Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Things you may have missed

posted by John Winn

  • at its AGM the Halifax Cricket League announced that the member clubs had voted unanimously to join the YCB pyramid. President David Normanton said that 'We are well aware that only a small number of our champions will even consider the move to a higher league.........but all.....clubs voted to give the others an opportunity to be promoted'.

  • the Scarborough Beckett League has amalgamated with the Derwent Valley League and will have 57 teams in 2016. The Scarborough News describes the move as the winding up of the 95 year old Derwent League. The league has suffered from a loss of teams in recent years and secretary Bernard Goulding describes his mixed emotions over the merger. Bernard is saddened by the demise of the league but believes the amalgamation is the best way forward.

  • in the York Senior Cricket League Humberside based club Fenner has disbanded citing shortage of players and uncertainty over the future of the Marfleet Ground. The club's closure appears to have been precipitated by the resignation of a number of 'leading players'.

  • in the Wetherby League East Keswick have withdrawn their first team from the league with immediate effect and in 2016 will run only one side, East Keswick A, in Division 4. The league will begin next season with 56 teams, 4 divisions of 12 and a fifth division of eight. Full details on the league website, wetherbyleague.co.uk

  • Sussex have raised serious doubts about the continuance of county cricket at Arundel and Horsham. Attendances have been disappointing and commercial support has declined and both the chairman and chief executive have questioned the viability of the two festivals. Our Sussex correspondent believes Horsham to be under the greater threat.

  • Rockcliffe Park, champions of the Darlington and District League have made application to join the NYSD and after an inspection of the club's facilities by the NYSD President and Secretary it was agreed that the club's application would be supported by the committee. Should the club be accepted their first XI will play in Division 3 and the second XI in Sunday Division 2. Fixtures for the latter will begin on April 10th presenting pcws with an early opportunity to see league cricket in 2106  Rockcliffe's attractive ground is situated near Hurworth on Tees which is practically Darlington. . Another D and D club, Barton have withdrawn their application to join the NYSD.

  • Finally if you have been anticipating the publication of next year's county fixtures later this week then you may have to exercise your patience a little longer. The word on the ether is that it will be December before they are revealed. Go to most county websites, click on fixtures and you will find those for 2015.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Pennine League line up

posted by John Winn

The newly formed Pennine Cricket League now has a website up and running at penninecricket.co.uk. Pcws may be interested in the line up for the premier and championship divisions: here they are

Premier: Austerlands, Crompton, Glodwick, Greenfield, Littleborough, Middleton, Monton and Weaste, Norden, , Rochdale, Royton, Saddleworth, Walsden

Championship: Ashton, Friarmere, Heyside, Hollinwood, Micklehurst, Milnrow, Moorside, Oldham, Shaw, Stayley, Uppermill, Werneth

Not sure where some of these teams are based?  Click on venues where you will find a map showing the location of each ground, postal address and postcode.

Friarmere who will play in PCL Championship in 2016

Monday, 16 November 2015

Changes in the north west

posted by John Winn

In a posting I made in September 'Practically Oldham' I described an outing made by six pcws to visit grounds in the Saddleworth League on the last day of its existence and while I have on a number of occasions made references to the changes which will affect league cricket in Yorkshire next season less has been said about what is going on next door. As far back as June the Saddleworth league website announced that it would be merging with the Central Lancashire League to form a new league to be known as The Pennine League. The new league will comprise 13 teams from the CLL and 11 from Saddleworth.

Four clubs from the Saddleworth League writes The Saddleworth Independent will join the new Greater Manchester Cricket League, details of which are now available on its website. What the GMCL calls 'fixture groups' for next season are listed. Clubs in the Premier League are Bury, Clifton, Denton St Lawrence, Denton West, Edgeworth, Egerton, Flixton, Glossop, Greenmount, Heywood, Prestwich and Unsworth. The four clubs from Saddleworth have been placed in Div 2: they are Droylesden, South West Manchester, Whalley Range and Wythenshawe. Full details available at gmcl-2016.co.uk

Finally the sad announcement of the death of Tom Graveney a couple of weeks ago means a change in the list of England's oldest surviving test captains. Donald Carr of course remains at number 1 but TWG's place at two has been taken by Raymond Illingworth. I recall seeing Graveney playing for England at Headingley in 1968 against Australia, the one occasion on which he captained his country but I was only present on the first day when stubborn batting from Redpath and Ian Chappell kept England in the field so denying me the chance to see Graveney bat in test cricket. The day is perhaps best remembered for Fletcher's 'noble attempts' at first slip while there were some in the crowd who felt that Phil Sharp might have done a better job.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Down in the pyramid something stirred

posted by John Winn

First of all thank you to Tony for the good wishes expressed in his last posting. I was discharged from hospital five days after my heart surgery and am making a good recovery.  Although I had no control over the date of the operation, 'get well soon' following close behind 'winter well' could hardly have been more convenient.

In previous postings I have made several references to the major reshuffle which is planned for league cricket in Yorkshire next season particularly the division of the Yorkshire Premier League into north and south divisions with the consequent promotion of several clubs to this level. This is not where it stops however for the effects of the changes will be felt further down the chain. The Harrogate  Advertiser drew my attention to one such change when in last week's edition it reported that Pannal, champions of the Nidderdale League will move up the pyramid into the York and District League, which has lost six sides to Premier North. Pannal will play in the second tier while their second and third elevens will remain in the Nidderdale League

This news is also reported on the excellent Nidderdale website with an article by secretary Graham Hyde, posted last week. In addition to the news of Pannal's elevation Graham also lists a number of other changes in the leagues division structure for 2016. These are

Killinghall will drop down to Division Four and will field only one team.

Galphay and Winksley, who really struggled to keep going last season, will move from Div 4 to Div 7

and finally Graham confirms the withdrawal of Sharow II, Hampsthwaite III and Newby Hall II, all of whom failed to complete the 2105 season.

This will leave 98 teams competing in 2016, the top seven divisions comprising 12 teams each. The 14 remaining will compete in two parallel divisions and there will be no division nine. There will be playoffs to determine promotion to Div 7.

More to come in future postings one imagines.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

End of season review

Posted by Tony Hutton

Before this end of season review turns into my usual rant about all the things that annoy me about first class cricket in this country, I would like to send sincere best wishes on behalf of all our contributors and followers to John Winn, who will be undergoing heart surgery later this week. Get well soon John and we all look forward to reading your scholarly comments on all things cricket in the near future.

For me personally it has been an excellent season after the problems I had during the previous two years. My season started at the end of March with pre-season friendlies at Trent Bridge and Loughborough University and did not end until last Sunday 11th October at Arthington, where the sun still shone despite the cool autumnal breeze.

End of season shadows at Arthington

I saw Yorkshire at Worcester in their first match of an amazing season for them and more University cricket than ever at Weetwood, Leeds in April and May.
No chance of seeing Joe Root performing for Yorkshire due to his England commitments, but young brother Billy was in the runs in a big way for Leeds/Bradford MCCU and later for Sheffield Collegiate and Notts 2nd XI. With over 3,000 runs in the season, including a stunning century at Lord's in the University Final, he eventually made his first class debut for Notts in their final match of the season.

Billy Root's innings at Lord's

Another game at Lord's stands out in early May when Durham were heavily beaten by Middlesex with James Harris taking an amazing 9-34 in Durham's second innings.
Later in May I visited Oundle School in Northamptonshire with a wonderful new pavilion full of cricket memorabilia and some lovely village grounds in Bedfordshire.
I returned home via Worcester (again), Herefordshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire re-visiting old haunts and finding a few new ones.

Southill Park, Bedfordshire

I saw cricket of some sort every single day during June, starting off with the best food available on the circuit at Feethams, Darlington. I didn't travel too far afield no further than Chester le Street and Nottingham anyway. Much to see near to home - the University still going strong in the early part of the month as well as Yorkshire Academy and schools matches. I must also mention Yorkshire 2nd XI, which was virtually the Academy all season, due to so many first teamers being absent with England. Their match with Derbyshire at Scarborough was specially memorable for me.

July brought an epic tour de Britain brought on by a brand new car and a chance to prove I can still travel the length and breadth of England to watch cricket despite my advancing years. It all worked out so well, even the weather, as I travelled from Northampton to Banbury to Blenheim Palace to Merchant Taylor's School, Preston Nomads in Sussex, the Isle of Wight, Cheltenham, Hereford and finally Colwyn Bay.

Preston Nomads Ground, Fulking, Sussex

August started with a good win by Cumberland at Carlise which put them in line for their Minor Counties Division title and then another first - cricket in France where my son's family now reside. Suddenly towards the end of August you feel that it is all going to come to an end, hurried visits to Trent Bridge, Derby, Chesterfield, Stamford Bridge, Honley, Chester le Street and Harrogate all come in a rush.

Cricket in Paris

Soon we are into September. Yorkshire steamroller Somerset at Headingley on their way to a second successive title, York win the Yorkshire premier league at Harrogate, but loose the following day to the Academy in the cup final. Cumberland win the Minor Counties title beating Oxfordshire in a day and a half of the four day game.
Then off to Lord's again for a Schools game then the dramatic first over by Ryan Sidebottom which destroyed Middlesex's top order. Bonus points take Yorkshire to the title and we see the trophy presented to Andrew Gale.

Yorkshire - county champions
Cumberland - Minor Counties champions

Then it suddenly all quietens down and the end of season games at Arthington, in Lower Wharfedale, in late September and early October are so relaxing and enjoyable. We meet again the veterans still performing well into their seventies and wonder at their durability. We remember old friends no longer with us and depart to go our separate ways to face the winter months ahead.

Now for the rant. We seem to have achieved a small victory in that county championship matches will not be reduced in 2016, but we still wonder what will happen in 2017. The money men are still in control and anyone who has seen the wonderful film 'Death of a Gentleman' must wonder about the people in charge of the game. Those of us who love county cricket have had so much to put up with due to changes in what was the familiar pattern of the year.

What probably iritates me more than anything is the staging of the first match of the English season in Abu Dhabi. The traditional MCC v County Champions match was always at Lord's, giving county members the opportunity to see their team in action and to enjoy the facilities of the Lord's pavilion. Those of us who were there to see the championship won would I am sure have welcomed the chance to start the new season there as well.

Possibly even worse, I have recently read that the play off final for the new Yorkshire Premier Leagues (North and South) will also be played in Abu Dhabi. A truly Yorkshire occasion now to be staged far away rather than at Scarbrough or Headingley. What nonsense!

The ridiculous cramming in of championship games during the coldest months of April, May and September is a nightmare for the predominately elderly population which attends these games. Most of the time at Headingley for instance people are watching behind glass just to keep warm and miss not only the atmosphere of the game but the public address announcements as well.

Most of us traditionalists do not want one day coloured clothing games. They have their part to play and of course bring in valuable income to support the game, but please can someone bring some common sense to bear on the continually changing fixture pattern.

Those who plan the fixtures have never seemed to have any knowledge whatsoever of geography. Time and again there are fixture clashes which defy belief. Notts and Derby both at home together endlessly. Yorkshire and Durham likewise and no doubt this happens in the south of England too.

County second XI cricket is very much the poor relation. Trying to find overnight scores in three day matches almost impossible and often second elevens at home at the same time as first elevens - ridiculous. This may only be a northern problem as people do turn up to watch these games, unlike in the south. Just send someone to Todmorden or Stamford Bridge when second eleven games are taking place and see how many people are there.

Watching Second Eleven cricket at Oundle

I could go on, but as they say at Old Trafford 'what's the Point'. I have been banging the drum for years ever since three county championship games took place within a few miles of each other simultaneously at Worksop, Chesterfield and Abbeydale, Sheffield. Why have the ECB never tried to sell county championship cricket? Why is there not a proper match of the day highlights programme on Sky every night rather than just tiny snippets? All they are interested in is Test cricket and one day stuff.

Still as someone once said 'It's only a game' and surely the game will survive us all.

Sunday, 11 October 2015


By Brian Sanderson,

Unfortunate John Fuller from Yorkshire Cricket was unable  to see the final match at Arthington against St. George cricket club who play in Harewood ground. So I went  to the match with just two people in my car

Again the sun was shining as St. Georges posed for  their photograph.  They bowled first and found it hard going against some big hitting by Vince Greaves-Newall.

One of the sixes was hit over the spectators car and worth a twelve runs.

At one point it took four people to find the ball in the nearby field.

By drinks break Arthington had scored 77 for 1 as the wind had blown off the wickets number. Vince Greaves -Newall scored 54.

By this time there was a cold breeze blowing which caused spectators to their cars and this brought a scene you have not seen before ie Brian Senior in the driving seat. During this time Chris Binks batted very well and after scoring 50 he declared his innings. Arthington went  on to score 174.

After the tea break James Lord opening the bowling a bowled his six overs  for 2-16. This brought in Andy Stoddart  after his fifty yesterday for Cambridge Meths. Today he scored 59 against some tight bowling.

Geoff Barker  bowling figures were 6-1-9-0. Good figures for any team.

By drinks break the score was 65 for 4. It was left to Andy Stoddart to help St. Georges win the match.

They were also helped by the O' Sullivan family who won the match with one over to spare. The time was 5.50 and that was the end of the 2015 cricket season in England.

Saturday, 10 October 2015


By Brian Sanderson

Driving down to Arthington  were they were playing Cambridge Methodists, the sun was just breaking out to shine on this beautiful village ground.

Arthington batting first Geoff Barker and James Lord opening the batting and played proper cricket against a number of bowlers.

One of the bowlers was Mel Wood now 68 years old and brother of Barry ex Yorkshire, Lancashire and England fame. His figure was for his four overs was 0 for 15.

At drinks break after twenty overs Arthington the score was  77 for no wickets.

After the break Andy Stoddart decided to show his stomach but he stilled played a big part of the match.

During this period a better sight was seen when a gaggle of geese flew over the ground. The Arthington openers put on 114 before  Lord was out for 44.

Geoff Barker carried on in his usual batting style to reach 93 not out  out of a total of 197.

Tea time break is always entertaining and a excellent spread is put outside . By this time there was a cold wind blowing which forced the crowd into theirs cars to watch the match.

Andy Stoddart opened the innings for Cambridge Meths and by drinks the score was 52 for 4. James Lord bowling figures were 3 for 13 whilst Geoff Barker bowling figures were 8-1-23-0.

Andy Stoddart batting well before been caught on the boundary edge for 58.

The other major batsman for the Cambridge Methodist was Zhair Ahmed would at one stage hit three sixes off three balls in his score of 68. Soon after he was out Cambridge were bowled out for 137.

At the end of the match Matrin Binks give one of the umpire his fee for the match. A bottle of wine. At this stage I went home to watch Leeds beat Wigan in the Grand Final. Well done Sir Kevin and the lads. My friend Alan Swaby  will be please from watching  it from the big cricket ground in the sky.