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Hanging Heaton history

Hanging Heaton history

Hanging Heaton have won plenty of silverware in their history and in 2017 they won the Bradford Premier League championship, T20 Cup and Yorkshire Premier League championship. Picture: Ray Spencer.

The early years

The club was founded in 1876 and entered the Heavy Woollen District League in 1898. They tasted fame in 1899 by reaching the Heavy Woollen Cup Final only to fall to an inglorious defeat when being bowled out for 28 in reply to Dewsbury & Saville’s 173.

They had a short spell in the Wakefield League before joining the Heavy Woollen League and Yorkshire Council in 1916.

Following an altercation with the Heavy Woollen League which resulted in a rift between the Yorkshire Council and Yorkshire Federation, they became members of the Leeds League from 1939-1943.

They didn’t enjoy much success until 1941 when Ronnie Robinson joined the club from East Leeds. He made an immediate impact and Hanging Heaton became Leeds League champions and as such played Jack Appleyard’s XI at Roundhay Park in one of the annual war time spectaculars watched by 10,000 people. The club played a number of matches on Sundays in the war years against guest teams containing star players stationed in the region and as a result they prospered as a club.

Early titles in the Central Yorkshire League

In 1944 Hanging Heaton left the Leeds League to join the Central Yorkshire League which swallowed up the remnants of the Heavy Woollen League to create a two division structure. They were placed in Division Two and in winning the title gained promotion and as a bonus clinched the Yorkshire Council Championship.

Robinson led from the front as one of the great All-Rounders of his day and won the Council bowling award with 75 wickets at an average of 7.37 just ahead of former Yorkshire star Johnny Wardle who was playing at Denaby taking 113 wickets at 7.85.

The following year, 1945, the club became Central Yorkshire League champions for the first time. They again won the Yorkshire Council championship in 1946 and followed up by lifting the Heavy Woollen Cup in 1947, the Central Yorkshire League championship in 1948 and the Heavy Woollen Cup the same season.

Longevity seemed to be the name of the game for several Hanging Heaton stars of this period and no more so than batsman C.McNair who took the league batting award in 1949, 1958 and 1962.  D.Haigh must have been an influential bowler in the title wins of 1951 and 1952 having won the league bowling both years. Other notable players to have won individual league silverware between 1945 and 1962 were B.Brown, C.Sykes and H.Shaw.

Unprecedented success

The 1951 season was a golden one for the Teewitlanders. Robinson became the only captain to collect the Central Yorkshire League championship, the Heavy Woollen Cup and Yorkshire Council championship in the same year. Many good players were associated with Hanging Heaton during this successful period, and many more were to follow to maintain the highly successful tradition of the club. Success followed success.

They won the Central Yorkshire League title in 1952, 1956, 1957, 1962, 1969 1972, 1974 and 1975, and in addition were Yorkshire Council champions in 1962 and 1975. They continued their excellent record in the Heavy Woollen Cup by winning it 1969 and 1974.

Forty-seven years after their first Heavy Woollen Cup Final appearance in 1899, Hanging Heaton went on a fantastic 29-year run in the tournament:


Ossett 146, Hanging Heaton 147-9


Hanging Heaton 151-2, Heckmondwike 97


Hanging Heaton 153-4, East Ardsley 67


Dewsbury 150, Hanging Heaton 143


Hartshead Moor 131,Hanging Heaton 87


Cleckheaton 134,Hanging Heaton 112


Cleckheaton 151-6,Hanging Heaton 97


Mirfield 110-5,Hanging Heaton 81


Hanging Heaton 77, Heckmondwike 78-5


Thornhill 68, Hanging Heaton 69-2


Hanging Heaton 172,Wakefield 108


Hanging Heaton 205-6, Chickenley 209-6


Heckmondwike 142-5, Hanging Heaton 141


Hanging Heaton 122, Morley 125-1


Hanging Heaton 216-9, Kirkburton 81


Thornhill 151,Hanging Heaton 132

Tony Nicholson makes his mark

The title win in 1962 was brought about in no small measure by Yorkshire Colt Tony Nicholson who had a remarkable return of 8-16 in 16 overs against Cleckheaton. Nicholson, a medium pace bowler who could make the ball talk, went on to have an excellent career with Yorkshire as the perfect foil for Freddie Trueman.

Described by many critics as the best bowler in the post-war years not to have played for England, he took 879 first-class wickets at an astonishingly low average of 19.75.  He claimed 100 wickets in a season twice, in 1966 and 1967, and was part of the 1964-65 tour of South Africa but had to withdraw injured.

Hanging Heaton’s Central Yorkshire League history was nothing short of remarkable. After their initial unbeaten season in the Second Division in 1944 they played 713 top section matches with 343 wins, 281 draws and 89 losses. In their latter years in the league despite their dominance they had a fierce rivalry with Heckmondwike who were almost as successful.

Seamer Harry Atkinson was a true legend at Bennett Lane having proved a star in the Central Yorkshire League he also enjoyed an equally successful career in the Bradford League. He was a feared bowler in the seventies particularly if there was something in the wicket. He won the League Bowling Averages in both 1971 and 1974, and also performed an all-ten wicket feat in 1972 against Wakefield.

Move into the Bradford League

The initiative and drive to apply for entry into the Bradford league was orchestrated by the late Brian Wilkinson whose efforts for 25 years as cricket chairman proved invaluable and the club are indebted to him. Totally committed to supporting all the club’s teams, he provided an air of stability and confidence to everyone while still working within financial constraints affordable by the club.

David Garner, captain of the side for the previous decade, led the club into the Bradford League in 1980. His side included Harry Atkinson, taker of 100 league wickets in 1974, Ronnie and Raoul Hudson, Carl Bielby, John Crowhirst, David Legood, Roger Braithwaite and Malcolm Preston.

It was the second time in the club's history up to then that Second Division cricket was played. Once again it was only for one term because they went through the season unbeaten. Hanging Heaton finished second in the league to Eccleshill but most importantly gained promotion into the First Division. Most pundits backed Hanging Heaton with their pedigree to take the title but it was not to be as they were edged out of it by 4 points.

Hanging Heaton’s players certainly made their mark in that first season. Ruel Hudson scored the club’s first century in the league at Queensbury but it was his brother Ronnie who captured the headlines. On August 3 he hit the first ever double-century in a Bradford League match when he made 201 against Keighley. He went on to score a season’s tally of 1,210, ably assisted by brother Ruel who scored 774.

On entry to the First Division in 1981 Hanging Heaton had no plans to quietly consolidate. They competed at the right end of the table to finish 3rd, 4th, 4th and 2nd up to 1984 with silverware just around the corner. Left arm spinner Roger Braithwaite was a tower of strength during these years winning the W H Foster League Bowling Trophy in 1981, 1984 and later in 1987.

Seamer Harry Atkinson was consistency personified with hauls of 43, 48 and 34 wickets.  Ronnie and Ruel Hudson scored the bulk of the runs with Chris Leathley having a particularly good season in 1984 with 798 runs.  However, Ronnie Hudson was becoming a legend at Bennett Lane with hauls of 854, 827 and 838 run tallies. 

The 1983 season saw Simon Lax who was recruited from the Aire Wharfe League enjoy a stunningdebut season. Not only did he register the highest individual score in the league with 159 against Farsley, but he became the only player to have scored four successive centuries in Bradford League cricket. The 1983 team is pictured below.

Iqbal Qasim at Bennett Lane

Pakistan Test cricketer Iqbal Quasim was contracted in 1984 and had a season to remember with 433 runs and 54 wickets. Qasim ended his Test career with 171 wickets with a ratio of approximately 3.5 wickets a match. His accurate bowling saw his economy rate at a very low 2.21. He pushed the ball through quicker than normal, but extracted great turn, and deceived batsmen through variations in pace and trajectory.

He is most notable for spinning Pakistan to victory in the 5th Test at  Bangalore of the 1987 India-Pakistan series, and thus securing Pakistan's first series win on Indian soil. He took 9/121, including the key scalp of Sunil Gavaskar for 96 in the last innings of the game. Iqbal Qasim remained in the shadows of his teammate, leg spinner Abdul Qadir, though his career returns are superior by average and very similar by strike rate.

Ironically Abdul Qadir was also contracted as Hanging Heaton’s overseas player in the eighties and he experienced mixed results.  Natural talent combined with aggression and passion made Qadir one of the most successful spinners of his era. He had a distinct run-up, bounding in to the crease, and a great variety of deliveries: there was the orthodox leg-break, the top spinner two types of googlies and the flipper.

Qadir was unique for bowling leg spin at a time when it was not only rare but considered obsolete, and he kept the torch alight for a generation of leg spinners. His fervent appeals made him a great favourite with the spectators but sometimes got him into trouble with umpires. Qadir played 67 Test matches during 1977–90 and took 236 wickets, with an average of 32.80, including 15 five-wicket hauls. His best bowling performance was against England at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore,  in 1987. He also scored 1,029 runs including three fifties.

Wicket-keeper David Legood was an integral part of the Hanging Heaton side that was slowly building itself up for future glories. He proved his expertise by winning the league wicket-keeping award in 1984, before repeating the feat in both the 1986 and 1987 seasons.

First major Bradford League trophy

Their first major Bradford League honour arrived in 1985 when they defeated Undercliffe by 12 runs in a fine Priestley Cup final. Openers Roy Spencer (91 runs) and Peter Ingham (50 runs) laid the foundations for a total of 208 for five. Undercliffe threatened to challenge the total but the ever-reliable Atkinson made sure they didn’t snatch victory. He took five for 77 in 25 overs to keep Undercliffe in check and earned the Man of the Match award.

Hanging Heaton retained the trophy in 1986 thanks to another stunning individual performance from the inspirational Ronnie Hudson. He smashed eight sixes and 20 fours in an unbeaten innings of 152 as Hanging Heaton made 289 for six. Eccleshill were dismissed for 174 in reply and Hudson was named as Man of the Match.

During the cup triumph years they were still highly competitive in the league with impressive 4th and 2nd positions. Yorkshire’s Chris Pickles who had more than a useful season in 1985 with 377 runs and 34 wickets, followed this with 654 runs in 1986. Another county cricketer Chris Lethbridge emerged in 1986 scoring 628 runs and taking 43 wickets. He gave sterling service at Bennett Lane and fitted the profile of a very competitive cricketer.

Lethbridge was a right-handed batsman who bowled right-arm medium pace. He made his first-class debut for Warwickshire against Yorkshire  in the 1981 County Championship. He made 49 further first-class appearances for the county, the last of which came against Derbyshire in the the 1985 County Championship.

 In his 50 first-class matches, he scored a total of 1,033 runs at an average of 22.95, with a high score of 87no. This was one of three first-class fifties  he made against Somerset in 1982.He took 77 wickets at an average of 38.90, with best figures of 5-68. These figures, which were his only first-class five-wicket haul came against Glamorgan in 1982.

Indian test player

Hanging Heaton were establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with when they won their first Bradford League title in 1987 edging out East Bierley by two points. This time much of the credit had to go to Roger Braithwaite who took 54 wickets at 12.54 runs each. The most famous name that year, but certainly not the most influential was Indian Test star Dilip Vengsarkar who contributed 478 runs at 36.77. Former Yorkshire player Peter Ingham scored 512 runs, while Pickles chipped in with 644.  

Vengsarkar played in 116 Test matches scoring 6,868 runs at an average of 42.13 with a top score of 166. His greatest claim to fame was handling the West Indies pacemen during their fast bowling heyday- he scored 6 centuries against the likes of Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Andy Roberts.

He also scored a century at Lord's in 1986 and thereby attaining the distinction of scoring three consecutive Test centuries at Lord's. For his effort to help India win the Test series in England (a rare feat in itself during that era) he was awarded the Man of the Series award.

Hanging Heaton slipped a little in 1988 to sixth with Peter Ingham starring with the bat with 687 runs. Ingham made eight appearances for Yorkshire between 1979 and 1981, scoring 290 runs with a top score of 64, at an average of 20.71. In 12 one-day games he averaged 45.85, with a top score of 87 not out. In cricket beneath first team level – namely Second XI and Under 25, Ingham scored over 1,000 runs for Yorkshire in 1979 and 1981.

In 1989 an incredible seven Hanging Heaton batsmen made the League Averages – Kevin Plant (357 runs), Lethbridge (540 runs), David.Adams (634 runs), A Arif (810 runs) .Chris Leathley (721 runs), Ronnie.Hudson (589 runs) and  Peter Ingham (598 runs). This array of batting talent pointed towards the club’s second title win in three years as they pipped Bradford & Bingley by four points.

Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions

The title win allowed them to enter the Blacksheep Yorkshire Champions in 1990 which they duly won beating Batley in the Final at East Bierley. This was ample consolation for an uninspired 8th finish in the league with Leathley (793 runs), Ingham (648 runs) and John Whittle (553 runs) being the prominent performers. 

During 1991 Hanging Heaton fielded a couple of highly competitive, bristling opening bowlers Lethbridge and Mark Beardshall who found greater fame at East Bierley.

Several quiet seasons followed with John Whittle proving to be a prolific scorer with tallies of 972, 649 and 860, but more significantly was the emergence of pace bowler John Carruthers who took 73 wickets in 1993 and 71 in 1995. During 1991

Another star player of the era was Indian Samir Dighe who scored 981 runs in 1994.He was a right-handed batsman and a wicketkeeper who was a late entry to Test cricket during 1999–2000 season, at which time he was 31 years of age. On the final day of the Third Test against Australia in Chennai, Dighe made an unbeaten 22 on debut, after a collapse during the run-chase, guiding the Indians securing a historic 2-1 series win.

It was in the early nineties wicket-keeper/batsman Alan Mynett began an illustrious career with Hanging Heaton that would bring top honours for himself and the club. He was primarily a team man and the epitome of the Hanging Heaton tradition of competitiveness. He was as agile as any other keeper, but also bailed his team out on numerous occasions with his effervescent strokeplay.

 In 1994 his 729 runs for his team were only topped by Dighe that season. He was a regular selection in the fabled Bradford League Representative team led by Chris Gott who swept all before them for five years in the nineties. In 1996 his wicket keeping ability was rewarded when he won the league prize for this skill.   

In 1995 Hanging Heaton assembled a team that was good enough to pip a very strong Windhill side to the title by two points. This was their third title win in eight years. Although future Test player VVS Laxman, above, was the most famous player in the side his 619 runs were bettered by David.Snelgrove (710 runs) and John Whittle (649 runs). Laxman debuted at Test level in 1996 scoring 50 against South Africa. He went on to play 134 Test matches scoring 8,781 runs at an average of 45.97 with a top score of 281.

Ismail Dawood also contributed 560 runs. Dawood played first-class crickett for Northants, Worcestershire, Glamorgan and Yorkshire. In 39 first class matches Dawood scored 1,122 runs at 22 with a best of 102. He took 94 catches with six stumpings. In 51 one-day matches he scored 732 runs at 21.52 with a top score of 60, taking 44 catches and making 14 stumpings. He played Twenty/20 cricket in 2004 and 2005 for Yorkshire, scoring 44 runs at 8.80.

The opening pair of seamers Carruthers (71) and David Watts (44) was consistent enough to back the splendid batting of 1995, while Mynett swallowed up most of the edges.

Surprisingly their fortunes dipped in the next three years with a highest position of eighth. Former Yorkshire contracted player Steve Bartle emerged in 1997 with 725 runs, while Paul Spragg was also a heavy scorer. Left Arm spin bowler Simon Purdy gave the team much needed balance with a season best of 44 wickets in 1996.

Carruthers at his peak

Hanging Heaton was back in business in 1999 winning the title for the fourth time in a close run race with Baildon. Although the batting was solid with David Payne (775 runs), Steve Bartle (697 runs), Alan Mynett (424 runs) and Steve Bourne (557 runs) being the chief run scorers, the catalyst for this title win was the 95 wickets Carruthers took. He was at his peak in 1999 and he had the ability to extract real pace from even the slower wickets.       

Hanging Heaton boosted their squad in 2000 by signing England Cricket Board captain Steve Foster , above,from Gomersal to form a powerful opening partnership with Steve Bartle. Foster had won individual honours with Gomersal in the Central Yorkshire League and would have probably stayed with them if they had not started their Bradford League career in the second division.

The 2000 team were a formidable outfit with players of the calibre of Steve Foster, John Carruthers, Steve Bartle, Elliot Noble, Alan Mynett and Simon Purdy in their ranks, with the tenacious back-up of Javid Umarji. It was a mystery why they missed out on domestic honours that season finishing a disappointing 6th, but endured terrible luck in the Priestley Cup Final at Undercliffe against East Bierley.

Bierley made a formidable 241-7 with Yorkshire’s Anthony McGrath scoring a century on one of his few appearances that season. Hanging Heaton went like a train in reply until heavy rain halted proceedings. Returning on the Monday night in less than favourable conditions they were bowled out for a disappointing 173. It was impossible to regain the momentum they had achieved before the rains came the previous day. Amid this disappointment there was a resolution amongst the players to hit back on the field of play.

Unique cup double

As entrants in the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy and the Heavy Woollen Cup for 2000, they had a great chance to put the Bradford League on the map as they negotiated the early rounds.

Black Sheep Trophy 2000:  After accounting for Streethouse and Bradford & Bingley (holders), they were matched with a formidable Doncaster Town side in the semi-final. Having been put into bat, Steve Bartle and Steve Foster put on 68 for the first wicket to lay the foundations for a final score of 207, with the latter scoring 97. Doncaster never came to terms with the seamers of Hanging Heaton with Elliott Noble (5-23) and John Carruthers (3-41) reducing the Yorkshire League team to a meagre 119 all out.

Doncaster Town were the current holders of the NCA Club Cup won at Lords, and contained three Yorkshire contracted players in their team, namely Simon Widdup, Simon Guy and Richard Dawson who would go on and represent his country in a one-day match. The final at the Leeds Police ground was an anti-climax as Hanging Heaton knocked over Yorkshire Senior League club Clifton Alliance by ten wickets, Steve Foster taking the man of the match award.

Heavy Woollen Cup 2000: Hanging Heaton meant business in this trophy with decisive victories over Broad Oak, Methley, Mirfield and Elland on the way to a deserved final. In the final at Liversedge they met a Baildon team that had enjoyed tremendous success in the Heavy Woollen Cup. Baildon batted first but were skittled for 146, with Noble being the chief destroyer with a fine 5-55 in 19 overs. Hanging Heaton had no trouble knocking off this modest total with Foster carrying his bat for 71, with Steve Bartle (64) the only dismissed batsman. Hanging Heaton had beaten all their opponents with ease and had thoroughly deserved their success.

The historic team that year was Stephen Foster, Stephen Bartle, Paul Marlow, Stephen Bourne, Rob Winter, Alan Mynett, Javed Umarji, Mark Inwood, John Carruthers, Simon Purdy, Elliot Noble.

This remarkable inter-league double was an unprecedented achievement for Hanging Heaton and has not been achieved up to that point.

Failing Fortunes

Between 2001 and 2008 Hanging Heaton was relative under-achievers for a club of their standing. To finish 10th in 2006 raised a few eyebrows at the time and nobody would predict it would get worse in 2009.

 Ironically this period could have began with Hanging Heaton crowned as the top club side in Yorkshire as they took Pudsey Congs to the last over in the 2001 Black Sheep Final. They also lost in the Heavy Woollen Cup Final as Baildon took their revenge with a 4-wicket victory.

Individually they could still compare with the top clubs in the league. Foster won the Learie Constantine All Rounder Award in 2001 after finishing third in the batting averages and topping the bowling. He was an extremely consistent batter who had the temperament to bat through an innings. He could also bowl a brisk medium pace with a consistent wicket-to-wicket offensive.  He scored 840 runs in 2001 and 753 the following year.

Seamer Nick Summerscales became Carruther’s opening partner taking an impressive 50 wickets in 2004. Clubman Javid Umarji had his best season in 2004 with 576 runs, while Purdy took 59 wickets in the same year.

The overseas recruits were relatively up to standard with Vikram Rathour scoring 893 and 745 in successive seasons, and Sri Lankan Thilan Thushara, who replaced him, less impressive with 576 and 459. Other notable cricketers at Bennett Lane circa 2005/2008 were Alex Morris, Chris Schofield and Imran Arif who would represent Sussex as an opening bowler. Former Yorkshire contracted batsman Haroon Rashid was the leading batsman in 2008 with 586 runs. He would top that in 2009 scoring 794 runs with a top score of 113*. But it would be to no avail for his team.


Nobody would have predicted the relegation of Hanging Heaton in 2009. They finished 21 points from safety behind Saltaire with only one player making the league averages. It called for drastic action and old boy Carruthers was brought back from Birstall as Club Chairman. 

With the retention of free scoring Rashid they also added Robert McFarlane from Birstall and former Yorkshire leg-break bowler Mark Lawson to their squad. Predictably they took the second division title by storm with a 74-point gap on runners-up Manningham Mills. The batting was strong with Rashid (763 runs), McFarlane (746 runs), Lawson (446 runs) and Stansfield (487 runs) scoring freely, while Lawson (60 wkts) and the returning Carruthers (53 wkts) taking the wickets.

Lawson did not quite establish himself as a First Class leg spinner plying his trade with Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Middlesex, Kent and Staffordshire. He made his first-class debut for Yorkshire against at Scarborough in July 2004. He toured Australia with the England Under 19 team, played against South Africa in 2003, and was a member of the squad for the Under 19 World Cup in Bangladesh in February 2004.

Back in the First Division with a similar eleven they consolidated in ninth spot with all-rounder McFarlane their key player scoring 589 runs and taking 41 wickets. Alan Mynett took the highest individual league score award with 178* against Gomersal, while Carruthers edged towards his 1,000 wicket target with 35.

There was delight for the club at the league's annual dinner when long-serving secretary Nat Lawrence won the league's top accollade, the Sir Leonard Hutton Trophy.

There was a concern at Bennett Lane in 2012 when they slipped to tenth just above the relegation trapdoor. Individual performances were moderate with Nick Bresnan (309 runs) and Joe Fraser (396 runs), edging into the batting averages. Fraser was a signing from Driffield- a tall left-hander who batted in the classical style.

The player of the season was undoubtedly former county man David Stiff who took the coveted Learie Constantine All Rounders Trophy with 402 runs with the bat including a top score of 124*, and 41 wickets with the ball.

Stiff had been signed from Pudsey St Lawrence with a reputation of scoring rapid runs in middle-order. He had bowled very briskly as opening bowler without capturing many wickets. For Hanging Heaton he began to take wickets with his pronounced bounce when he pitched fractionally short of a good length. The former Yorkshire fast bowler first made headlines for a spell of bowling against Uganda of 4 for 7.

In 2004 Stiff decided to leave Yorkshire amid a lot of interest from other counties, choosing Kent.. In 2007, Stiff was released by Kent and went to Leicestershire. At the start of the 2009 season Stiff joined Somerset on a two-month trial and on 14 May 2009 he accepted an extension to his contract which would last until the end of that season. His First Class career ended with 43 wickets with a best of 5-91, and 321 runs at 22.92.

Gary Fellows signs on

There was great optimism at Bennett Lane in 2013 due to the marquee signing of Gary Fellows from Wrenthorpe. He had won virtually every individual and team honour at Wrenthorpe in an era of untold riches for the club. He had previously scored plentifully at Pudsey St Lawrence in a career that put him in the upper hierarchy of the very best league cricketers of his generation.

 Fellows, a right-handed batsman and right arm medium pace bowler, played regularly for Yorkshire from 1998 to 2003 in first-class cricket. He was later stereotyped by his county as a one-day player which helped extend his career to 2005. A bustling, busy player in First Class cricket he scored 1,592 runs at 23.41, with a highest score of 109, and he took 32 wickets at 38.37, with a best of 3 for 23. He played 96 one-day matches for the Tykes, scoring 1,350 runs at 20.76, with a top of 80 not out, and taking 23 wickets at just over 37. He was known as a brilliant fielder on the county circuit.

In 2013 withthe recruitment of Gary Fellows and the retention of their better players they were expected to challenge the status quo under the bustling leadership of former Yorkshire leg-spinner Mark Lawson. The fact their league form was decidedly patchy must have been a source of great frustration to all at Bennett Lane. Fellow’s 983 runs at 46.81, and Stiff’s 50 wickets failed to lift the team above an uninspired eighth position.

However, they have found solace in cup cricket- reaching the Priestley Cup Final with a thumping win at Cleckheaton, and an impressive run chase in the semi-finals against Bradford & Bingley. The outcome of the 2013 Final at Farsley where they were paired with Lightcliffe was based largely on the toss as overnight rain had seeped on to the square rendering it difficult for the first batting side.

Danger batsman Gary Fellows was an early casualty as his side struggled against the pace of Yorkshire’s Ashraf who took 3-32 in his ten overs. As the wicket dried out James Stansfield’s heroic 88 deservedly won him the Man of the Match award and gave the score some semblance of respectability at 189-9. However, Lightcliffe won at a canter with all their batters scoring solidly in a score of 197-3, on a quickly drying wicket. Ironically the last time Hanging Heaton reached the Priestley Cup Final in 2000 rain hindered their chances of victory. The same could definitely be said in 2013.

Back in the trophy groove

Hanging Heaton’s progress in the Heavy Woollen Cup in 2013 was straightforward in respect of comfortable victories against Liversedge, Barkisland and Townville in the semi-finals. The latter were expected to give them a stiff challenge given their runaway lead at the top of the Central Yorkshire League, but after Dan Busfield (3-29) took the all important wicket of Tim Walton with the first ball of the match it was always going to be Hanging Heaton’s game. Gary Fellows (75*) and Joe Fraser (41*) finished the game with some aplomb in a 7-wicket victory.

Some pundits gave New Farnley a good chance with their talisman Ian Fisher available on final day. They elected to bat and were off to a bright start.  Matthew Good (17) and Lee Goddard (36) opened with a stand of 36, and at 83-2 New Farnley looked capable of setting a challenging score. The dangerous Ian Fisher (27 runs) was soon in his stride but gave it away when he looked to be getting on top of the bowling. The mercurial Gary Fellows dismissed key batters David Cummings, Peter Ross and Fisher with his gentle medium pacers and it was left to all-rounder Nick Walker (19*) to carry the fight with little support from the tail. It was something of an anti-climax for New Farnley to finish on 158.

Hanging Heaton openers Fellows (79*) and Jamie Sykes (10 runs) faced spirited bowling from Nadeem Hussain and Nick Walker, but a stand of 54 runs confirmed a comfortable passage for the batting side. The crowd was richly entertained when fast bowler Nick Walker sent down six successive bouncers at James Stansfield who put one of them into the crowd. He was dismissed trying to repeat the shot in the same over, but in reality Stansfield’s quickfire 36 confirmed a comfortable victory.

It was all change for 2014 with skipper Mark Lawson leaving for New Farnley, and Stansfield departing to Scholes who had gained entry into the Bradford League for 2015. Another dynasty of the fabled Wrenthorpe side David Paynter joined the club for 2014, along with Methley’s free-scoring Australian batsman Nick Connolly. They finished a credible third but were never in touch at the top.

Fellows had another good season scoring 885 runs at 52.06 to finish 2nd in the League Batting Averages. He was assisted ably by newcomer Ben Elvidge (373 runs), Paynter (402 runs) and Connolly (419 runs), but they had no cutting edge with the ball to really challenge. It was a landmark season for John Carruthers who finally got over the line in achieving 1,000 league wickets.

Former county seamer Stiff, who had a disappointing return of 25 wickets, excelled in the middle order with the bat scoring 316 runs.  This was amply illustrated by his 23-ball half-century against Yeadon.

It was more of the same in 2015 with a formidable batting force in Connolly (928 runs), Fellows (953 runs) and Ian Philliskirk (759 runs) who all averaged in excess of 44. Former Methley batsman Connolly had a particularly good season averaging 54.59 and finishing second in the League Batting Averages.

Despite this batting power Hanging Heaton were only on the fringes of the title race, often conceding too many runs in the field, and having to settle for 4th position. Stiff, who was the pick of the bowlers with 40 wickets, scored quick runs in late middle order, and Elvidge proved himself their best all rounder with 578 runs and 31 wickets.

Carruthers calls time

Carruthers called time on his glittering career to retire from First Team cricket with the knowledge that his chairmanship of the club has seen them return as one of the elite clubs in the league.

Hanging Heaton were genuine title challengers in 2016 and at one point late in the season led the table. However, Pudsey St Lawrence prevailed at the top by four points as both sides netted maximum points from the last fixture.

The batting was again strong with Connelly averaging 49.53 from 743 league runs, and Fellows just behind with 46.11 from 830. The aforementioned openers also took the Highest Partnership Award for the second successive season.

Pakistan overseas left arm spin bowler Muhammed Rameez impressed with 60 wickets at 13.77 with a best of analysis of 6-9, while Stiff provided the penetration with the new ball, taking 50 wickets. Rameez was not only the leading wicket-taker of the Premier League; he also won the League’s Player’s Player Award.

The club was not without silverware in 2016 as their 2XI won the Crowther Cup Final against East Bierley at Cawthorne.


The treble-winning season

The 2017 season turned out to be arguably the greatest season so far in Hanging Heaton’s history, when they won the League title, Yorkshire Premier League Play-offs, the League’s Group A T20 Trophy and also reached the last eight of the Royal London ECB National Clubs Championship.

The side was largely the one from the previous season with the important addition of left-hander Callum Geldart, and the continued development of seamer Tom Chippendale.

They led the table from the start, but could not shake off Farsley and Woodlands. Indeed, Farsley took over for a brief period in the second half of the season and looked likely champions. However, Hanging Heaton showed their true worth on meeting them by scoring 311-5, and winning by 163 runs to return to the top. In the end Hanging Heaton took the title with 38 points in front of runner-up Woodlands, winning won sixteen matches, and suffering defeat on only two occasions..

Nick Connolly won the League Batting Averages with 1,165 runs at 89.62, scoring five centuries with a highest score of 134. His opening partnership with Gary Fellows (860 runs at 45.26) was the bedrock of a team that compiled consistently high scores throughout the season, including the league’s highest opening stand of 268.

Callum Geldart often provided the impetus in middle order with 647 runs at 46.16, which included a match winning innings of 176 crucially against Farsley.

Rameez impressed with 57 wickets at 10.56, and again won the League Bowling Averages. Chippendale reached 4th in the League Bowling Averages with 45 wickets at 15.13, and helped to take the pressure off Stiff (32 wkts) who was once again a tower of strength with bat and ball.

Losing to New Farnley in the Priestley Cup, and Townville in the Heavy Woollen Cup they found salvation in the Royal London ECB National Clubs Championship. Often playing under-strength sides they beat Elsecar, Sheffield Collegiate and Hyde on the way to the last eight where they lost narrowly at Ormskirk by two wickets.

Yorkshire Premier League Club Champions

Winning the title allowed them to participate in the end of season Yorkshire Premier League Play-Offs, and they were drawn against York at Scarborough. They booked a coach for their supporters, but were frustrated when the weather dictated that the ground was unfit. The match was re-arranged for the following Saturday at Headingley, with the Final the following day.

York could call on their Yorkshire players Jack Leaning and Matthew Waite in a match that would go down as Hanging Heaton’s finest hour, as they overpowered the Hunters Yorkshire League North champions by 134 runs.

Hanging Heaton were put in to bat and soon stamped their authority on the match as they compiled the highest play-off score to date of 312-4. They made that total despite losing Connolly for just 11 when he was trapped lbw by Waite.

Skipper Gary Fellows and Richard Foster picked up the tempo and took the total to 104 before both fell to lbw decisions on the same score. Fellows became Waite's second victim, while Foster was an early victim for Yorkshire's Leaning when he entered the attack.

Fraser struck a six and six fours and looked set for a deserved half-century when a ball from Leaning reared up and was caught for 48. His partnership with Geldart garnered a valuable 100 runs.

James Kean joined Geldart and ensured that there was no let up for the wilting York attack. He was quickly into his stride as the two left handers shared an unbroken stand of 108 from 76 balls. Geldart finished unbeaten on 90 after hitting three sixes and six fours in a thrilling 79-ball knock, while Keen struck three sixes and five fours in his unbeaten 52.Geldart's confidence was perfectly illustrated when he hit a six off Leaning with a remarkable switch hit.

York needed a good start if they were to chase down Hanging Heaton's 311-4 but they didn't get one.

Their prolific opener Duncan Snell took 12 runs from the first over before he was well caught at slip by Fraser off Chippendale in the second over. Waite followed him back to the pavilion when he was trapped lbw by Stiff for nought. When Yorkshire batsman Leaning skied an attempted pull off Chippendale and was caught by Rameez for 22, York were 49-3 with the three big guns all out.

When Stiff removed Matthew Bell and Tom Brooks in quick succession, York were 61-5 and the writing was on the wall as they went on to be York were bowled out for 190 in the 37th over. Chippendale was the pick of the bowlers with 3-35 while Stiff finished with 3-55.

The next day at Headingley, Hanging Heaton played the 2016 Yorkshire Premier League Play-Off winners Wakefield Thornes who had beaten Great Ayton at Scarborough by 183 runs.

In a thriller of a match Hanging Heaton shaded it by three runs, and the Thornes were left to rue the five-run penalty for not bowling their overs in the required limit of three hours ten minutes.

Hanging Heaton batted first without the unavailable Connelly, and were in big trouble at 16-2 with Fellows and Fraser dismissed cheaply. Foster and Geldart had to rebuild the innings and they began tentatively.

They took the score to 120 before being parted, Foster anchoring the innings with 36. Geldart upped the tempo with some forceful play, striking three sixes and ten fours before falling for a brilliant 85.

Hanging Heaton were finally all out for 231 with two balls of their 50 overs remaining, boosted by cameos from Keen, Imran Dawood and James Byrne.

It looked a below par score, especially when Yorkshire’s Jared Warner and James Wolfenden made a confident start to the Thornes innings. They put on 49 before being parted and then David Toft helped to take the score to 85 before being brilliantly run out by Rameez.

Warner looked in total control and when the score was 155-2 the Thornes were well on their way to victory. Hanging Heaton was ragged in the field, dropping a number of catches and allowed unnecessary runs.

However, wickets began to fall, including the priceless wicket of Warner for 68, and when the target came down to 32 from four overs, the bowling tightened and the pressure was on the Thornes. They needed 15 from the final over and though their captain Tom Froggett hit fours from the last two balls of Stiff's final over, Hanging Heaton were winners by three runs.

Chippendale, Stiff, Rameez and Geldart all bowled splendidly on an unresponsive wicket where the left arm spinner Rameez had the critical analysis of 3-47.

Hanging Heaton had taken the mantle of best club side in Yorkshire in 2017, and their regular side was Gary Fellows (Capt), Nick Connelly, Richard Foster, Callum Geldart, Joe Fraser, Ishy Dawood, James Keen, David Stiff, Muhammed Rameez, Tom Chippendale, Chris Goodaire.

Another historic season

If 2017 was accepted as the club’s best season in history, the following year in 2018 would surely top it. The league title was not retained, but a different set of trophies pointed the way to an even greater achievement.

They won the Heavy Woollen Cup, Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy, J W Lees Brewery Twenty/20 Trophy and themuch covetedVitality ECB Clubs T20 Cup.

In the league they didn’t play to their potential and by early June had lost three matches. They re-ignited their title charge, and were very much in the race with Pudsey St Lawrence, New Farnley and Farsley by the second half of the season. However, damaging defeats in August by two of their rivals extinguished their hopes.

Fellows (826 runs) and Connolly (608 runs) were again the rock of the batting, while Chippendale (44 wkts) and Stiff (35 wkts) carried the weight of the bowling.

Ismail Dawood, one of the leading keepers in the league for a number of years, won the League’s  F Milton Watmough Trophy for most wicket-keeping victims.

Hanging Heaton retained their J W Lees Brewery Twenty/20 Trophy, but had a difficult game in the final against Methley, winning by 5-runs.

To win the Heavy Woollen Cup and the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy in the same season mirrored their feat of 2000, and they remain the only side to have achieved this double. 

In the First Round of the Heavy Woollen Cup they bowled out Rastrick for 28, before knocking the runs off without losing a wicket. They then scored a massive 380-8 against Ossett in the Second Round with Gary Fellows top scoring with 138.

They then beat the reigning Heavy Woollen Cup winners Woodlands in a run feast at Bennett Lane. Hanging Heaton made a challenging 345-6, and although Woodlands made a very credible 271 all-out, they were never in the hunt. Callum Geldart had a remarkable match scoring an epic 163 runs before taking 5-57 with his off spin.

The much awaited semi-final at Bennett Lane against a powerful Hoylandswaine side ended in anti-climax as Hanging Heaton won by seven-wickets.

Hoylandswaine made a brisk start batting first with Nawaz making a rapid 32. Hanging Heaton then seized the initiative with David Stiff (3-24) and Chris Goodair (3-28) helping to dismiss the Drakes Huddersfield Premier League champions for a modest 140.

Callum Geldart made an unbeaten 50 and ensured victory after skipper Gary Fellows (40) had given the innings impetus.

The Final at Spen Victoria was a classic with Hanging Heaton winning by just 2-runs despite posting a formidable 264-6, and reducing New Farnley to 7-3.

Hanging Heaton’s Connelly anchored their innings with an unbeaten 110, while Stiff gave the innings late momentum with a quick 39 which contained four sixes.

New Farnley’s Steve Bullen batted through for 126 not out despite little support from his team’s frontline batting, and finished the innings with a six and a four to see his team an agonising 2-runs short. Spinner Aqsad Ali was Hanging Heaton’s best bowler with an admirable 2-29 off ten overs.

The Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy was truncated because of the weather and Hanging Heaton qualified for the final on the toss of a coin with Hoylandswaine.

In the final at Cleckheaton they faced Wakefield Thornes, who had retained the ECB Yorkshire South Premier League title for the third successive season.

Wakefield Thornes were put into bat by Fellows, and in a rain interrupted innings of 36-overs, were bowled out for 142.  Stiff (4-46) was the most-successful bowler, but it was the spinners who established a strong hold on the game after Thornes had got themselves into a good position. .

Left-arm spinner Aqsad Ali bowled six tight overs to take 3-8, while off spinner Geldart conceded only 14 runs in six overs,

Hanging Heaton were set a Duckworth Lewis target of 152 from 36 overs and despite losing openers Gary Fellows and Nick Connolly with just 24 on the board, they seized control of the game.  Fraser and Geldart dominated with the former making 52 from 55 balls, and Geldart finishing with an unbeaten 47.

 Hanging Heaton had reached their target with 14.4 overs to spare to record a 7-wicket win, with Ali being made man of the match.

Vitality ECB Clubs T20 Cup Winners

Fixture peculiarities due to the weather meant that Hanging Heaton would play their third successive September final the week afterwards, when they travelled to the Derbyshire County ground for the Vitality ECB Clubs T20 Cup Finals day.

In the Area Final played at Hanging Heaton, they wona close-fought semi-final against the Hunters ECB Yorkshire Premier League North side Woodhouse Grange CC. They triumphed by ten runs, but they were indebted to some late hitting from Josh Holling to boost the total to165-8.

Woodhouse Grange got off to a good start, but Hanging Heaton hit back with Geldart (3-27) and  Tom Chippendale (3-33) helping to restrict them to 155-8.

In the final against the holders, South Northumberland, they set the opposition a score of 217-4 after they were given a lightning start from Ben Kohler-Cadmore who hit  66 runs from 39 balls. The momentum continued from Joe Fraser who made 53 from 43 deliveries, but the real fireworks were still to come.

David Stiff smashed an unbeaten 60 from just 18 balls to take the game away from the opposition, striking six sixes and four balls.

South Northumberland CC were not daunted by such a target, but were finally dismissed for 199 after Chippendale (4-31) had halted their progress.

Hanging Heaton then travelled to Lincolnshire Premier League outfit Bracebridge Heath CC in the Regional Final and triumphed by 72-runs with Fellows scoring 61.

On Finals day they were drawn in the semi-finals against Sussex Premier League side Roffey CC.

A highly disciplined bowling and fielding performance saw Roffey restricted to 99-9. Opening bowlers Stiff (3-16) and Chippendale (3-18) make crucial inroads into the batting, while Connolly took two stunning catches.

Hanging Heaton duly won by seven wickets as Fraser finished unbeaten on 41 and Dawood was 22 not out as they timed the chase with 15 balls to spare.

The Final was quite a different affair against East Anglian side Swardeston CC, who had been impressive winners against Cheshire League side Nantwich in their semi-final.

Swardeston batted first and after putting on 51 in 5.3 overs looked to be heading for a massive score. But left-arm spinner Aqsad Ali was a major influence as he pegged them back with a fine spell of 2-21, to help to limit them to 164-8.

Hanging Heaton’s reply was measured, but as the overs ticked by it was not exactly plain sailing. Much depended on Fellows to see it through, and he kept his nerve to make an unbeaten 88, to reach the target with three balls to spare. Fellows hit four sixes and eight fours in a 62-ball innings which ensured that his side paced their innings perfectly to win by five wickets.

This coveted Vitality ECB Clubs T20 Cup win was widely accepted as the greatest feat in the club’s history. They were one of over 800-teams to take part in England and Wales, with the winners from each of the 32 senior leagues participating in the main competition.

Two of Hanging Heaton’s victims, namely Swardeston CC and South Northumberland CC, had both won the competition twice before, so it could be said they did it the hard way.

It was certainly their greatest ever season, and this was the regular side for 2018:Gary Fellows (Capt), Nick Connelly, Joe Fraser, Callum Geldart, Ben Kohler-Cadmore, Ishy Dawood, James Keen, David Stiff, Aqsad Ali, Josh Holling, Tom Chippendale, Chris Goodaire.

Trophy less season

Hanging Heaton could not possibly continue this cycle of success at the same rate, but it was a surprise to see such a dramatic downturn in their fortunes in 2019.

On the face of it, third place does not seem to be a calamity, but they lost nine times in the league, and appeared to be a shadow of the previous season’s eleven. This seemed perplexing given that it was the same squad with the addition of left-arm spin bowler Callum Bethel from Whitley Hall.

By the end of May they were in title contention, but a run of five successive defeats, starting from June 29th , put paid to that.

The two significant defeats were to eventual champions Woodlands. They lost the league match when they were vaguely in contention- Woodlands made 246-8 to Hanging Heaton’s 173-8, and then lost a Priestley Cup semi-final tie to the same opponents in disappointing fashion. 

Hanging Heaton decided to bat first and their hopes were effectively in tatters at 31-4, but worse was to came when their last four wickets fell with their total on 86. Woodlands knocked the runs off for the loss of four-wickets. This was an uncharacteristic limp performance by a Hanging Heaton side expected to do much better.

The heavy scoring of previous seasons was not quite in evidence as Fellows (525 runs), Kohler-Cadmore (466 runs) and Geldart (465 runs) were the best of 2019, while Chippendale (43 wkts) and Stiff (36 wkts) were again the most penetrative bowlers.

Hanging Heaton’s T20 acumen was still present as they defeated a Yorkshire Vikings XI in the Dyson Energy Services T20 Challenge at Wagon Lane.

They also won the Vitality ECB Clubs T20 Cup Area Final at Billingham, beating North East Premier League side Burnmoor, and Yorkshire Premier League North Harrogate.

Callum Bethel hits out against Yorkshire Vikings at Bradford & Bingley. Picture: ray Spencer

The club’s acquisition of Sam Drury from Scarborough illustrated they meant business in 2020 under new skipper Ben Kohler-Cadmore.

However, the Covid-19 infection put paid to a normal season, and the later Kirklees ruling of `no spectators’ at Bennett Lane complicated things further.

The side began their Gordon Rigg Premier League East season with a high-scoring defeat at the hands of Townville, when they couldn’t defend 271-5.

They did get back on track in the next match against Methley when Sam Drury enjoyed a remarkable debut match.  He took 4-19, before following up with an impressive innings of 83 as his side stormed to victory by eight wickets.

Another defeat later in the season by Townville put paid to winning the group and qualifying for the final.

Drury scored 237 runs at 59.25 in the eight-game programme, with Fraser and Connelly also averaging over 50.

But, they proved once more that their forte is T20 as they won the Gordon Rigg T20 Group A trophy after some remarkable matches.

They began by beating Batley by 143 runs after amassing an incredible 277-3.

Skipper Ben Kohler-Cadmore led the assault on the Batley bowling with 91 from just 37 balls as he dominated an opening stand of 132 with Gary Fellows.

Kohler-Cadmore hit seven sixes and nine fours, but even his efforts were put into the shade by big-hitting David Stiff. He made a brutal 86 not out from just 26 with 10 sixes and four fours.

Spinner Callum Bethel picked up 5-19.

After defeating Townville in a very competitive semi-final tie, they won the final at Tofts Road against Bradford & Bingley when Stiff again struck out.

He smashed an unbeaten 68 from just 19 balls which gave his side control of the match as they eased to a 60-run win.

Hanging Heaton celebrate their Gordon Rigg T20 Cup win Picture: Ray Spencer


Hanging Heaton started and ended the 2021 season with cracking scores over 300 - in the first match 352-8 in their win over Methley, and in their last game 373-5 versus Wrenthorpe.

In between there were highs and lows with three losses and a tie in May, and five successive wins to end the season. The batting was strong in patches, but generally under par compared to previous years. However, it could be said that the bowling was their Achilles heel.

The best bowler by far was seamer James Byrne who was pulled from the second team and had a league bowling aggregate of 41 wickets at 14.63, with a best analysis of 6-62.

Nick Connolly ended the season with 130 not out against Batley, and 177 not out versus Wrenthorpe to boost his run tally to 811 at an average of 62.38. Callum Geldard also had a good season with 686 runs at 45.73.

They were knocked of three cup competitions at an early stage, but retained the Gordon Rigg T20 Group A Cup with a pulsating one-wicket win over Woodlands after Josh Wheatley hit a four from the last ball of the game

In a match where the fortunes of the two sides ebbed and flowed, Hanging Heaton held their nerve and clinched the trophy for the fourth time in five seasons in front of an enthralled crowd.

Woodlands had previously set a challenging 204-3, but were undone by Geldart’s brilliant 92 which contained seven sixes and seven fours.

It was the end of an era in some ways as Gary Fellows, Nick Connolly, David Stiff and Joe Fraser all left the club.


When one considers the best home grown post-war seamers in the Bradford League one has to consider John Carruthers on the short list. He will certainly go down in Hanging Heaton’s folk-lore, such was his consistency in a ten year period when Hanging Heaton seemed to knocking on the door of every trophy race. In later years he has reduced his pace and had a sojourn at Birstall before returning to the fold as cricket chairman and captain.

So what was so unique about JC in his prime?  Well, he always refrained from running in from an exaggerated long distance.  He glided in from an economical run up with a gradual acceleration and suddenly erupted like a coiled spring skipping into his delivery stride. It was rhythmic and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but one pitied the poor batter who rarely appreciated such style! He was an attacking bowler who was never discouraged by the odd boundary as he sought to release the killer ball. He had no patience for steady stock balls that could have assisted his economy, instead he strained every sinew to find the deadly yorker or short pitched lifter to hasten the batter from his crease. JC's slower ball came down from the clouds with amazing accuracy and an astonishing lack of pace. Even batters familiar with such a ball were clueless as to how to play it!

There is a fund of memories about him, but one day at Spen Victoria stands out. Playing for the Chris Gott-led victorious Bradford League Representative Team he demolished the Yorkshire League with a spell of hostility rarely seen. They just could not cope with his pace. As he drifted into the twilight days of his career the last fifty wickets or so took some taking as he edged closer to his holy grail of 1,000 wickets. This he achieved in 2014, and shortly after said: "It’s absolutely fantastic. It has taken four or five years since coming back to Hanging Heaton but it has been very worthwhile to get the wickets but I feel the turnaround in the club is more important”.










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