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1864 - 2013  - Cleckheaton Cricket Club History in brief!

The humble beginnings of Hunsworth Mills CC in 1864 has seen the Cleckheaton-based club not only change it's name but transform itself in to one of the most respected and popular members of the Bradford League.

Arguably, in recent history, the former Lancashire and England all-rounder Ian Austin was the man mainly responsible for changing the profile of Cleckheaton Cricket Club.

The initial thoughts of Austin joining Cleckheaton were a little sceptical because it was believed he would be 'too expensive'. It is no secret that players are paid to perform in the Bradford League and occasionally some may be a little mercenary but the majority are not. In Austin's case he came to Moorend to enjoy his cricket and not for the money, which is consistent with every player who plays for the club.

Ian Austin (pictured) A revolutionary Cleckheaton character

The good work that Ian began at Moorend has since been enhanced by current skipper John Wood who replaced his former Lancashire team-mate in 2005. Prior to Austin's arrival yet another former Lancashire stalwart, Steve Titchard, had taken over the captain's role from Paul Booth in 2002 but failed to find that important 'sparkle', which made Austin's arrival in 2003 even more important. The one-time England star was instrumental in Cleckheaton CC wearing coloured clothing in a Priestley Cup game against Bankfoot, the very first time this had happened in the Bradford League.

Austin's arrival owed much to the influence of current Chairman Dave Worrall who has maintained a good relationship with all of his Captains and earned their respect through simply having a 'feel' and an understanding for the game of cricket.

Burly all-rounder Austin had a tremendous effect on our club and his 'down-to-earth' approach made him a popular character with everyone both at Cleckheaton and with opponents. However, it has to be said his post match umpires reports had to be very carefully monitored!

It must also be stressed that John Wood and his family, including brother Ian who has played his part in the Cleckheaton side, have given the club a side to be proud of both in terms of  playing ability and the 'family feel', which is so treasured at Moorend.

Cleckheaton Cricket Club changed it's name from Hunsworth Mills in 1885.

During the following 125 years there has been many characters who have worn their whites at Moorend. Especially, during the 1970s and 1990s when many talented overseas players have played for Cleckheaton Cricket Club. Indian stars such as Rahul Mankad, 'Sonny' Singh, Suru Nayak, Kanwaljeet Singh and Abey Kuruvilla, who helped the side to promotion in 1995.

The club actually joined the Bradford League in 1976 and played their first game at Windhill on the 24th April.

Back in the 1980s Brian Bolus, who was a renowned batsman with Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, signed for Cleck' from Brighouse as Captain but he struggled to progress the club despite his obvious pedigree.

Through the junior ranks over the years there has been many talented young players that have been nurtured at Moorend before going on to better things. Yorkshire's Chris Pickles played for Cleck' before turning pro' with Yorkshire and then returning to the club during the late 1990s. Indeed, Pickles helped the club enormously in 1998 as we were 2nd Division Champions with the one-time County star scoring 1,423 league and cup runs. The Championship winning side also included Paul W inrow, Adam Swallow, James Stansfield and Andy Yates.

top right joe sayers - bottom far right andrew gale

Shown above in the Cleckheaton CC 2005 team photo are: Joe Sayers from Yorkhire CCC (far right on the back row) and our very own Andrew Gale (far right on the front row). John Wood is centre of the front row - pictured in his first season as our Club Captain.

Indeed, the most notable success, as far as Cleckheaton Cricket Club is concerned, has to be Yorkshire's current Captain Gale who worked hard while playing in the Bradford League and prospered rapidly to deservedly earn his present status.

Galey' joined us in 1998 as a youngster and made his first team debut a year later. As a 14-year-old he showed his true ability at Lidget Green when he batted out the final 10 overs of our innings to earn a draw in a first team game against opposition who also included the highly-rated fast bowler Rana. Andrew not only showed what potential he had as a young batsman but also nerves of steel and the temperament of a future star. Andrew's Mum Denise and Dad Alan are supporters of the club and Andrew has not only to be their proudest son - but also ours.

Andrew Gale is part of Cleckheaton's folklore

Our Sponsors Proserve, the Leeds-based Company, stepped in to the breach in 2009 after Gaggia had to pull the plug. The Design and Engineering Co, to name just two of their many attributes, has agreed to Sponsor the Cricket Section for a further term. The Company's Business Co-Ordinator, Dave Gilbank, has explained just how and why his Company decided to become involved with Cleckheaton CC.

"Our first involvement with Cleck' CC came when I was invited to a Sportsman's Dinner at the Club about five-years ago, " revealed Dave. "I was later introduced to the Cricket Chairman, Dave Worrall, who got straight down to business and quickly talked me in to parting with some money for an advertisment board at the ground. I must admit I never expected this to amount to much, but we decided to go ahead with it anyway."

To give Dave Worrall some credit he fostered an excellent relationship with Dave Gilbank and there was an immediate trust, which paid dividends for Proserve. "Pretty soon, thanks to the advertising but mainly with the help of Dave Worrall and also my friend Danny Pollard, who is a supporter of Cleck', we started to pick up some work," admitted the Proserve Business Co-Ordinator. "I was genuinely surprised to see people wanting to make the involvement with the Club, a two-way relationship."

The bond was even stronger after our Club Captain, John Wood, also came on board. "I was introduced to John and did the electrical work, together with a local builder, at his and Emma's home," added Dave. "We also carried out several library refurbishment projects for Dave Worrall's Company, FG Library Products."

The real icing on the cake, for both Cleck' CC and for Proserve, came in 2007 when they were asked to provide temporary Floodlights for our first ever Twent/20 competition, which left Dave Gilbank, slightly concerned! "I calmly told Dave it wouldn't be a problem, and it wouldn't have been if we'd had a 40k budget but we only had £2,500," smiled Dave Gilbank. "After weeks of planning we were sure that by the first night everything would go to plan and in the end we were all pleased with the outcome."

Cleckheaton CC under floodlights

Proserve were responsible for providing the lights at our Twenty/20 competitions and now they are confirmed as the Cricket Section's Main Sponsor.

The good thing is that the success of our Floodlit competition, together with the excellent service received from Proserve, led to even more work for Dave G and his men. "After receiving yet another call from Dave W we met up with Ian Morrall from Bradford & Bingley and I believe down to good planning, we got the job of providing temporary lighting for a week of evening events, and also set about designing the lay out for their permanent lighting," he said. "The job was a success and the permanent lights were installed, much to the satisfaction of the Club."

Finally, Dave Gilbank explained that after all the work that had come his way via Cleck' CC he found it difficult to refuse a request from Dave Worrall to become our Main Sponsor. "In 2010, I was asked by Dave if we would be interested in becoming Cleck's Main Sponsor and after the short but successful history I had with the Club, I found it impossible to say no, after a short meeting with the Directors," admitted DG. "As a Company we have enjoyed our relationship with the Club and we are delighted to be the Main Sponsor for the 2011 season and hope to be a part of the Club in the future."

There is no doubt that Dave Worrall had played a major part in making sure that our Main Sponsor was not only on board, but also in assisting Proserve to gain some rewards for their wonderful support. The scorebox was refurbished in the summer of 2011 by the sponsor's and a year later a plaque was installed dedicated to Charles Fenton who had spent many years as a supporter and benefactor to the Club. Sadly, in August 2013, Charles passed away but his memory lives on and he will be forever thought of and regarded as one of Cleckheaton Cricket Club's finest stalwarts.

Time quickly moves on and things change, which is what occured with the Main Sponsor's Proserve who had to pull the plug on their support just prior to the 2012 season, which was through no fault of their own but literally circumstances beyond their control. Fortunately, Stanley Cars agreed a one-year deal and the Kia dealers on Canal Road in Bradford certainly got their money's worth as the Club won the Bradford League Championship for the first time ever since joining the League in 1976. John Wood had at last gained the rewards for his and his players loyalty and hard work. There was even better news when Stanley Cars agreed to extend their sponsorship in to 2014.

Cleckheaton Cricket Club were crowned JCT 600 Bradford League First Division Champions in 2013 and 2014




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