon confounded the critics by reaching the Priestley Cup Final as a lowly side in a one-division league. Eccleshill batted first and reached 150-7 before suspending their innings as the rules permitted. They had no need to re-commence as Baildon were bowled out for 125.
County players at Jenny Lane
County players were common at Jenny Lane in the 1940’s and Alf Pope was another. As a 38-year-old he didn’t spark with the bat but did take 46 wickets in 1947 at 15.36.
Pope was a right-hand batsman who played 316 innings in 214 first class matches for Derbyshire with a top score of 103. As a bowler he was versatile enough to bowl right-arm off-breaks or right-arm fast-medium. This obviously brought a vital balance to the team resulting in 555 first class wickets at an average of 22.54 and a best performance of 7 for 84. He took 5 or more wickets in 22 innings and took 10 wickets in 3 matches.
The late 1940s were turbulent times on the field with promotion in 1947, to be followed by immediate relegation in bottom place. Ronnie Burnet and S Theakston were the best batsmen, but the real star came with the emergence of bowler Tom Tetley.
He took 82 wickets in the promotion season in 1947 which included a remarkable 8-7 analysis. He followed this in 1948 with 76 wickets in a vain attempt to stave off relegation for his team.
In 1949 Baildon won their first silverware in the league with the Second Division Championship. The undoubted star with the bat was Geoff Dean who scored 472 runs at 52.44, assisted hugely by Len McLean (469 runs), N `Pop’ Robson (527 runs) and John Marsland (523 runs). The bowling honours went again to Tetley who took 59 wickets. Another useful contribution came from Bill Ellis who took 54 wickets. This achievement ensured their centenary year were back in the first division.
The Ronnie Burnet Glory Years
Undoubtedly the halcyon years for Baildon were to come in the 1950s when, under Ronnie Burnet, they achieved their best results.
Ronnie Burnet was a colourful statesman like figure who was always considered an excellent club cricketer who was slightly lacking in First Class terms. However, he did a fine job as captain cajoling the Yorkshire Colts team in the fifties winning the Minor Counties Championship and helping to nurture many fine prospects.
When the senior Yorkshire team were in turmoil in the late-fifties he was a shock selection to steady the boat as captain. His influence was so great he won the county championship in his second season in 1959 carving the way for his county to dominate the sixties. Two players from this Yorkshire dynasty Brian Close and Chris Balderstone saw service at Jenny Lane.
In 1950 with a side containing no stars apart from Burnet who averaged an impressive 47.60 with the bat, Baildon won their first major trophy finishing 4 points in front of Great Horton at the top of the First Division.
The following year in 1951 they retained the title in an even closer battle at the top pipping Pudsey St Lawrence by three points. Again, Burnet was the major batsman in scoring 560 runs, but the bowling was their strength with Tetley (33 wkts), Wilf Burkinshaw (56 wkts) and Ellis (40 wkts) leading the way.
There were many highlights in this season, but the most spectacular came from Len McLean who scored 130 against Bingley, striking ten sixes and nine fours. His first fifty came in 51 minutes, while his second was achieved in just 17 minutes to scurry him along to a 68-minute century.
To celebrate the second title the club dropped Green to become Baildon CC and things got even better at Jenny Lane in 1952 when they made it a hat-trick of title wins, and also won the Priestley Cup for the first time to achieve the fabled double. The classic Baildon team of 1952 was:
J R.Burnet (Capt), B Snook, G Hitchenor, L McLean, G Moore, P Robson, D Dobson, W Burkinshaw, G Dean, T Tetley, W Ellis.
The mercurial left-handed batsman Dennis Dobson had joined the Jenny Lane fold for 1952 scoring 980 runs at 57.65, while Robson topped 500 runs for the second time in three years.
The familiar bowling duo of Tetley (52 wkts) and Ellis (46 wkts) again proved troublesome for the opposition batsmen.
The 1952 Baildon unit proved to be a real dominating force enjoying a nine-point margin at the top over second place Lightcliffe. But, it was the Priestly Cup which proved their overwhelming supremacy with a set of victories unprecedented in the history of the competition.
They beat Spen Victoria by 70 runs, Lightcliffe by 159 runs and in the semi-final outclassed Farsley by 169 runs. In the Final against Keighley they scored 233-7 batting first to record their third 100-plus victory in the competition by bowling their opponents out for 111.
In the Final Baildon’s left armer Wilf Burkinshaw achieved a personal hat-trick when, in his first over, he bowled three Keighley batsmen with his sixth, seventh and eighth balls in the era of eight ball overs.
Lindwall at Jenny Lane
Another highlight of 1952 was the appearance of legendary Australian fast bowler Ray Lindwall in a charity match for the aged. Burnet skippered a side of Bradford Leaguers against an all-star eleven containing several First-Class cricketers, including Lindwall. He impressed the 2,540 gate with a well struck 51 runs, but only picked up one wicket for 46 runs in 14 overs.
Baildon had made history in 1952 and possessed a team for all seasons that was expected to continue to dominate. They could have extended their title wins to four on the trot, but the emergence of Salts thwarted them by the narrowest of margins.
In 1953 Baildon were long-time leaders, but with two matches to go Salts were close on their heels. Baildon lost their penultimate match allowing their great local rivals to pip them by one point. It was even closer in 1954 when the two teams ended the season on equal points. Only a protracted aggregate calculation decided the title should go to Salts.
The bowling strength was still clearly evident at Jenny Lane. Tetley won the League Bowling Averages in 1953 by taking 46 wickets at 11.06. Ironically this was bettered by Burkinshaw the following year who took 65 wickets at 11.91, but did not win the League Bowling Averages. Ellis was still as vibrant as ever taking 81 wickets in the aforementioned seasons.
Baildon’s decline after this golden period was very sudden. After six seasons competing at the top of the table they were relegated in 1955, despite having five batsmen in the League Batting Averages- B Snook (507 runs), Moore (624 runs), Burnet (408 runs), Dean (408 runs) and Hitchenor (531 runs).
Geoff Hitchenor carved a name for himself in Baildon’s folklore by striking the Fastest Fifty in the league in 1955 taking just nineteen minutes. This remains the only occasion a Baildon batsman has won the Fastest Fifty Award.
Hutton opens new pavilion
Despite relegation it wasn’t all doom and gloom as Baildon’s facilities were improving courtesy of a new pavilion in 1955. The great Len Hutton was present for the opening ceremony.
The 1956 and 1957 seasons might well have been nondescript years but the club won the Abe Waddington Fielding Trophy in the shape of G M Moore and George Dean respectively.
Another commendable achiement in 1956 came in the shape of B Snook who scored the highest score in the league with 148* against Windhill.
In 1957, 47-year old spin bowler Johnny Lawrence took 67 wickets for Baildon for an average of 11.00 to assist them to promotion as champions of the Second Division.
With his characteristic leg breaks and googlies, Lawrence first made his name in the Bradford League in the 1930s, but was not able to break into the strong Yorkshire side, though he played in their Second Eleven. He qualified by residence to play for Somerset at the end of 1939 but then had to wait until after World War II before making his debut, by which time he was 35.
He was an instant success in Somerset's 1946 side, winning his county cap in his first season, scoring 968 first-class runs and taking 66 wickets. The wickets were fewer and more expensive in 1947, but he took his first five-wicket haul in an innings with six for 53 against Hampshire at Weston-super-Mare.
Lawrence went on to have a fine first-class career as a genuine all rounder with 9,185 runs to his name in addition to a wicket haul of 798. After retirement he ran a well-respected coaching school.
A dip in fortunes
Baildon struggled for a couple of seasons in the top flight before relegation struck in 1960. The mainstays of the side were batsmen Dean, Snook and Moore who were consistent scorers, and were unlucky to be relegated one point behind Lidget Green.
In 1959 a 19-year old Chris Balderstone made his mark at Jenny Lane with 321 runs. He improved rapidly and in 1960 boosted his run aggregate to 452 at 45.20 before embarking on a county career with Yorkshire.
Balderstone found it difficult at Yorkshire where he was overshadowed by the members of the legendary sixties side. He left for Leicestershire where he won many honours before making two Test appearances. His first-class career record comprised of 19,224 runs at 34.11 with a top score of 181* included in 32 centuries. His slow left arm spin picked up 310 wickets with a best spell of 6-25.
Another notable cricketer to make his mark in 1959 was Richard Sherred who took 48 wickets. He would be one of the most feared bowlers in the Bradford League along with his brother Martin in years to come. But it was Martin who would carve his name in Baildon folklore in years to come.
There was no immediate revival after relegation as Baildon’s fortunes dipped further ending in an application for re-election in 1963.
In 1964 Baildon had assembled a good well-balanced side but it was not good enough for promotion. Veteran all-rounder Norman Kitson had been signed, and although past his best scored 386 runs at 35.09, and also took 31 wickets.
Paceman tops bowling
The rapidly emerging pacemen Martin Sherred won the W H Foster Memorial League bowling award in 1964. As the youngest bowler to win the award, he took 42 wickets at ten runs each.
His best bowling was nine for 20 against Yeadon. Sherred who also starred for Idle in later years was a formidable seamer and could be listed amongst the top five leading post-war bowlers in the league in that era. He was a regular choice in the early Bradford League Representative side.
Another individual honour came the way of Baildon in 1964 when Ray Green scooped the most victims to win the F Milton Watmouth Wicket-Keeping Trophy.
In 1966 when Baildon were just in the top half of the Second Division, David Abbott found himself winning the League Fielding Award by virtue of his six Fielding Points.
By 1967 Baildon had fell from mid-table in the second division to a string of lowly placing resulting in a re-election plea in 1970. There were few bright moments apart from Roger Bradley’s consistent spin bowling that usually netted him 30-40 wickets per season.
Dogged batsman D Brimscombe strived manfully to help Bradley retrieve the situation in 1967 when he recorded the highest score in the league with116 v Brighouse.
The early seventies saw Mike Kedward as the leading batsman at Jenny Lane with a level of consistency unmatched by any of his colleagues. He scored 500-plus in four consecutive seasons from 1971.
Roger Pawson emerged in 1972 with 539 runs and 31 wickets. He also topped the 500-run mark three times in the decade. But, it was his swing bowling that came to the fore in the subsequent seasons.
In 1974 Pawson achieved the remarkable bowling figures of ten for 32 against Yorkshire Bank, becoming the 22nd bowler in the Bradford League to achieve this feat. Incredibly this form did not lead to him making the League Bowling Averages.
Baildon’s promotion in 1974 was built around the all-round abilities of Brian Mason who had shown his class in the previous season with 412 runs, and 46 wickets. In 1974 he maintained that form scoring 414 runs with the bat and taking 35 wickets with his off spin.
Towering fast bowler Mick Robinson also made his mark in 1974 taking 52 wickets. Robinson had an illustrious career in the Bradford League after moving to Manningham Mills and Eccleshill later. He was famous for having a long run up before checking himself at the crease to a virtual stop. He then launched his stock ball which consisted of a steepling `short of length’ ball.
In 1976 John France, who was part of the Idle treble-winning side of the sixties, scored 467 runs. He was a future Baildon captain and served on the League Executive for many years. In 2001 he was recognised for his services to cricket when awarded the Sir Len Hutton Trophy.
Another seamer with a distinguished career in front of him was Paul Topp who took 60 wickets in 1978. He was an immaculate seam bowler who rarely bowled a bad ball and found fame at East Bierley and Keighley and was destined to take 1,000 league wickets. His fine season could not prevent Baildon from relegation.
Baildon were now in freefall which resulted in their third re-election plea in 21 years in 1981.
Pawson was still producing the goods to such an extent he won the League Bowling Averages in 1980 with 33 wickets at 10.51. He also found the energy to contribute 350 runs. The most consistent batsman was J Wade who scored 650 runs.
Close makes an appearance
Seasons 1979-1981 might have been disappointing, but they did have the huge presence of Brian Close on six occasions during his tenure as a Test Selector. Under the captaincy of John France, he scored 60 at Brighouse.
Close was one of the most courageous cricketers of all time; fielding inches from the bat at short leg and withstanding the famous bombardment of bouncers from Hall & Griffiths in the 1963 series between England and the West Indians.
He was a great captain leading Yorkshire through their glory years, and also revived an England side at the lowest ebb for years. He was a genuine all-rounder capable of performing the perfect double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets on two occasions. The left hander could bat in a crisis and also gain momentum for his team in a run chase with some audacious shots over the leg side boundary. He was a right arm ‘little seamer’ who would thrive if there was something in the wicket but could also contain in good conditions.
He scored 34,994 First Class runs at 33.26 with a highest score of 198 and took 1171 wickets with a best analysis of 8.41. His close to the wicket catching ability resulted in 813 catches. Most cricket historians agree that his 22-Test match record should have been many more.
Baildon just missed out on promotion in 1983 despite Martin Sherred winning the Michael C Fearnley Memorial League Bowling Averages with 49 wickets at 10.43. This was nineteen years after he won the First Division version.
In 1984 they gained promotion on the strength of three bowlers who topped 50 wickets- John Marshall (53 wkts), Mick Robinson (71 wkts) and Sherred (63 wkts). The bulk of the runs were provided by Nick Folland (621 runs), S Rotch (635 runs) and R Taylor (371 runs).
More significant than promotion was the start of the John Marshall dynasty who had taken 64 wickets at 13.55 in 1982 and had been the spin threat in the promotion campaign.
Baildon consolidated nicely in the First Division in 1985 mainly down to their varied and effective bowling attack - John Marshall (59 wkts), Mick Robinson (40 wkts), Andy Baxter (56 wkts) and Sherred (39 wkts). They also had an excellent fielder in D Dodgson who won the A Waddington Fielding Trophy.
In 1986, overseas Pakistani batsman Asad Rauf joined after spells with Queensbury and Undercliffe. He had moderate success scoring 307 runs at 30.70. The following year he would be Baildon’s top aggregate scorer with 585 runs.
Rauf had a modest First-Class record in Pakistan scoring 3,423 runs at 28.76 with a top score of 130. His higher claim to fame came when he entered the International Panel of Umpires in 2004, and later was implicated in match-fixing allegations.
During this period Baildon possessed one of the league’s best all-Rounders in Andy Baxter who scored 406 runs and took 58 wickets in 1986. He was an aggressive batsman and potent fast bowler who oozed competitiveness, and always seemed to be in the game.
The ever-consistent Marshall, who continued to take 50 wickets plus per season, peaked in 1988 when he won the League Bowling Averages with 56 wickets at 10.59.
Relegation came in 1989 despite the effervescent Baxter winning the prestigious Learie Constantine All-Rounder’s Award. Not only did he score 559 runs, but he took 52 wickets to crown a great individual season.
Baildon were far too strong for the second division in 1990 and they proved it with overseas batsman S Tanvir scoring 752 runs at 53.71. He also recorded the Highest Individual Score in the league when he struck 173* v Hartshead Moor.
Other major contributors were Richard Robinson who scored 818 runs at 48.12, and Marshall who was again the leading bowler with 58 wickets at 11.10.
However, Baildon were a yo-yo team throughout most of the decade with two relegations and three promotions.Despite finishing half way down the second division in 1992 they reached the Priestley Cup Final. They were well beaten by Yorkshire Bank who reached 150-1 in reply to Baildon’s modest target of 149-8.
During these erratic times for the club the one constant of excellence was Geoff Kay who continued to be one of the leading wicket-keepers in the league winning the League’s Safe Hands Stumping Award in 1992. This followed the same achievements in 1982 and 1984. Kay would become a leading committee man in subsequent years luring many a fine player to the club.
The Emmerson years
The inspirational appointment of Mick Emmerson as captain in 1996 gave the Jenny Laners five successful years. By August they were Second Division champions, 29 points ahead of second place, and they also won the Priestley Cup, beating Bradford & Bingley in the final at Undercliffe.
On the way to the Final they set a new record for the 3rd Wicket when Robinson (149*) and Emmerson (92*) put on a massive 258 runs against famous cup fighters Yorkshire Bank.
Underdogs Baildon’s score of 198-7 in the final proved to be 56 runs too much for the favourites from Wagon Lane. Seamer Mark Bray proved to be the key bowler for Baildon picking up the Man of the Match Award for his efforts.
This was in impressive achievement for the club and proved to be the catalyst for top ranking in the league.
In the league they had three batters topping the 500-mark-Mansoor Rana (589 runs), Robinson (793 runs) and Andy Walker (559 runs). It was no surprise to see Marshall take 61 wickets, but the bowling plaudits went to seamer Mark Bray on this occasion. He took 52 wickets at 8.13 to take the Second Division Bowling Trophy.
Another individual trophy that found its way to Jenny Lane in 2000 was the Federation Fielding Trophy that went to top-scoring batsman Robinson.
In 1997 Baildon became a real force in the top flight finishing third. Another award winner for Baildon was Andrew Walker who they recruited from East Bierley; a handy off-break bowler who could also bat. Walker won the League’s Bowling Averages in 1997 with 45 wickets at 12.02. He also contributed 410 runs with the bat.
Bitter sweet season
The 1998 season was an extraordinary one for Baildon. It didn’t look promising in May when Spen Victoria's Wasim Jaffer and Andy Bethel plundered 277 runs off their attack for a first wicket record. However, by half way they were in the top-half with a record of played 13, won six, lost two, drawn five securing 47 points.
During a summer affected by inclement weather matches on the opening day were called off and were rearranged by the League for the last Sunday in the season. No one was to know how important that game would become for the destination of the title.
By August Baildon were firmly challenging for the title but their luck appeared to be running out losing points to rain in winning positions at home against Hanging Heaton and away at Pudsey Congs. Their closest rivals managed to avoid the rain and Baildon went into their last match of the season against Bradford & Bingley at Jenny Lane knowing they had to win, otherwise the Wagon Lane side would prevail.
In a winter temperature Baildon had the neutrals on their side and seemed as if they would prevail in a low scoring affair. Baildon’s off spinner John Marshall was at his immaculate best despite his veteran status but was powerless to prevent his team sliding to a narrow defeat in a controversial match.
Marshall was very much an off-spinner of the old school tieing the batsman down with a teasing flight and accuracy. He saw fine service with Yorkshire Bank, but played the bulk of his career with Baildon and is one of only a handful of bowlers to have taken a thousand career wickets in the league.
Mansoor Rana was the best batsman in their `nearly’ season scoring 836 runs at 46.44, whilst predictably Marshall took the honours with the ball taking 65 wickets at 11.03 and also securing the League Bowling Averages.
Baildon replicated their position in the league in 1999, before falling to fourth in 2000 as the Emmerson era came to an end.
Emmerson was a pugnacious batsman, formerly of the York Senior League, who made his name as a very shrewd captain. He pulled the Baildon side together in his image of thinking and managed to engender every morsel of ability and effort from each individual player. He was a brilliant fielder winning the League’s Fielding Award in 2000. Paul Spragg ended the nineties with 841 runs at 40.05, but it was Robinson’s decade.
The emergence of Richard Robinson
Richard Robinson was a fine player and can be realistically classed as one of the all-time greats of the league. He was a fixture in the Bradford League Representative side scoring runs for fun against all the senior leagues. In 1997 he scored a remarkable not out century at Rotherham when the Bradford League successfully chased Yorkshire League’s massive 285.
The left-hander had every shot in the book and was a distinctive figure with his long fair hair creeping out of his green cap. He rarely played himself in carefully, preferring to take the game away from the hapless bowler as quickly as possible.
Robinson’s batting record in the league during the nineties was:
1990 818 runs at 48.12
1991 894 runs at 42.57
1992 651 runs at 65.10
1993 1,069 runs at 59.39
1994 877 runs at 39.86
1995 1,752 runs at 65.11
1996 793 runs at 49.56
1997 773 runs at 42.94
1998 507 runs at 28.17
1999 733 runs at 36.65
Robinson would later join Keighley where more ample bowling opportunities were afforded him. His gentle off spin developed greatly as he won the Michael C Fearnley Memorial Bowling Trophy (Second Division) on a staggering five occasions in six years.
Another major achievement for Emmerson was guiding Baildon to the Heavy Woollen Cup Final at Ossett against Woodlands in 1999. Woodlands made a cracking start but ended with 193-9 as Baildon fought back in the closing overs. Baildon’s innings was interrupted by the rain, but when the match went into Monday they eased to victory with Richard Robinson guiding them home with 51*.
The opening pair of seamers who were so influential in Baildon’s Heavy Woollen Cup victory in 1999 was Craig Hitchenor and Mark Bray who proved to be a perfect foil for each other. Bray moved onto the legendary Pudsey Congs side, while Hitchenor left and returned to Jenny Lane twice.
Baildon continued a fine Heavy Woollen tradition by both losing to and beating Hanging Heaton in successive finals:
2000 Baildon 146 Hanging Heaton 147-1
2001 Hanging Heaton 206-9 Baildon 207-6
Baildon under the leadership of James Goldthorp clinched a third Priestley Cup triumph in 2001 when they defeated Yeadon in a twice-delayed final at Undercliffe. The final was an anti-climax in so far as it was a one-sided affair with Baildon winning by over an hundred runs. Simon Davies was deservedly awarded the Man of the Match trophy for getting his side off to a fine start.
Baildon 232-9 Yeadon 112
They also excelled in the league finishing runners up to Pudsey Congs and establishing the club as one of the leading lights in the league. Simon Davies had a season to remember with 587 runs and a top score of 149*, which proved to be the Highest Individual score in the league, while Robinson again topped 500 runs. Another batsman of note was Colin Chapman who contributed 599 runs.
Chapman played in eight first-class matches in a career hampered by Yorkshire preferring Richard Blakey, A decent batsman in his own right, Chapman scored 238 First Class runs, with a highest score of 80 at an average of 21.63. He took thirteen catches behind the stumps and completed three stumpings.
Influential spin bowler
Another player who excelled in the team of 2001 was Mushtaq Ahmed, who went by the nickname of `Mushy’ and took 55 wickets. The left arm spinner would go down in the annals of Baildon’s history such was the impact he would have in subsequent years.
Season 2002 was relatively uneventful at Jenny Lane but things looked promising the following year in 2003 when opening batsman Simon Davies was appointed captain. They finished third in a season of high scorers- Phil Slater (774 runs), Paul Spragg (674 runs) and Matthew Duce (620 runs), while Ahmed topped 50 wickets for the second time.
By far the highlight of the 2003 season came when the 8th wicket pair of M Ahmed (103*) and T Atkinson (58*) put on a record 146 runs against Yeadon. This record still stands today.
The winning Heavy Woollen Cup formula deserted Baildon, but they did reach three more finals all resulting in defeat.
2002 Baildon 216-6 Keighley 216-4
2006 Baildon 99 Barnsley 101-2
2009 Wrenthorpe 182 Baildon 88
Paceman Jaffer Nazir, a prolific wicket-taker with East Bierley and Undercliffe was engaged for the 2004 season. This was an inspired signing as Nazir topped the League Bowling Averages with 66 wickets while his team finished eighth. Spragg made a top score of 132 in his aggregate of 848 runs, while Davies was not far behind with 833.
Another noteworthy event in 2004 was young cricketer David Clow’s award of the Ernest Lodge Trophy in recognition of being the most promising spin bowler of the year. He went on to carve a career at Bradford & Bingley where his batting came to the fore.
Baildon also turned to pace when they recruited their overseas player for 2005 bringing in Mohammad Siddiq who had taken 110 wickets for Bowling Old Lane the previous year. The Jenny Laners hoped that Siddiq's pace plus the addition of former Yorkshire batsman Scott Richardson would enable them to challenge the top teams.
Former Yorkshire batsman
Richardson, who had played for Yorkshire scored 968 runs and hit three centuries including the season's highest score of 180 not out against Bankfoot.
A right-handed batsman, Richardson played thirteen First Class matches scoring 377 runs at 17.95, with a top score of 69 against Kent. He also scored 68 against Somerset and 50 against Glamorgan.
Left arm spinner Mushtaq Ahmed was Division One's most economical bowler but the team could only finish sixth. Baildon appointed a new captain in 2006 with the prolific left-handed batsman Ian Philliskirk being recruited from Farsley.
Philliskirk was a marquee signing for Baildon with a batting repute second to none at the time in the league. He soon made his mark with the bat and helped the club finish sixth in 2006. Philliskirk scored 622 runs at 32.74 with a top score of 122*, while overseas batsman Colin De Grandhomme scored 593 runs at 29.65.
De Grandhomme played for Zimbabwe in the 2004 U-19 Cricket World Cup in Bangladesh. He left Zimbabwe for New Zealand in 2006, joining the Auckland team. He made his international debut on 11 February 2012 for New Zealand in a Twenty20 International against his former country, Zimbabwe. His ODI debut came against South Africa on 3 March 2012. He has a top score of 120* in First Class cricket.
Ahmed took 46 wickets at 16.37 in 2006, supported by Slater who contributed 45. Baildon climbed to fifth in 2007, a position they again held in 2008 when injuries to opening bowlers Craig Hitchenor and Andy Walker hampered their efforts.
In 2007 former county spinner Jeremy Batty joined them and took 58 wickets at 14.60, while overseas bowler Suyash Burkul had a moderate haul of 43 wickets at 18.16. Ahmed again topped 50 wickets and improved on this for 2008 with 59.
Batsmen Ashan Butt (548 runs), and Davies (504 runs) impressed in 2008, but it was skipper Philliskirk with 750 runs who played the dominant innings.Ahmed finished third in the League Bowling Averages with 59 wickets at 10.25 which included a remarkable 8-8 analysis.
However, the best was to come the following year when virtually every Bradford League pundit was confounded.
When the triumphant firecrackers erupted over Jenny Lane to drown out Keith Moss’s speech on the 12th September 2009 year it heralded a most remarkable title-winning season for Baildon CC. They had lost their last two league matches but it didn’t matter. Amazingly their closest challengers East Bierley had contrived to be beaten by two lower basement teams in the final run-in to hand Baildon the title.
But, one has to wind the clock back to the 2009 pre-season to understand the enormity of Baildon’s achievement. Baildon’s followers were more than pessimistic when key performers Simon Davies and Matthew Duce followed Phil Slater to Wagon Lane to play for a much-heralded Bradford & Bingley side.
The pundits were not particularly impressed by the signings of Matthew Webb, Harry Smallwood and Naeem Ashraf, and a lower mid-table place was predicted. But, there was favourable news about the redoubtable seamer Craig Hitchenor who had confounded everybody by declaring himself fit. Baildon were off to a flier but few took them seriously at this stage.
Even after eight matches- all won, the cricket intelligentsia preferred to look to East Bierley or Bradford & Bingley who were both chasing valiantly. A sudden dip in form resulting in three defeats saw Baildon lose the leadership for several weeks, and it did appear that their critics had a point.
In the closest title race in years their rivals floundered, and they were back on top with seven matches to go. They held on despite sketchy form in a league where every team could beat every other. Indeed, the bottom team Manningham Mills beat the champions twice, while third bottom Saltaire accounted for the Mills three times!
In the final analysis Baildon had four really influential players. Skipper Ian Philliskirk (677 runs) scored runs quickly and led from the front. Seamer Andrew Walker was a total revelation bowling left-arm at a brisk pace with an immaculate line and length capturing 59 wickets. Those that remembered him at Farsley would not have recognised the 2009 version as he became the deserved recipient of the League’s Player of the Year Award.
One could argue that Mushtaq `Mushy’ Ahmed could have also won the aforementioned award. Not only did he win the League Bowling Averages he also topped Walker’s haul with 62 wickets. Craig Hitchenor was the fourth key player - back to more or else full fitness - he was the second most economical bowler in the league and finished 4th in the bowling averages. These were the quartet that effectively won the title backed by useful contributions from Ahsan Butt and Tabassum Bhatti.
In receiving the trophy from league president Keith Moss skipper Philliskirk spoke of how the title win was dedicated to club stalwarts Tony Reid and Mick Illingworth who had died in recent years.
Baildon fame as a top-notch club soon disintegrated when they were heavily defeated in the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Cup at York in the following year. Injuries to key players also negated their progress as they finished mid-table in 2010.
Craig Hitchenor took the reigns as captain as Philliskirk returned to Farsley. Mushtaq Ahmed continued his wily ways with the ball but could not prevent them from the drop in 2011, a mere two years since winning the title.
Since joining Baildon from Lidget Green Ahmed continued to bamboozle the opposition batsman with his eccentric brand of left-arm spin.
When occasions warranted, he opened the bowling and invariably conceded a miserly run-rate while picking up wickets. In his peak years he was a very dangerous late order hitter with legendary tales of six-hitting at Jenny Lane.
Baildon were promoted at a canter for the 2013 season with Jonathan Reynolds, above, second in the league batting averages with 603 runs. East Bierley recruit Gharib Razak also excelled with 639 runs, while Ahmed’s 57 wickets took him to second in the League Bowling Averages.
Skipper Craig Hitchenor tried manfully to consolidate his team in the top division in 2013, but they were short on strength in depth. Their fate was effectively sealed in August when Bradford & Bingley discovered enough form to draw away from them. Bizarrely in this relegation season they performed a remarkable double over mighty Woodlands, and also knocked Huddersfield League champions-elect Shepley out of the Heavy Woollen Cup.
Team in transition
After Hitchenor’s retirement Simon Bailey, above, took over as captain in 2014 and worked hard to get together a team that would challenge for promotion. New recruit James Ford from Follifoot caught the eye ending with 514 runs, but the batting was not good enough to sustain a promotion challenge. Despite finishing third they were 41 points behind Saltaire who were in second place.
The bowling strength was good with Pakistan overseas player Waqas Maqsood, above, proving his worth with 63 wickets at 13.85, while skipper Bailey chipped in with 32 wickets with his off spin. However, the bowling plaudits went to Mushtaq Ahmed who won the Division Two Bowling Averages with 52 wickets at 10.52.
Baildon again finished third in 2015 with the point deficit on second place increasing to 50 points. For most of the campaign they were in the mix for promotion before fading after suffering a demoralising 10-wicket defeat in late July to their main rivals for second place Scholes.
Skipper Bailey, who scored 400 runs and took vital wickets, tried manfully to rouse his troops, but he was too reliant on the deeds of overseas all rounder Maqsood. He took 59 wickets at 13.22 and also scored 335 runs. Jonathan Reynolds was the outstanding batsman with 622 runs.
Baildon were very much in transition now with a disappointing 2016 campaign resulting in 5th position. At one stage, their Championship One qualification for 2017 was in doubt as they only mustered eight wins but rallied towards the end.
Despite this, Jonny Reynolds, who often carried the batting, won the Championship B Batting Averages with 606 runs at 55.09. Mushtaq Ahmed nearly made it a double finishing second in the Bowling Averages with 39 wickets at 10.49. The only other player of consistency was skipper Simon Bailey who scored 322 league runs and took 28 wickets.
In the early stages of the 2017 season it looked like Baildon would be battling relegation. However, a later revival saw them beat promotion contenders Scholes and Methley to cement a respectable 6th position in what proved to be a highly competitive Championship One.
Overseas all rounder Waqas Maqsood returned to the club, but he failed to make a great impact. Skipper Simon Bailey impressed the most scoring two centuries in a 527 runs aggregate at 37.64, and also took 25 wickets. Reynolds, who scored 452 runs at 30.13, and Mounam Ejaz (495 runs), often dug deep to bail their team out of trouble. Ahmed was again the best bowler with 33 wickets at 13.91.
2018 mirrored the previous season, where they were again at one time on the fringes of the relegation zone, and then recovered into mid-table. Jack Hainsworth had his best season scoring 612 league runs, while Ahmed again impressed the most with the ball, taking 45 wickets.
Craig Hitchenor was a seamer who gave his all often ignoring the prevailing injuries that blighted the latter part of his career. His characteristic little angled step at the start of his run launched a heavy-footed stampede to the crease that sent shockwaves to the uninitiated batsman.
Many years ago he appeared in a Heavy Woollen Cup-tie at Broad Oak when one local wag described him as an escaped buffalo running on the square. Buffalo or not, Hitchenor proceeded to bowl the home team out in tandem with his best ever opening partner Mark Bray.
He personally lists Andy Walker (Baildon) and Jimmy Anyon (Farsley) as his best partners but Bray was the perfect foil for him. In some ways Hitch could be described as the last of the wily old seamers who had a kick in pace. At his peak he would give the batsman no peace or scope for a freebie ball to ease the pressure.
Hitchenor came from an Aire Wharfe League background starring at Rawdon during 1989-1996 before commencing his Bradford League career with Baildon in 1997, helping them to win the Heavy Woollen Cup in 1999. Unfortunately, he was not part of Baildon’s Priestley Cup win in 2001 when he chose to help Bilton to the First Division title that very season. However, he had made an impression on the Bradford League and he returned with Farsley the next year and stayed until season 2005.
When he returned to Jenny Lane in 2006 he suffered from injuries but battled on through sundry pain barriers. He fulfilled a great ambition in 2009 by winning the title in the Ian Philliskirk side and was a major influence bowling in tandem with Andy Walker.
A surprise decline in team affairs after that and the loss of Philliskirk led to him taking the helm as captain. It was a difficult time for him suffering two relegations with an emphatic promotion year in between. He stuck to his task and continued to bowl his heart out when fitness allowed.
Statistics can be made to prove anything- the following Bradford League statistics featured in the fabled handbook may not look earth shattering, but it’s an impressive account of bowling against the very best batsmen in the First Division of the league. The thirty-four wickets at 14.38 in 2009 proved priceless in their title winning season.
1998 35 wickets at 19.80 Baildon
1999 35 wickets at 22.34 Baildon
2003 49 wickets at 20.47 Farsley
2004 51 wickets at 17.37 Farsley
2005 37 wickets at 17.59 Farsley
2009 34 wickets at 14.38 Baildon
One of his personal career highlights was being selected for the Bradford League Representative side in an era when Neil Gill, John Carruthers and John Wood were still about. That is probably the ultimate accolade for a selfless bowler who worked his socks off for his team’s cause. His career best bowling in the Bradford League was 8-29 against Bradford & Bingley in 2008.