Carlton's side which won the 1973 Leeds League Hepworth Cup
Carlton, meaning “town of the churls” (common agricultural people), is a small and undeveloped village just on Rothwell’s doorstep. Sport has always played an important part in the history of Carlton and its inhabitants. The rural sports fields, set in between acres of picturesque farmland, have been at the heart of the village for more than 150 years.
The earliest known reference to sport in the village goes back to 1867 when a cricket team from Carlton made only 33 runs against a team from nearby Lofthouse. Back in those days cricket was played on Dick Marshall’s field in the far side of Pitfield Road, now Ashton Crescent. He also gave the team a lift to away matches by horse-drawn wagonette for a shilling a head.
1922 saw a huge turn in the sporting fortunes of the village when twelve newly appointed trustees of Cartlon Athletic Club bought the current Town Street ground from Major Calverley of Oulton Hall. The new five-acre site was to embrace both football and cricket, a philosophy that still stands today.
The agreed price of £275, a substantial sum in the 1920s, was a great investment for the future of sport in the village for generations to come. Construction of the new cricket ground was a mammoth task and the whole village got involved.
Colliery owners, J & J Charlesworth, offered a welcome loan and funds were raised through house-to-house collections and special concerts. Building materials were brought in from adjoining villages, local farmers supplied turf and willing volunteers provided much needed labour. By 1926 the new cricket ground was ready for action.
Ken Oldroyd, fourth generation owner of Oldroyd’s Farm and President of Carlton Cricket Club for 31 years had seen both the area and the cricket blossom during his reign.
A founder member of the Woodlesford and District League in 1893, Carlton Cricket Club moved to various leagues, but it was the Leeds League that would make their name.
In 1941 Carlton won their first major trophy when they lifted the Hepworth Cup- the premier cup competition in the Leeds League. In the Roundhay Park Final the club beat Whitwood with Billy Newton starring with 57 runs and a bowling analysis of 7-16.
Although they had twenty years to wait for their next success their record in the competition is nothing short of phenomenal.
There was no team trophy in 1957, but Carlton’s best batsman Arthur Sweet won the League Batting Averages that year.
During the sixties Carlton won the Hepworth Cup in 1961, 1963 and 1967, and the title for the first time in 1965. They were a dominant force in the league and it would continue in the next three decades.
The 1961 Hepworth Cup Final was played at Headingley against Lofthouse. Played over two weekday nights the local rivalry was intense. Lofthouse batted first and scored a competitive 206-6 with occasional bowler Jack Field taking 3-31. The run-chase was always in doubt despite a robust 67 from No.6 Jack Fox, and it was left to the last wicket pairing of Alan Wright and Peter Clayton to make a stand of 28 to take their team to victory by one wicket.
Colin Lumb, who formed a formidable opening attack with Alam Wright had a remarkable season in 1963 taking 94 wickets.
In the 1967 Hepworth Cup final win Derek Mattinson was the hero with a bowling spell of 6-26 against Normanton.
In the seventies they did not win the league but found consolation in the Hepworth Cup by winning it in 1973, 1975, 1978 and 1979. In 1973 they had a cup double by virtue of winning the H J Knutton Trophy. This competition was between senior clubs in the West Yorkshire area containing many fine players, and was considered a prestige trophy to win.
In 1979 Keith Taylor (115*) and Keith Sampson (100*) took part in a record undefeated opening stand of 234 v Woodhouse, but ended on the losing side.
Carlton’s dominant batsman of the seventies was Taylor who won the League Batting Averages in 1971, 1979 and later in 1986. His best season was 1979 when he scored 1.280 runs at 64.0. In between his seventies triumphs his colleague Mick Fletcher also won this award in 1974.
Another individual trophy winner was Brian Ramsden who won the League Wicket-Keepers Trophy in 1976. Ramsden played in 10 Hepworth Cup Finals between 1963 and 1983 keeping wickets in eight matches and on the winning side on nine occasions.
The team cycle of success continued into the next decade when it got even better. They began the eighties with three Hepworth Cups in 1980, 1981 and 1982 to take the tally to five successive cup wins. There was a double of sorts when in 1981 they also won the Leeds `B’ Division.
The architect of the 1980 cup final win against Colton was David Fairburn who scored an unbeaten 76.
Clearly the overall strength of the club was strong with the 2X1 winning the League & Wood Cup double in 1983 which replicated the same feat in 1965 and 1970.
After winning the Leeds League for the second time in 1985, they reached their pinnacle in the following season when they retained their title and also took the Hepworth Cup to be double winners of 1986. This was the end of trophies for this decade, but the six they won re-confirmed their status of the dominant club in the league.
The decade’s big players were Glen Cooper, who won the League Batting Averages in 1982 and 1987, Keith Sampson who preceded this feat in 1981 with an average of 53.77, and David Cooper who took the League Bowling prize in 1987. Paul Stanyard, who took over 1000 career wickets in the First Team for the club, had his best season in 1981 with 77.
During 1988 the league won acclaim by Nostell Cricket Club’s inclusion of Australian test batsman Dean Jones in their ranks. When they visited Carlton, Jones launched several stunning shots until the gentle medium pace of Malcolm Baddeley deceived him and got him out LBW. Carlton went on to win the match, and later in the season complete the double over Nostell.
The nineties dawned and it was business as usual at Carlton with title wins in 1991 and 1996, and Hepworth Cups sandwiched between in 1992 and 1995. Individual winners were Paul Tasker who won the League Bowling Averages in 1996 and Andrew Court who took the League Wicket-Keepers Trophy in 1976.
The title winning side of 1991 contained the club’s first overseas player in 18-year old New Zealander Evan J Marshall. His native club side was Otago Volts.
The 1992 cup win against Colton featured a match-winning performance from Roy Sampson who took 6-43 to go with his innings of 30 runs. Keith Barrett also excelled with 58.
Batsman Mark Schofield had an inspired season in 1995 scoring 945 runs.
The 1995 Final victory against East Leeds was memorable for David Ripley’s undefeated 133. Ripley, a wicket-keeper/batsman, had joined the club in 1977, as an 11 year old, and went on to play in all the junior age groups. He played at Farsley and figured in the 1983 Priestley Cup Final win against Yorkshire Bank.
Ripley played for Northants in county cricket from 1984-2001 and is now the county coach. In his 307 first class games he scored 8,693 runs at 28.40 including nine centuries, and with the gloves took 678 catches and 85 stumpings. In 1968 he put on 404 runs for the fifth wicket with Mal Loye against Glamorgan.
Ironically, it was not until 1995 when county duties allowed him to make his Carlton First Team debut against local rivals Oulton.
In 1996 Andy Court won the Leeds League Wicket-Keeping award, and Mark Fairburn won the club barring averages scoring 800 runs..
Carlton had won 14 Hepworth Cups and five top flight titles and was one of the dominant forces of the league across several decades. However, the Leeds League began to decline with top clubs leaving or intending to do so. In 1998 the club took the big step to join the Central Yorkshire League.
Carlton CC exploded on the Central Yorkshire League scene in 1999 by winning the league’s prestigious Jack Hampshire Trophy. Feeding on their cup tradition they upset all the odds to beat red-hot favourites Methley in the fFinal.
The 1999 league campaign was spearheaded by Kevin Watson, above, who won the League Bowling Averages. Watson was a mean medium pace bowler who gave nothing away and would later find fame with the all conquering Wrenthorpe. He took over 500 career wickets in the First Team for the club, and had his best season in 2002 with 79.
In 2000, they continued their success story by winning the Division One title, largely based on the runs of Mohaddrin Kadri who topped the League Batting Averages. In addition, Carlton won the Yorkshire Council Supplementary Cup for 2000, and regained it in 2002.
When the Central Yorkshire League inserted a Premier League for their top division, clubs of substance yearned to be in it, and Carlton were no different. However, the higher standard cricket in the Premier League negated Carlton’s chances of replicating their successes in the Leeds League, and they struggled to make an impact and were duly relegated.
The foray into the Premier League in 2004 was notable for a remarkable match in late May against third place Northowram Fields. Skipper Mark Schofield feared his team’s score of 146-8 from 37 overs was 20 runs short, but their opponents were routed for nine. The destroyers were Kevin Watson with 4-5, and Phil Mullins who took 5-4.
Like most of their colleagues in the Central Yorkshire League, Carlton had forays into the Heavy Woollen Cup and in 2005 competed in a close encounter with Bradford League side Saltaire at Roberts Park.
Fast bowler Faisal Khan (5-42) bowled well enough to restrict Saltaire to 232. Carlton spearheaded by Steve Cooper (64) was well placed at 118-2, before falling short at 212.
In 2006 they won the Divisiion One title again, and coupled with this triumph that year was the Yorkshire Council Supplementary Cup in which they were getting a definite taste for.
The stars of 2006 were Cooper, who was the backbone of the batting with 568 runs at 40.57, and Neil Waite and Michael Roberts who took the lion’s share of the wickets, and figured in second and third places in the league bowling averages.A further relegation illustrated the difficulties of competing with the more affluent clubs.
In 2010 they won eleven matches in Div 1 but could not quite break back into the Premier league. Phil Page was the best batsman with 444 runs at 29.60 and a top score of 131*.
It was different in 2011 when promotion was obtained largely down to two individual performers who dominated in their respective field. Page again excelled but went to another level with 971 runs at 64.73 with a top score of 128, and in consequence won the League Batting Averages. This time the bowling had penetration in the hands of Jonathan Rudge, below, who took 46 wickets at 11.17 to take the League Bowling Averages.
The holy grail of the premier league had been reached and eight wins consolidated Carlton’s place in 2012 under the captaincy of Christopher Smith. The best bowler was again Rudge who picked up 32 wickets at 19.28.
Carlton’s finest premier league season came in 2013 when twelve wins secured a high ranking finish. The bowling had more depth with Chris Leaf (51 wkts) and Rudge (50 wkts) being backed up by spinner Chris Kippax (29 wkts). Kiwi Jaycob Curtling was the pick of the batters with 531 runs.
Another player who played his part was 49-year old Simon Stirling, above, who scored 494 runs at 32.93. Stirling was an explosive cricketer in his pomp able to dictate games with bat and ball. He was quite a swift opening bowler capable of taking the early key wickets, and in 2004 took nine wickets for 2 runs versus Liversedge. With the bat he took on the bowlers with his special brand of power strokeplay.
Stirling was a native of New Zealand who played forty games for Manawatu. He settled in the UK starring for Rawdon, East Ardsley and Wakefield St Michaels, and latterly for Carlton.
In 2014, Carlton had to settle for seven wins in a season with few thrills. The best performers were Curtling who scored 485 runs at 34.64, and seamer James Glynn who took 33 wickets.
In what would prove to be the last year of the Central Yorkshire League, Carlton finished the 2015 season in ninth place. With the advent of the move to the Bradford League Championship, it was appropriate that they ended their era in this league as a Premier league club.
The cricketers that took the eye for Carlton were Stephen Cooper who scored 445 runs at 40.50 and Farrukh Alam who took 44 wickets.
The last Carlton First Team squad to participate in the Central Yorkshire League consisted of: Stephen Cooper, Farrukh Alam, Patrick Hinchliffe, Jonathan Hughes, Joshua Thurwell, Daniel Danby, Tom Taylor, Derrick Hammill, Gary Close.
In a tough Championship B, it proved difficult for Carlton to challenge for promotion and they had to settle for six wins and a seventh position.
Farrukh Alam was their outstanding player, scoring 479 runs at 36.85, and also taking 33 wickets. Tom Taylor topped the division’s wicket-keeping with 29 victims.
A fine accolade for the club was the award of the Tom Mather’s Ground of the Year for 2016.
Carlton celebrated their 150th anniversary in 2017 with various events including a challenge match with MCC, and the publication of a booklet.
On the field they finished in a disappointing 8th after at one time lurking on the fringes of the promotion race. The most productive players were Christopher Wynd (486 runs), Joshua Thurwell (above, 52 wkts at 17.44), and all rounder Will Smith who contributed 331 runs and 27 wickets.
For the second consecutive year Tom Taylor topped the division’s wicket-keeping award with 33 victims.
They made a stuttering start to the 2018 season and had to settle for seventh place, despite some fine performances. On August 4th they beat Bowling Old Lane by 74 runs after scoring an impressive 330-6, with Arman Hussain unbeaten on 123. William Hayton ensured victory with a bowling spell of 6-34, as Old Lane fell short on 256.
Daniel White had a very promising first season after signing from South Milford, scoring 654 runs at 46.71. The best all round performer was Hussain who topped 500-runs with the bat, and took 36 wickets.
Two significant signings in overseas player Kershaski John Lewis and former Wrenthorpe left-arm seamer Jonathan Rudge were the catalysts for the success of 2019.
Carlton went through the league campaign unbeaten with 17 wins out of the 22 matches played, and had some dominate and record-breaking performances on route.
Lewis, above, hit the highest-ever Bradford Premier League individual score of 237 not out, as Carlton reached a massive 372-5 against Jer Lane. His innings included 25 fours and 17 sixes as his side won by 217-runs.
In the next match against Altofts he took 3 wickets for no runs as they dismissed their opponents for 27.
Altofts, who was relegated that season, gave Carlton their two toughest matches of the season. Although they were dismissed for 27 in the first clash, they had rocked Carlton by bowling them out for 98. However, Rudge proved too good for them in the run chase as he took 4-12.
In the second clash Carlton set Altofts a score of 181 after Lewis had made 79. Altofts were well set at 94-3, but later crumbled to the bowling of Hussain who took 5-32, and they fell just 12 runs short.
The 21-year-old Lewis from Dominica in the West Indies scored 959 runs at 119.88 in the league, striking 57 sixes in the season, and winning the Vernon Grace League Batting trophy. He also proved himself more than useful with the ball taking 26 wickets at 12.42.
The batting strength was further boosted by Daniel White who scored 818 runs at 51.13, and Daniel Ford who contributed 450 runs to the cause at 45.00.
Rudge was a tower of strength with the ball, taking 58 wickets at 8.97 with a best bowling feat of 8-24. His 58-wicket haul won him the Highest Aggregate of 1st team wickets Trophy.
Given their batting strength, Carlton was expected to challenge for promotion in 2020, but Covid-19 put paid to that.
Instead, they took part in the Gordon Rigg Division One League Cup programme and just failed to win their group for finals day.
The batting was as powerful as ever; most notably when they scored of 335-3 from 40 overs in their first match against Birstall. Farrouk Alam (134 runs) and Daniel Ford (134no) put on 231 runs for the 3rd wickets.
However, it was all-rounder Jonathan Rudge who topped the Division One Batting Averages with an average of 76.50.