Pudsey St Lawrence's first team were champions in 2015 while the second team won their league title and the Priestley Shield during a glorious season for the Tofts Road club Picture: Mikle Baker
Pudsey derby rivalry is intense but today it is mild in comparison to the early days of cricket in Pudsey. Back in the 1830s the Top Enders and Low Enders frequently tested out their rivalry in the streets or local fields using a tub leg for a bat, a large stone hob set on end for a stump and a covered pot taw for a ball.
These games led to Pudsey Feast challenge matches of which the Kings Arms and the New Inn (Park Hotel) participated. These were often very violent occasions which make contemporary Bradford League definitions of dissent appear insignificant. According to Joseph Lawson in ‘Progress in Pudsey’ “money was mostly played for, and frequent uproar, confusion and even fighting took place”.
It was during the late 1830s and 1840s that the drunken and violent behaviour of young men caused much concern and debate among respectable and middle class early Victorians. From the 1840s moral reform and the improvement of the behaviour of working class young men was high on the agenda of Victorian religious groups, charitable organisations and philanthropists. In Pudsey, the Mechanics Institute was founded in 1847, the first Baptist Chapel in 1851 and the Temperance Society was revived in 1853.
It also seems very likely that the link between Parish Church and the cricket team through the establishment of Pudsey St. Lawrence Cricket Club in 1845 was also an ‘improvement’ initiative. The creation of the St Lawrence Club, with all that implied in terms of organisation, combined with the adoption of cricket rules, led to more orderly matches.
The oldest surviving record of a Pudsey St Lawrence fixture is contained within the Leeds Mercury, from October 23, 1847. It reported: “A match of this fine game to conclude the season came off on Friday at St. Lawrence Cricket ground between the married and single members of the club, gallantly won by the former.”
From 1850 there were other national and local influences which shaped the clubs early years. To begin with there were the 1850 and 1853 Factory Acts which reduced the working week and created the Saturday half-day. This meant for the first time that cricket could be played and watched on a regular basis not just Saints days and holidays, an essential pre-requisite for a league structure.
It also meant that the working class had the opportunity to play and watch cricket which widened its appeal and help secure its financial footing. These Acts also led to the setting up of local factory and mill teams, such as John Varley’s and Salter & Salter, Boot and Shoe Makers, which brought together workers and bosses - and thus contributed to the more harmonious class relationships which the reforming Victorians so much desired.
A second ‘influence’ was the formation at the Britannia Club in 1854 - as a Sunday school initiative - and its metamorphosis as Pudsey Congs which has continued the ‘Up Towner’ versus ‘Down Towner’ Clan warfare! A third influence was the visit of the All England Eleven to Pudsey in 1863 and 1864. They played against 22 from Pudsey and the surrounding district. The England XI won the first match by seven runs and were defeated by Pudsey the following year by 105 runs - and complained bitterly about the state of the pitch! The significance of these two three-day matches, which were both watched by large paying crowds, lay in spreading the cricket gospel and in the professional greats of their day demonstrating the new technical skills of cricket. The England XI was led by George Parr, acknowledged as the best batsman in England at that time.
The definitive voice in the history aspect of the two Pudsey clubs should come from the present President of the Bradford League Keith Moss who states that:
Pudsey St Lawrence- Top Enders i.e. Church and St Lawrence
Pudsey Congs- Bottom Enders i.e. Chapel and Britannia
Pudsey St. Lawrence was involved in three types of cricket during their early years. First of all ‘purse’ matches, which were always played on neutral grounds for an agreed sum of money or ‘purse’.
There were many ‘against the odds matches’ such as that between a Pudsey Eleven and a Baildon 13 which took place in September 1849 for a purse of £22, and which involved organised betting. This included All Pudsey Teams playing outsiders - for instance an All Pudsey Team played Morley at Farsley in 1868 for a purse of £50 per side. But they also played as The St. Lawrence against local sides. There was a famous match for £50 a side against Britannia on August 2 and 3 1875. The match was watched by 3,000 spectators and Britannia took the £100, winning by seven wickets.
Pudsey St. Lawrence players also appeared in the Calverley Parish team in an annual fixture against Guiseley Parish. The match proceeds being donated to local hospitals.
In the 1886 match the three St. Lawrence players included Willie Sutcliffe, father of Herbert. Finally, they also played league matches.
It is evident that by 1886 when Joseph Lawson penned his now seminal ‘letters to the young on progress in Pudsey’ that Cricket had come a long way in achieving the Victorian reformist ideals. “Playing for money was ultimately given up, and looked upon as being low and degrading to the game. The winning club mostly got a new ball, and the various towns and villages continued to contend against each other for the mastery. As years have passed on, the behaviour of both players and spectators had become comparatively orderly.
St. Lawrence did continue to succeed and progress during the last quarter of the century. They secured their own ground on the field next to St Lawrence Church having previously played on different fields including those behind the Black Bull, the Reece and what is now the Market place and children’s play area.
They began their league career in the Leeds and Holbeck League and their opposition included Calverley, Leeds Albion, Baildon Green, Eccleshill, Upper Armley, Bowling, Guiseley, Farsley, Undercliffe, Cleckheaton, Headingley, Sticker Lane, Thackley, Idle and Holbeck Recreation. In 1886 the new pavilion and combined score-box was completed and opened - an occasion of much celebration and optimism and a future seemingly secured on their church ground. But it was not to be. Almost before the proverbial ‘paint was dry’ their ground was to be purchased by the local board for the purpose of a public park.
Their president, William Dibb Scales came to the rescue by leasing their present Tofts Road ground. This required a great deal of hard work to make a suitable playing area and a large amount of soil was used in raising the level of the Chapeltown end to the height of the present square. The St. Lawrence ground was opened in May 1899.
Herbert Sutcliffe’s formative years were spent at Tofts Road as a young teenager between the years of 1908-1910 before moving to Pudsey Britannia where he graduated to Yorkshire. Many historians cite Sutcliffe, a master even on sticky wickets, as the greatest opening batsman of all time.
St Lawrence joined the Bradford League in 1912 and was determined to establish a reputation of which they could be justly proud. However, the beginnings were not very inspiring with finishes at the bottom of the table in 1927, 1929, 1931, 1934 and 1936.
One early notable performance came from leg spinner Len Richmond who remains their only bowler to have taken ten wickets in an innings. He achieved this feat in 1920 against Low Moor with an analysis of 10-39. Richmond took 145 first class wickets for Nottinghamshire and was deemed good enough to have played test cricket for England.
One name is always inextricably linked with Pudsey St Lawrence, that of former Yorkshire and England icon Sir Leonard Hutton. The great man cut his cricketing teeth with the club and spent many happy hours at Toft Road - fitting then that the main entrance should be called the Sir Leonard Hutton gates in honour of Pudsey’s greatest son.
In 1932 when he was sixteen he made his first 50 against Queensbury in a season when he scored 371 runs at 28.53. At seventeen he made his maiden century in 1933 hitting 108 not out in a Priestley Cup tie. This was a real development season for him as his record improved to 573 runs for an average of 41.07.
Despite his considerable commitments with Yorkshire and England, Hutton still had time to compile a fine Bradford League record. He scored four centuries and 32 half centuries with a highest score of 133 against Undercliffe in 1940 which almost pales into insignificance when set against his never to be forgotten knock of 364 not out for England against Australia at the Oval in 1938.
Hutton’s senior opening partner at Pudsey was Edgar Oldroyd who made his own history for the club in 1933 becoming the first batsman in league history to top the thousand run mark in a season with an average of 86.16. The next to achieve this feat was Eddie Paynter six years later such was the rarity of the achievement on predominately uncovered wickets.
It was in 1933 when the Pudsey team was comprised of the four Hutton brothers- Len, Edmund, George and Reg. That season Edmund and George were regarded as the leading batsmen after Oldroyd.
Gilbert Dawson was a vital batsman in 1942 known for his attacking style. In sixty first-class matches for Hampshire, Dawson scored 2,643 runs at an average of 26.43, top scoring with 158*, making four centuries and ten half centuries, as well as taking 36 catches.
Jim Thompson began his St Lawrence career in 1942 and became one of the foremost Bradford League batsmen in the next 20 years.
Hutton was always proud of his St Lawrence connection and five years after hitting what was then the world record score in Test cricket, he was delighted to help them to their first major honour in 1943 when they defeated Brighouse in the Priestley Cup final. Hutton played his part by making 64 out of his side’s total of 149 and his score was only one run less than the total for the entire Brighouse team. The next season in 1944 he scored 620 runs at 56.36 with a top score of 101 not out.
In 1945 they reached the Priestley Cup Final again only to fall to Yeadon in convincing style.
In the latter part of the war years a young Ray Illingworth attended schoolboy nets at Tofts Road inspired by watching Hutton on the same ground. Coaches George Hutton and Norman Jackson who were stalwarts of the club selected Illingworth for the juniors on the understanding he would also be picked for the Second Team. This didn’t happen and because Farsley were prepared to select him straight away for their Second Team he moved to Red Lane.
Harold Marsland joined from the Lancashire League in 1946 and quickly established himself as an attacking batsman who had the rare ability to hit straight bowling over mid-wicket with certainty.
In 1948 Arnold Hamer’s 501 league runs was instrumental in his team gaining promotion. The next year in 1949 he had a remarkable season scoring 1,106 runs at 73.73 with a top score of 133* and also winning the League Batting Averages. Hamer did not quite make the grade at Yorkshire playing just two matches, but it was a different matter when he switched to Derbyshire.
As a right-handed opening batsman he made 15,465 runs at 31.17 in 295 first-class matches. He had a highest score of 227, and made 19 centuries. He scored 1,000 runs in 10 consecutive seasons. He was also an off-break bowler, and took 71 first class wickets at an average of 33.28.
Roland Parker scored 440 runs in 1951 and 659 in 1953 and ushered in a career of great consistency. Always difficult to get out he was a solid run-getter with his brother Geoff for much of the next two decades. Roland played a good number of games for Yorkshire Colts without being able to make the grade at county level.
Another county cricketer excelled at Tofts Road- this time in 1952, when all-rounder John P Whitehead scored 412 runs at 31.69, to add to his 63 wickets at 15.69. Whitehead, who played for Yorkshire, was principally a right arm fast medium bowler who took 147 first class wickets at 29.23, with a best of 5 for 10 for the Combined Services against Worcestershire, one of four hauls of five wickets in an innings. He scored 1,246 first-class runs at 19.16, with a highest score of 71.
In 1954 Yorkshire’s Harry Holiday won the League Batting Averages with an incredible average of 60.77. In the First Class game Halliday scored 8,556 runs at 31.80, with 12 centuries to his name, including three against Gloucestershire. His highest score, 144, came against Derbyshire at Queen's Park, Chesterfield in 1950.
Halliday scored 54 fifties and took 144 catches in a solid First Class career. His occasional off breaks took 107 wickets at 29.91, with a best of 6 for 79 against Derbyshire at Bramall Lane in 1952. He also claimed 5 for 73 against Kent. He scored 1,000 runs in a season four times, his best season coming in 1950 when he scored 1,484 runs at 38.05.
Despite the beat efforts of Halliday and Eddie Leadbeater St Lawrence were again losers in the Priestley Cup Final in seasons 1954 and 1955.
Following these disappointments the club made history in 1956 by winning the classic double achievement of League and Cup. St Lawrence started the season in fine style and was unbeaten until July 28 when they lost to Brighouse. They lost their next two games to Saltaire and Bradford before regaining their composure to clinch the championship by three points from Bradford.
Eddie Leadbeater was the main man taking 70 wickets with his special brand of leg-breaks at an average of 10.51. The dependable Roland Parker fought hard as skipper with some crucial innings which resulted in a batting average of 30.50.
In the Final, St Lawrence beat Spen Victoria by 21 runs despite Percy Watson taking a hat-trick for the losers. St Lawrence made 152 and bowled their opponents out for 131 in what turned out to be something of a nail-biter.
Eddie Leadbeater was a wonderful value for money professional who played to win. He topped the 70 league wickets mark twice during his time at the club and would invariably average in the region of 20-25 with the bat.
It’s ironic that although Leadbeater was capped twice by England he was never awarded a county cap. In the First Class game he was a right-handed lower order batsman, and leg-break and googly bowler, who had a couple of good seasons for Yorkshire in 1950 and 1951, but failed to keep his place in the side. He carved out a county career with Warwickshire with a best bowling analysis of 8-83, and a top score with the bat of 116.
The famous double winning side of 1956 side was comprised of R J Parker, A G Parker, B H J Thompson, B Sutherland, T M Wright, M J Riley, K Rankin, K Goddard, G Bottomley, E Leadbeater, D Dobson, C Croft.
Brian Sutherland was at times an explosive batsman as he proved later in 1964 when he scored the Fastest Fifty in the league in 30 minutes. When on song he could change the fortunes of game in a matter of overs. He was also regarded as the finest gully fielder in the league.
Two years after this triumph they were relegated from bottom position three points from safety. This was despite the early rise of Duncan Fearnley who scored 363 runs and went on to play for Farsley, Bradford and ultimately county cricket with Worcestershire.
There were no titles or cup final appearance in the sixties but only a handful of points prevented them from winning a famous triple championship circa 1965-1967. Instead, Idle performed this feat with St Lawrence runners up two points behind in 1965, one in 1966 and four in 1967. All-Rounder Lewis Pickles was the star man with runs aggregates of 752, 645, 555 and 515, and in addition took useful wickets with his handy off-spinners.
Pickles made appearances for Yorkshire's Second Eleven, before joining Somerset. He played twice in 1955 before he became the regular opener for the 1956 season. He did well enough to win his county cap, scoring 1,136 runs at an average of 24. His county career was short lived.
In 1960 Ronnie Harrison received the accolade of the F Milton Watmouth Wicket-Keeping Trophy as he peaked as an outstanding stumper. His longevity at Tofts Road is legendary as he started his career in the mid 50’s and ended it in 1976. He hardly missed a match during these years and even played on his wedding day such was his appetite for the game. He captained the side in 1968 and 1969.
Leicestershire’s Bernard Cromack was noteworthy for scoring the highest individual score in the league in 1961 with 153* not out against Bingley. He also excelled in 1966 scoring 392 runs and taking 31 wickets. Cromack, a left-arm orthodox spin bowler, and middle order batsman, had a very modest First Class career with Leicestershire playing in 34 matches with a career best performance of 6-48.
Another Leicestershire influence came in the shape of seamer Peter Stringer who took 30 wickets in 1966. Stringer played nineteen matches for Yorkshire from 1967 to 1969, before moving to Leicestershire and making thirty-seven appearances. A right arm, fast medium bowler, he took 88 First Class wickets at 31.50, with a best of 5 for 43 for Leicestershire against his old county Yorkshire.
The outstanding pace bowler at Pudsey in this decade was John White who along with Michael Fearnley and Dick Sherred was rated as the league’s best. His best season was 1965 when he took 72 wickets.
Tony Webster was never feted as one of the league’s best batsmen but there was few as consistent season after season.
At the start of the new 70s decade St Lawrence were ready to challenge, but not before a shock relegation in 1971.
Quality players were signed with county associations. Ian Moore, a right-handed batsman and medium pacer was an effective performer. He played as a top and middle-order batsman for Nottinghamshire in first-class cricket from 1962 to 1969, amassing 6,765 runs in his first-class career at an average of 25.05. He passed 1,000 runs in a season three times and hit seven centuries and 31 fifties. His highest score was 206 not out against the Indian tourists in 1967, made in 355 minutes.
Terry Barnes was also brought in – a left arm swing bowler who played for Lincolnshire and made a favourable impression.
By the mid seventies, St Lawrence had built a powerful side and they would win the title in 1975 under the leadership of John Miller in impressive style. Keith Smith, an inspired signing from lower league cricket, topped their batting averages with 39.25 while Pakistan batsman Salim Uddin (651), Stuart Speak (519), Chris Reekie (321) and Richard Coates (417) all scored valuable runs.
The main wicket-takers were Vijay Modgill (56 wkts) and Steve Southwart (39 wkts). Modgill was a rare breed leg spinner who was capable of mesmerising the best of batsmen.
Another quality player of the seventies was left-hander Rodney Cass who found fame as wicket-keeper at Essex. Cass had a First Class career with Essex and Worcestershire making 155 appearances. His scored 4,304 runs with a top score of 172*, and had 241 victims behind the stumps.
Although they could not add the Priestley Cup to their title win in 1975 they broke the record for the fifth wicket partnership. In the second Round Tony Page (80*) and Keith Smith (109*) piled up an unbroken 160 stand against Hartshead Moor.
St Lawrence retained their title in 1976 but had to fight hard to shake off Bowling Old Lane and Idle. Modgill was again the most successful bowler with 50 wickets while Smith impressed again with 434 runs at 33.38. This team proved their worth by beating Heworth from the York Senior League in the final of the Yorkshire Champions Cup. This was the second year of a competition that would become the most prestigious club trophy in the county and the Saints were the first winners from the Bradford League.
In 1977 St Lawrence finished as runners up two points behind a strong Idle team. Cass scored 530 runs, while the accurate and persistent Harry Atkinson took 41 wickets. The following year they slipped to seventh but were encouraged by the development of James Dracup who scored 606 runs.
St Lawrence shocked the local cricket leagues in 1978 by signing England bowling legend John Snow on a short-term contract. Keith Moss remembers that on debut on Whit Saturday Snow took 7-10 to bowl Idle out for 27. “On Whit Monday at Undercliffe Snow had David Bairstow dropped at slip by Phil Carrick early in his innings. Bairstow went on to give the Pudsey attack, including Snow some real stick. The huge crowd watching that match remains in my memory”, Moss remembers. Snow played for Sussex and England and claimed 221 test wickets. He was England's most formidable fast bowler between Fred Trueman and Bob Willisand played Test Matches with both of them at either end of his career
By 1979 Pudsey St Lawrence were crowned as champions for the third time in the decade. In a close battle for the title they edged out Bingley by two points, with Manningham Mills two points further back. Amazingly no Pudsey bowler actually made the league averages indicating that this triumph was built on a fluent batting team. Dracup was at his very best scoring 761 runs at 58.54, followed by Cass (392), Smith (358).
St Lawrence was still in the upper reaches of the division as they entered a new decade in 1980. Swashbuckling Smith averaged 50.46 and very nearly won the League Batting Averages with 656 runs, while Colin Johnson stroked 626. Former Yorkshire paceman Howard Cooper topped the League Bowling Averages with 31 wickets at 13.22.
South African Roy Pienaar was a very effective all round player in 1980 scoring 600 runs, and taking 50 wickets. His First Class career was spent largely in his native country, but he was at Kent for two years. He yielded 10,896 runs with a top score of 153 in First Class cricket.
In 1981 they were getting closer to glory finishing a mere three points behind title winners East Bierley. Ford was the leading batsman with 770 runs, followed closely by Dracup with 764 and Johnson with 747.
Perhaps more significantly was the arrival of left arm swing bowler Mike Bailey from Idle who took 50 wickets. He improved on this by one in the following season. The old timers would say that this lad could `put the ball on a sixpence’ such was his control. In the subsequent years he proved it time after time.
Keith Smith had a big season in 1982 recording a not out century in a haul of 716 runs at 44.75. Smith was no Bradford League product- he was raised in the rustic splendour of the Dales Council before leaving when mature in years to try his luck at Pudsey St Lawrence.
He relished the challenge of being a marked man in the Dales Council where every aspiring bowler wanted to take the most famous scalp in the league’s history. His record in this league was untouchable as he won the league batting prize virtually every year between 1966-1974. He fit into the Bradford league seamlessly as he built his reputation as one of the best attacking batsmen of his era.
Again St Lawrence finished second- this time two points behind Yorkshire Bank. 1983 saw Peter Graham join Mike Bailey to form a season attack which would prove to have few equals in the post-war years. Bailey took 73 wickets, supported by Graham’s more modest haul of 38.
Graham was a very clever seamer with immaculate line and length, and only fell partly short of county standard. He represented Northumberland for several years and in 1994 took 4 wickets in his only first class match for the combined Minor Counties teams against the touring South Africans. Before his Bradford League career was over he would take 1,192 wickets at 17.70.
Martin Crowe played in a handful of matches in 1983 for Pudsey. Crowe played 77 Test matches, averaging 45.65 with the bat, including 17 centuries and 18 half-centuries. He also played 143 One-Day Internationals, averaging 38.55, and hit four centuries and 34 half-centuries. In 1991, he shared a 467-run partnership with Andrew Jones, at the time the highest partnership in Test history. Crowe was dismissed on 299, the highest innings by a New Zealander in Test history.
The St Lawrence side of 1984 was one of the best in modern league cricket. They proved this accolade by collecting 117 points to win the title by a massive 23 points. The batting was formidable with New Zealand Test batsman Mark Greatbatch making 800 runs in addition to Russell Gaunt (711 runs), Steve Rhodes (575 runs) and Smith (550 runs) all averaging over 30. If the batting was formidable so was the bowling as seamers Graham (72 wkts) and Bailey (94 wkts) established themselves as the league’s best pair.
Greatbatch who played 41 tests had a highest score of 146 not out off 485 balls against Australia in November 1989. Greatbatch was at the crease for 14 hours (3 days) to save New Zealand from defeat, the game ending in a draw because of his efforts. He received a standing ovation at the end of the game. Greatbatch’s defensive innings is still considered by many pundits to be one of the greatest cricket centuries ever, under the circumstances.
Steve Rhodes came through the ranks at Farsley before signing for St Lawrence and fit into the excellent 1984 side like a glove. His county career began with Yorkshire in 1981 where he had to challenge the England capped wicket-keeper David Bairstow for a first team place. A
lthough many considered him the superior wicket-keeper he didn’t score as many runs. After limited chances he moved to Worcestershire in 1985, staying there for the remaining two decades of his playing career. He was considered good enough to play for England in 11 Test Matches scooping 49 victims and making a top score of 65 not out.
Another rising star that began to make his mark in 1984 was David Leatherdale who came through the junior ranks. He went on to play county cricket for Worcester in a career which saw him score more than 10,000 first-class runs averaging slightly under 33. He was also a part-time medium-pacer who took more than 130 wickets. Although he made his first-class debut in 1988, he did not receive his county cap for another six years. In 1988 he reached 1,000 first-class runs in a season for the only time in a career stretching over 17 years.
Most Bradford League historians consider the 1984 side the finest in their history and a real match for the fabled Pudsey Congs team that would dominate two decades later.
J.Dracup, R.Gaunt, C.Johnson (Capt), M.Greatbatch, D Leatherdale, K Smith, S Rhodes, J Butterworth, P Graham, M Bailey, D Robertshaw.
Once again they managed to retain their title the following season in 1985. Their side, skippered by former Yorkshire player Colin Johnson, relied on its bowlers with Peter Graham (85 wkts), Mike Bailey (80 wkts) and David Robertshaw (39 wkts) rising to the challenge. Besides Greatbatch with 1033 runs, Dracup (714) scored runs with great style, while Gaunt (587) played the sheet-anchor role to perfection.
Johnson played 100 matches for Yorkshire between 1969 and 1979, and scored 2,960 runs as a right-handed middle order batsman at 21.44, with centuries against Somerset and Gloucestershire. In 102 one-day games he scored 1,615 runs at 20.18, with a top score of 73 not out. He was a stalwart for Yorkshire's Second XI, playing from 1966 to 1985, and captaining the side after he left the first-class scene.
In 1987 James Dracup and Russell Gaunt put on 272 runs in the best opening partnership in the league that year.
The eighties also saw the Priestley Cup at St Lawrence with a crushing victory over Yorkshire Bank at Bingley in the 1988 final- Peter Graham taking the Man of the Match Award due to a fine spell of bowling. The previous year they had lost out to Bingley in a high-scoring match falling 13 runs short after conceding 268-3.
During these halcyon days at Tofts Road they proved themselves the superior side in Yorkshire club cricket by securing a hat-trick of Yorkshire Champions Cups between the years 1986-1988, accounting for Elland, Undercliffe and Otley respectively in the final.
St Lawrence’s batting strength in the period 1983-1991 can be amply illustrated by the following analysis:
Winners of W H Foster Jubilee Trophy- League Batting Averages
1983 Johnson 415 runs average 59.29
1984 Greatbatch 822 runs average 51.38
1985 Greatbatch 1033 runs average 60.76
1986 Greatbatch 1097 runs average 60.94
1987 Dracup 1001 runs average 50.05
1989 Smith 492 runs average 70.29
1991 Gott 844 runs average 60.29
The aforementioned summary is even more impressive when one considers Dracup scored 1,032 runs at 51.60 in 1988 to finish second in the averages.
At the tail end of the eighties the one constant at Pudsey was Graham’s prolific wicket-taking as he ended the decade with hauls of 76 and 66 wickets.
A respectable fourth position at the outset of the nineties could not hide the disappointment of a crushing cup final defeat at the hands of Spen Victoria at Bingley. This has historically been known as the `John Wood final’ as St Lawrence had no answer to a blistering fast bowling performance from the aforementioned.
However, Chris Gott really came to the fore in 1990 with 724 runs, and 41 wickets which was sufficient for him to win the Learie Constantine All Rounders Trophy.
Kiwi Chris Pringle figured high in the League Bowling Averages with 65 wickets. Pringle bowled right arm medium fast and went on to play 14 Tests for New Zealand between 1990 and 1995. He made his test debut versus Pakistan at Karachi in 1990/91 and in his third test took 11-152, including 7-52 in the first innings. He then appeared intermittently for the test side, gaining more success in the one day game. From his seemingly uncoordinated action he was a master at bowling yorker length deliveries in the closing overs.
The captaincy certainly did not affect the performances of Chris Gott in 1991 who probably reached his peak as a cricketer. He again won the Learie Constantine All Rounders Trophy- and also the League Batting Averages with 844 runs at 60.29. His 41 wickets was the icing on the cake for an individual who led his team to the title. During the campaign he also became the only player in the league’s history to hit six sixes in an over. On the receiving end was Undercliffe’s off spinner Paul Whitaker who later played for Hampshire.
Overseas player Simon Doull (58 wkts) and James Goldthorp (690 runs) helped Gott enormously in bringing the title to Tofts Road as they edged nearest challengers Spen Victoria by eight points. Another achiever was the nimble Martin Redhead who kept so capably he won the league’s Wicket-Keeper’s Award.
The remainder of the nineties decade saw some virtuoso cricketers at St Lawrence with only one further trophy to show for their talents. In 1997 the Priestley Cup was won for the fourth time in their history when they comfortably beat East Bierley by seven wickets with South African Pierre De Bruyn excelling with the bat.
James Goldthorp was a consistently heavy scorer throughout the decade with 978 runs in 1994 his best effort. Ian Priestley scored runs with great zest, whilst former Yorkshire batsman Ashley Metcalfe showed an astonishing consistency averaging 54.43, 42.05 and 43.05 in successive seasons at the end of the decade. Gott continued to be the complete all-rounder with an even better season in 1994 scoring 978 runs and claiming 49 wickets.
In 1993 Goldthorp and Priestley put on 199 runs in the best opening partnership in the league that year.
Seamer Adrian Rooke came on the scene to form an opening partnership with former Yorkshire bowler Paul Hutchison. He didn’t take a huge tally of wickets but he was extremely difficult to score off.
Simon Doull was the complete all-rounder scoring 749 runs in 1995 including the season’s quickest fifty in 22 balls, and also taking 64 wickets.
Doull a right arm medium paceswing bowler, played in 32 Test matches and 42 One Day Internationals for New Zealand. He took his career best bowling figures of seven for 65 in the Boxing Day Test in 1998 against India at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. Due to that performance, he reached a career-high ranking of 6 in the ICC Player Rankings on 26 December 1998. His best test score was 46.
Young players like Gareth Clough, Chris Taylor and James Smith were products of the nineties. Taylor had a decent county career with Yorkshire and Derbyshire, while Clough became a specialist in county one-day cricket. Smith was part of the Yorkshire Academy and later was a regular performer for Cumberland.
Keith Moss (1999) and Tony Moore (2008) are two Saints stalwarts to have won the
Sir Leonard Hutton Trophy
When Keith Moss (MBE) won the Sir Leonard Hutton Trophy in 1999 for services to Bradford League cricket it was appropriate for more than one reason. Not only was his reward for services to cricket infinitely deserving, but he was also the founder of the Sir Leonard Hutton 364 Club.
A longstanding friend and neighbour of Sir Leonard Hutton, he became president of both Pudsey St Lawrence Cricket Club and the JCT 600 Bradford Cricket League. As former Yorkshire County Cricket Club Chairman he presided over the last County Championship win in 2001. He also revolutionised the Bradford League Executive Committee creating a streamlined Management Board in 2006.
From 2000-2010 St Lawrence had excellent players but lived under the shadow of their arch rivals Pudsey Congs who thwarted them time after time. When the Congs began to decline Woodlands took their mantle and appeared to conquer all before them. Many pundits considered that St Lawrence had very effective batting but did not posses sufficient penetration with the ball. This would haunt them throughout the decade.
At the start of the new century they finished fifth with the main run getters being Metcalfe (694 runs), De Bruyn (579 runs) and Iain Priestley (564 runs). The only bowler with any penetration was Adrian Rooke who kept it very tight taking 37 wickets.
In 2001 they finished third with overseas batting star Tariq Aziz scoring 784 runs at 49.00, well supported by county-bound Ian Fisher who averaged 42.33 with the bat and took 42 wickets. Smith topped the 500-mark for the first time with 642 runs. Another Pudsey home product left-arm seamer Paul Hutchison contributed 31 wickets in a season when his county future was in turmoil.
On Hutchison's first-class debut for Yorkshire in 1997, he took 7 for 38, followed by a County Championship debut tally of 7 for 50, recording the best Yorkshire debut bowling return since Wilfred Rhodes in 1898. He went on to play thirty nine first-class matches for Yorkshire between 1996 and 2001, taking 143 wickets at 22.68, before being released by the county. He joined Sussex in 2002, but, beset by injury, he only stayed two years before moving to Middlesex making only made two first-class appearances in 2005.
The following year in 2002 St Lawrence were genuine challengers to the Congs but had to settle for runners-up in both competitions. They ended nine points behind the Congs in the league to go with their Priestley Cup Final eight wicket defeat by the same opponents. Tariq Aziz won the league batting averages with 51.35, while Smith was just behind with 50.54. Priestley made the Fastest Fifty in 2002 in the little matter of 21 balls.
In 2003 St Lawrence sank back to mid-table despite a brilliant first season from former Yorkshire batsman Gary Fellows who scored 751 runs at 57.77. Smith, who scored 792 runs, proved he was an instinctive attacking batsman capable of turning a game in a handful of overs. Like his father Keith before him- he always preferred to dominate the attack. Smith took only 16 balls to reach 50 in 2003- taking the Fastest Fifty Trophy for the first time.
Once more St Lawrence was runner-up to the Congs when in 2004 their batting was at least the equal of their great rivals. Fellows had his best season yet with 1043 runs at 50.60 that included a top score of 120*. He also found enough energy to win the League’s Fielding Award. Mark Whitehead contributed 740, while Smith topped 600-runs for the fourth season.
Former Yorkshire all-rounder Alex Stead really came to the fore in 2004 when he enjoyed his best season so far scoring 635 runs and taking 32 wickets. Stead played in two First Class matches for Yorkshire with a top score of 28.
The next two years saw St Lawrence off the title pace but still producing some brilliant cricket. Fellows scored 945 runs in 2005 at 49.74, followed by 766 and a top score of 142 in 2006. Stead had increased his season’s analysis to 700-plus in consecutive years with a best ever 865 in 2005.
Fellows had a brilliant four-year spell at Tofts Road where his lowest run tally was 751 in 2003. At the end of 2006 he was signed by Wrenthorpe of the Central Yorkshire League who were determined to sweep the board with trophies. Fellows began his cricket at Illingworth who played in the Airedale-Wharfedale Senior Cricket League. He played regularly for Yorkshire from 1998 to 2003 in first-class cricket, and into 2005 in the one day game. A bustling, busy player known for his fielding prowess he scored 1,592 first class runs at 23.41, with a highest score of 109.
The most significant factor of 2006 was the emergence of left-handed opening batsman Mark Robertshaw who contributed 682 runs as a teenager. This form won him the Young Cricketer of the Year Award. Robertshaw is in the tradition of an `old school’ opening batsman plying his trade with caution early in his innings before launching his full range of shots.
Another Tofts Road prospect to emerge in the league averages for the first time was Chris Marsden who took 32 wickets in a year he was voted the Most Promising Spinner of the Year. Marsden was formerly on Yorkshire’s books as an off-spinner who could bat. In future years he proved himself a buccaneering batsman who could take the game away from the opposition.
Between 2007 and 2012 St Lawrence were highly placed but not exactly knocking on the door of the title race. The batting continued to be very strong but the bowling failed to match it- a perennial problem at Tofts Road.
Robertshaw continued his relentless progress with excellent league returns of 748, 618, 1003, 748 and 636, and eventually became captain. The previous captain Smith had hauls of 671, 929, 535 and 644. His best season was 2007 when he took 50 wickets to go with his 671 runs.
Stead topped 600 runs in these five seasons and won the Sir Learie Constantine All Rounders Trophy in 2009 when scoring 628 runs and taking 37 wickets. The previous season he had made the highest league individual score with187 v Brighouse and also figured in the best opening partnership in the league with 281 runs scored with Robertshaw.
All Rounders Marsden and Clough provided the balance for the team scoring runs and taking wickets. Marsden’s best season was 2008 when he scored 464 runs, and took 43 wickets, whilst Clough contributed 386 runs to go with his 43 wickets in the same season.
St Lawrence’s game was particularly well suited to the shorter form of cricket when they won the Dyson Insulation Twenty/20 Cup in both 2009 and 2010.
Although St Lawrence could not break the Pudsey Congs/Woodlands monopoly in the league they won silverware in 2011 under skipper James Smith. They comfortably chased down an East Bierley Cup Final total of 243-7 at Wagon Lane on the reserve day. Robertshaw’s innings set the scene for the 5 wicket victory and saw him deservedly win the Man of the Match Award.
In 2011 St Lawrence broke the league record for the sixth wicket when Marsden (150) and Jordan Thompson (68) put on 214 against Hanging Heaton.
Robertshaw was joined in the opening partnership in 2011 with a young talent from the Aire Wharfe League in Adam Waite who quickly assimilated himself into the stiffer competition. An adept leg side player who uses his feet to get to the pitch of the ball he scored 872 runs in his debut season. A slight lull in progress occurred in 2012 to be followed by 953 runs at 56.06 in 2013.
In 2013 for the third time in the decade St Lawrence finished in the runners up position. They were only 13 points behind Cleckheaton which effectively measured just one win. This time their fine batting had the support of three spinners Steve Watts (31 wkts), Marsden (37 wkts) and Tom Hudson (33 wkts) who all figured in the League Bowling Averages.
Robertshaw scored a thousand runs for the second time in three years averaging 56.06 in the process, and forming with Waite the best opening partnership in the league.
A strengthened seam attack in the shape of Ritchie Lamb from Pudsey Congs, and Oliver Ashford returning from Durham made St Lawrence one of the pre-season title favourites for 2014. However, a late collapse in the league saw them finish 72 points away in 6th place.
Robertshaw had another brilliant season winning the League Batting Averages with 771 runs at 55.07. He also had the distinction of scoring the highest score in the First Division with his 158* against Hanging Heaton in June. The final accolade for him was picking up the Player’s Player Award for 2014.
James Smith again scored runs quickly in middle order recording 518 runs at 39.85. He very nearly took the Fastest Fifty Trophy after needing only 21 balls against Hanging Heaton to reach his half-century. Off spinner Steve Watts was the outstanding bowler with 39 wickets at 13.21.
The league might have been an anti-climax but they found salvation in the Priestley Cup when they beat Cleckheaton by 107 runs in the final at Undercliffe. Adam Waite defied his erratic league form by scoring 94 runs to take the Man of the Match Award, and Lamb finished Cleckheaton off with a late spell of 4-7.
Earlier in the competition they were challenged more robustly. At Woodlands in the Third Round they battled to beat the home side on a torrid wicket after grinding out a modest 139-7. They defended this low total with an excellent fielding display to go with the effective seam attack of Lamb (3-22) and Craig Wiseman (4-19) who wrecked the Woodlands batting which finished 78 all out.
The semi-final was a thriller despite St Lawrence setting a formidable 283-4 against an East Bierley who was showing no league form at the time. The start dictated the score with Waite making 106 runs and Robertshaw 91. Bierley lost wickets regularly but never stopped chasing and the match went to the last ball with the reply tantalisingly concluding at 280-9.
It was gratifying winning the cup for the sixth time, but it was the league they yearned for and in 2015 they eventually pulled it off. Living in the shadows of their local rivals Pudsey Congs for so long- a club who had won the title six times between 2000-2010, eventually St Lawrence banished 24 years of hurting. In the end they won it by the comfortable margin of 29 points, but that does not tell the real story.
Leading the table since the start of the season they had a slump in the last third of the season which allowed Woodlands into real contention. They went into the last match at Cleckheaton needing seven points for the title against a side with a freakish mathematical chance to overtake them. In a hard fought match and after batting first on a green wicket St Lawrence overcame Cleckheaton comfortably and ironically did not need a single point as Woodlands lost.
The traditional strength of the team was still the batting coupled with their trio of spinners, but there was a certain buzz about their out-cricket which was not evident in previous years.
Left-hander Mark Robertshaw proved beyond doubt his claim to be the most consistent batsman in the league by retaining the League Batting Averages Trophy with 1003 runs at 59.00. This was the third time in five years he had scored 1,000 runs in a season. He also retained the Player’s Player Award for 2015.
Robertshaw and his opening partner Adam Waite (706 runs) gave their side so many fine starts that it allowed James Smith (561 runs) and Chris Marsden (642) to score the quick runs in the later overs.
Again the spinners were effective with Tom Hudson, Steve Watts and Marsden all topping 30 wickets. Leg spinner Hudson was the pick of the bowlers with 37 wickets at 15.65, while young prospect Joshua Wilson had a fine debut season with the new ball taking 29 wickets at 16.97.
Wilson was the latest cricketing prospect to break through to the First Team from the fine Tofts Road junior set-up. This was also illustrated in the manner that the youthful Second Team took all before them in their competition winning the First Division title and Priestley Shield.
Not content with winning the title in 2015, they won it again in 2016 after leading the table for most of the season. They had a lean spell towards the end of the season to temporarily lose the lead to Hanging Heaton, but they just hung on to take the glory by the thin margin of 4 points.
Skipper James Smith won the Bradford League Batting Averages with 684 runs at 52.62, but more importantly than that, gave his side the impetus in the innings after consistent openers Mark Robertshaw (799 runs) and Adam Waite (826 runs) had laid the foundation. Smith hit an incredible 48 sixes in the league.
The spin attack again proved to be influential with Marsden and Watts topping 30 wickets, while seamer Lamb took 34 wickets, helped by young left-arm seamer Charlie Parker (24 wkts) who had a fine debut season.
The club reached the Priestley Cup Final, and was expected to beat an inconsistent Woodlands side at Spen Victoria. After overnight rain, Woodlands won the toss and surprisingly chose to bat first. This appeared to be a wise move when their openers put on 83 for the first wicket, but the spinners clawed the game back and they were grateful to reach 214-9.
Pudsey’s consistent openers failed and despite the efforts of Goldthorp (28 runs) and Duce (21 runs), they didn’t make a fist of it, and was dismissed for 99 in 39.2 overs.
The Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy of 2016 proved to be an exciting venture for the Saints as they strived to win it for a record number of times.
They beat Sheriff Hutton Bridge and Aston Hall in thrillers as they lost vital wickets after looking comfortable chasing down scores in excess of 200. The latter match ended in a tie as Mark Robertshaw carried his bat for a brilliant 82, Pudsey winning the semi-final by virtue of losing fewer wickets than their opponents.
In the Final at Sheriff Hutton Bridge, their opponents York had the luxury of playing Jack Leaning after he had lost his place in the Yorkshire side. In retrospect he was the main difference between the two sides after he hit 107, and captured the prized wicket of James Smith.
York scored 288-6, with Charlie Parker (2-43) dismissing the prodigious run scorer Duncan Snell the first ball of the match. Pudsey lost regular wickets with Robertshaw (28 runs) striving for an early foundation for his team. James Smith gave his team hope with a characteristic innings of 64 from 69 balls with 4 sixes, but he lacked support and the final total was 208.
Pudsey’s season was not over at this point, as the newly installed Yorkshire Premier League semi-finals went ahead on September 17th, with a trip to Abu Dhabi for the final awaiting the winners. They were drawn against the North Yorkshire/South Durham Premier League qualifiers East Ayton at Headingley.
Winning the toss and choosing to bat they lost early wickets, but Barrie Frankland (41 runs) pulled the game around with Mark Robertshaw to pass the 100-mark with just two down. After slumping to 129-5, Tom Hudson (25 runs) joined Robertshaw to push the score to respectability, the latter finishing with a priceless 93 in a final score of 200-8.
Great Ayton lost early wickets, but former Yorkshire 2XI batsman Chris Batchelor anchored the innings as the score crept up to 162-5. Marsden bowled ten immaculate overs for 18 runs, but East Ayton was in the ascendency and Pudsey needed wickets. Eventually, Hudson (2-28) captured the crucial wicket of Batchelor (87 runs) who was out LBW attempting a reverse sweep.
From then on it was Pudsey’s game and the last over arrived with the last pair at the wicket with 13 needed. Pace bowler Lamb limited the striking tail-enders to six runs as his team won by seven runs as Great Ayton finished on 193-9. St Lawrence would play Wakefield Thornes who had qualified for the final by beating Harrogate at Scarborough.
The game of a lifetime in Abu Dhabi to decide the Yorkshire Premier League title had a build up that contained a heavy defeat in a warm-up match for the Saints against the local club side.
On the day of the final the all important toss was won by Wakefield Thornes who batted first in stifling conditions knowing it would be cooler later when they were in the field. They scored runs rapidly from the start and at no point could Pudsey quell the scoring, amidst costly missed catches.
At one point a score well in excess of 300 seemed possible, but they did claw it back to a final 296-6, with Thornes’ David Toft amassing a massive 137. Lamb was the best bowler with 2-56.
St Lawrence got off to the worst possible start losing early wickets and at 28-3 appeared to be out of the game. Smith (65 runs) joined Robertshaw in a fighting stand of 122, and when Marsden hit a brisk 46 they were in with an outside chance. However, everything landed on Robertshaw’s shoulders as the lower order fell away as he made a brilliant 112.
The final score of 257 was 39 runs short and a golden opportunity was lost to be the inaugural Yorkshire Premier League winners of the White Rose Cup. The internet streaming of the match by the Bradford League was an unprecedented venture and attracted over 10,000 viewers.
For Pudsey, it had been an eventful and exciting season which nevertheless had a bittersweet aura about it having lost three major cup finals in 2016. They could have made history and edged them closer to the achievements of their great rivals Pudsey Congs.
Expected to challenge strongly on all fronts in 2017, patchy form was prevalent throughout the season with uncharacteristic fielding lapses negating their progress. Despite their mediocre start a mid-season victory against league Hanging Heaton put them right back in the title race. But, the following weekend more or less defined their season when they lost to Bradford & Bingley in the league, and Farsley in the Priestley Cup.
This left the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy as their target, and they met up again with Wakefield Thornes at Tofts Road. Choosing to bat first on a wet wicket, with more rain to come, the Saints were second best when time was called after the weather worsened.
It was a different matter in the replayed tie at Toft Road where they pulled out their best performance of the season. Wakefield Thornes batted first and could only reach 171 all-out in the face of an excellent bowling and fielding display. Seamer Jordan Thompson blasted away the early batting with a spell of 3-37, while Chris Marsden decimated the late middle-order with 3-17 from seven overs.
The reply was vintage Mark Robertshaw (85 runs) and Adam Waite (83*), as they ensured a nine-wicket victory with 15.4 overs remaining. The Final against York at Masham was washed out and held over to 2018.
The league season ended strongly, but they had to be content with 4th place after a season of seven losses. Waite was the leading batsman finishing third in the League Averages after scoring 841 runs at 52.56. Other batsmen averaging in excess of 30 were Mark Robertshaw (589 runs), James Smith (360 runs) and Chris Marsden (437 runs). Marsden had a particularly strong season also taking 43 wickets at 15.12.
During the winter the pitch at Tofts Road was relaid, and the first three fixtures for the 2018 league season was scheduled to be played away. This did not serve as a disadvantage as all three matches were duly one, but the first home match was very different as the uneven bounce caused concern.
Woodlands skittled St Lawrence for 93, and although they reached the target in some comfort in the end, were also made to struggle. Speculation mounted as to whether the pitch would be to the advantage of the home team or otherwise, in the weeks ahead.
Marsden had taken over the captaincy from James Smith, and could call upon Yorkshire’s Jordan Thompson when available.
As the season progressed, they were in a tight group at the top with New Farnley, Hanging Heaton and Farsley who could all win the title. But, the last two weekends of August proved to be defining factors in St Lawrence winning the title for the third time in five years.
On August 18th they had to chase Hanging Heaton’s formidable 286-7, and managed it mainly due to Robertshaw’s magnificent unbeaten 162. Many observers spoke of this innings as the best they had seen in league cricket. The next day he hit 126 in a rearranged league match against Bradford & Bingley, taking him to a 1,000 league runs in a season for the fourth time.
By August 25th St Lawrence faced New Farnley who was realistically their only title challengers. The vagaries of the Tofts Road wicket impacted on the match, but St Lawrence prevailed in a hard fought 46-run victory.
They has won eight successive matches, but when they were rained off at Methley in the last fixture, anxiously awaited the New Farnley score at Wagon Lane. Bradford & Bingley produced a stubborn rearguard to fend off defeat and the win which would have allowed New Farnley to pip St Lawrence.
Robertshaw won the W H Foster Memorial Batting Averages Trophy for the third time after accruing 1,079 runs at 71.93, and also won the League’s Player’s Player Trophy for the third time.
Marsden was the leading bowler taking 34 wickets for 12.24, and seamers Parker and Lamb both worked tirelessly to top 30-wickets.
Winning the title allowed the club to compete in the Yorkshire Premier League Championship play-offs, where they met North Yorkshire/South Durham League side Great Ayton in a semi-final at Scarborough.
They were eliminated in a disappointing batting performance when chasing a modest 179. Skipper Marsden had bowled magnificently to claim 5-28, and then watched his batters bowled out for 161 to fall 18-runs short.
They also fell short in the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Cup semi-final against Wakefield Thornes when a weakened side lost by 6-runs.
It could be said that 2019 was a transitional season after several key players departed, and skipper Marsden was plagued by a long term injury.
However, it is the Pudsey way to bring on their own, and to win ten matches and finish fourth was quite a triumph. In fact, for much of the season, they were one of few clubs capable of catching the relentless Woodlands.
Archie Scott (45 wkts) and Harry Cullingford (395 runs) were the best of the protégées, but James Dracup and Josh Priestley also made their mark.
Scott’s promise was acknowledged by the league, when he was named the Ernest Lodge Young Spinner of the Year.
Mark Robertshaw was inevitably the leading batsman with 447 runs, but he failed to reach the heights of previous years.
The most exhilarating win was against Hanging Heaton, who failed to chase 250-5 by just one run. Charlie Best (75 runs) and late Australian recruit Joel Curtis (64 runs) led the batting, while Dracup’s bowling analysis of 5-62, interrupted Hanging Heaton’s run charge.
The Saints couldn’t fully celebrate their 175th anniversary in 2020 because Covid-19 disrupted the year, but they did produce a well received brochure.
On the field, in the Gordon Rigg Premier League Cup, they skilfully combined a `development’ season with the usual competitiveness drive for success.
Robertshaw scored 352 runs at 58.67, while skipper Marsden and prospects Archie Scott and Josh Priestley had productive seasons.
They won the West Section recording six wins in the eight match programme, and were primed to meet Townville in the final at Tofts Road.
However, a Covid-19 positive test ion a member of their bar staff resulted in the final not taking place.
Another disappointment was their six-wicket defeat to Pudsey Congs in the Gordon Rigg T20 Group A Cup.
Chris Gott was a fabled cricketer in the league leading the Bradford Cricket Representative League team to five successive Yorkshire KO trophies. He was a winner, with a prodigous talent to fall back on, and the equal of most of the proliferation of county cricketers who played in the league in his era. His playing record is second to none in the modern history of the game.
W.H. Foster Jubilee Trophy- Batting (Div 1): 1991
Sir Learie Constantine All Rounders Trophy: 1990, 1991, 1996
Six sixes in one over (league record) 1991 v Undercliffe
Bradford League Division 1 Winners: 1991
Priestley Cup Winners: 1997
Yorkshire Leagues KO Trophy: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997
(Bradford League Representative side)
NCA County Championship: 1994, 1996
As a cricketer Gott was a rare commodity- a free spirit with a tunnel vision for success. He had no patience for crafty run compiling, preferring to hasten the run chase with a series of virtuoso shots. When he strode to the crease the bars and tea-huts would empty as he looked to dictate matters, often having the audacity to hit the first ball for four. He would also on occasions stroll down the wicket to drive a fast bowler. A more cautious and less talented batsman might score 1,000 runs in a season, while he took no heed of `red-inkers’ and personal landmarks.
Gott as a seamer had an economical run-up and sudden acceleration to the delivery stride - looking somewhat innocuous from the boundary edge. However, the batsman could never rest because when he struck a good length he was neither driveable nor hookable. Quite pacey from a short run he always sought wickets rather than bowl the negative line. He rescued the Bradford League with the ball on Final day on several occasions on the notorious Tadcaster wicket when they were facing impending defeat
When Gott was appointed skipper of Pudsey St Lawrence in 1991 there were raised eyebrows. Many regarded him as a flamboyant cricketer who played by instinct with no account of tactics. How wrong they were! In his first season he led the Saints to the title by a margin of 8 points on Spen Victoria. To prove that captaincy had no effect on his batting he scored 844 runs at 60.29 to win the Bradford League Batting Averages to go with his All Rounder’s Trophy!
His playing record is second to none in the modern history of the Bradford League.
Unlike most old cricketers who desert the game to play golf or take their family shopping on a Saturday, he has shown that he is prepared to put something back in the game. He became the Chairman at Pudsey St Lawrence and prepared to take on the mundane tasks involved in running a cricket club. His playing record is second to none in the modern history of the Bradford League.
When one first arrives at Tofts Road, Pudsey St Lawrence one is struck by the marvellous gates of entry dedicated to the great Len Hutton, a former player who became one of England’s all-time cricket legends.
Len Hutton won recognition as one of the greatest batsmen in cricket history through many prodigious feats, one of the earliest being his 364 in the Oval Test of 1938. Made when he was only 22, it was the longest as well as the highest Test innings at the time and it remains the highest innings played in the long Ashes series between England and Australia. Yet probably his most remarkable feat was in resuming his career with Yorkshire and England with no loss of skill after World War 2 when, as a result of an accident in an Army gymnasium his left arm was shorter and less strong than his right.
Hutton was a superb technician as an opening batsman. He was a marvellously correct batsman, stylish if not spectacular, and always in the right position, even though he seldom used his feet to move out to the pitch of the ball. Hutton started to come to notice in 1937 when he scored a 1,000 runs for the first time. In later years he made more than 2,000 runs in a season 10 times and in 1949 scored 3,429 runs. During 1937 Hutton scored 10 centuries in the season, but on his Test debut he made 0 and 1 against New Zealand. In the Second Test he recovered to make the first of his 19 Test hundreds.
He began the 1938 series against Australia with another 100 in an opening stand of 219 with Charles Barnett. He finished the series with his record breaking 364 made in 13 hours 20 minutes. Despite this remarkable effort he still had his dissenters who compared him unfavourably with Don Bradman who always scored his runs quicker than his English counterpart. In the last season before the war he made 196 against West Indies at Lord's and, in the last pre-war Test, 73 and 165* at the Oval. He was the young master with a magnificent future and a year or two from his expected peak.
The injury to his arm occurred early in the war and although his fortitude allowed him to revive his Test career with great effect, he was never quite in the same bracket as in his late pre-war years. One could speculate that he could have developed into the Bradman class but for his injury. Suffice to say his Test series averages in the post-war years still comfortably topped 50 in monotonous fashion. Indeed he did battle with Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller at their fastest in 1950/51 and averaged 88.83! His Test career ended after the 1954/55 tour to New Zealand when his powers were clearly on the wane.
Test Record- 79 Caps
6,971 Runs at an average of 56.67
Highest Score.364 v Australia 1938 (Oval)