The East Ardsley team that won the Conference title in 2017
The Village of East Ardsley was first recorded by the Domesday Book of 1086 as Erdeslau, and later in 1285 titled Ardeslawe.
East Ardsley once had a diverse economy, including agriculture, textiles, railways and coal-mining. Its coal mine closed in 1968 – the same year that the nearby Middleton closed.
Not a large village, the early cricket history of the club is not easily researched, but clearly in modern times they participated in the Central Yorkshire League after entry in 1949.
The forming of the Central Yorkshire League in 1938 came about through a perplexing trail of evolving leagues that included the early West Riding Central League. The Spen Valley League and the Heavy Woollen League contained clubs that would participate in the unwieldy Yorkshire Council, in an ever changing league landscape.
East Ardsley had limited successes in the Central Yorkshire League, and their forays in the Heavy Woollen Cup were not noteworthy until 1949. That season they progressed to the semi-final after an impressive 4-wicket victory against Cleckheaton, before going out to the eventual winners Ossett.
It was ultimately a very successful season as W Bedford led East Ardsley to the 2nd Division title with W Hall carrying off the league batting averages.
Two years later in 1951 they defied all the odds by reaching the Heavy Woollen Cup Final. East Ardsley produced a major shock in the semi-final by comfortably defeating multi-winners Ossett who they dismissed for a paltry 45 runs. East Ardsley had batted first setting a suspended score of 157-9.
At Savile Town in the final the strong Hanging Heaton side defeated East Ardsley in commanding style watched by around 3,000 supporters. The Dewsbury Reporter referred to the ‘execution’ of East Ardsley and wondered how they had ever reached the final. The fact is that East Ardsley had accounted for some notable scalps en route to the final but had then met a team that on its day was undoubtedly the finest in the area at that level of competition.
In 1956 East Ardsley sprang another surprise in the quarter-final of the Heavy Woollen Cup by passing Batley’s score of 176 with four wickets in hand. Batley subsequently lodged a protest that East Ardsley had fielded an ineligible player but the objection was overruled. Dewsbury, the favourites, duly beat East Ardsley by 38 runs in the semi-final.
In league cricket, East Ardsley found it difficult to establish the club as a top flight outfit and relegation beckoned, before another 2nd Division title win occurred in 1964.
The catalyst for this triumph was G Farrar who won the league bowling averages taking 76 wickets at 10.13. This replicated his feat in 1960 when he took 58 wickets at 7.56.
In the 1975 Heavy Woollen Cup First Round East Ardsley dismissed Batley for 41 and went on to win by seven wickets. They then proceeded to create the shock of the 2nd round with a crushing victory over Almondbury. Set a modest target of 133, the Huddersfield League side was dismissed for 37. As in the previous round, Andrew Wood with 6-17 and Alan Weir with 4-17 were the East Ardsley heroes. The local papers made a great play afterwards that East Ardsley were all-amateur.
The quarter-finals were less dramatic with East Ardsley’s gallant cup run coming to a predictable end at the hands of the powerful Heckmondwike side who amassed 239-5, as East Ardsley were dismissed for 88.
East Ardsley’s problems competing with the affluent clubs were magnified by their volatile existence between the top flight and Division Two in the eighties
Despite this, they enjoyed the silverware earned by winning the 2nd Division titles in 1982 and 1986, under the respective captains of B Newboult and M Pearson.
In 1987 an individual honour came to the club in the shape of the Tom Senior Wicketkeeping Cup that Paul Pearson duly won.
By 1997 East Ardsley were in a rut in the second division recording seven wins and thirteen losses. The best performer was undoubtedly Simon Sterling who took 60 wickets at 16.63, and also scored 554 runs at 30.78.
Stirling, above, 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. 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.
The next best East Ardsley performer in 1997 was Michael Pearson who took 45 wickets at 19.67.
Like most senior leagues, the Central Yorkshire League created a Premier league, with the second sphere renamed the 1st Division.
In 2003, East Ardsley won the Division One title to break into Premier League the following season. Indian left-hander Manoj Joglekar was a major influence with the bat.
In the title clinching match in late August, East Ardsley beat Liversedge by a resounding 117 runs. Paul Court took 3-15 as Liversedge fell for 61 replying to East Ardsley's 178, which included 61 from Geoff Hunt.
East Ardsley made history in 2003 when they entertained Aston Hall in their first ever Yorkshire Council play-off match, duly winning the match by 41 runs.
Shane Lee, whose league form was good that year, compiled a century, hitting 102 before being run out. He found a willing ally in Geoff Hunt who scored 51 out of a commanding third-wicket stand of 116, allowing their team to reach 208-6 by the end of their allotted 45 overs.
The East Ardsley bowling proved good enough in defending the score as Aston Hall were dismissed for 167 with Paul Court taking 4-35, and Mark Heald 4-82, Michael Pearson 1-20 and Glen Larson 1-14.
East Ardsley consolidated into the Premier league in 2004 with David Battye taking 65 wickets, and Joglekar scoring 774 runs. The Premier League era lasted a further two seasons until 2006 when they were relegated.
Up to April 2004, Battye, then aged 49, had played in 869 league and cup games for seven Central Yorkshire League clubs and had taken an astonishing 1,629 wickets, in 34 seasons.
Battye, who took his 1,000th wicket playing for East Ardsley against Ossett in 2004, moved to the club after helping Wrenthorpe, for whom he claimed 416 wickets in eight seasons, win their first championship in 2003.
Battye began in Batley's junior team in 1970, making his senior debut two years later, and played for Gomersal, Chickenley, Morley, Birstall, Wrenthorpe and Wakefield St Michaels before joining East Ardsley.
The club retained their Premier league status for two more seasons before returning to Division One in 2007. They were not content to languish for ling in the lower division and in 2008 they finished in runner-up opposition and in doing so secured Premier league cricket for 2009.
East Ardsley was always in contention for promotion and by June 2008 had given notice of their intentions with an emphatic victory against Moorlands. Tom Marsden (107 no) and Mujahid Hameed (65 runs) shared a 125-run stand as East Ardsley posted 251-4 and Christian Musgrave then snapped up 6-36 as Moorlands were bowled out for 159 in reply.
In the defining game East Ardsley travelled the short distance to Carlton knowing that four points would be enough to secure promotion in second place. After winning the toss and inviting Carlton to take first knock, it took 22 overs for Ardsley to get the breakthrough, but through disciplined bowling the reliable Mark Heald struck.
Wickets then fell at regular intervals as Heald, Chester and Sri Lankan Duncan Arnolda all took three wickets. Carlton was eventually all out for 110, and they then proceeded to knock the runs off without much difficulty as Arnolda (46 not out) and Hameed (57 not out) strolled home. The six points assured the club of second place.
Arnolda, a right arm fast medium bowler, and right handed batsman, had had a fine First Class career in Sri Lanka with a career best of 129* with the bat, and a best analysis of 5-64.
East Ardsley also reached the Yorkshire Council Supplementary final, where they came up short against a strong Rotherham Phoenix side, from the South Yorkshire League.
Ardsley managed to bowl them out in the 44th over for 201 after Phoenix elected to bat first in the final played at Birstall CC. But despite good performances with the ball from Tom Chester, Mark Heald and Hameed, the batting was a let down and they lost by over a hundred runs.
Back in the Premier League in 2009 they were unable to sustain the challenge and were promptly relegated.
However, the season was not without its highlights- the first maximum point victory came when they beat Wakefield Thornes. East Ardsley bowled them out for 108 with Tom Chester taking 4-19 and West Indian paceman Wilden Cornwall having figures of 3-45. Hameed scored 42 as Ardsley coasted to a six wicket win.
Another convincing win was against Mirfield Parish Cavaliers when Hameed (103 runs) and Marsden (71 runs) chased the runs down in a 8-wicket triumph with Cornwall taking five wickets.
Cornwall, a genuine all rounder, was a First Class cricketer in the West Indies, recording a top score of 111, and achieving a best analysis of 6-53. He also excelled in List A matches with both bat and ball.
The last regular East Ardsley line-up in the Premier League consisted of: Tom Marsden, Mujahid Hameed, Danny McTiernan, Wilden Cornwall, Bilal Ejaz, Ashley Pearson, Dace Chester, Gary Jennings, Christian Musgrave, Spencer Horsfall, Julian Smith, Tom Chester.
In 2010, Mujahid Hameed dominated Div.1 cricket winning the League All Rounders Trophy, and also the two league batting awards with an aggregate of 862 runs at 47.83. With the ball he took 31 wickets.
The team, led by Mark Heald who was the chief wicket-taker with 47 at 13.13, never really threatened a promotion challenge suffering eleven league defeats despite the efforts of Hameed.
Fortunes fell even further with just five league wins in each of the following two seasons. Heald was by far the best bowler with tallies of 32 and 31 wickets, while only Andrew Langley and Geoff Hunt showed any semblance of real form with the bat.
Ashley Pearson , above, led the team in a far better campaign in 2013 with Queensland batsman Matthew Dolan excelling with the bat scoring 785 runs at 52.33. David Battye, who took 41 wickets, appeared to have a new leash of life at 58, with his accurate `little seamers’.
In the next two seasons Battye’s star shone even brighter as he won the League Bowling Averages both seasons. In 2014 he took 39 wickets at 10.08 with an economy rate of 2.23 runs per over, and in the following season took 51 wickets at 7-41 with a best analysis of 8-29.
Although 2014 was a disappointing season from a team point of view, the following year saw a rise to third position in the Division One Championship. The best batsman for 2015 was Ashley Pearson who scored 400 runs at 30.77.
Events took a rapid turn during the 2015 season with news that the Central Yorkshire League clubs would be absorbed into the new Bradford Premier League structure for 2016, with East Ardsley taking their place in the Conference.
The Club made a bright start to the Conference League season and remained on the edges of the title race throughout the season. When it was decided that two teams would be promoted into the Championship for 2017 there must have been a little frustration at the club that they finished just ten points behind second place.
The batting was solid with Luke Sandy (386 runs), Ashley Pearson (338 runs) and Tom Daniels (334 runs) the mainstays, with Adam Pearson carrying the main threat with the ball, taking 42 wickets at 15.64.
East Ardsley’s better strength in depth in 2017 ensured they would not miss out on promotion this time. They surged in front from the start winning their first seven matches before surprisingly losing to Adwalton. Towards the end of the season Wakefield St Michael’s deposed them as league leaders and it all hinged on the last match between the two as to who would finish as Champions.
St Michael’s batted first and scored 172-7, and East Ardsley was in all sorts of trouble after a wretched start to their innings which saw them at 7-3. Overseas batsman Haseen Bashir, above, pulled them out of trouble with an unbeaten 83, and with Ashley Pearson (36 runs) inched their way to a three-wicket victory. Bashir’s influence on the title success was immense- he won the League’s Batting Averages with 659 runs at 65.90.
Richard Vigars, a shrewd mid-season signing from Brook Walton added stability to the batting with 410 runs at 31.54, while Ashley Pearson played a key all-round role scoring 322 runs at 32.20, and taking 38 wickets. Battye was the lynch pin of the bowling claiming 49 wickets at 9.76 with an economy rate of 2.14 per over. Off spinner Mark Heald, below, took 31 wickets at 14.52.
After a promising start to the 2018 league campaign, East Ardsley’s form was erratic, and although competitive throughout, was at one stage close to the bottom two.
They were involved in some memorable matches- the best being their tied match with Altofts. Chasing 253-4 they were struggling on 7-2, and then 28-3, but as long as Bashir remained at the crease they still had a chance. The tail started wagging and as they edged closer, Bashir was out for 96, and they were ultimately bowled out for 253 with just two balls remaining.
Bashir (468 runs) was again the leading batsman in the league, and likewise Battye was the best bowler with 34 wickets.
The National Village Cup was a nice distraction for East Ardsley as they beat Streethouse and Welton, to reach the National stage where they beat Addingham.
In the last 16 they met Falkland CC from Scotland, and were defeated by 75 runs.Falkland won the toss and chose to bat first, and they finished on 215 for 6. East Ardsley failed to threaten Falkland’s total, much of that down to the disciplined bowling of the Scots.
East Ardsley lost their first two league matches of the 2019 season, but picked up the pace and were generally half-way throughout, managing to secure a creditable fifth place in the end.
Louie Hurley was the leading batsman and bowler scoring 417 runs, and also taking 25 wickets. It was clear that whilst Ardsley could score runs, with the likes of Joshua Wild (346 runs) and Peter Bowles (338 runs) performing well, their bowling lacked penetration with no player other than Hurley taking as many as 20 wickets.
When Covid-19 hit the nation in 2020, East Ardsley took part in the Gordon Rigg Division Two League cup competition, winning three matches, and losing three in the East Section.
The 2021 season was one of adversity and triumph for a club beset with more Covid postponements than any other club. They made a steady start, but nobody regarded them as promotion candidates as they played `catch-up’ with their matches in hand. At one point they were three matches in hand of some of the promotion contenders, but skipper Richard Vigars was fully aware that if they won these matches they would be in the top two.
It still seemed to be a tall order, but with ten matches to go they won nine, with the other one abandoned, and that was enough to take second place.
They entered the last fixture with the race for promotion realistically targeted at second place, and the league table reading East Ardsley (280 pts) and Hopton Mills (272 pts).
Any bonus point win would suffice and they duly beat Hunslet Nelson by eight wickets. Jonathan Macgregor with 4-14 was largely instrumental in bowling Hunslet Nelson out for 78, and Josh Wild (32no) guided them to victory.
In the league campaign, Gary Jennings was the leading batsman with 501 runs at 38.54, and Peter Damian Bowles, Josh Wild, Louie Hurley and Richard Vigars all had strong seasons with the bat.
The batting was their undoubted strength with only Ashley Pearson (36 wkts) making the league bowling averages.
East Ardsley’s promotion ambition was fulfilled, and as a bonus they also reached the final of the Gordon Rigg Jack Hampshire Cup at Spen Victoria after comfortable wins over Sandal, Buttershaw St Paul’s and Northowram Fields.
Their opponents in the final were Jer Lane, who despite being the undisputed headline team in the division, finished just seven points in front of East Ardsley as champions.
Jer Lane’s powerful batting would win the day, but East Ardsley fought all the way. Jer Lane batted first and at one stage looked as if they would score more than their final 306-5. However, it was a very significant target and only Louie Hurley, with 3-42, had respectable bowling figures.
East Ardsley tried to force the pace when they replied, and Simon Tucker made a brisk 31, but when they slipped to 142-7 it looked as if they were heading for a big defeat.
Richard Vigars (61) and Ashley Pearson (48) fought back heroically with an eighth wicket stand of 111, but it was a bridge too far as they finished on 254-9, 52 runs behind.