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2014

Saturday April 19th was the first game of the season and the contest away to Pudsey Congs ended well for Cleck' who won by six wickets scoring 245-4 in reply to the home side's total of 243-8. OverseasTanzeel Altaf made his debut and took 4-71 as well as scoring 25 runs. Andrew Deegan helped himself to three wickets but the real stars were John Wood who scored 88 runs in a partnership of 163 with Mally Nicholson who scored 70 runs. The following day Cleck' lost by 117 runs in the Heavy Woollen Cup at home to New Farnley who made 276 and in reply Cleck' were all out for 159. Sam Gatenby made his First Team debut and the 15-year-old shared a last wicket partnership of 25 with Andrew Deegan and he had a personal tally of 15 not out. Iain Wardlaw took 5-76, Tanzeel Altaf 3-35 and for the visitors Lee Goddard was the top scorer with 94.

On Saturday April 26th Woodlands were the visitors to Moorend and an intriguing game ended in a tie! The away team made 194-9 and in reply and needing just one run to win off the last over with two wickets in the tent, Cleck' were dismissed for 194. Mally Nicholson who had made an excellent 87 runs was clean bowled by Sarfraz Ahmed and with the next ball Andrew Deegan saw his stumps splattered. However, the match was a fantastic contest with Deeg's 3-19 from six overs and Ian Wood's disciplined spell of 0-36 off his 15 overs were first class contributions.

The visit to Pudsey St Lawrence on May 3rd didn't go as planned with a four wickets loss! Cleck' won the toss and batted first before capitulating from 45-1 to 130 all out. Openers Tim Jackson and Andy Gorrod made 36 and 24 respectively, but even though John Wood took 3-21 the home side cantered to 134-6. On Sat' May 10th wet weather curtailed the Bradford League programme with more Cricket played at Moorend than most grounds. Hanging Heaton scored 165-5 with Gary Fellows 80 not out and there were three wickets for Andrew Deegan but the elements won and the match was abandoned.

Saturday May 17th witnessed a tough game at home to New Farnley but Cleck' worked hard to win by 31 runs after finishing on 201-7 and in reply the away team were 170 all out. There were three wickets apiece for Andrew Deegan and John Wood and Jimmy Lee scored 44 not out alongside Ian and Mally Nicholson's knocks of 43 and 39 runs, respectively. Richard Whitehurst scored 31 runs from just 23 balls. Saturday's game at Morley was abandoned, as was every other game in the Bradford League but 48 hours later on Bank Holiday Monday May 26th Cleck' produced a brilliant performance against all the odds by beating East Bierley by 152 runs. Iain WardlawTim Jackson and Richard Whitehurst were all missing but Cleck' scored 249-6 thanks to knocks of 74 from Tanzeel Altaf and 36 from the bat of Ian Nicholson with the pair sharing a partnership of 106. The visitors were all out for 97 with five wickets forAndrew Deegan, which included two caught and bowled, three wickets for Jimmy Lee two catches and two wickets for Man-of-the-Match Tanzeel and an overall superb display.

On May 31st Cleck' won by 103 runs at Yeadon whose Elliott Herd took six wickets and claimed a hat-trick but the visitors middle order batsmen paved the way for a score of 203. Tanzeel Altaf scored 61 runs, Mally Nicholson scored 74 runs and Jimmy Lee was 31 not out. The home side were dismissed for 100 with John Wood taking 3-14 and there were four wickets for Tanzeel and a couple also for Iain Wardlaw. On Saturday June 14th Cleck' thrashed Farsley by 150 runs and openers Andy Gorrod andTim Jackson were the stars sharing a stand of 192 with the duo showing true quality. Tim scored 92 runs and Andy had a brilliant knock of 124 as Cleck' scored 273-9. Apart from Joe Sayers' resistance with 63 runs, Farsley were dismissed for 123. Tanzeel Altaf took 5-44, Andrew Deegan 3-43 and there was a couple of wickets for Iain Wardlaw.

John Wood was in devastating form at Bradford & Bingley on June 21st taking 5-20 off seven overs and there was also four wickets for Iain Wardlaw as Bradford & Bingley were all out for 67 after they had reduced Cleck' to 158 all out and they'd been handed an additional 12 overs. Only Tim Jackson with 48 runs and Jimmy Lee who scored 32 runs made real in-roads in to the home bowling. Chris Dobsonbatted well for his 18 runs. But it was Messrs Wood and Wardlaw who took the honuors. The next game was a vital clash at Moorend against an in-form Pudsey St Lawrence outfit who were in third place but just 12 points behind Cleck'. On June 28th the visitors fell 14 runs short of Cleck's 245-6 with Andy Gorrod scoring 71 runs and Mally Nicholson showing his good form with the bat by notching 74 runs.Richard Whitehurst struck a rapid 30 runs from 13 balls. PSL ran out of overs finishing on 231-9 withTanzeel Altaf taking 5-56 and there were three wickets for Iain Wardlaw.

Saturday July 5th witnessed a superb encounter at Woodlands with Cleck' winning by 21 runs. The away side won the toss and decided to bat and the 243-7 was largely due to superb knocks of 70 fromTim Jackson, 58 from Ian Nicholson with 56 runs rapidly made by Tanzeel Altaf with Jimmy Leemaking 25 not out. The hosts were all out for 222 as Tanz' was the star turn with 6-63 and there were a couple of wickets for Andrew DeeganIain Wardlaw was unavailable but Ian Wood returned to the side after a knee operation and took 1-18, bowling three maidens in his six overs. Cleck's fielding was a big factor in the win as Andy Gorrod held a beauty to dismiss Duncan Snell whilst Jimmy held on to three catches.

Jimmy Lee is starring with the bat in 2014!

Friday July 11th was a landmark in the Club's history with a fantastic 150 years celebratory dinner that saw Geoff Miller and the comedian Austin Knight in outstanding form. Less than 24 hours later Cleck'were anything but in good form after a 48 runs defeat at home to Pudsey Congs who made 252-5 and in reply, Cleck' were all out for 204 with Ian Nicholson the top scorer with 66 runs. One week later rain was the winner as the League programme was washed out although Cleck's game at Hanging Heatonbegan in a 20 overs aside contest. The hosts made 183-3 from their 20 overs but Cleck's reply of 15-1 was soon put to an end with thunder and lightning and heavy rain.

Saturday July 26th was slightly worrying as the team were without opening batsmen, Tim Jackson andAndy Gorrod for the visit to New Farnley. But no-one should have been too concerned as several others stepped up to the mark. Jimmy Lee scored 67 runs, Mally Nicholson had a great knock of 64 whilst Ian Nicholson batted well for his 60 runs. Cleck' made 310-7 that also included an excellent 44 runs from the Seconds' Skipper Chris Dobson. The hosts were all out for 230 as Cleck' secured an eighty runs win and there were four wickets apiece for Iain Wardlaw and Tanzeel AltafMorley were next up on August 2nd but they were no match for Cleck' who bowled out the Leeds-based side for just 78. Iain Wardlawtook 5-32 and Tanzeel Altaf had figures of 3-21 off his eight overs. Tanz' also scored 45 not out in the nine wickets win as Cleck' finished on 82-1. Seven days later East Bierley shook Cleck' with an easy win, bowling the away team all out for 112 after making 153-9. Luke Jarvis took 6-12 for the hosts.

On Saturday August 16th bottom Club Yeadon were on the end of some big hitting from Tanzeel Altafwho scored 91 runs in Cleck's total of 306-7. Mally Nicholson also made 47 runs and John Woodscored a useful 40. In reply, the visitors faced an attacking field and managed some cheap runs in their final total of 208 with Tanz' taking 5-74 in a 98 runs win. August 24th belonged to Andrew Deegan who had figures of 7-22 from nine overs as Cleck' defeated Lightcliffe by 58 runs after making 210-7 in a game that was reduced to 40 overs per side because of the showery rain. The visitors were dismissed for 152.

Saturday August 30th was the day that John Wood's guys completed consecutive Championship wins with a convincing 114 runs win at Farsley who were admittedly missing several regulars. However, there was still a job to be done and on a damp wicket a score of 220-8 looked a good total. Top scorer wasAndy Gorrod with 47 runs, whilst three players, John WoodJimmy Lee and Tim Jackson all scored 30 plus runs each.

The home side had no answer to some excellent bowling and were dismissed for 106 with Tanzeel Altaftaking 5-39 and there were good spells of bowling from Jimmy Lee, who had 3-10 off six overs, and alsoIain Wardlaw who took 2-11 from his eight overs bowled. The guys fully deserve their success and with the Title sewn up a week early that's great news for all Cleck' followers.

On Saturday September 6th the Club received the Championship Trophy at 11:20am prior to the game with Bradford & Bingley that was rain affected and eventually abandoned. Cleck' won the toss and batted first and thanks to John Wood's 36 not out, knocks of 27 and 26 from Richard Whitehurst and Tim Jackson, respectively the end total was 137-7 off 16 overs before rain brought the match to an abrupt halt! Jack Bleazard at just 14 made his debut and although it was a day of celebration and quite rightly so it did not appear that anyone from the League was particularly ecstatic and was left to the home supporters and the players to celebrate a second successive Title win.

Cleck's long-term plans comes to fruition

Cleck's Captain John Wood joined the Club ten years ago with a hard act to follow in Ian Austin who was a former Lancashire teammate of Woody's and a one-time England international with a reputation of one of the best all-rounders that the Bradford League has ever seen.

It has been a roller-coaster ride for John but he never lost faith or sight of the job in hand and the last two years of Championship wins has come through a lot of heartache and difficult decisions but also plenty of hard work.

The first eight years witnessed a great deal of wheeling and dealing by John and the Club Chairman Dave Worrall without being too disruptive to forming a settled side, which may seem a slight contradiction but there was a genuine effort to rid the Club of those that were perhaps interested in their own performances rather than the team's results. During the first few years Cleck' in the main seemed to be a side that would finish around sixth place and apart from a Priestley Cup Final appearance against Pudsey Congs in 2005 when the Club was brushed aside - success was hard to come by.

During this time Cleck' managed to hold on to the registration of Yorkshire CCC Captain Andrew Galeand because of injury Galey made come back appearances for fitness reasons with his Club side atHanging Heaton and also against Manningham Mills.

One other Club stalwart who once-upon-a-time was Galey's mentor is Chris Dobson who has never shirked from helping the Club out whether it's as a player or in recent years as Captain of the Seconds or with his technical expertise off the field and it was fitting that Dobby appeared in the Cleck' team that won a first ever League Title at Woodlands in 2013 and he scored 30 plus runs.

Over the years there were many conversations in Cricket Committee meetings that a First Division Championship success was not far away although admittedly this informal 'chat' seemed to go on for quite a while but to be fair to Woody and the Chairman they always stuck to their guns that the Club flatly refused to pay out 'silly' money to players and would always sign the right kind of character that was as important as the talent of a Cricketer - and that ethos became stronger as the years wore on.

Already, John was getting rid of the ghost of 'Oscar' who will always be fondly remembered by Cleck' for his willingness to front the authorities and even though Ian was a real larger than life character and a fantastic all-rounder the strong silent type Woody was rapidly showing his steely qualities.

John Wood flanked by his son Joe and brother Ian

To view how the Club fared over the last few years, performances can be witnessed in the 'Seasons Past' column at the top of the Home Page and indeed in the 2014 column there is a blow by blow account of this season but for the moment we're looking deeper at why Cleck' had failed to achieve a Bradford League Title since joining the League in 1976 and then out of the blue almost - back-to-back successes comes to the Club. It's not just coincidence that John has been able to keep a number of players happy that could easily have moved on to other Clubs for more money many times but they've stayed faithful to Cleck'.John is a leader who is not afraid to make tough decisions but he'll also wrap a protective arm around his men if they are criticised by outsiders. And he's been a big influence on many players' careers, especiallyIain Wardlaw who has benefited most from the advice of his teammate who knows a fair bit about fast bowling after a number of years with Lancashire and Durham playing in the County Championship.

Woody with his brother Ian celebrates 10 years at Moorend in 2014 and in 2015 it's Ian Nicholson's turn and in 2016 both Wardy and Mally Nicholson will have been at the Club a decade, which is credit to all of those guys that their loyalty is so apparent and a massive reason why Cleck' has eventually made a success of the last two year's.

Ian and Mally Nicholson are two loyal Cleck' players and family men

It is unfair to miss out any of the Club's Championship winners as they have all played their part but key signings at the right time make a difference. Tim Jackson was captured from Saltaire four years ago and how Jacko' has progressed. At a time when Richard Whitehurst who had Captained Esholt to a very unlikely promotion as well as Skippering Gomersal was ready to go out of the League he signed for the Club three years ago and was given a new lease of life. The unpredicatable but hugely gifted Jimmy Leehas produced some excellent displays to out shine a few 'hairy' moments! Andy Gorrod joined the Club from Gomersal at the beginning of the season and in his first term at Cleck' he's won a Championshipmedal.

Andrew Deegan joined Cleck' from Bankfoot after they'd been relegated three years ago and it was a toss up between Deeg's and another spinner who is playing elsewhere in the First Divisionbut Woody'sinstincts were right as Andrew has become one of the League's most effective slow bowlers and he is a smashing guy who also supports the Club off-the-field. Prior to the 2014 season overseas Ammar Mahmood was a success but for this term his fellow country man from Pakistan,Tanzeel Altaf was chosen and the leg break bowler and destructive batsman has proved invaluable and even better he's signed a contract for the 2015 season with the additional commitment of leaving behind his belongings!

Jimmy and Deeg's are a couple of 'happy chappies' hic!

However, even though the last two League campaigns have been tremendous for Cleck' everyone at the Club is aware that we've a long way to go before being heralded as a Woodlands or a Pudsey Congswho both dominated the Bradford League for long spells. Woodlands won the Title six times out of eight years between 2005 and 2012, whilst Congs won the Championship five years on the trot between 2000 and 2004 and Cleck's Chairman Dave Worrall has openly admitted that they were the best team he has ever seen in the Bradford League but also agrees that if his own side copy the feat then he'd change his mind!

Whatever the next few years brings there's no doubt that Cleckheaton Cricket Club is determined to be one step ahead both on and off-the-field and will be going all out to make 2015 a hat-trick of wins (and who knows also persuade a few doubters that we do genuinely want some Cup success!!).

P
W T A L Bat Bowl Pens
PTS
1 Cleckheaton 22 13 1 5 3 62 79
1
290
2 Woodlands 22 11 2 5 4 51 71
0
257
3 Hanging Heaton 22 10 0 5 7 49 61
0
225
4 Bradford & Bingley 22 10 0 5 7 34 74
1
222
5 New Farnley 22 10 0 5 7 38 68
0
221
6 Pudsey St Lawrence 22 9 1 6 6 41 65
1
218
7 Farsley 22 9 0 5 8 37 57
0
199
8 Pudsey Congs 22 7 0 6 9 46 63
1
196
9 Lightcliffe 22 7 0 5 10 44 54
0
183
10 East Bierley 22 6 0 6 10 19 68
1
164
11 Morley 22 4 0 5 13 29 59
0
143
12 Yeadon 22 2 0 6 14 30 62
3
127


The above Final First Division League table courtesy of the JCT 600 Bradford League website


Chris Dobson is pictured receiving his Championship medal from League President Mr Keith Moss

Below are Cleckheaton Cricket Club's 2014 JCT 600 Bradford League Champions squad from left to right back row; Ian Nicholson, Jimmy Lee, Andrew Deegan, Chris Dobson, Richard Whitehurst, Iain Wardlaw, Elliot Hallas, Sam Gatenby, Ian Wood. Front row left to right; Joe Wood, Bryan Telfer, Tim Jackson, John Wood (Captain) Mally Nicholson, Andy Gorrod, Jack Bleazard.




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