Little is known about the origins of Crossbank Methodist Cricket Club but it was obvious that the church was the major influence.
Cross Bank Wesleyan Chapel was opened in March 1871, described as ‘a neat and handsome’ building according to the local Batley newspaper. The church had been built during a boom time for Methodism in the districts of Cross Bank and Carlinghow. Before it closed down, Cross Bank Methodist Church was home to a mixed Bible class, a Ladies Fellowship, Scouts and Cubs, and a Youth Group.
Crossbank Methodist Cricket Club was thought to have been formed in 1904. One of the earliest matches still on record was between Crossbank Methodists and St Thomas’s – which went in the way of Crossbank despite being bowled out for 44. In turn they bowled their opponents out for 21- such was the way of the wickets in those days.
The year 1921 witnessed the birth of one of the most important figures in the history of Crossbank Methodists, Kenneth Rumbold – and a plaque, pinned to the wall of the Lea Road pavilion, commemorates this fact. ‘A great servant to Crossbank Methodists Cricket Club’ is the inscribed tribute.
During his lifetime, Kenneth Rumbold was indeed ‘Mr Crossbank Methodists’. His father Alf Rumbold bought the ground in 1953, and Kenneth subsequently sold it to the club for a tiny token fee. He went on to fulfil various roles including player, secretary, chairman, groundsman, benefactor and when he died in 2000 he was Club president.
Both men played a vital role in the development and survival of Crossbank Methodist Cricket Club – hence the official title of the Lea Road ground: The Rumbolds.
Another notable happening in 1953 was the visit of Yorkshire and England legend Len Hutton who did a spot of cricket coaching. The inter-war years was dominated by the phenomenon of Sunday school and church-linked cricket clubs. So much so that the Dewsbury and Batley District Sunday School League was a buoyant local competition, with a full fixture list every weekend. Crossbank chose to play their cricket in this competition.
In 1956 the club were League Cup winners – this is commemorated in the shape of a team photo which hangs proudly in the Lea Road pavilion. It was fitting that club benefactor Kenneth Rumbold was a member of the victorious 1956 side.
The regular team line-up for 1956 was J Perkins, W Winner, B Mortimer, D Blamires, R Mortimer, K Rumbold, R Gillion, L Woulds, K Whitworth, D Stokes, J Watson.
The club was making strides and decided to join the more challenging Dewsbury & District League and struck gold by winning the League Challenge Cup in 1966 with E A Wilman at the helm. It took them five more years to win it again in 1971 under K Whitworth. That season Crossbank’s bowler P Richardson caused quite a stir taking 7-9 against Wrenthorpe to record the best analysis in the league for the year.
Another bowler to cause a stir was Andrew Wood took the plaudits for the most sensational individual feat when playing for the 2X1 took an amazing 9-9 against Eleven Stars. The medium pace swing bowler was accustomed to playing First Team cricket but turned out for the seconds because of an availability mix-up. He went on to be a stalwart worker at Lea Road.
In the eighties Crossbank Methodists joined the Huddersfield Central League. This was a geographically large league spanning much of the outlying Huddersfield areas and also incorporating a handful of Heavy Woollen based clubs.
By 1996 they had started to progress by winning the Section C title to edge their way up the league’s hierarchy. The best moment came when they won the Section A title in 2003 to propel themselves up to the Premier League, and also fittingly celebrate their 50th year as Crossbank Methodists CC.
They had two years of struggle in the Premier League and after relegation in 2005 sunk even further by registering just one win in Section `A’ in 2006. They somehow escaped relegation, despite this form but the following year they finished bottom and found themselves back in Section `C’. Another promotion followed but again relegation was the name of the game as Crossbank made scant progress.
During this volatile period the one highlight was the feats of batsman Wayne Lawford in 2006 when he amassed 633 runs. Famed for his striking ability he hit 42 sixes and took the T Gill Trophy for most sixes in the Huddersfield Central League that year.
In 2011 Richard Hosley scored 555 runs at 32.65, and the following year he was instrumental in his team finishing top of Section A. Not only did he average plus-30 again with the bat, but as wicket-keeper he also took the most victims (18) in the division.
The 2012 title- winning side had more penetration in the bowling compared to past years with Younis Hussain (32 wkts) and Paul Ratcliffe (31 wkts) doing most of the damage.
The club had gained Clubmark Accreditation in 2013 during a 5-year plan to revolutionise the club and its facilities. The 1979-built pavilion was replaced during this plan with an impressive new purpose built building.
The club gained a second successive promotion in 2013 when finishing third in Section A. Hosley again impressed topping Section A Batting Averages with 507 runs at 36.21. James Abbott was also a vital component of the promotion winning side with his 48 wickets at 10.88.
In what would prove to be the last season in the Huddersfield Central League, Crossbank Methodists climbed to 5th in the Premier League in 2014 after a season of seven wins and seven losses. A notable individual feat in 2014 was when J Lord won the prestigious S Hawden All-Rounders Trophy despite a modest haul of 370 runs and 25 wickets.
The vastly- improved infrastructure of the club inspired Crossbank Methodists to join the Central Yorkshire League in time for the 2015 season. This was seen as an ambitious move to a more senior league with higher standards to attain to.
Crossbank Methodist’s first season in the Central Yorkshire League was a challenging time in so far as they managed just two league wins in a bottom finish in Division One. They were competitive throughout the season, but lacked the strength in depth to make an impact.
The most impressive player was Richard Hosley who figured high in the League Batting Averages with 413 runs at 34.42 and a top score of 95*. He also finished second in the divisional wicket-keepers table with 16 victims.
During the 2015 season it was clear that the Central Yorkshire League would be incorporated into the Bradford League for the following season as changes were afoot to revolutionise the premier league set-up in the county. In consequence Crossbank Methodists would play in their third different league in successive seasons, and take part in the 2016 Bradford League Conference.
The club held its own in the Conference League in 2016 with nine wins and a respectable seventh position.
The most consistent performers were James Lord (356 runs at 35.60), Frederik Ras (411 runs at 29.36) and James Abbott (32 wkts at 15.84).