web banner bradford cricket leagueDY.jpg



Early cricket origins

It is generally accepted that although earlier remains, such as Roman coins and pottery, have been found in the area of Wrenthorpe, the current settlement dates from after the Domesday book.

Early cricket origins at Wrenthorpe are difficult to research on modern media, but it’s probably safe to say that when the Wakefield and District League Competition was formed in 1894 they participated as Wrenthorpe St Annes. If this was not the case it appears that Wrenthorpe St Annes was the first team from the village to play in an active cricket league.

 The Wakefield and District League Competition Group 6 comprised of New Sharlston, Wrenthorpe St Annes, Foxholes Colliery, Wakefield St Michael’s Young Men’s Society, Trinity Free Wanderers and Wakefield St Andrews. 

Wakefield & District Cricket Union

There are clear records that they participated in the local Wakefield & District Cricket Union from 1946 to 1970.

Success was slow to come in the early days, but by the sixties they were a force to be reckoned with winning the Wakefield Cup in 1961, 1968 and 1969.

This served to be the catalyst for domination in the league as they were Section A Champions in 1970 for the first time. They also won the Wakefield Cup that season to perform the revered cup and league double.

Wrenthorpe’s cricket infrastructure was rapidly developing and with their second team also enjoying domination in their section decided to leave the league for a new challenge.

Success in Dewsbury & District League

When they joined the Dewsbury & District League in 1971 it was clear from the start that their success would continue unabated. Winning Section A in their first season they won it again in 1978 and 1981. They also won the Sheard Cup for first teams in 1977 and 1979.

Wrenthorpe decided to spread their wings in 1980, and compete with the senior clubs in the area in the Heavy Woollen Cup competition.  However, their debut was not an auspicious one as they were dismissed for 29 by Kirkburton from the higher rated Huddersfield Cricket League.

League progression

In 1982, Wrenthorpe stepped up to the more senior Pontefract Cricket League (Yorkshire Council), and left to join the Central Yorkshire League in 1988.

The move to the Central Yorkshire League would prove to be a very fruitful one in time, but there were two decades of gentle consolidation as they strived for the big time.

The first target was to establish the club as a top flight proposition able to challenge for the major honours. This proved to be a slow process but two pieces of silverware came their way when they won the second division titles in 1991 and 1994, under the respective leadership of G Newton and M Shuttleworth. The second title win was impressive in so far as it was rarely in doubt throughout the season.

Top flight consolidation in Central Yorkshire League

By 1997 they were more than holding their own in the top division when they finished third just three points behind champions Methley. Their main batsman was former Yorkshire Second Team batsman Tony Sutton who scored 796 runs at 56.86. David Battye was the pick of the bowlers with 59 wickets at 15.20, with a fine return of 7-37 against Woodlands.

Other Wrenthorpe players of distinction during the late-nineties were Carl Williams, Howard Ellis, Geoff Hunt and South African Dale Hermanson.

Breeding county players


At the turn of the century Wrenthorpe’s junior set-up had developed strongly and later they would produce players of the calibre of Greg Wood, abive, who would represent England U19’s, and Yorkshire, and David Wainwright who enjoyed a good career as a left arm spin bowler with Derbyshire.

They had also began to build their senior side in the early 21st century with experienced seamers Neville Lindsay and Ricky Rotch spearheading the attack, and Richard Walker, Jonathan Kirk, Mark Alvey, Lee Smith and Steve Palmer the mainstays of the batting.

First title

The momentum was building and in 2003 they won the league championship for the first time in their history by pipping main title rivals Methley. They confirmed the title in a match against Methley when they beat them by 15 runs in a low scoring game.

Wrenthorpe were bowled out for 116 which included a defiant 66 from left-handed opener Richard Walker. Methley looked favourites at 70-3 but they collapsed to 101 all out after their former paceman Neville Lindsay took a hat-trick, finishing with 3-15 from 10.2 overs.

This was a historic day for Wrenthorpe and earned them a place in the 2004 Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy. They enjoyed their debut match beating Dunnington by six wickets with Rotch taking 5-16 and Kirk top scoring with 74*. In the next round they lost to a formidable Pudsey Congs side by six wickets. Nobody could have predicted at this point that some of the Congs players that day would carve their name in Wrenthorpe’s history.

In the 2003 league campaign they scored runs freely with Walker claiming 815 runs at 42.89 and Alvey 687 runs at 36.16. The best bowler was Lindsay who took 43 wicket at 12.70, and he received capable support from Rotch (43 wkts) and Battye (32 wkts).

Despite Wrenthorpe’s increasing reputation there was a shattering blow during 2003 when they were the victims of an extraordinary giant-killing act at the hands of new club Buttershaw St Pauls. Playing in the Jack Hampshire Memorial Cup they visited Buttershaw and set a good target of 269-8, with Richard Walker (67 runs) and Iain Firth (69 runs) setting the pace.

Wrenthorpe failed to factor in the tiny ground and Buttershaw timed their march to perfection reaching 270-7 with four balls to go, with no bowler making any impact.

With Methley taking over at the top in 2004 Wrenthorpe was mighty pleased to reach the Jack Hampshire Memorial Cup. This was an ideal opportunity to wipe out the memory of the Buttershaw disaster. However, it didn’t quite happen.

Wrenthorpe batted first and set a total of 220-5 with Walker (74 runs) and Alvey (56 runs) ensuring a competitive score in the face of tight bowling, especially from Ossett’s Sonia. Ossett coasted to victory at 223-4 with Latif (97 runs) dominating with the bat, while the only Wrenthorpe bowler to make a fist of it was Rotch with 2-34.

Team building

They were still a force to be reckoned with and after further team building brought David Paynter (Pudsey Congs), Paul Carroll (Pudsey Congs) and Tosh Baker (Woodlands) to the club for the 2005 season, they lifted the elusive Jack Hampshire Memorial Trophy for the first time after a comprehensive 84-run victory over Mirfield Parish Cavaliers at Methley Cricket Club.

The key to victory was a valuable second wicket stand of 145 between man of the match Carroll (82 runs) and Dave Paynter (83 runs), which put Wrenthorpe firmly in the box seat after amassing a target of 262-7.

In reply, Mirfield Parish never looked like challenging the total set, despite getting off to a decent start, and Paynter completed an outstanding all round display, taking 3-36 with the ball. John Maynard (2-24) and Kevin Watson (2-25) also played a part in the victory, with Mirfield Parish finally being dismissed for 178 after losing their last six wickets for a paltry 13 runs.

Tosh Baker, who helped to bolster the side had a brief First Class career as an opening bowler making his solitary appearance for Northants agains Leicestershire at Grace Road in 2005, taking 1-55. He had previously been contracted to Yorkshire after a promising start to his career at Spen Victoria. Returning to league cricket he developed into a specialist batsman as injuries took a heavy toll on his bowling. 

West Indian fast bowler Maynard, above was at the veteran stage having taken 72 wickets at Windhill in 1996 in his best season. Known as `the dentist’ for obvious reasons Maynard built a fearsome reputation playing for the Leeward Islands and excelled against test touring sides without breaking through himself.

For a cricketer who managed just 13 first-class matches and never played in an international, Maynard achieved quite a reputation. A cricket writer wrote in 2007: "One might even go so far as to suggest he is the most famous West Indian fast bowler never to have played a Test”.

Paynter’s productive season

Wrenthorpe’s league campaign of 2005 was dominated by Paynter who scored 764 runs at 54.57, and also helped himself to 33 wickets at 17.06. He scored runs with great panache and coupled with his consistent off spin was a real danger to the opposition.

Paynter played for the Yorkshire Academy before joining Northants as a specialist batsman. His First Class career was a short one consisting of five matches, but he did record a score of 146. He started with Windhill in the Bradford League before joining the fabled Pudsey Congs side.

Left hander Richard Walker also excelled in 2005 averaging a remarkable 87.00 from a tally of 522 runs. Lindsay was again the leading bowler with 41 wickets, assisted by his partner Roche who snared 36 wickets.

Further strengthening brought Australian Grant Lambert to the club for season 2006. Although he proved a useful player, `wear and tear’ in his career reduced him to a mere mortal after tearing up the Bradford League record book in the 2000 season with Spen Victoria. 

Lambert, above, set a new league scoring record of 1,683 runs, beating the previous best by over 200 runs, hitting a record seven centuries, and made the highest score of 170 against Manningham Mills. He finished the season with an incredible average of 120.21 to easily top the 2nd division league batting averages. For good measure he topped the bowling averages too with 31 wickets at 7.77 each. His award of the Jack Hill All Rounders Trophy was a formality.

Lambert had a mediocre First Class career with New South Wales taking part in 25 matches. However, in 2007 he broke a 63 year old record for the most runs in a Sydney Grade Cricket season. Playing for Fairfield-Liverpool against Northern Districts at Rosedale Oval, Lambert scored 94 to take his season total to 1,458 runs.

This moved Lambert 45 runs ahead of Bill Alley's record of 1,413 runs set in the 1943/44 season. Lambert reached the mark in 20 innings, which included six centuries and five 50s, at an average of 104.14.

The glory years

The real architects of the 2006 title win were Paynter with 971 runs at 57.12 and 48 wickets at 14.33, and Tosh Baker who also performed well with bat and ball (457 runs & 53 wkts). Paynter’s fine season was rewarded with the League’s All Rounder’s Trophy. Another individual trophy winner was Jonny Smith, above, who took the League’s Wicket-Keeper Trophy.

Wrenthorpe also had Kevin Innes in their ranks in 2006.  Aged 31, he had played First Class cricket for Northants & Sussex, as a genuine all rounder. His career best batting in county cricket was an unbeaten 103, and his best bowling return 4-41.

When Wrenthorpe recruited former Yorkshire batsman Gary Fellows, Pudsey Congs experienced seamer Neil Gill and Sri Lankan pace bowler Dinusha Fernando for the 2007 season, they were the biggest title favourites in years. However, over a long season and with erratic weather dominating, it was Townville who took the crown.


Wrenthorpe might have missed out on the league in 2007, but they maintained their growing reputation with a unique cup treble.

In the Jack Hampshire Trophy final they reached the final at Methley and beat their great rivals Townville by 4 wickets with  Fellows (46 runs & 2-26), and  David Paynter (23 runs & 3-22) being the main instigators. To buck the trend of the lavishly signed stars performing a home product in 16-year-old Luke Patel, below, also excelled scoring 46. Patel later became part of the Yorkshire Academy, and won the Central Yorkshire League’s Most Promising Cricketer Award for 2007.

Heavy Woollen Cup domination

Wrenthorpe also beat Townville in an early round of the Heavy Woollen Cup. On this occasion it was a rout as skipper Kevin Watson with 3-6 helped to bowl Townville out for 56.

Another highlight of Wrenthorpe’s run to the final was their ruthless destruction of Barnsley in the third round. The South Yorkshire side were chasing a hat-trick of Heavy Woollen Cup wins and when they reduced Wrenthorpe to 7-2 they must have thought the treble was very much on.

Wrenthorpe recovered to post a staggering 328-2 with Gary Fellows (160no) and Eric Austin (124 no) sharing an unbroken third-wicket stand of 321.Fellows made his runs off 144 balls with one six and 25 fours, while Austin compiled his score in 157 balls with a six and 18 fours. Barnsley was dismissed for 171 with off spinner David Paynter taking five for 48 for Wrenthorpe.

They reached the final for the first time and their batting proved to be far too strong for South Yorkshire League Wickersley as they set a demanding total of 285-4.  Austin won the Man of the Match Award with 101*, and Fellows contributed 56. The pick of the bowlers was Fernando who took 3-23 from his ten overs.

To complete their cup treble they beat Elsecar in the final of the Yorkshire Council Play-Offs. Batting first they scored 247 runs with John Storey (73 runs) and Patel (59 no) taking the plaudits with the bat, and Watson (4-33) and Fernando (4-14) ensuring that Elsecar would just reach 192.

Fernando, a right-handed batsman and a right-arm medium-fast bowler, had a modest Test career for Sri Lanka playing in two test matches. His top score was 51*, and his only bowling analysis that spurned a wicket at reasonable cost was an aggregate of 1-29. He later made a great impression playing club cricket for Bromyard in the Worcestershire League capturing the local headlines with hat-tricks, and also breaking the club record for runs in a season. For Wrenthorpe, his league season was somewhat modest, but he did take 35 wickets at 18.14.

The 2007 team might not have won the title but they were generally accepted as the best team in their history up to that year: Kevin Watson (pictured below), Eric Austin, Gary Fellows, David Paynter, Paul Carroll, Jonathan Kirk, John Storey, Luke Patel, Jonny Smith, Dinusha Fernando, Neil Gill.

Fellows debut season

Fellows had an impressive debut season with 574 runs at 44.15, and 35 wickets at 14.31.  This lead to him winning the League’s All Rounder’s Trophy. Fellows, a right-handed batsman and right arm medium pace bowler, played regularly for Yorkshire from 1998 to 2003 in first-class cricket. He was later stereotyped by his county as a one-day player which helped extend his career to 2005.

A bustling, busy player in First Class cricket he scored 1,592 runs at 23.41, with a highest score of 109, and he took 32 wickets at 38.37, with a best of 3 for 23. He played 96 one-day matches for the Tykes, scoring 1,350 runs at 20.76, with a top score of 80 not out, and taking 23 wickets at just over 37. He was known as a brilliant fielder on the county circuit.

Paynter contributed 630 runs at 37.00, while his former Pudsey Congs team-mate Gill plundered 33 wickets at 22.45. Left hander Austin had a typical sheet-anchor season scoring 646 runs at 38.00. He bettered that one year later scoring 871 runs.  Hailing from New Zealand he first made his mark at Birstall in 1998 and scored huge volumes of runs no matter where he played.

In 2008, former Yorkshire batsman John Inglis joined the growing array of stars at Wrenthorpe scoring 716 runs at 79.56. His county career stagnated with just the one First Class match offered to him against the West Indies touring side in 2000.

There was disappointment in the league when Birstall pipped Wrenthorpe to the title when the weather dictated matters at vital times.

Medium pacer Kevin Watson was very much an unsung hero at Wrenthorpe amongst the galaxy of stars. He went about his business bowling consistently straight and was very difficult to get away. He was indispensable in this effective Wrenthorpe side, and led his team to their second successive Heavy Woollen Cup Final in 2008, having the best bowling analysis of 3-54.

The125th anniversary celebrations of the Heavy Woollen Cup could not have had a more fitting climax as Wrenthorpe and Barnsley produced the competition's first tied final. Wrenthorpe retained the cup by virtue of losing fewer wickets - eight to Barnsley's nine.

With four overs to go, Wrenthorpe appeared to be cruising to a comfortable win. Barnsley needed 72 to win and was eight wickets down. It didn't seem conceivable that they could get near Wrenthorpe's score of 237-8, but they did. The man who brought the game to life was Joe Ellis, who would sign for Wrenthorpe in 2010. He smashed seven sixes in a 17-ball innings of 54 not out which will go down as one of the most savage knocks ever played in the competition.

Fellows was deemed to be the Man of the Match by virtue of scoring 65 runs off 69 balls with three sixes and six fours, while Fernando hit a six and four fours in a vital cameo to boost the total.

Wrenthorpe had won the cup the hard way after eliminating Bradford League’s best side Woodlands in the semi-final on their own ground. Such was the strength of their side that worthy players like Alex Sharp and Barry McCormack played a minor role in their conquests.

Another trophy came in 2008 when Wrenthorpe won the Yorkshire Council Play-Offs Final against Wickersley. Early batters Inglis (75 runs) and Austin (76 runs) ensured a competitive score of 260-8, while Storey, pictured below, with 4-42, was the main reason why Wickersley sunk to 151. 

Despite further reinforcements for 2009 and possessing a squad widely considered to be the best in the league, they again failed to win the title. New overseas player Tonito Willett was a new face, but performed moderately in the league despite having represented the West Indies at U19 level.

Yorkshire players on the books

Another First Class signing was former Yorkshire’s all-rounder Craig White who managed to fit in 501 runs at 33.40. To have a player who had played 30 test matches with a top score of 121, and a best bowling analysis of 5-32 was quite a coup for Wrenthorpe. 

However, White was not the first test player to have strengthened Wrenthorpe’s ranks. Left hand batsman and `chinaman’ Bradley Hogg, who played in seven test matches for Australia, had also played in an earlier era.

Two more Yorkshire players on the books of Wrenthorpe were Gerard Brophy and Anthony McGrath, in a squad that David Vayro improved continuously.

An older signing, Gary Fellows, was the one that shone winning the League Batting Averages with 1,086 league runs at an impressive 72.40. New signing pace bowler Tom Glover from Pudsey Congs took 36 wickets at 18.83, while Kevin Watson had the best average with his 28 wickets costing as little as 11.46.

The Heavy Woollen Cup was their salvation when they recorded a third successive win as they bowled out Baildon for 88 to win by 94 runs at Liversedge.  Fellows, who top scored with 59 in Wrenthorpe's innings of 182 all out, also took three for three with the ball to be voted man of the match.

In 2010 Wrenthorpe secured a record-equalling fourth-successive Heavy Woollen Cup final win as they crushed Hanging Heaton by 199-runs at Bennett Lane. Wrenthorpe’s 298-8 was comprised of innings by Fellows (46 runs), Austin (66 runs), Paynter (53 runs) and McCormack (41 runs), while Glover went through Hanging Heaton’s batting with 4-54.

At last the Heavy Woollen Cup sequence was broken in 2011 when Wrenthorpe were caught on a sticky wicket at Delph & Dobcross and bowled out cheaply. However, Wrenthorpe lifted the Heavy Woollen Cup for the fifth time in six seasons in 2012 after defeating their Central Yorkshire League rivals Townville in the final by 61 runs at Liversedge.

Their match-winner was off spinner David Paynter who took 5-25 to rip the heart out of the Townville innings after openers Tim Walton and Jonny Booth shared an opening stand of 58. Until Paynter's man-of-the-match winning performance, Townville looked on course to overhaul the Wrenthorpe total of 198-9. Off spinner Luke Patel finished with 3-21 and ran Paynter close in the man-of-the-match considerations because he had earlier revived Wrenthorpe's fortunes with 46 vital runs after they had slipped to 17-3.

After three seasons without the title Wrenthorpe brought in Joe Ellis from Barnsley in 2010, and his former colleague Greig Batty joined him in 2011 to form a three-pronged pace attack with Glover, and Gill’s experience to follow.

Gill was the lynchpin of the Pudsey Congs team who reigned supreme in the Bradford League and the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy at the turn of the century. A left arm seamer, he was past his peak but still an integral part of Wrenthorpe’s successes since joining in 2007.

Zenith of success

Wrenthorpe reached their zenith during the three seasons circa 2010-2012 with seven major trophies including a treble and two doubles. 

In 2010, Fellows was the star with 1,226 runs at an astonishing 94.31, while Austin managed a conservative average of 54.11 in comparison. Fellows won the League Batting Averages and also compiled the top score of the season with 230. Jonny Smith won the league wicket-keeping award.

Former Yorkshire batsman Bradley Parker was also added to the ranks batting down the order awaiting a rare collapse.  Three bowlers topped 40-wickets- Ellis (48), Paynter (41) and Glover (40) with Paynter was the most impressive, winning the League Bowling Averages.

Wrenthorpe clinched the title on 26th August by beating their closest rivals New Farnley. Paynter top scored with 108 as Wrenthorpe posted a challenging 280 for nine. County man Ian Fisher held the New Farnley innings together by making 112, but they fell short of their target on 241 for nine. 

Wrenthorpe lost out on the domestic double when Methley beat them in the Jack Hampshire Cup Final. Methley batted first and scored a commanding 250-5, with only Patel making any headway with the ball taking 2-38. 

In reply, Fellows (46 runs) and Parker (54 runs) were both dismissed when set and had little support from the strong batting line-up, with only Gill in the tail made a fist of it, striking 37 runs  in 29 balls to take his score to 235-9.

Acknowledged as best team

The 2011 Wrenthorpe side with the addition of Batty, won 20 league matches out of twenty-two and was probably the best Wrenthorpe side of all-

Gary Fellows (Capt), Eric Austin, David Paynter, Oliver Whittaker, Greig Batty, Luke Patel, Bradley Parker, Joe Ellis, Neil Gill, Tom Glover, Jonathan Smith.

It was Paynter’s greatest season, winning the League’s All Rounders Trophy for the second time with 850 runs at 50.00, and 41 wickets at 12.61, while Fellows amassed 753 runs at 44.29. Batty won the league bowling averages with 39 wickets at 12.92, supported well by Ellis (30 wkts) and Glover (27 wkts).

They might have missed out on the Heavy Woollen Cup in 2011 but they won the Jack Hampshire Memorial Cup for the third time in six years when they beat Townville in the final. They didn’t have it all their way on the day with Fellows (110 runs) finding little support apart from No.9 batsman Batty who made an unbeaten 39.  The final total of 213-9 was not a convincing one but when Patel (4-36) got to work with his spin, the result was never in doubt and Townville collapsed to 157.

Wrenthorpe had made history with a classic domestic double, and they would replicate this feat the following season, and go one better winning the treble after regaining the Heavy Woollen Cup. 

2012 was the last of the Wrenthorpe hey-day seasons with their third successive title win, and their fifth in 10 seasons. Fellows (677 runs) and Austin (490 runs) were the main batters, and pacemen Batty and Ellis shared the best part of seventy wickets. Jonny Smith won the league wicket-keeping award. Another new signing was batsman Daniel Wood from Barnsley who scored 557 runs.

The Jack Hampshire Memorial Cup Final win against Wakefield Thornes was built on solid batting from Paynter (62 runs), Patel (54 runs) and Batty (48 runs) who all contributed well to the 240 total. Wakefield Thornes bravely chased the runs but came up 31 runs short with Glover being the best bowler with 3-52.

The strength of Wrenthorpe’s squad in these years provoked many arguments about who was the best team in Yorkshire. True, they dominated the Heavy Woollen Cup beating top sides like Woodlands, Barnsley and Hanging Heaton, but the icing on the cake would have to be the winning of the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy. The winner of this trophy is usually a useful barometer as to who is the best Yorkshire club team that particular year.

In 2011 Wrenthorpe reached the final of the Black Sheep Trophy and were big favourites to beat the South Yorkshire League outfit Whitley Hall at Hanging Heaton. A big crowd gathered with the neutrals expecting to see a Wrenthorpe victory.

Wrenthorpe’s batting, as ever, was impressive. After seeing Austin caught behind with just two runs on the board, Fellows and Paynter added 118 for the second wicket. Fellows was his usual unruffled self as he made 52 off 69 balls, striking one six and seven fours before he casually chipped a ball to midwicket.

Paynter continued to maintain a good tempo and struck five sixes and eight fours in a commanding 107 before he was bowled.  Ellis (37no) and Parker (33 runs) provided quick runs at the end of the innings as Wrenthorpe finished on 296-6.

Despite this impressive score Wrenthorpe were undone by a miraculous innings by Jaco Castle who produced a stunning innings to power Whitley Hall to a thrilling five-wicket win. The hard-hitting South African smashed 89 not out off 45 balls, hitting four sixes and nine fours as his side overhauled a Wrenthorpe total of 296-6 with seven balls to spare. When Castle arrived at the wicket with his side 166-3 they still needed 131 runs from 14.1 overs, and the odds appeared to be in Wrenthorpe's favour.

This defeat was particularly galling given that Wrenthorpe had easily beaten all-conquering York on their own patch in the semi-final. This, against the winners of the Black Sheep Trophy of 2009, and the prospective National Club Champions of 2012.

York’s total of 252-6 didn’t extend a Wrenthorpe side who overhauled this score with 7.2 overs to spare. Fellows made an unbeaten 141 which included a six and 20 fours as he and Luke Patel (36 runs), David Paynter (25 runs) and Oliver Whittaker (23 no) dominated the York attack.

Black Sheep Yorkshire champions Cup elusive

The very next year Wrenthorpe had their chance to reverse the 2012 Black Sheep Final defeat by playing the same opponents Whitley Hall at Elsecar. Again they were installed as favourites and again they lost out.

With one eye on the threat of rain and the possibility of the run rate coming into play, Wrenthorpe skipper Gary Fellows chose to put Whitley Hall in after winning the toss. Whitley Hall's score of 204-9 was considered slightly less than par after Glover (3-32) and Joe Ellis (2-42) used the new ball well.

Wrenthorpe were mindful of the need to keep an eye on the run rate when they replied. An opening stand of 41 between Fellows (24 runs) and Danny Wood (14 runs) appeared to have given them a sound base, but then five quick wickets saw them slump to 73-5. When Wrenthorpe reached 100 with seven wickets down the game looked up, but such is the depth of their batting that they were still in the game.

Parker, coming in at number seven, changed the complexion of the game hitting two sixes and five fours in a fine innings of 51. But, it was not to be as Whitley Hall edged home by 18 runs to thwart Wrenthorpe’s desire for the full set of club honours.

Unsurpassed record

Wrenthorpe’s reign was nevertheless a fruitful one and although they had feisty protagonists in Birstall, Methley and Townville, when it came to showing the medals there was only one winner:

Central Yorkshire League Premier Winners- 2003, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012

Jack Hampshire Memorial Cup Winners- 2005, 2007, 2011, 2012

Yorkshire Council Play-Off Championship Winners- 2007, 2008

Heavy Woollen Cup Winners- 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012

Reign over

 By 2013, Wrenthorpe had been shed of most of their marquee signings and settled for life as a more modestly run club. Batty, one of the few big players to remain, carried the team with 732 runs at 61.00, and was also the chief wicket-taker with 35. The dependable Jonny Smith won the league wicket-keeping award for the fourth time in seven seasons.

Wrenthorpe did punch above their weight to reach the Jack Hampshire Cup Final where they met Methley. The outcome was an uncannily similar re-run of the 2010 clash between the two teams. Methley registered 255-7 with Tom Chester taking 5-69, then Wrenthorpe were restricted  to 229-8, with Ellis (53 runs) and Patel (65 runs) taking the score within 26 runs of the target at 229-8.

In 2014 the former Barnsley pair Batty and Ellis dominated proceedings. Batty scored 477 runs and took 33 wickets, while Ellis made a total of 629 runs and plundered 31 wickets.

Former Castleford batsman Andrew Bourke joined the club in 2014, and he made his mark in 2015 skippering his side to the Jack Hampshire Trophy Final, and having a fine league season scoring 542 runs at 41.69. His best season for Castleford was in 2003 when he scored a Yorkshire League record haul of 1,421 runs.

The Heavy Woollen Cup glory years were well and truly a distant memory when Pudsey Congs knocked them out of the 2014 competition by ten wickets.

Wrenthorpe strengthened for the 2015 season and were well in contention for qualification into the South Yorkshire Premier League for the 2016 season. However, when the Central Yorkshire League integrated their clubs into the Bradford Premier League, Wrenthorpe decided to accept a Championship place alongside their old rivals Methley and Townville, and fight for a top flight place in 2017.

The league side was much strengthened by South African Daryl Hendricks who scored 1,063 runs at 75.93, with a top score of 163*. Hendricks who picked up the league prizes for best average and run aggregate had previously made his name playing First Class cricket in South Africa for Boland.

Another good batting performance came from Greg Wood, who had first developed his game at Wrenthorpe before moving on to Yorkshire books, averaged 92.20 in nine innings for the club.

The best bowler was accurate seamer James Glynn who took 38 wickets at 21.45, backed by the competitive Chris Leaf.  Glynn picked up the Don Nicholson award for the outstanding individual performance for taking 9-11 in a league match.

The last season in the league was an encouraging one with a top four place and as a bonus a good cup run. They beat Great Preston, Hopton Mills and Hunslet Nelson on route to the Jack Hampshire Cup Final at Methley, where they played the hosts.

Heavy defeat in the Jack Hampshire Final

On an unbelievable weekend for changing fortunes they faced Methley on the Saturday in a vital league match and chased down 225-7 to win by nine wickets in a canter. Methley reversed this defeat the very next day in the Cup Final by winning the tie in a mere two hours, by ten wickets.

In an unprecedented one sided final they skittled Wrenthorpe out for 55 in 18.1 overs with Raz taking 5-24, and in doing so claiming the Man of the Match Trophy. Methley’s openers Richard Foster (39*) and Marcus Walmsley (17*) then proceeded to hit the runs off in six overs.

Into the Bradford League Championship

Wrenthorpe were expected to challenge strongly in Championship B of the Bradford League in 2016, and they did with 15 wins from their 22 league matches. However, Townville soared away from the start and Wrenthorpe, who were effectively their only challengers, ended 57 points behind in second place. This meant they failed in their bid to secure a place in the Bradford Premier League. 

Greg Wood topped their batting with 370 runs averaging 52.86, with Luke Patel (582 runs) and Darryl Hendricks (754 runs) the heaviest scorers, while Jonathan Rudge was the best bowler with 55 wickets at 12.25, and a best analysis of 9-53 against Spen Victoria.

As one of the favourites for promotion from Championship 1 in 2017, Wrenthorpe were jostling with Methley for the second position behind Scholes for much of the season. It was clear by the half-way mark that it was a 3-horse race, but Wrenthorpe’s consistency ensured they would stay in touch.

Later they suffered four successive league defeats that rendered their promotion chase in doubt. They then managed to gain points back as both Methley and Scholes faltered, but it wasn’t until the penultimate fixtures that their destiny was back in their own hands.

Wrenthorpe were the big winners taking 16 points from a cliff-hanger at Yeadon, while the eagerly anticipated clash between Methley and Scholes ended in abandonment after 8.2 overs. It was a terrific battle at relegation haunted Yeadon who posted a challenging 131-7 from their reduced 20 overs.

Wrenthorpe struggled all the way to reach this target and were facing defeat at 114-9, but Samual Wigglesworth got them over the line with an unbeaten 22, striking a four and a six from the last two balls of the match.

Only seven points separated the top three going into the final fixtures and if Wrenthorpe beat Scholes they would be promoted to the Premier League.

Wrenthorpe batted first and lost early wickets to the Scholes seamers on a helpful track. They plunged to 74-7 before Rudge (36no) and Matt Holstein (25) gave the score a boost, but 156-9 didn't prove enough as Scholes recovered from their poor start to win with 14.5 overs to spare.

Scholes had early struggles and when they were reduced to 17-3 the game had all the makings of a titanic struggle for them. However, opener Shoukat Ali had other ideas as he steered them to victory with an unbeaten 78, despite the best efforts of Jonathan Rudge who took 5-49.

Although they won fifteen times they finished 13 points off a promotion place, and their double loss to Scholes cost them.

The batting was strong with Greg Wood (666 runs), James Glynn (656 runs), Jordan Sleightholme (609 runs) and Luke Patel (588 runs) all scoring prolifically, while left arm seamer Jonathan Rudge finished second in the League Bowling Averages with 63 wickets at 10.71.

Promotion to the Premier League

At the third time of asking Wrenthorpe, were promoted to the premier league under captain Sleightholme, who led by example scoring 649 runs. The club held the first three places in the best run-getters in the league, with overseas player Mehran Ibrahim leading the way in first place with 727 runs at 60.58, Patel next with 694 runs, followed by Sleightholme.

The side also contained penetrative seamers evidenced by Jonathan Rudge (pictured above, 76 wkts) and Awais Ejaz (65 wkts) occupying the first two places in the league’s `most wickets’ list.

After an early defeat by Morley, they went on a run that saw them jostling with Undercliffe at the top for virtually all of the season. Both teams began to build a commanding lead on third place Morley, and attention turned moved towards who would be champions.

In what turned out to be the defining match of the season, Undercliffe won a thriller at Wrenthorpe mid-season, despite collapsing to 71-7, when chasing 211. Undercliffe’s Khalid Usman (77*) got together with Zeeshan Qasim (74 runs) to form a 105-run partnership for the seventh wicket, and eventually squeezed home after the last wicket put on 21-runs.

Earlier Sleightholme (64 runs) and Ibrahim (60 runs) had set a challenging score, and Rudge put his side in the ascendency with five wickets.