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Ossett history

Ossett history

Ossett celebrate their most recent trophy success after winning the 2016 Jack Hampshire Cup

The early days

The present club owes its origins to the Ossett Mechanics Institute Club which can be traced back to 1858. The club flourished in the 1860s before dying in the early 1870s due to a temporary decline of interest.

This team played on a ground in Southdale Road and in 1865 and 1866 arranged for an All England X1 to play a Twenty-Two from Ossett and District. Ossett won the first match but capitulated in the second when they were dismissed in their second innings for 37.

Following a short lapse, a new club, Ossett Perseverance, was formed in 1874 from the ashes of the old Mechanics Institute and for several years played on the same ground. After two or three years the name was changed to Ossett Cricket and Athletic Club and in 1881 they moved to the present ground at Queens Terrace, overlooking the Calder Valley.

In 1884, Ossett won the second Heavy Woollen Cup competition in a final at Chickenley. Under skipper A Smith they posted a total of 221 which proved to be 56 runs too many for their opponents Dewsbury & Saville.

A news cutting at the time recorded that Ossett were a good all round side, thoroughly deserving of their victory with a special mention given to their fielding, especially Glover. 

This was an early indication in their history that they were going to be a major power within the umbrella of the Yorkshire Council. They had associations with the West Riding Cricket League, Spen Valley League and the Heavy Woollen League as varying interests tangled to form different league set-ups.

County players on the books


In the early part of the 20th Century, Ossett had many professionals who played at county level including Cecil Parkin (Lancashire and England) and Yorkshire’s George Macaulay, above, but their most distinguished club servant was Joe Radley who played for 30 years commencing in 1898.

Parkin was a mercurial, inventive off spinner who used flight, guile and turn to dismiss batsmen and always demanded attacking fields from his captains. He could be expensive, as he disdained any policy of containment against good batsmen on flat pitches, but at his best he could run through any side. 

He played one First Class match for Yorkshire before embarking on a successful career with Lancashire and England. In all he took 1,048 First Class wickets, and in ten test matches snared 32 wickets.

Macaulay was a leading member of a successful Yorkshire side- a volatile character who played aggressively, making his first-class debut aged 23 as a fast bowler.

Meeting limited success, he altered his style to deliver off spin in addition to his pace bowling. This proved so effective that he was chosen to play for England in Test matches. He played a total of eight test matches with his best bowling analysis being 5-64, and a top score with the bat of 76.

Heavy Woollen Cup fighters

Although Ossett were great cup fighters they suffered five final defeats in the Heavy Woollen Cup between 1888 and 1910. Apart from 1907 when they lost by two runs against Heckmondwike at Dewsbury, they were well beaten. In 1891 they only registered 33 against Lascelles Hall, and in 1910 scored just 49 runs against famous cup fighters Dewsbury & Saville.

Dewsbury were in a rush to knock the 49 runs off when gloom descended on the Chickenley ground, taking exactly 45 minutes to reach 50-3.

In 1912 A Glover led Ossett to a second Heavy Woollen Cup triumph when they dismissed Cleckheaton for 58, and then proceeded to win by seven wickets. The bowling hero was Joe Radley who took 5-19.

Ossett’s love for the Heavy Woollen Cup reached a new level when they contested the final in four consecutive years (1915-1918), winning it on three successive occasions and in accordance with the rules of the competition the trophy became the property of the club.

1915     Birstall 201        Ossett 148       

1916     Ossett 88         Liversedge 57  

1917     Liversedge 61   Ossett 64-1
1918     Ossett 155        Heckmondwike 113

The 1916 final was played at Batley - a tame match played before few spectators with receipts at an unprecedentedly low level of £27. Neither side changed their bowlers and Ossett won a low scoring match by 31 runs.

The third win against Heckmondwike was built on an outstanding innings by H Giggal who scored 89 runs in a match where batsmen found it difficult to get the ball away.

Five years later they were back on the Heavy Woollen Cup trail beating Dewsbury & Saville in the final by 29 runs at Heckmondwike.  This victory was engineered by the skipper H Denton who had a match-winning bowling analysis of 6-28.


Ossett went another twelve years until their next final when they beat Chickenley in 1935 by nine wickets under the captaincy of G Binks.

Founder member of Central Yorkshire League

In 1938, Ossett became one of the founder members of the newly formed Central Yorkshire League. This ushered in the club’s most famous period in their history when they swept the honours board.


Domination of the league

The 1940 team, pictured above, coupled their title win with the Heavy Woollen Cup as they scored a massive 312 in the final at Heckmondwike against Cleckheaton. It could be said that the batsmen set the scene for the victory, but J Brewin ensured the victory with 9-81, with his last four wickets being snared in one over.

Corporal Steele was the major run-getter in 1944 topping the league batting averages with 52.

Despite reaching another Heavy Woollen Cup Final in 1946, where they lost narrowly by one wicket to Hanging Heaton, Ossett found themselves surprisingly relegated.

However, in 1948 they returned with a bang winning the 2nd Division title, and also taking the individual league averages with bat and ball. The recipients of the awards were Ernest Steele with a batting average of 62.33, and W Steele who took 61 wickets at 7.39.  

Title domination gone

The days of winning the First Division title were gone, but they continued to set the pace in the Heavy Woollen Cup. In 1949 they beat Batley thanks to an innings of 51 from E Steele, and then had successive finals against Birstall. Losing to Birstall in 1954 by two wickets, they turned the tables on their opponents the following year to take the trophy by virtue of a 5-wicket victory.

The rest of the fifties decade was quiet and so was the sixties as even Heavy Woollen Cup progress was somewhat stifled.  D Lloyd had a memorable season in 1967 winning the League Batting Averages with 512 runs at a decidedly moderate average of 32.

Ossett didn’t challenge strongly for trophies in the Central Yorkshire League in the seventies but they were back on track in the Heavy Woollen Cup with four appearances in the Final.

In 1971 they beat Chickenley with some comfort by 68 runs in front of a 1,000 plus crowd at Liversedge. Chickenley won the toss and sent Ossett in to bat on a pitch softened by rain the previous day. Ossett accumulated a competitive score of 156, their hero being young David Ward who scored a priceless 48 not out after an early return from a holiday in the South of France to play.

The drying pitch aided the genuine pace of David Adams as he removed Chickenley opener Hooley with the score in single figures. This was a controversial umpiring decision as the batsman stood his ground for an age while Ossett captain Legard actually appealed four times. With only one more run added, Adams dismissed two more batsmen and Chickenley never recovered, only reaching 88. Adams took 6-34 and Keith Davison 4-9.       

Eddie Legard guides his team to cup success

Ossett’s 36-year old captain, Eddie Legard, a former Warwickshire wicketkeeper, described the achievement as the most pleasurable he could recollect during his career. Legard’s professionalism and studious approach to the game had transformed Ossett from a very average side.

Only after the final did it emerge that they had played a full-scale practice match on the morning of the final and held tactical talks. This was Ossett’s first final appearance and triumph for 16 years.

Barnsley born Legard played in 20 matches for Warwickshire between 1962 and 1968. A lower-order right-handed batsman and wicketkeeper, he had played for Yorkshire's second eleven in both the Minor Counties and Second Eleven Championship competitions between 1954 and 1959, winning the Minor Counties championship in both 1957 and 1958.

Five years later in 1976 Ossett were bowled out for 99 in the Heavy Woollen Cup Final in pursuit of Almondbury’s total of 109. The following year in 1977 they lost in the final again when Liversedge’s total of 148-8 proved to be 47 runs too many.

However, they were back to winning ways in the 1978 final successfully chasing Wakefield’s 200-2 to win by three wickets at Thornhill. This was a thrilling and hard fought victory against a side a division lower.

Wakefield had two batsmen scoring half-centuries, whereas Ossett had none but did have five batters scoring solidly. By the final over Ossett needed eight runs to win when all- rounder Ronnie Robinson hit a towering six to win the game with three balls left.

Ossett retained the trophy the following year in 1979 in a relatively low scoring affair against Morley. The bumper crowd of 1,500 plus at Liversedge saw Geoff Beck (47 runs) take Ossett to a modest 134, before Harry Atkinson really turned the screw on the Morley batters by taking 4-27 in 16 overs  to restrict them to 112. Atkinson would go on and be an integral part of Hanging Heaton’s successes in the eighties. The season ended with a cup double after Ossett had secured the Yorkshire Council Championship Final of 1979.

Seventies lacking in trophies

It could be said that the seventies decade was an uninspired one in the league. However, there were two outstanding individual feats by Ossett players.  G Downing won the League Batting Averages in 1973 with 545 runs at 45.42, while K Davison who won the League Bowling Averages in 1975 with 52 wickets at a remarkable average of 8.85.  

The eighties brought two lots of cup silverware 

Ossett made history in 1984 when they won their first senior cup competition in the league – the Central Yorkshire League Cup, beating Heckmondwike in the final at Liversedge.

The traditional successes in the Heavy Woollen Cup were beginning to wane a bit as they lost the 1982 and 1984 finals to Lascelles Hall and Gomersal respectively. They did beat Drighlington at the start of the decade in the 1980 final held at Heckmondwike. This completed a run of five successive finals.

The Drighlington victory completed a second hat-trick of Heavy Woollen Cup wins in their history. David Ward led his team with style scoring 56 runs out of his side’s 181-8. Any thoughts of Drighlington coasting to victory soon evaporated as seamer Atkinson demolished their batting with 5-37.

The 1982 failure was nevertheless packed with highlights. In an early round Ossett’s score of 364-1 against Upper Hopton was the highest recorded total in the competition since the introduction of the 50-over limit.  Mike Varley scored 157 not out, sharing in a first-wicket stand of 129 with Wilby (66 runs) and an unbeaten stand of 217 with Schofield (115 not out). In reply Upper Hopton could only muster 105.

Having starred with the bat in the previous round, Varley proceeded to show his prowess with the ball in the quarter-finals by taking 8-21 against hapless Scholes who were all out 39, Ossett duly winning by nine wickets. In the semi-finals, Varley was again in form with the ball as he and Dews both had five-wicket hauls in dismissing Wakefield for 96, well short of Ossett’s total of 186-7.

The final clashed with three other cup finals within a 15-mile radius but still attracted a crowd of around 1,200, with Ossett appearing in their sixth final in seven years. Finalists Lascelles Hall scored a challenging 217-9, and despite a fighting 45 from Ward, Ossett finished 39 runs short on 178-8.

The 1984 defeat against Gomersal side was marked by Ossett’s inability to support Varley in the batting stakes. He top-scored with 114, while he only received  relative support from Ward (24) in a final score of 214,  Gomersal losing 7 wickets reaching their target.

Wayne Daniel at Ossett

In 1991 Ossett hired the services of 35 year old former West Indian Test bowler Wayne Daniel, above.  A hostile and muscular fast bowler, in partnership with fellow fast bowlers Michael Holding and Andy Roberts he made his name on the world stage in the defeat o f England in 1976. However, the proliferation of West Indian quick bowlers at the time negated his appearances for his country. He played in ten test matches and took 36 wickets at 25.27.

By 1992 when Ossett won the Heavy Woollen Cup for the 15th time it marked the last time they would reach the final. They beat Kirkheaton in a close affair skippered by former Yorkshire batsman Kevin Sharp.

Mike Varley scored 65 and won the man-of-the- match award as Ossett reached 171-7. However, with six overs remaining and 6 wickets in hand, Kirkheaton looked odds-on favourites to win, needing only 37. At this desperately late stage, Ossett’s skipper Kevin Sharp, who was only ever an occasional bowler, put himself on to bowl. He managed to curb the Kirkheaton batting with a spell of wily bowling and restricted them to 164-7 and secured a narrow margin of seven-run victory.

Sharp made his first-class debut for Yorkshire in 1976, but had to wait until 1982 to be awarded his county cap. After finishing his Yorkshire first-class career in 1990, Sharp played for Shropshire. He scored 9,962 First Class runs, with an average of 30.84 which included a top score of 181. In the Bradford League for Farsley he made the season’s highest score in the league twice- 150 v Laisterdyke 1978, and 164 v Keighley 1981.

Few thrills in the nineties

The nineties went quiet at Ossett with few thrills to talk of. By 1997 they were 6th in the First Division with individual highlights largely displayed by Samir Dighe who won the League Batting Averages, scoring 1,171 league runs at 97.58 which included four centuries.

The best of the rest was left arm spin bowler Jamie Maltman who took 52 wickets, and the consistent batsman D Sadler who score a century against Gildersome.

Indian Samir Dighe, above,,who had scored 981 runs for Hanging Heaton in 1994, was a right-handed batsman and wicketkeeper. He 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 to a historic 2-1 series win.

Into the new century their 2001 the side was comprised of- Kevin Sharp (Capt), David Simpson, Paul Langley, John Westerman, Steve Eldridge, Lee Fenton, Ian Ogilvie, Jamie Maltman, Jamie Sadler, Jason Mortimer, Michael Brown.

However, Ossett began to be regarded as relative under-achievers in the Central Yorkshire League programme, but it was a different matter in the Jack Hampshire Memorial Trophy in which they won twice.

More cup success

In 2004 they overpowered reigning champions Wrenthorpe in the final by six wickets. Bowling first they restricted Wrenthorpe to 220-5 after their opener Walker had given them an excellent start. Ossett’s bowling was restrictive rather than penetrative with Dave Sonia the best with 2-31.

Shoaib Latif led the way in reply scoring 97 priceless runs to put Ossett in command. Skipper John Storey, ABOVE, ensured victory later in the innings with a studious 69 in a winning reply of 223-4.

It was much closer in 2008 when they celebrated a 14-run victory over Mirfield Parish Cavaliers at Methley. Ossett's Chris Smith won the man-of-the-match award after hammering 84 runs and claiming 4-43 with the ball. He shared a third-wicket partnership of 137 with Iqbal Khan (44 runs) as they recovered well after losing openers Nick Connolly and Jamie Sadler with only 28 runs on the board, finally closing on 253-7.

Mirfield Parish Cavaliers, made a poor start in reply when Ossett's pace bowler Oral Blackford (2-32) quickly dismissed the openers.  Cavaliers rallied later putting on 106 for the sixth wicket to take the score to 203-5, but the game swung back Ossett's way when the partnership was broken. Cavaliers were eventually all out for 239 with seven deliveries remaining.  Sonia had a good all round day with 4-45 added to his cameo innings of 33*.


Ossett continued to be unimpressive in the league and in 2009 were spared relegation only because of a protracted league `points adjustment’ at the end of the season rendered them safe.

They won six games in 2010 led by Michael Warne who was the chief wicket-taker with 40 wickets. The most consistent batsman was Chris Hosley who scored 475 runs at 31.67.

Things took a turn for the worse in 2011 when skipper Michael Edwards performances was the only redeeming feature when he scored 536 runs for a side that could only win one match. The inevitable relegation followed.

Promotion was expected in 2012 and it duly arrived based largely on the exploits of 38-year old Shoaib Latif. He won the First Division Batting Averages with 665 runs at 36.94, and also recorded the season’s highest score in the league with 125. He also took 65 wickets at 8.22 which included an all-ten performance against Methley A. This made Latif’s award of the League’s All Rounders Award somewhat of a formality.

Latif, achieved the all-ten feat with the remarkable figures of 10-28 from 11.5 overs against Methley A. In all, seven of his victims were given out LBW, with the other three clean bowled. The bowler’s spree included six wickets in the space of 21 balls, including three in one over. It was tough luck on Latif that he ended up on the losing side as Ossett imploded with the bat and were skittled for 84.


Current Yorkshire player at the time Richard Pyrah, above, added to their strength with cameo appearances resulting in 18 wickets at 8.94. Pyrah who had started his cricket at Ossett went on to play at Cleckheaton and Woodlands in the Bradford League, before establishing himself as a county cricketer.

Pyrah, a right-hand batsman and right-arm medium pacer was used mainly in one-day and Twenty 20 cricket. He made his one day debut in 2001, but had to wait until 2004 for his first-class bow. Nevertheless he made a top score of 134*, and a best bowling spell of 5-58 in the First Class game.

Pyrah made his 100th appearance for Yorkshire in one day cricket in June 2013, against Middlesex at  Headingley In September 2015, at the end of his benefit season, Pyrah retired from professional cricket in order to take up a full-time post on the club's coaching staff.

Latif was far less effective back in the Premier League in 2013 averaging 29.65 with the bat. The most prolific batsman was Joseph Finnigan who scored 577 runs, while Khalid Usman proved to be the best bowler with 53 wickets. The six victories led to relative security from relegation.

Jon Sadler returns

John Sadler returned to Ossett for 2014 after a successful spell as captain of Hoylandswaine CC He helped to win the Drakes Huddersfield Premier League in 2012, followed by the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy in 2013, pictured above. His best season was 2011 when he scored 1,458 club runs at an average of 66.27, which included four centuries.

Aged just Sadler seven began playing cricket for Ossett CC U13’s in 1988, and six years later in 1994 recorded his first ever senior century for Ossett Cricket Club 2nd X1 against Morley scoring 127 not out.

Sadler, a left-handed batsman, progressed through the Academy system at Yorkshire, and played county cricket for Leicestershire & Derbyshire having a career record of 2,931 runs at 32.20 with a best score of 145.

On release from Yorkshire he came back to haunt them in 2002, making 88 from 81 balls with three sixes and six fours, underpinning a determined fight back by Leicestershire, who recovered to 257-7 before going on to win the match.

2014 was a far better year for Ossett with 10 wins and a return to form for Latif. He won the Premier League Batting Averages with 919 runs at 61.27,  and also recorded the season’s highest score in the league with 159*. Another player to emerge was Gurman Randkawa who took 40 wickets at 17.15.

Ossett climbed to third in the Premiership at one point by beating former leaders Scholes in June.  Latif hammered an unbeaten 121 off 135 balls, while Randhawa struck 76 in an opening stand of 186 as Ossett piled up 245-3.  Randhawa claimed 3-37 as Scholes were bowled out for 134 in reply.

Randhawa, a slow left-arm orthodox spinner and left-handed batsman joined Yorkshire in 2008. He played for the Yorkshire Academy in the Yorkshire League and also Yorkshire Second XI, as well as appearing in his debut first-class match for Yorkshire against Durham UCE in April 2011. Randhawa subsequently joined the Minor Counties side Shropshire before signing for Durham after a successful trial period.

When Ossett hosted the 2015 Heavy Woollen Cup Final between Woodlands and Hoylandswaine it was the twelfth time since the first occasion in 1890. This is testimony to a well-appointed ground which saw continual improvements during the history of the club.  

It what would prove to be Ossett’s last season in the Central Yorkshire League in 2015 they finished a healthy 5th with best performers Latif (423 runs), Randhawa (465 runs) and Charles Orme (35 wickets) being the mainstays of a side that more than held their own.

Into the Bradford League

When the Central Yorkshire League sides were absorbed into the new Bradford Premier League set up, Ossett was destined to take their place in Championship cricket in 2016.

Ossett started life in Championship A without the consistency needed to sustain a promotion push. Later, in the last third of the season, they showed their true form to finish third, albeit 54 points behind promoted Batley.

The club’s overseas player Khalid Usman, above, came with a fine pedigree and he delivered with bat and ball. A right-handed batsman, he scored 477 runs at 31.80, and took 38 wickets at 14.00 with his left arm spin. 

Usman played First Class cricket in Pakistan for Abbottabad, with a record of 2,091 runs (HS 93), and 142 wickets (best analysis 6-42).

Other worthy performers in 2016 for Ossett were Shabir Rashid (484 runs), and skipper Charles Orme who took 33 wickets with his seam bowling.

Cup tradition returns

Despite disappointing in the league the season was awake until August when they reached the Final of the Jack Hampshire Cup, played on their own ground.

Usman produced a stunning all-round performance as Ossett lifted the trophy with a comfortable 137-run win over Buttershaw St Paul's. He top scored with 64 from 39 balls as Ossett made 230-7 in their 40 overs, then produced a devastating spell of 6-10 which triggered a Buttershaw St Paul's collapse which saw them bowled out for 93,

Openers Harvey Anderson (41 runs) and Imran Patel (34 runs) had laid the foundation of Ossett’s innings with a stand of 78. The assertive Usman then stepped up the tempo as he hit two sixes and five fours, and most of the middle order accelerated the scoring.

The euphoria of the cup win failed to carry over to the 2017 season as Ossett was embroiled in a relegation fight on the last day of the season. Earlier in the season there were no signs of the forthcoming struggle, and when they beat Wrenthorpe by 4 wickets in August they were in a relatively stable position.

They entered the final game with a nine points safety margin on Bowling Old Lane who occupied the second bottom position. Ironically, this was the team they would play to decide their destiny. In a reduced over game the Old Lane were bowled out for 105 with Maaiz Khan (5-28) and Paul Malone (3-15) doing the damage.

Ossett’s losing reply was 88-6 which was enough to keep then above their opponents by a solitary point. In essence, they survived by virtue of denying Old Lane the two extra wickets they needed for the extra point that would have put them level on points. If the teams had finished level on points, Ossett would have been relegated as Old Lane had one more win.

Overseas player Khalid Usman failed to match his previous year’s record scoring a modest 270 runs at 24.55, and taking 32 wickets. Zubair Raje was the outstanding batsman with 499 runs at 33.27, while John Sadler scored two centuries in the five games he could play.

When Dan Busfield took over as captain in 2018, and brought in players of the calibre of Ian Philliskirk, Joe Finnigan and overseas player James Van der Merwe, they were expected to seriously challenge.  However, they again reached the last league game of the season struggling to survive, and only a defeat inflicted on Hunslet Nelson saved them.

It was July 7th before they won their first league game of the season, when struggling Yeadon was their victims. They were in a precarious position embedded in the bottom two, until they found salvation with three successive wins in August.

Ossett went into their final fixture knowing that if Hunslet Nelson beat Morley, they would definitely have to beat Batley to survive. This they failed to do, despite Finnigan bowling Batley out with a fine return of 7-48, but they were ultimately saved by Morley’s victory.

It was a source of bewilderment to most Championship observers why Ossett had struggled, especially when they could call on the services of Sadler from time to time. But, a mere four wins, and only four points within the safety zone, told its own story.

In a season when they battled to thrilling ties with Wrenthorpe and Baildon, they could not put a run together. Van de Merwe (590 runs) was the best of the batting, while Finnigan excelled with 35 wickets, and 311 runs from middle-order.   

After a slow start to 2019, Ossett picked up until June 22nd when they were beaten by bottom club Scholes to the tune of 81 runs. However, they had a very strong finish to the season and ended in fourth place, immediately behind those that had battled for promotion.

Former Woodlands batsman Jack McGahan proved to be a good signing, heading the batting with 461 runs, while seamers Al-Mustafa Rafique (34 wkts) and Busfield (35 wkts) spearheaded the bowling.

When Covid-19 swept through the country in 2020, Ossett took part in the Gordon Rigg Division One League Cup that began in late July.


The Premier League Beckons

There was an obvious determination within the club that 2021 would be their year, and nothing illustrated this more than the signing of seasoned Premier League player Marcus Walmsley.

He was the major influence on the club gaining promotion as the dominate force in the division.

After an early setback against promotion rivals Birstall, they only lost one more match and gained fifteen wins.

Walmsley finished second in the league batting averages with 731 runs at 60.92. He would anchor the batting more often than not, and was an immovable rock when the going got tough.

He was just as effective as a medium pacer, winning the M C Fearnley Bowling Averages with 45 wickets at 11.51. He had no serious rivals when winning the league’s Jack Hill All Rounders Cup.

Overseas player Rishin Patabedige scored 463 runs and averaged 46.30, while James Keen and George Hadfield were also key batsmen.  Matthew Varley proved to be a productive spin bowler with 39 wickets at 13.38.



Schofield honoured

In November 2019, the then 70-year old Bob Schofield, above, received the Sir Leonard Hutton Trophy for services for cricket.

Schofield made his first team debut in 1966 age 17, and after establishing his place in the side, he helped them win the Heavy Woollen Cup in 1971. He was a solid opening batsman who could be relied on to score 7-800 runs per season, and being short he was a good hooker and puller.

He was fortunate to play in some fine sides and featured in five successive Heavy Woollen Cup finals between 1976 and 1980, including a hat-trick of wins between 1978 and 1980.

As his playing career drew to a close he took on a wide range of duties for his club. He made teas, worked on the ground and tackled an endless stream of tasks, and as cricket chairman he was responsible for player recruitment and worked tirelessly to promote his club.