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Heckmondwike & Carlinghow history

Heckmondwike & Carlinghow history



It’s important to note that these clubs are different – but the one aspect that brings them together historically is that Heckmondwike and Carlinghow CC relocated to Heckmondwike CC’s ground (Cemetery Road) in 2008 after their demise. For the sake of historic completion appertaining to cricket in Heckmondwike both clubs have been featured.


The early days

Although Heckmondwike Cricket Club was officially founded on 28 May 1864, and is the oldest club in North Kirklees, its origins are in reality much earlier than this. In 1838 a businessman from Nottingham, Dean Allen, and a group of prominent local merchants, such as William Wharton and Thomas F. Firth were credited with being founders of the club.

These men arranged matches for their new team against Wakefield, Crosland Moor (Huddersfield), Bradford, Halifax and Harrogate. The team originally played close to where the current Market Place is sited, moving shortly after that to Royle Fold. It was in 1873 that the club moved into Cemetery Road, and this is still the location.

Heavy Woollen Cup success

Heckmondwike CC first came to prominence when they won the first-ever Heavy Woollen Cup final in 1883 with Dewsbury & Savile the opposition. Captain Martin Riley led them to victory after his team had scored 136, and then bowled Dewsbury out for 71. Returning home in triumph with the cup they were greeted by the Flush Mill Band in full swing.

Riley was Heckmondwike’s first famous cricketer having played First Class cricket for Yorkshire on seventeen occasions with a top score of 92.

Twenty-four years later in 1907 they again won the Heavy Woollen Cup defeating Ossett in the Final in a 2-run thriller. However, Ossett got their revenge over Heckmondwike in the 1918 Final, and in 1924 they lost to Dewsbury in the Final. 

Back to winning ways they won the Heavy Woollen Cup two years running. Skippered by S Ellison, they beat East Bierley by 99 runs in the 1927 Final, before accounting for Morley the following year, after scoring a massive 327 runs to their rival’s 110. 

Six further final appearances came about in the thirties with victories over Liversedge (twice), Cleckheaton and Hartshead Moor, but two losses to Liversedge and Hanging Heaton were also recorded.

Heckmondwike had plied its trade in the Yorkshire Council and the Heavy Woollen League for many years, winning it in 1914, but in 1938 were accepted to join the newly instigated Central Yorkshire League.

Central Yorkshire League

This new set-up was designed to bring clarity to the over-staffed Yorkshire Council which was widespread and unwieldy. The clubs that formed the league were Ossett, Dewsbury & Savile, Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, Birstall, Batley, Morley, Liversedge, Staincliffe.

Horace Brearley, a right handed batsman, played for Heckmondwike in 1939 having been a regular Yorkshire Colt in the 30’s. Brearley, who was the father of England captain Mike, played one First Class match for Yorkshire.

The forties saw some formidable bowlers at Heckmondwike with J W Brewin (1944 & 1945) and F Haigh (1947) winning the League Bowling Averages for a team that was slowly making strides.

This decade was less successful in the Heavy Woollen Cup, but another two wins were nevertheless recorded in finals against close rivals Batley and Dewsbury.  

The 1945 final was held at Savile Town for the first time since 1929 and despite dull weather there was a large crowd of around 4,000. The gate of £150 was the highest since 1921, obviously in part due to the end of the war. On paper the teams were well matched being second and third in the Central Yorkshire League.

Batley were without their skipper J. Barritt who had a dislocated finger, but looked well placed with Heckmondwike struggling on 48-3. A partnership of 73 between H. Brearley and Hirst restored Heckmondwike’s fortunes and they reached 155-5 suspended. The Batley innings was an anti-climax as Moorhouse was out with the score on two and Williams was then run out for one. Batley were reduced to 87 all out, 14 of which were extras. In the end, an easy win for Heckmondwike.

However, the Heavy Woollen Cup Final in 1948 brought about defeat by eight wickets at the hands of Hanging Heaton-a team that would be a dominant force and major rivals to Heckmondwike in the sixties and seventies.

First title

There was ample consolation for Heckmondwike in 1948 as they were crowned champions of the Central Yorkshire Cricket League for the first time under the captaincy of F Ellison. This finally established them as a team to be reckoned with in league cricket.

The momentum was kept going when they regained the title in 1950 with skipper V Brook at the helm. Individual honours also came that season with the League Batting & Bowling Averages being won by F Ellison and C Garthwaite respectively. Ellison would replicate his feat the following season in 1951.

There was a less successful period up to the mid-sixties, but in 1958 Heckmondwike’s R Longstaff won the League Bowling Averages. This was the fourth occasion in seven years the club had achieved this feat.

1964 marked the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the Club, but more importantly they were setting the groundwork for a period of glory on the field.

By 1965 Heckmondwike had built a formidable side with Yorkshire Colt John Hall winning the League Batting Averages with 980 runs at 49.00. But, it was far from being a one-man side as G Higgins led his side to the Central Yorkshire First Division title, and Heavy Woollen Cup double.

The Heavy Woollen triumph was particularly sweet after beating adversaries Hanging Heaton in a low scoring final at Dewsbury, and in consequence avenging the 1948 defeat. Hanging Heaton was bowled out for 77, and Heckmondwike passed the total with the fall of five wickets.

Heckmondwike were still challenging strongly in 1968 beating Chickenley in the final of the Heavy Woollen Cup. Under the captaincy of D Smeaton they set a challenging score of 261-8, and then dismissed Chickenley for 181. Starring for Heckmondwike that season was footballer Tony Leighton who won the League Batting Averages with 41.67 per innings.

The glory years

The sixties were very fruitful for Heckmondwike, but the seventies were even better with eight major trophies won:

First Division Title- 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978

Wheatley Cup Winners- 1976, 1977, 1978

Heavy Woollen Cup Winners- 1972

Yorkshire Council Play-Off Winners-1972


In the close season of 1971 ambitious Heckmondwike stunned the Central Yorkshire League by applying to join the Bradford League. The application was later turned down by the Bradford League primarily because of the difficulties caused in admitting only one club.

Rivalry with Hanging Heaton

The battle for supremacy with Hanging Heaton was a major talking point as they each fought every step of the way sharing 18 major trophies, with their great rivals just edging it. They both went toe to toe in the 1972 Heavy Woollen Cup Final with Heckmondwike easing to victory by five wickets.

Typical of the clashes between the two, Hanging Heaton took their revenge in the 2nd round of the 1973 Heavy Woollen competition. Batting first, Hanging Heaton set a daunting target, scoring 271 all out thanks to a magnificent innings from Ronnie Hudson who hit an incredible 15 sixes in his score of 113.  Heckmondwike battled valiantly with Smith scoring 95, but still fell 21 runs short despite having two wickets remaining.

Rodney Smith a constant with the bat

There were many heroes in this run of trophies, but Rodney Smith was the constant throughout as title and cup winning captain. He also had a phenomenal time with the bat winning the League Batting Averages in seasons 1972, 1974, 1977 and 1979, twice averaging in excess of sixty, and three times topping the 1,000 mark.

Smith was a regular Yorkshire Colt selection and actually played five first Class games for his county with a top score of 37* v Gloucester. Other Heckmondwike cricketers who played for the Yorkshire Colts in the sixties were J Burton and K Lakin.

Other heroes were Barry Haigh who won the League Batting Averages in 1978 averaging 77.75, and bowlers Peter Gott and G Binks who topped the League Bowling Averages in 1972 and 1976 respectively.

Three doubles

This was Heckmondwike’s halcyon days and the unprecedented feat of winning three successive cup & league doubles (1977-1979) would never be beaten.

Off the field things were looking good as 1977 was the year the new clubhouse finally opened its doors. It had been 12 years in the making, but now the wait was finally over as the club was expected to go from strength to strength.

The seventies were a hard act to follow for Heckmondwike but they certainly maintained a strong challenge in the early part of the next decade.

In 1981 Geoff Parkes skippered them to the Heavy Woollen Cup Final, beating Liversedge by 36 runs at Birstall. The following year in 1982 they won the Central Yorkshire League Cup (renamed from Wheatley Cup), beating Chickenley in the final at Birstall again, under the same captain.

Chickenley got their revenge in the Heavy Woollen Cup Final in 1983 winning by 19 runs on Heckmondwike’s own ground. 

Heckmondwike had the remarkable record of winning 14 of their 19 Heavy Woollen Cup finals - a success rate of 74%, which is much superior to that of any of the other multiple winners and they occupy 3rd place in the all time list of Heavy Woollen Cup contestants.

Cemetery Road a showpiece venue

The Heckmondwike ground at Cemetery Road hosted the Heavy Woollen Cup final on 22 occasions, more than any other venue except Dewsbury & Savile.

Gavin Larsen

During the eighties Heckmondwike gained the services of overseas player Gavin Larsen who was in his early twenties. He went on to play international cricket with New Zealand, playing his entire first-class career with one team, Wellington.

Larsen played eight Test with reasonable success, taking in total 24 wickets. However, as a useful batsman and handy bowler, he held a place in the one-day side and played a major part in New Zealand reaching the semi-final stage of the 1999 Cricket World Cup. He finished his career with an exceptional economy rate in ODI cricket of 3.76 – the norm during that period was somewhere between 4 and 4.50 – in his 121 ODIs, stretching over a ten-year span.

Another First Class cricketer on Heckmondwike’s books in the eighties was right arm fast medium bowler Chris Shaw. He played sixty one first-class games for Yorkshire between 1984 and 1988, taking 123 wickets at 33.34, with a best of 6 for 64 against t Lancashire in the Roses Match. He also took five wickets against both  Kent and Northamptonshire.

The dominate seventies and early eighties also brought two Yorkshire Council Championship wins in 1972 and 1983 respectively.


After 1983, things would never be the same again for a club very much used to challenging the best. They lost their top flight status- something that would have been unthinkable the decade before, but won the Second Division title in 1989 under Chris Fisk.

By 1997 they had returned to the Second Division and were second bottom with only four wins to show for the season. The best individual performers were C Isherwood who took 53 wickets at 20.58, T Hoyle who had a bowling analysis of 8-59 v Mirfield PC and Simon Priestley who was the best batsman with 488 runs.

Decline was quickly setting in and nothing illustrated that better than their 2001 Heavy Woollen Cup Second Round defeat at the hands of Baildon. Batting first in a tournament they once ruled they capitulated to 73 all-out and ended up losing by ten wickets.

In 2003 Heckmondwike scrambled to a seventh finish in the First Division, (formerly Second Division) while their Second X1, who struggled to field a side towards the end of the season, were relegated to the Third Division.

Resignation from league

Dwindling membership and a lack of committee volunteers and players forced cricket secretary Gary Hughes to resign Heckmondwike’s membership from the Central Yorkshire League. They could no longer fulfil the league’s criteria and could not guarantee to fill two sides for the 2004 season.

Huddersfield Central League

Heckmondwike joined the Huddersfield Central League for the 2004 season determined to rebuild their cricket infrastructure.

Starting in a lower division, which was effectively the fourth sphere, they took the Section C title by storm in their first season, and just missed out on promotion from Section B in 2005. During the latter season, they had the services of two South Africans- Adriaan Van Der Dussen who scored 718 runs, and Kevin Van Rensburg who kept wicket, and also scored 687 runs.

Rensburg was more than an efficient wicket-keeper and proved it  in the previous year by winning the G Hinchcliffe Trophy for most victims (30) in the Huddersfield Central League.

In 2005 Van Der Dussen had the distinction of winning the T Willerton Trophy for most outfield catches (17) in the Huddersfield Central League.

In 2006 they won the Section B title to make definite progress upwards. The heroes were wicket-keeper/batsman Timothy Vaughan (625 runs), Llewellyn Bercy (603 runs) and chief bowler Barry Whelan (46 wkts).

They finished 9th in Section A in 2007, while their local rivals Heckmondwike and Carlinghow were four places above them in fifth place. Heckmondwike’s best performers were Vaughan who impressed again with 680 runs, and Gary Senior who took 47 wickets.  

The demise of the club

Despite this gradual consolidation in the league, things were very difficult at Cemetery Road and 2007 proved to be their last season. Their demise was confirmed in the following close season.

The last ever  First Team squad in the history of Heckmondwike CC was largely comprised of the following twelve - T Vaughan, M Fell, G Senior, T Woods, J Barnett, J Knowles, P Senior, A Lee, Z Hussain, A Kershaw, J Pollard, G Deegan.

The sports club were eager for cricket to continue at Cemetery Road and approached Heckmondwike and Carlinghow CC to play there. The cricket club held an extraordinary general meeting, where it was voted unanimously to move, and subsequently leave Chapel Lane.


The early origins

Heckmondwike and Carlinghow CC had a very modest history plying its trade in minor leagues, and being involved in perplexing name changes and identities.

 In 1890 Upper Independent Chapel was built on Chapel Lane, Heckmondwike, and it was this institution that gave rise to Upper Chapel Cricket Club. The first mention of a ‘Cricket Club’ came in Upper Chapel literature of 1892.

One of the few early references to individual players includes J Parker who won the club’s batting averages in 1897 with an average of 24.48. This was a great effort given the state of the poorly prepared wickets of this era.

The early organised cricket was spent in the Dewsbury & District League which they joined in 1915, and then they moved to the Spen Valley Sunday League in 1920. They were Spen Valley League winners in 1937.

Another change of leagues saw them playing in the Batley & District Sunday League, and in 1947 they had  their greatest ever season winning the Challenge Cup and League Cup and not losing a single match.

In 1960 Matthew Bentley scored 453 league runs at 37.75 and in doing so won the League Batting Averages for the second season.

Still in the Batley & District Sunday League they won the Cup Final of 1962 in a low scoring affair. Upper Chapel set a score of 81 for Crossbank Methodists to chase but they failed miserably in being bowled out for 24.

They joined the Dewsbury & District League in 1966 as the Batley & District Sunday League folded. In 1969 they won Section `C’ but were relegated in 1974 and became a yo-yo club between the two divisions.

Name change

In 1980 Upper Chapel was renamed Heckmondwike URC CC, and in 1997 merged with Carlinghow St John to get their present name - Heckmondwike & Carlinghow CC.

In 1994 Matthew Crowther was the club’s leading batsman with 383 runs at 31.9. The best bowler was N Haigh who took 38 wickets at 11.7.

Huddersfield Central League

By 1999 they had moved leagues again- this time to the Huddersfield Central League, gaining promotion from the `B’ Section in 2000.

Progress was steady at this stage as they consolidated their status in the new league. They were usually mid-table in the `A’ Section, but worryingly sunk to second bottom in 2005.

This was despite Paul Cooper having a great season with the bat scoring 717 runs. He also took the T Gill Trophy for striking thirty sixes in the league campaign – the most in the entire league.

The following season in 2006 was almost a mirror image with Heckmondwike and Carlinghow CC finishing second bottom, and Cooper again being the star performer. Cooper scored 743 runs and also took 41 wickets to show his ability as a key all rounder.

A 2006 award winner was Matthew Crowther who won the G Hinchcliffe Trophy for most victims (31) in the Huddersfield Central League.
In the next two years respectability in the league returned with two 5th place finishes from 2007. Cooper again topped 500 runs in 2007, while James Hudston and Crowther did the same in 2008. In the latter year Ismail Patel emerged as a key all round performer.

Ground move

The 2008 season was historic for the club as it took over Heckmondwike’s Cemetery Road ground as the more famous club folded.  

Seasons 2009-2012 saw Crowther, Cooper and Hudston the mainstays of the batting, while new bowlers Imran Akhtar (34 wkts) and Ilylas Hasmi (35 wkts) emerged in 2012 to help propel Heckmondwike and Carlinghow CC into the Premier League for the first time.

During this period a notable achievement came in 2011 when Matthew Crowther won the S Hawden All-Rounders Trophy for Heckmondwike.

To reach the summit of the league structure in their 14th season was highly impressive, and a seventh position in their debut season of 2013 signalled real progress

The redoubtable Cooper was up for the challenge scoring 773 runs and taking 40 wickets. In addition he found the energy to win the T Willerton Trophy for most outfield catches (16) in the Huddersfield Central League that season.

Things went even better in 2014 as they challenged strongly for the title. The Premier League title had opened up in recent years with an array of clubs leaving to join the Drakes Huddersfield League. Heckmondwike spied their opportunity and matched Green Moor all the way until losing their last match and conceding the title by just 11 points.

Crowther was Heckmondwike’s best batsman in 2014 scoring 369 league runs at 30.75. However, the bowling was potent with Javed Iqbal taking 45 wickets at 7.82, and Jonathan Elstub 30 wickets at 10.03. 

Title win

After 16 years in the Huddersfield Central League the club achieved the ultimate ambition of winning the Premier League title. Their great rivals were Green Mooragain and the battle replicated the previous year, but this time they held their nerve to prevail with 342 points, winning it with 18 points to spare

Paul Cooper, above. was again the outstanding player excelling in all areas. He scored 718 runs at 47.87, 27 wickets costing 14.93 each and also taking thirteen outfield catches. Elstub had another consistent season with the ball taking 34 wickets at a personal cost of 11.82. 

Heckmondwike & Carlinghow had spent 16 years gradually establishing themselves as a club with real depth and had proved it by winning the title.

Previously they had successfully applied to join the Central Yorkshire League for 2016 after inspections by the Management Committee. This meant that Central Yorkshire League cricket was deemed to be played again at Cemetery Road, following in the footsteps of the more revered Heckmondwike Cricket Club.

Into the Bradford League Conference

However, fate decided that this would not to be after the Central Yorkshire League clubs was absorbed into the Bradford Premier League during a massive re-structure of cricket in the Yorkshire area during 2015.Heckmondwike and Carlinghow CC would take their place in the Bradford League Conference for 2016.

The club made an impressive start to their 2016 Conference League season before slipping out of contention to 8th place.

All Rounder Cooper

Cooper slipped nicely into the groove in the new league with another stunning all round season. He took 46 wickets at 15.39, and also contributed 476 league runs with the bat. The leading batsmen were Usman Quershi (586 runs) and Khurram Shehzed (468 runs) who both averaged in excess of 30.

Heckmondwike replicated their 8th position the following season in 2017. They were competitive, but invariably came unstuck against the leading sides. Cooper had his accustomed productive season with 601 runs at 37.56, and 35 wickets at 17.37.

In 2018, there was a dip in standards as the club completed the season in eleventh place, having won just five games. Ironically, they found their form in September as the beat both Great Preston, and Sandal in some style.

They set Great Preston a target of 282-5 after Adnaan Rawat (68 runs) and Ahmed Butt (53 runs) had hastened the scoring.  In reply Great Preston posted 216, and was thwarted by some disciplined bowling across the board by Heckmondwike.

In the last fixture Heckmondwike scored 252 against Sandal, with Usman Qureshi (98 runs) and Paul Cooper (78 runs) setting their stall out for a big score. Qureshi completed an outstanding all-round performance taking 7-18 in Sandal’s losing score of 121.

The best performers in the league campaign were Cooper (653 runs), Qureshi (504 runs) and Javed Iqbal, who was the most penetrative bowler with 36 wickets at 16.31.

Fortunes dipped further in 2019 when they were docked 20-points for not fielding a second team. They could ill afford this loss of points in a season when they managed just four wins, but somehow they avoided the bottom spot after a surprise win in the penultimate league game.

This was their highlight game of the season defeating high riding Gildersome & Farnley Hill, after their two most consistent players Cooper (57 runs) and Qureshi (5-51) had done the business.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 struck in 2020, and although they entered the Gordon Rigg Division Three League Cup, they met with moderate success. Usman Qureshi and Fahad Imam were consistent performers with the bat in the shortened league season.

The club finished ninth in 2021 in a remarkable season of ups and downs. They had a tendency to slip up against the weaker sides, but managed to perform the double over a very good Great Preston side who were promoted.

They lost their first league match against Altofts despite a score of 315-6 after Kanhu Pattnayak had top scored with 85.

In the first match against Great Preston, Usman Qureshi (90), Fahad Imam (50) and Javed Iqbal (7-85) all starred in a 46-run win.

In the return match Quershi (53no) and Adnan Butt (56no) helped the side reach a total of 264-7 which was 30 runs too many for Great Preston.

Qureshi was moderately successful scoring 490 league runs at 28.82 with a top score of 132.