Pink Article Index
The re-emergence of Bradford's 'Yorkshire Sports', the one time Saturday night sports paper - known universally as the 'Pink' - caused a wave of interest on my visits to Bankfoot and Woodlands on Saturday.
For the record, the newspapers in question were from a pile I had unearthed in a clear out. They had been hoarded, there is no other word that comes close to explaining my collection of sporting ephemera, since the Pink disappeared from our new agents.
The 'Pink', a Telegraph and Argus publication, actually made its way into literature in 1929, courtesy of JB Priestley, when the Bradford born playwright was living in Kent.
The story opens with one of the main characters walking down Manchester Road into town having just watched a disappointing show from the Bradford Rugby League side at Odsal - sounds familiar! - and later that evening he goes out to buy his 'Pink' to read all about it.
For generations both before and after the dawning of the television age the Saturday night sports paper was an essential part of sporting culture, particularly in the north of England (where it survived long after the London versions disappeared),and for Bradford League cricketers they could sit back in the bar after the game and enjoy, or cringe at, their performances with some immediacy.
On my travels I came across a few of the Bradford League 'personalities' featured in my random collection. At Bankfoot there was club stalwart Richard Peel, now self confessed 'tea lady', admiring his physique as a bright eyed teenager, Murphy Walwyn, in his first season with the club but enjoying his 33rd as a Bradford League cricketer - it is rumoured he lined up with WG Grace on his debut.
Murphy was admiring his fine head of hair, and chief "Roller" driver Steve Carter reflected on the days he turned out for the club alongside his brother Phil.
And there was time for reflection for players like Brian Hudson and Malcolm Naylor who have subsequently passed away.
Familiar faces prompted memories of events long forgotten and tales abounded of never reported incidents that are best confined to the inner sanctum of the cricketing dressing rooms.
Scorer Bob Speight, sporting long wavy hair, was pictured with his Cleckheaton team accompanied with a report of him making his scoring debut for the Bradford League representative side and fellow club official Dave Worrall, with his long dark hair and 'Wolverine' like sideburns appeared in a Laisterdyke line up.
Worrall, incidentally, recalled an occasion that pre-empted the famous Test Match incident of 1979 when Dennis Lillee was caught by Peter Willey off the bowling of Graham Dilley, when he caught out a batsman called Borrell off the bowling of Graham Orrell ie Borrell, caught, Worrall, bowled Orrell.
Perhaps not his greatest achievement on the cricket field but certainly one that stuck in the memory. There will hopefully be many more 'Pink' memories featured on the Bradford League website as the season progresses, together with the photographs as they appeared in the paper, so keep an eye out for them.
Any article that does appear will subsequently be accessible through the 'archive' section so if you have appeared as the slim, fit, curly headed athlete you once were, but sadly no longer are, you will be able to catch up with misty eyed reminiscence just before you down another pork pie and pint of 'best'.
Gomersal skipper Richard Whitehurst took a realistic view of his chances of victory after visiting Pudsey Congs hammered 339-4 in their recent First Division clash at Oxford Road.
Having seen his senior batsman Richard Gould stumped off Mark Bray, by 14 year old Barney Gibson for 1, Whitehurst re-set his course and everything was geared up to reaching that total of 225 needed to secure maximum batting points.
"The bonus points system has been good for Bradford League cricket," said Whitehurst. "Both teams have something to play for whatever the situation."
The benefit to Gomersal this season cannot be underestimated as, with only one win to date, their bonus points are helping them occupy a mid-table position, and Whitehurst's views have been echoed by many throughout the league since the rule change before the start of the 2006 season - even allowing for the scare Woodlands had when they went through a spell of bowling the opposition out too cheaply to gain any batting points.
It may not be a perfect system but it has certainly brightened up the cricket in the Bradford League.
Although this is only the fifth season the new system has been in operation the idea was actually mooted 30 years ago by a relatively unknown Tasmanian by the name of Gary Goodman.
Browsing through my copies of the Yorkshire Sports I came across a story that appeared on the 13th September, 1980 under the headline 'Points system under fire' - PROTESTING BY BOWLING UNDER ARM.
The article referred to an incident in a game between Brighouse and Bankfoot. Apparently Bankfoot, batting second, had reached a point when they felt they were not able to overhaul the Brighouse total and so, as was the practice of the day, dug in to bat out for a point from a losing draw and deny the opposition victory.
With frustration building with every ball the Brighouse overseas man Gary Goodman decided enough was enough. He decided to make a protest and delivered his last two balls UNDERARM.
Though clearly within the rules of the game Goodman's action not surprisingly created a bit of a stir. Talking to Yorkshire Sports reporter Malcom Hartley the Brighouse all rounder explained, "It was a protest, not so much against Bankfoot, who were batting out for a point, but against the league's points system. It was very frustrating.
"I think there should be a bonus system so that, at any stage of the match, both batting and fielding sides could still be aiming for more points."
Goodman bowled 20 overs that afternoon. His spell included seven maidens and his figures were three for 77.
My records do not show the outcome of that protest, perhaps there are some minute books somewhere that might give an insight into the thoughts of the management committee at that time, but Goodman was not some garrulous Aussie who liked the sound of his own voice - if there is such a creature.
The Tasmanian was already 27-years-old and had made his first class debut for Tasmania under Lancashire cricket legend 'Flat' Jack Simmons two years previously when he hit a century on his debut against Queensland at The Gabba.
Gary Weech Goodman had begun his career in Grade cricket in Sydney but went on to play for Tasmania from 1978-1980 and then represented South Australia on his return from his stint with Brighouse.
In 1983 he went back to Tasmania and though having the distinction of taking a brilliant century off the formidable 1985 West Indian attack he never quite made the leap to Test cricket.
Off the field his academic and sports administration skills saw him moving in prominent sporting circles, working with The Australian Sports Commission, Tasmanian and South Australian education systems, Tasmanian and ACT (Australian Capital Territory) Cricket and also played a major role as National Director of the Australian Property Institute and National Project Manager for MAXIhomes in Australia.
Today he can be found working as a Senior Teacher of Health and Physical Education, and Coach of the Associated Southern Colleges 1st XI Premiership cricket team at Marist College, Canberra, ACT.
A team mate of Goodman's at Brighouse, 30 years ago, was Allan Gilliver - who remembers him well. "He was a good lad, Gary," said Gilly. "I was actually groundsman and steward at the Brighouse club at that time and living on site.
"So, when Gary was coming over we arranged for him to stay with us. I had forgotten about that incident to be honest. But while it does ring a bell now I can't remember what the outcome was - and, anyway, Gary must have gone back home soon after."
Despite Goodman spending that summer with the Gilliver's he never kept in touch and, presumably with everything else that was going on in his careers, he never returned to England - leaving that underarm protest and prophetic message behind as his only legacy.
Footnote: League records secretary Michael Rhodes has trawled his books to try and find some details of the game. He has the individual scores but no team totals. They were -
Brighouse: John Heaton 134no, Allan Gilliver 47, Brian Bolus 0, Gary Goodman 3, Andy Baxter 35no.
Bowling: B Hudson 4-0-29-0, A White 4-0-24-0, M Kent 13-2-43-1, P Walker 9-0-47-1, R Glover 15-0-46-1
Bankfoot: B Hudson 9, A White 31, C Carter 48, K Hill 58no, M Kent 3, S Douglas 3, R Peel 1, S Carter 5, J Tiffany 13, P Walker 0no.
Bowling: G Goodman 20-7-77-3, A Baxter 4-2-14-0, D Peel 12-4-38-1, H Leach 13-4-34-3, I Haydock 5-3-8-0.
If you have more details about the game or was at the match send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
My delving and rummaging has brought another tale to light, this time it is much more recent. I had forgotten that the T & A had revived 'The Pink' (Yorkshire Sports) as an 'all sports' weekly in 1997, later, as a Monday paper. Not remembering this is a bit surprising as I actually did some Bradford League match reporting for it when Alan Birkinshaw was the sports editor.
However, the publication was fairly short lived but it was my copy for August 9, 2004, that caught my eye. Or more precisely, it was Bill Marshall's article on Hanging Heaton's John Carruthers that caught my eye.
Two weeks previously Carruthers, who began his cricketing career at Birstall and then had a season at Spen Victoria, before moving to Bennett Lane, had just taken his 1,000th Bradford League wicket in all competitions and declared his ambition to join the select band of players to take 1,000 'league' wickets.
Given that he had target it was perhaps surprising to see the English Cricket Board international turn his back on the Bradford League at the end of the following season still well short of those elusive four figures.
At the time Carruthers stated that he was going back to his local club, Birstall, to rejoin some old friends and help revive the club's fortunes - taking with him one or two of his colleagues at Bennett Lane.
The 1,000 wicket target seemingly forgotten, Carruthers' reasons were taken at face value. Whatever else may have been behind his leaving a club he had served so consistently, if anything, has never been discussed but there is no doubt that Hanging Heaton appeared much the worse for his departure - culminating in relegation from the First Division last season.
Four years at Birstall did bring some reward for the Leeds Road club and also some personal satisfaction, not least the Central Yorkshire League Premier Division title in 2008, but last season was another difficult one and the prospects of things being much better this time were never good.
As an outsider the return to Hanging Heaton was something of a surprise but, clearly, the thought of 1,000 league wickets was still nagging away at the back of his mind.
Catching up with JC, as he prepared to take a brief break with the family, I asked him whether he was aware of actually reaching the 1,000 wickets yet.
"When I left Hanging Heaton to join Birstall I had taken 865," he trotted out without a pause, before quickly adding, "not that I'm counting". Not much.
"Seriously, this was on my mind when I decided to come back into the Bradford League and, to be honest, I've given myself three years to get there.
" It is something I would really like to achieve. Players who have reached this milestone in the past have had more games, allowed to bowl more overs than we are now, and also played for much longer so it isn't easy to do now."
Having celebrated his 40th birthday last month Carruthers knows that time is not on his side but, he could not have made a better start as he attempts to lead Hanging Heaton back into the First Division at the first attempt.
In six games to date he has chalked up 22 victims, including one six wicket and two five wicket returns, the latest being a 5-16 stint in bowling out Idle for just 38 in his last game. "Giving me 887," he added pointedly. Who's counting indeed!
It would be virtually impossible for him to get the remaining 113 wickets in the 14 games (maximum) he will be available for this season but if he continues at the same rate he will be about another 50 closer to his target by the season's end - all things being equal.
'All things being equal' is, however a a crucial factor. All things being equal we might have expected Bradford and Bingley's magnificent Australian born all rounder Richard McCarthy to reach his 1,000 wickets this season but an injury prevented him bowling more than one over in the previous game and he didn't bowl at all at East Bierley.
With six wickets so far, however, McCarthy is now up to 980, with Carruthers next in line, in the race to join the list of only TEN players to achieve this feat in over 100 years of Bradford League cricket.
For the record those ten players are David Batty, David Jay, Mike Fearnley, John Marshall, Peter Graham, Paul Topp, Percy Watson, Dennis Bateson, Malcolm Naylor and Phil Taylor. The full records of these players are available elsewhere on the Bradford League website.
In that same August 9, copy of the Yorkshire Sports this season's Undercliffe skipper Mark Gilliver hammered 110 for Idle and though Gilly has managed only 88 in four innings to date this season he is still out in front of Keighley's Richard Robinson, with 15,643 to 15,401, as the League's all time leading runmaker.
Murphy Walwyn made only eight for Woodlands, in their game at his old club East Bierley, and the one time prolific run getter is still edging his way toward his 15,000th Bradford League run, inch by inch, figuratively speaking, his failure to score in Bankfoot's defeat at Saltaire left the quintagenarian with only 30 runs for the season and still 167 short of his target.
On a more positive note, however, Walwyn did get a rare bowl on the day and his three wickets for Bankfoot lifted his career League wicket tally to 585 - 15 short of the 600 mark - to provide further evidence of his remarkable all round ability.
In May 1969 Bradford City clinched promotion to the old Division Three with a nail biting, not to mention frenetic, 4-3 victory at Darlington in a Friday night game.
The following day The Pink, the 'Yorkshire Sports', was full of City's achievement but, amid the pictures from the game and of the players and club officials, there was a Bradford Cricket League story inside the back page with news of a new captain at Keighley Cricket Club - Mike Hellawell.
Mike holds a special place in Bradford Cricket League history for he is the only post war English international footballer to appear in the league. But, Hellawell has always considered himself a cricketer who took up football rather than the other way around, as he explained.
Growing up I was always thought of as having more chance of a professional cricket career," he told me recently. "My dad was a professional Rugby League player with Keighley while I was always more interested in cricket and football.
"In fact I was actually playing for Salts 2nd XI at 10 years old and I was only 12 when I made my first team debut against Undercliffe. Undercliffe had the old Yorkshire and England keeper Arthur Wood at that time and I remember him talking to me all the way through my innings.
There was no 'sledging' - no trying to intimidate me or put me off - Arthur just kept talking and encouraging me. I've no idea how many I made that day, or how long I was in for, but I'll never forget Arthur's encouragement.
"As a youngster I was also invited down to the nets at Headingley and it was a great experience to come under the coaching of Arthur Mitchell and Maurice Leyland. Like I say, I was always considered a better cricketer than footballer and my first senior soccer club was my local side - Salts."
It was in 1955, while he was playing football at then Yorkshire League side Salts in the old FA Amateur Cup, that Mike was spotted by a Queen's Park Rangers scout and invited to sign for the West London club. Not being on a contract at Salts, in those strictly amateur days, QPR were under no obligation to give Salts a penny but in the end they made an-ex gratia payment, probably working out at about £5,000 by today's value, and it was enough for the club to build new dressing rooms.
At QPR Mike got his first taste of repesentative football when he was selected to play, as a right winger, for the Third Division South against the Third Division North in a match televised live one midweek evening and it was not too long before bigger clubs began looking at the wiry, and very pacy, winger.
In 1957 he was then signed by First Division Birmingham City and having won the Inter Cities Fairs Cup in 1961 (the fore-runner of the UEFA Cup) he went on to win two England caps in 1963.
Interestingly Mike also played for Warwickshire seconds during his time at Birmingham and made one first class appearance for the County - one of only seven post war full English soccer internationals to play first class cricket.
Any quiz enthusiasts want to name the other SIX? Want a clue? Well, the counties involved were Middlesex, Derbyshire, Essex, Kent, Gloucestershire and Yorkshire.
While on the subject of quizzes, anyone like to have a look at the gallery of Bradford City's promotion winning group of players and officials and say how many have strong Bradford League connections (I counted Five) - and what are the connections, and which two were Central Yorkshire League and Halifax League stars respectively?
Going back to Mike Hellawell, he arrived back in this area after moving from Birmingham to Sunderland and then on to Huddersfield Town and Peterborough before settling back in Keighley to run a greengrocers shop in the town centre. He enjoyed some success with Keighley at cricket, winning the Priestley Cup in 1961, but he didn't really have anything tangible to show for his spell as skipper and later moved into the Craven League for a short while.
If anyone round Cleckheaton way ever mentions a Squire of Hartshead Moor it probably won't be a reference to a member of the landed gentry - they are most likely talking cricket.
On Saturday, August 3, 1974 the Yorkshire Sports' photographer and reporter found their way to Highmoor Lane where Second Division leaders Hartshead Moor were playing lowly Queensbury and in 'The Pink' that night here was a match report and impressive photo of Leonard Squire forcing the ball away on the leg side.
Leonard had already reached his half century, in years, earlier in the season but the quintagenerian was clearly in no mood to succumb to anno domini as he rattled up 60 runs in yet another victory for the eventual Second Division winners.
Two weeks later The Pink carried a photo of the Hartshead Moor team that day and lining up alongside Leonard was his son Peter. Catching up with Leonard at Highmoor Lane recently it was interesting to see him chatting with his grandson Daniel, Peter's son, who is playing in the current promotion chasing Hartshead Moor side.
But, while this cricketing family can actually boast three generations of Bradford League players they can go back yet another generation of Moor cricketers for Leonard's dad Freddie turned out for them in the Yorkshire Council before the war.
"In fact," recalled Leonard, "I can remember going off to play for the first team during the war and, when I got back to the club, being really surprised to find my dad had turned out for the seconds."
"He hadn't played for a while, although he was only in his early 40's, but they had somehow managed to persuade him to help them out - and he had thoroughly enjoyed himself.
"They say he went out to bat and twice pulled the ball round to the midwicket boundary, where mum was sat, with a shout of 'here you are Daisy this one's for you'. When he came off, after making 20 odd he apparently said, 'young Leonard better have made as many as me or I'll not let him laik again'."
Hartshead Moor cricket club was founded in 1876 but the Squire family probably pre-dates the cricket club, in the area, by at least 100 years. The 1841 census shows that Leonard's great great grandfather, John Squire, was born in the Cleckheaton district around 1791 and though his grandfather, Armitage Squire would have been in his early 20s when the cricket club came into existence he worked as an agricultural labourer and there would have been little time for recreation in the harsh rural economic climate of 1876.
Leonard never got the chance to play alongside his dad at Hartshead Moor but he did inherit his enthusiasm for the game and, at 86 years old, it remains undimmed.
As a batsman there are two distinct memories of his Bradford League career that stand out.
"I played against some very good bowlers, and still made a few runs," he recalled. "I particularly remember a confrontation with East Bierley's West Indian bowler Roy Gilchrist. "He was very hostile, as a bowler and a person, and I remember him bowling at me one day and getting more angry the more I batted.
"Then, one ball beat me completely. Everyone could hear a definite 'click' and though Gilchrist appealed, jumping up and down, the umpire was unmoved. 'Not Out!' was the decision. Well, Gilchrist stomped around fuming.
"I was eventually out but at the interval, he came over to me glaring. 'You were out man - you hit that ball' he said. I just smiled. 'I didn't touch it you know,' I said to him. The fact is, the ball actually snicked my wicket - but it didn't move the bails!' I think he was lost for words at that point and just walked away."
Leonard was never a one to pay too much attention who was bowling at him, he just went out and batted. "One day I was at Undercliffe," he said. "One of our openers came to me and said, 'you know who they've got playing today don't you?' Well, I hadn't any idea but he wouldn't let on. 'You're at three, wait and see', he said.
"I was curious but just got on with it when my turn came to bat. This Undercliffe fella looked familiar but I couldn't place him. Anyway, I prepared to face up to him and the first ball just whooshed past me. I can't remember facing anything so fast, before or since.
"As it happened I think I made a few before getting out and when I got back to the pavilion my colleague approached me again. 'Don't you know who that was,' he asked again. I shook my head and he said, "Well, he was playing for England at Lord's last season, it was Les Jackson of Derbyshire!'
"Without doubt I think Jackson was the best bowler I've ever played against. When I went out to the middle after tea I looked at the wicket and I noticed a small darkened circle on the pitch scarcely wider than the width of the stumps.
For 25 overs that man had dropped every ball within that circle and that was the mark the ball had left - it was incredible."
Leonard finally packed his bat away for the last time at the age of 57 by which time his son Peter had become a Moor stalwart and Daniel has followed Leonard and Peter into the side at Highmoor Lane operating as a useful pace bowler, hard hitting batsman and stand-in wicket keeper.
In a recent game, with Idle, Daniel demonstrated his power with the bat when, having had to sit with his pads on through a 214 run fourth-wicket partnership between Tom Manvell and Jonny Gould, he walked to the wicket and cracked his first ball, from young Tom Johnson, straight back over the bowler's head and into the adjacent garden.
There was no better way to give vent to his frustration at having to wait so long. Whether Daniel achieves the longevity of his grandad in the game remains to be seen but, for the moment, Leonard is content to sit in his favourite spot on the boundary edge while the pleasure of watching Daniel mingles effortlessly with the vast collection memories he loves to share.
NOTE: With reference to the 'Footballers photo quiz', see 'In The Pink' - 'footballing cricketers', the six county cricketers to have played football for England since the war are Raich Carter (Derby County, Sunderland, Hull City and Derbyshire),Derek Ufton (Charlton Athletic and Kent),Leslie Compton (Arsenal and Middlesex),Geoff Hurst (West Ham United and Essex),Arthur Milton (Arsenal, Bristol City and Gloucestershire),Willy Watson (Huddersfield Town, Sunderland and Yorkshire and Leicestershire).
As for the Bradford City AFC gallery, Bobby Ham (Cleckheaton and Brighouse),John Hall (Saltaire and Yeadon),Ian Cooper (Bankfoot),Stafford Heginbotham (Manningham Mills and instigator of the Tebro Trophy),Gerry Lightowler (Steward at Gomersal CC),Bruce Stowell played Halifax League while Tony Leighton played at Heckmondwike and Liversedge in Central Yorkshire League.
Tony Stilgoe, erstwhile publican, hotelier, but, more importantly, Bradford League cricketer, is a raconteur par excellence. Even after an hour or so talking with Tony I was still left with the feeling there were so many more lids that could be lifted on events that have combined to make up one of the more colourful of League cricket careers.
It was a copy of The Yorkshire Sports for Saturday, 11th May 1974, with a picture of him bowling, and another from 24 August that year, that brought my attention to Tony and made me want to look further into his career.
The August edition of 'The Pink' reported that Tony, at this time a Windhill player, had been turning out for Derbyshire Seconds and had recently played against Yorkshire Seconds - taking the wickets of Phil Sharpe, Peter Squires, Graham Stevenson and Jim Love in a 15 over stint.
Intrigued as to why more was not heard of him on the County Championship scene I set about tracking him down to find some answers.
Despite having spent around 15 years in Bradford League cricket with Saltaire, Windhill and Pudsey St Lawrence Stilgoe proved surprisingly hard to find.
He had been brought up in the York area, played York Senior League cricket for Dunnington, earning a place in the club's 'Hall of Fame' website, and after his spell in the Bradford League he had turned out for York in the Yorkshire League and still earns high praise from Yorkshire League legend Peter Chadwick.
Chadwick, Harrogate's all time record run scorer and occasional Yorkshire player, had played for Great Horton in the Bradford League at the invitation of Edgar Robinson on ending his National Service, in 1955 but it was encounters with Stilgoe in the Harrogate v York needle matches that stick in his mind.
"Tony was a very difficult bowler to play against," Chadwick recalled recently. "He bowled off the front foot and the ball seemed to come on to you much quicker than you anticipated."
Finding Tony for his view of things was difficult but in the end it was a relative, found in the phone book, that made the connection and it seems Tony had run a pub in York, then moved out to Bridlington to run a hotel and has only recently retired and moved back to York.
As it happens Tony disputes the 'front foot' bowling theory. "To be honest, my action was different, but I don't think I, or anyone else, could actually see what foot I did bowl off as my feet moved so fast in delivering the ball."
But, he turned out to be a mine of information about Bradford League cricket in the 70's and 80's.
It was a conversation with Dunnington team-mate Tony Moore that resulted in the pair of them moving to Saltaire initially but Stilgoe was persuaded to branch out on his own at Windhill in 1973 and his old team mate became one of his greatest rivals.
"Tony stayed at Saltaire for the 1973 season but we both did so well I remember us sharing the 'Sir Learie Constantine All Rounders Trophy', " he recalled.
But, my first question was the Derbyshire situation, and I wasn't ready for the answer.
Well, David Smith, one of the Derbyshire committee was playing in the Bradford League at that time and he approached me after the game and asked me if had ever thought of trying my luck in County Cricket," explained Stilgoe.
"I said I wouldn't mind giving it a go and he asked me how old I was. I said 27. Smith, thought for a minute and then said 'You are a bit older than we would have liked but come and have a few games anyway'.
" It actually went quite well I had a good season and I think there was some talk of a contract. Unfortunately I hadn't been exactly truthful. When I told them that I was actually THIRTY ONE any deal was immediately seen as out of the question."
There was still plenty of Bradford League life left in Stilgoe however - particularly after moving to Pudsey St Lawrence.
"I enjoyed my time at St Lawrence," said Stilgoe. "and one of my favourite memories is the day I turned up after being told I would have a new opening bowling partner.
" I had asked who it was but nobody was saying anything. No matter how many times I asked no one would say. I got to the ground and I said to one of the club officials 'who is it then?'. They pointed to this tall fella standing in the car park with his back to me. I had no idea who it was until he turned around - it was John Snow.
" It seemed no time at all since he was helping England beat Australia to win the Ashes and there he was stood next to me in the car park at Tofts Road.
We were playing Idle, I think, and they had just won the 1974 First Division championship.
"Well, Snowy got at them from the start and though I managed to pick up three wickets in one over I never got to bowl again because Snowy finished them off and they were all out for about 29. I've still got the newspapers cutting with a "SNOWSTORM" headline."
Pudsey St Lawrence, whose line up also included the late Phil Carrick that season, finished First Division champions and marked the start of a very happy time for Stilgoe in the Bradford League - although he did fall foul of his club at the start of one season.
"I once turned up for a pre-season friendly," he explained. "Now, I hated these sort of games. I liked to play serious, competetive, cricket and, to be honest I couldn't really be bothered to play in this game. It just happened to be a day when we had a visit from John Alderton, the actor. John is a real cricket fan and we have known each other a while, so I asked him if he would like to play in my place. He was more than happy so we got him some gear and he played.
" But, this hadn't gone down too well in some quarters and the first week of the season I found myself in the Second team. I didn't make a fuss. I just did as I was told and went out and produced a decent performance for the Seconds. I was back in the first team the following week."
The incident did give St Lawrence the distinction of being the only Bradford League club to ever have a professional actor turn out for them. Unless anyone knows differently!
In the summer of 69"....so begins the Bryan Adams' song. But, what really happened in the summer of 1969 and how were things in the Bradford League that summer as 'The Pink' set about recording the events of the day.
'The Pink', and its Leeds rival 'The Green Un', were of course The Yorkshire Sports and The Green Post - respective Saturday evening sports papers of Bradford's Tand A and the Leeds based Yorkshire Evening Post.
Reports and scorecards, usually containing no more than the first two hours play, featured on the front and back pages and a discovery amongst my piles of hoarded ephemera started me on another 'magical mystery tour'.
As it happened the Beatles 'Mystery Tour' had been released two years earlier but music nevertheless featured prominently in the summer of 69, though Adams' song was to emerge much later. This was the summer of the iconic Rock festival 'Woodstock' in the States, the first Moon landing, rain, student riots, troop deployment to Northern Ireland, more rain, the advent of Colonel Gaddafi as Libyan leader, even more rain, cricket cancellations on a huge scale and, on a personal note, the birth of my first child.
'Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose' ie The more things change the more they stay the same. I don't speak French but it is a favourite saying of mine and so appropriate to this current weather hit Bradford League season.
"I seem to remember that we didn't know when we were going to get a bat on ball," said John Harrison, the captain of the all conquering Bingley side that summer. In fact, Bingley were top of the Bradford League First Division after eight games having won only TWICE.
Peter Pickup, in his 'History of the Bradford Cricket League' (1988) wrote "Never in the League's history has there been such a start than that in 1969."
After five games, Lidget Green, Brighouse, Hartshead Moor, East Bierley and Bradford had simply not bowled a ball - all games having been washed out - and many others in the First Division had lost four out of five to the weather. With only one win in 11 Bankfoot found themselves in THIRD place in Division One.
The late Phil Carrick also appeared for Farsley as a 16 year old this summer but it was Bingley who stole the honours with a feat never before, or since, repeated as they swept the board with successes at both first and second team level.
"I think the secret that season was not only team spirit but 'club' spirit," recalled skipper Harrison. "We did everything as a club. The first team and the second team were together as groups and after a game we would all stay behind. With many players having young children whole families would be together - it was a great spirit.
" We had a second team captain, Paul Meredith, who would have got into most first teams but was happy to lead the seconds because he felt that was where he was most needed.
"There were players like 'George' Batty, and wicket keeper Derek Isles had played for Worcester Seconds, but there were not so many 'stars' just a bunch of lads who gelled well as a team."
My battered 'Pink' for 17th May, 1969 shows details of the first round of The Priestley Cup with eventual winners Bingley struggling to get the better of Lightcliffe in the early overs. John Harrison had no clear recall of this particular match but when I informed him that he had been run out without scoring he casually remarked, "Oh that would be Ken Standring running me out," as if it had been a regular occurance!
In any event the match report confirmed Harrison's suspicions. 'Harrison joined Standring but the Bingley captain was easily run out after Standring had nudged an Ormondroyd delivery to cover' read the report.
John spoke highly of Ken and Roger Bailey, the pair compiling a century partnership in this game, and Standring went on to top the First Division averages and pick up 37 wickets along the way while Harrison was like the proverbial metronome with only one innings below 20 in the whole season.
"I certainly remember the last day of that season," said Harrison. "We had already won the Priestley Cup, the second team had won The Priestley Shield and the Second team league competition - everything rested on our final game as Spen Victoria and ourselves began the day level on points.
"We dominated our game with Lightcliffe but only drew so we had to wait for news from Spen Vic's game with Idle."
It was to prove one of the closest finishes in the league's history for Idle, having been bowled out for just 117, could not have made it more difficult as their side, which included League stalwart John France, hit back to dismiss Spen for just 115, securing a two run win, and handing Bingley the title by just three points - thus completing an incredible four way triumph for the club.
It was an outstanding season for the club but they had stayed together as a team for a while and won the cup in 1967 as well as 1969, beating Spen, were runners up in 1970, and won it again in 1971.
Amongst the other headlines back in May 1969 was the collapse of Priestley Cup holders Bowling Old Lane in their first round tie with an Eccleshill side who were to eventually finish bottom of the First Division.
Bernard Ellison, who has given such service to football and cricket in Bradford over the years, Jack Bethell, father of Andy and Steve of Spen and Pudsey Congs note, Barrie Jenkinson and Brian Clough were amongst an Old Lane side who surprising failed to build on their 1968 triumph and finished in third bottom spot.
Other instantly recognisable names this summer included Lidget Green's bowling prize winner Tony Bowes, Tony being the son of the great Yorkshire and England man Bill Bowes, while Mike Fearnley's bowling helped Farsley to the Second Division championship and East Bierley's Brian Lymbery was runner up in the batting.
More rummaging has been going on in recent weeks and, deviating briefly from references to Bradford's 'Yorkshire Sports' (The Pink),I unearthed an interesting, century old, copy of The Daily Mail.
On Wednesday, 4th June, 1913, England was enjoying a fine spell of weather and life was good for cricket fans. At Edgbaston 3,000 turned out to see a visiting Northants side secure a five-wicket win over a Warwickshire side that included a young Dewsbury man by the name of Percy Jeeves.
Jeeves' cricketing career, and his life, was sadly cut short by the First World war when he was killed in action in France, in 1916 aged just 28, but PG Wodehouse was once holidaying in Wensleydale when he saw Percy playing for Hawes.
The name stuck in his mind and, two years later, when he was looking to name the character who would be Percy Wooster's knowledgeable sidekick he remembered the cricketing Jeeves. The rest, as they say, is history - though young Percy was never to see the attendant fame bestowed on him by Wodehouse.
For the record Northants had a talented sporting all rounder by the name of Fred 'Fanny' Walden, a winger with Spurs and, at 5'2", the smallest man to play football for England. Walden had some Yorkshire connections as he played wartime football under Herbert Chapman for Leeds City and was also standing as umpire in the 1938 Oval Test when Len Hutton (364) and Maurice Leyland (187) put on 411 for the third wicket.
Other cricket that June day in 1913 saw 2,000 watching the Surrey v Hampshire match at the Oval and 4,000 at Bradford for Yorkshire's game against Kent. Both games were significant for Bradford cricket enthusiasts in the months to come.
At the Oval Bill Hitch was outstanding with the ball, taking 11 wickets in the match, and though Surrey team mate Jack Hobbs had less impact, scoring just 12 as their side won by an innings, both men were back in Bradford every weekend within 2 years - playing for Eccleshill and Idle respectively.
The suspension of County cricket at the outbreak of World War 1, in 1914, brought many professionals North to ply their trade in the Bradford League. At Park Avenue, Yorkshire's game against Kent was to throw up more names that were to become associated with the Bradford League - and some who already were.
Keighley were to benefit from the signing of Kent due James Seymour and Frank Woolley while Edgar Oldroyd, who was to become the first man to complete 1,000 Bradford League runs, and Major Booth were in the Yorkshire line up.
At this time there was a cloud hanging over English Society in general. It was clear that some major disagreements developing amongst the European powers and when war finally came there were also many county men who stopped playing to either volunteer for military service or face conscription.
And not all survived. In the game at Bradford there was to be a notable casualty on each side as Kent's Colin Blythe and Yorkshire's Booth were both killed in action.
Blythe, though born and bred in Kent, could perhaps have been regarded as an honorary Yorkshireman for he died in November 1917, in a random shell attack on his Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry unit.
Booth had such a successful summer with both bat and ball in 1913 he was selected to tour South Africa with England he too was have his young life cut so tragically short on 1st July, 1916 when the 'Leeds Pals' marched upright toward the German line on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
Following on in the second 'wave' was Yorkshire team mate Abe Waddington, of Laisterdyke CC. He too was hit by German fire and when he slipped into a shell hole he faced an unthinkable, and nightmare, scenario.
There he found the dying Booth. Abe took his comrade in his arms and cushioned his head but in just a short while Booth took his final breath and so ended that life and career that had burned so bright but so briefly.
These cricket reports were of games being played under the spectre of impending war but a totally different kind of disaster was to take place that very day.
While Bill Hitch was doing his stuff for Surrey at the Oval it was events just a few miles to the South, at Epsom, that made news of near unprecedented political magnitude.
The Derby was, and still is, very much part of the racing calendar and the attendance at the cricket was dwarfed by the numbers swarming around Epsom.
But, little did anyone in that crowd know what historic circumstances were about to unfold. Emily Davison, a Londoner of North East stock, was a prominent figure in the Suffragette movement and frequently fell foul of the law in her protestations against the continued disenfranchisement of women and their campaign to win the right to vote.
But, when she ran on to the track at Epsom there was never any clear indication of what she was actually trying to do. What did happen is that she was trampled by the King's horse and, died three days later in hospital, but subsequent suggestions of 'suicide' have been been dismissed.
It seems she was simply trying to attach the flag of the Women's Political Union to the Kings Horse and, basically, a well meaning but incredibly poorly thought out, act of political promotion went disastrously wrong. So, amongst the cricket reports in the Mail on Thursday, 5th June, 1913, there were dramatic accounts of the Derby that put all other news in the shade.
Today, Emily Davison would have made front page headlines but, in keeping with the newspaper style of the day, we had the Mail, then a London based broadsheet, carried a full page advert encouraging readers to visit SCARBOROUGH.
Once more we are taking a look into the pages of Bradford's once treasured Saturday night 'Pink' ie the Yorkshire Sports.
In these days of instant reportage, via TV and the Internet, there are no longer queues of anxious sports fans waiting in the newsagents for the Telegraph and Argus van to arrive with all the days football and cricket news 'hot off the press'.
If any younger readers doubt the reality of this situation you only have to have read, or seen the film and TV dramatisation of JB Priestley's 'Good Companions' to know that this was happening way back in 1929 when the novel was written.
In fact, it opens with one of the main characters walking into town along Manchester Road having just been to a football match - probably a Rugby League game at Odsal. Later 'The Pink' then gets a mention and if any further evidence is needed I can personally vouch for having been in those queues myself some 50 years later.
Sometimes the stories are concerned with people and events lost in the mists of time but sometimes there are very real connections with life today.
On Saturday, 28 April, 1979 The Pink carried a story of the latest Yorkshire League news with Bradford CC taking the headlines with their signing of two New Zealanders at Park Avenue.
Richard Reid and Richard Anderson were the players in question and though they had both played first class cricket back home Reid was to prove the more successful of the two and, of course, they blazed the trail for the likes of Martin Crowe, who he opened the batting with at one point in his career, and Mark Greatbatch to follow them to Bradford and excel in both the Yorkshire League and, later,
The Bradford League.
Reid was actually the son of one time New Zealand Test skipper John Reid OBE and did go on to play nine one day internationals for the Black Caps himself. Today he is 57 years old and living back in New Zealand where he had a six year stint as Chief Executive of the Canterbury club and worked as Chief Executive of Capital football in the south of North Island.
But, apart from the news from Bradford we learn that Peter Ingham had joined Birstall from Harrogate, Steve Rouse had left Idle for Headingley, to play for the Leeds club, and a promising youngster named Richard Wadkin was also expected to perform well for them.
The sporting annals are full of 'promising' youngsters whose promise never materialises and Wadkin was one of those. He turned his back on sport and tough not immune to life's ups and downs he is still living in the Leeds area.
As for Harrogate one name was inevitably mentioned and that was Peter Chadwick.
Chadwick was a Dalesman from Pateley Bridge and was to enjoy a 56 year career as a club cricketer and, from his debut for Pateley, alongside his father Granville as an 11 year old, he was always a first team player.
Now 81, and still living in Pateley, Peter has a wealth of memories as Harrogate's all time highest runscorer with over 25,000 and a very effective medium paced bowler in a career that yielded over 600 Yorkshire League wickets and also took in a brief stint in the Bradford League with Great Horton after coming out of the RAF in 1956, and as a second team and first team squad player with Yorkshire.
He played 6 games for the Yorkshire first team with a highest score of 59 in a 147 run eighth wicket partnership with Fred Trueman - during which Fred hit a rare century.
As an ex County player Peter was ineligible to play for Pateley Bridge in the Village Knock Out competition but he not only turned out at 60 he went on to play his last game for them at the age of 67.
"I bowled off two paces and still took 4-19," said Peter with a chuckle.
Tony Woodhouse, in his 'Who's Who' of Yorkshire CCC, suggests that Peter Chadwick was possibly the best League cricketer to be produced in Yorkshire since the Second World War but that is something the modest veteran would not comment on.
Thirty eight years ago, to the week, the Yorkshire Sports, the T&A's Saturday night 'Pink' paper, previewed the start of the 1979 Bradford Cricket League season and it had a very different look about it from the All Rounder Bradford Premier League that 'kicked off' this weekend.
Not surprisingly, the weather had a part to play in the narrative with the 1979 start being put back a week to April 28th due to the wet spring making ground preparation so difficult for everyone.
Following their 1978 Second Division title win it was the Yorkshire Bank team who hit the headlines that week with the news that their campaign was once more to be led by the powerful bowling attack of John Marshall, Peter Graham and David Holden who returned no fewer than 203 wickets between them in helping the Bank to a then record points haul.
The Bank's only close season signing was the acquisition of all rounder David Marshall from Central Yorkshire League side Heckmondwike but, that said, it has been difficult to find any more information on David or any impact he might have had on the team's results that year.
It is a while now since we saw the last of Yorkshire Bank in the Bradford League but their impact was not inconsiderable. They carried off the First Division title in 1980 and from 1983-1993 they appeared in no fewer than six Priestley Cup finals - winning three times.
The 1979 preview also focused on another former club with the news that England Rugby Union international, and former Yorkshire batsman, Peter Squires had joined Manningham Mills for that summer. Squires' signing was being hailed as the biggest of the summer but likely to be unavailable until the Spring Bank holiday due to his England RU commitments.
A third former club got a mention with Second Division Eccleshill signing of former Yorkshire batsman Jimmy Love while Farsley found themselves with seven players on their books with first class experience after the signing of Worcestershire's Vanburn Holder who had played his 40th, and last, Test match only two months earlier.
Holder was not expected to play more than a handful of games for Farsley as 1979 was also his benefit year and his time was going to be at a premium.
Bowling Old Lane were battling to secure a top six place in Championship B last season in order to make the cut for a place in the newly formed Championship One for the current campaign, but back in 1979 they were reigning First Division champions.
The Old Lane side boasted two men in their attack, Russell Heritage and Peter Silvester, who took 105 wickets between them in their attack, but with Silvester having joined Minor Counties side Northumberland his availability for 1979 in question.
Silvester had been newly released by Yorkshire along with Mike Bore and with Bore having signed for Nottinghamshire his unavailability on a regular basis was a blow to Lightcliffe. In 1978 Bore had taken 103 wickets for Lightcliffe and, as one of only five men to achieve 100 in a season up to that point he was obviously going to be hard to replace.
Then, as now, Pudsey St Lawrence were the reigning First Division champions and were due to begin the new season under the captaincy of Rod Ford. Ford later played his cricket as an amateur in the Nidderdale League but one of his key roles in 1979 was to help foster the development of a 19-year-old paceman from Melbourne by the name of Rod McCurdy who had the recommendation of pace legend Frank Tyson.
McCurdy represented the Australian under-19 side and his promise did not escape other observers and, as it happens, St Lawrence eventually had to share his services with Derbyshire that season. In 1980-81 he moved to Tasmania and took 7-81 against the touring New Zealand side, went back to Victoria the following year and then took an engagement in South African in 1984-85 after making his ODI debut against the West Indies.
Although selected for the 1985 Ashes tour his contract South African commitments prevented him touring and that has been a source of irritation ever since.
As it happens McCurdy, now 57 years old, eventually made his home in South Africa, remaining there after that 1984-85 tour and later worked in his own security business before working in Johannesburg as an operations manager for a Racing TV channel.
All a far cry from Tofts Road!