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Thanks a million Bob!

Bob Speight will go down in history at Cleckheaton Cricket Club as one the greatest ever servants that has graced Moorend.

However, Bob’s administrative brilliance does come with a cost from a man whose character people love – but takes a bit of fathoming!!!

Being perfectly honest there are times when Speighty’s rather unnerving humour leaves some scratching their heads, plus his questionable habit of perhaps purposely appearing absent minded? His lack of buying a round at the bar is puzzling (but he never refuses one if it’s bought) - but in fairness it is probably because his half of diet coke is his main tipple!

Yes, sometimes Bob goes out of his way to rattle a few cages – but that’s enough of the slight negatives because inside the man is a person of intelligence, integrity and loyalty.

Bob has stepped down as the Cricket Club Secretary and the Club is fortunate to have a ready made replacement in Antony Lee. Thankfully, Speighty remains on the cricket committee and his guidance and experience remains invaluable.

Antony Lee needs big boots to follow in Speighty's footsteps but he's already laid down the marker overseeing new cricket nets and Antony will have the 'old master' by his side for some while

In addition, Bob was extremely reticent to write his biography but with some gentle persuasion he has succumbed and as a very talented writer the following are Bob’s words in full and it would be both churlish and disrespectful to alter a single sentence.

Bob writes; “I was born in Hunsworth and lived there until I was fifteen. In my late childhood I was a regular visitor to Cleckheaton Cricket Club where during the summer holidays “Test Matches” were keenly contested at the bottom of the cricket field between the kids from “Kilroyd” and “Westroyd”. We would happily play for days even though there was plenty heated arguments due to the lack of umpires.

When possible, my father would take me to watch cricket at Moorend although my early memories of watching cricket were at East Bierley where I remember seeing cricketers of the calibre of Gordon Philips, Harry Waterhouse, Jackie Birkenshaw, Norman Kitson and a very young Brian Lymbery play. I did, however, again with my father, watch Cleckheaton play in two winning Heavy Woollen Cup Finals in 1959 and 1960 both against Hanging Heaton at Heckmondwike and Hartshead Moor. In the 1960 final I was asked to help in the scorebox and when the position of scorer for Cleckheaton was advertised in 1961, I applied, was interviewed and given the job at the age of 16. I scored in a relatively new score box that had only been completed in 1954. I think I remember scoring for around 8 or 9 years and during this period having a two year stint as Secretary of the Club when the captain of the team at that time was Bill Goldsmith until then deciding I wanted to do other things with my time.

When Cleckheaton decided to join the Bradford League in 1976, I was asked if I would come back to score for the Club and I was very happy to do so.

Speighty pictured in 1976 as the Club's scorer

Bob Shackleton and myself were jointly interviewed by the Bradford League for the posts of Secretary and Records Secretary. Although Bob stayed on as Secretary of the League, I decided to relinquish this role after the 1988 season just prior to me taking on the role of Cricket Secretary at Cleckheaton in November of 1989. I did, however, take on League duties again on a temporary basis in 1997 until the current Records Secretary, Mike Rhodes, took on the job. When joining the Bradford League committee with Bob Shackleton, I inherited the role of Official Bradford League scorer and for many years scored for the League’s teams in both the White Rose and the Yorkshire Senior Leagues Competitions. When I scored in the Final of the Costcutter competition against the South Yorkshire League at Dunnington in 2003 I vividly remember that my helper in the scorebox was a young Jonny Bairstow.

Whilst Secretary of the Club, I needed, on occasions, some help from my colleagues on the committee. In 1990 I received a promotion at work when I became the buying director for the company that employed me. This, at times, made it difficult for me to attend meetings and often my friend and colleague Keith Johnstone stepped in to take the minutes of meetings for me when I found it impossible to get to every meeting. Later, for a period of three years, I shared secretarial duties with another colleague Ian Fearnley who officially took over the taking the minutes at our committee meetings.

At work my position changed when the company I worked for became Gaggia in 2000 and I now took over as Company Secretary for this new organisation. This company, with very little persuasion, became the Club’s main sponsor and it was their cash coming into the Club that enabled us to make the marque signing of Ian Austin.

At the Section’s AGM in January 2013, I finally decided it was the right time to step down as Secretary of the Section and I was replaced by Liz Bailey, but due to her circumstances Liz herself resigned during the 2013 season and I was asked to step back into the fray.

I was very happy to oblige. It was a pleasing time to be involved at the Club as the team took the Bradford League Championship in both 2013 and 2014. The second title in 2014 was achieved in the same year as the club reached its 150 Year Anniversary and I took on the arduous task of preparing a book celebrating this anniversary. Even though I was happy to undertake the preparation of this book it took a lot of my time to produce but on the plus side I learned so much more about the Club’s history.

On joining the Bradford League with Bob Shackleton, I inherited the role of Official Bradford League scorer and for many years scored for the League’s teams in both White Rose and the Yorkshire Senior Leagues Trophy matches.

Three fabulous 'old school' proper cricket stalwarts the likes of which may never be seen again and pictured from left to right is; Keith Johnstone, Bob Speight and Bob Shackleton

In 1999 when County Cricket Board teams were invited into the NatWest Trophy (which in 2001 became the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy), Philip Radcliffe invited me to score for the YCB team that between 1999 and 2003 played in these national one day competitions, and remarkably on two occasions reached the 3rd round and played against 1st class county opposition. In these games they lost against Yorkshire at Harrogate in 2000 and Somerset at Scarborough in 2002. I found these episodes of my scoring career extremely stimulating.

The highlight of my times spent in Cricket was undoubtedly winning the Bradford League’s Sir Leonard Hutton Trophy which was presented to me at the Bradford League Dinner in 2015. It left me with the feeling that the work I had put in over the years had finally been appreciated by the cricket fraternity. Incredibly, I became the third member of Cleckheaton’s current cricket committee to have carried away this prestigious trophy. Bob Shackleton, our President, was presented with his award in 1997, followed by our Groundsman and Treasurer, Keith Johnstone, in 2004.

What I have jotted down are recollections of the things that have really stuck in my mind over the years I have been around the Club, but above all I will always remember the real friendship and fellowship of the people who have worked with me during the memorable journey I am still on. It gives me a great feeling to know that I have been appreciated for what I have contributed but I must stress that am still going to be very much involved with Cleckheaton Cricket Club both now and in the future.”

Quite simply, thank you Bob and we’re all grateful for what you have done over the years and long may your assistance continue.

Bethan recognises influence on others!

The Sports Club houses Cricket, Rugby and Bowls and the Title of Bar Manager is not an easy task but almost one-year on since being appointed in that role, Bethan Robinson is doing ‘just fine.’

It’s no secret that because of her tender years a few eyebrows were raised when Bethan was appointed initially but the lady in her mid 20s has shown great maturity as well as ability and appreciates how much the Sports Club means to so many members. “I’ve worked at Cleckheaton Sports Club since the beginning of 2019 and my favourite part of the job is being part of something that is such an important part of so many peoples’ lives,” commented Bethan. “I’m a Cleckheaton girl through and through and live just a couple of miles away from the Club.”

Working unsociable hours as well as being in charge of people often older and more experienced has not fazed Bethan and it should not be forgotten that she too is experienced within the licensing trade and she manages to balance her work with home life as a partner and a mum. Bethan added; “I live with my partner and three-year-old daughter – but I’m used to the lifestyle of working behind a bar – I’ve worked in the licensing trade since I was aged 16 and been employed by award winning pubs such as the West Riding Refreshment Rooms in Dewsbury and the New Inn in Roberttown.”

Bethan has fitted in well at Moorend and she has been accepted fully by everyone at the Club who to a man and a woman recognises hard-work and loyalty and equally the ‘breath of fresh air’ that she has transmitted – and long may it continue.

Bethan Robinson is proving to be anything but an 'Old Golden Hen'!!

The Cricket Section works hard at putting events on and the success of the Club as a whole is imperative but from Cleckheaton Cricket Club’s point of view without the input and effort of so many we would simply not be able to compete at the top-level of cricket.

In the Events Calendar is news of everything that’s happening in the coming months and everyone’s support is both needed and definitely appreciated.

A full function room at Cleck' is a fantastic sight

Keith reflects with pride

Last Sunday’s successful fish & chips luncheon highlighted team work of so many committee members and friends at the Club but one man in-particular was extremely proud at the turn out especially.

Groundsman/treasurer Keith Johnstone alongside his fellow Cleck’ stalwart Mike Williamson made sure the event was run smoothly and well attended, which included a healthy number of Sports Club members as well as cricket followers.

Yes, money was raised but as Keith pointed out it was the fact so many guests attended and enjoyed a good day that was the most important fact.

Fund-raising events are on-going and highlighted in the Events Calendar but unless you have your ‘ear close to the ground’ it’s impossible to appreciate exactly what goes on.

Clubmark was achieved recently with the hard work of Secretary Bob Speight but not without very important input from Cricket Chairman Ian Gatenby who really is a ‘man for all seasons’ and he is willing to roll his sleeves up and get ‘stuck in’ - as Gats did at the fish & chips event carrying them from the chip shop to the Club and alongside Steve Midgley who swaps his Monday to Friday best suit for comfy attire whilst overseeing practical duties!

Keith Johnstone was ALMOST jumping over hurdles after a brilliant fish & chips luncheon event

Antony Lee has almost completed the extremely arduous task of acquiring funding for new nets as well as sourcing a supplier at an affordable cost and he does a great deal more besides – as do so many probably too numerous to mention in full.

As a Club we’re very fortunate to have ‘good people’ lending a helping hand and this can be said of the majority of Clubs around the Bradford League and beyond.

It is often mentioned that ‘old stagers’ will be hard to replace – but at Cleck’ there is a genuine crop of younger and dedicated members coming to the fore such as those already mentioned; Steve andAntony as well as Kev’ Brown who is a quiet but solid and reliable ‘man to go to’ for practical help on the ground in-particular.

Whether the Club reaches the dizzy heights of a Championship success again we know not but it’s mere existence is in good hands – and that is the most important fact.

Steve Midgley and Antony Lee are an integral part of off-the-field matters - plus, they are sociable gents!!

Fabulous fish & chips occasion at Cleck’

Sunday November 10th witnessed a packed function room at Moorend of over 120 guests enjoying a fantastic afternoon at the Cricket Section’s now traditional fish & chips annual luncheon.

Organisers Keith Johnstone and Mike Williamson did a grand job attracting so many guests and they had brilliant support from the likes of Steve Midgley, Cricket Chairman Ian Gatenby and many more members besides.

All three gents seen at Lord's back in 2016 were at the Fish & chips luncheon three years on with Steve Midgley pictured with Keith Johnstone and John Archer

The food sourced from local fish & chips shop Richard’s was superb as ever - and the MC Mark Waitedid a sterling job making the day flow easily and he was supported by comedian Josh Daniels who provided the entertainment.

In addition both Dave Worrall and Antony Lee produced fascinating quiz sheets that gave the eventual winners two bottles of wine.

Thanks must go to everyone that attended and it is very much appreciated that so many people are so supportive including not just cricket members but those from the Sports Club and business people such as Richard Oakey and Mr Scratchings Roger Banks.

All in all the afternoon was excellent!!

Keith Johnstone and his 'gang' overcome many hurdles to put a show on!

Former Cleck’ favourite returns

Iain Wardlaw has agreed to re-join Cleck’ from Hartshead Moor after what is over a three-year absence.

Around 13 years ago Wardy began a long-term stint with Cleck’ arriving from Hartshead Moor as a young and raw talent and he progressed rapidly to eventually become an international fast bowler withScotland in addition to earning a full-time deal with Yorkshire CCC for a spell.

Wardy was a pivotal part of the Cleck’ team that won back-to-back Championships in 2013 and 2014 but at the end of the 2015 season he re-joined Hartshead Moor where his career had begun.

The Club has now a real luxury with the choice of two of three opening bowlers with Johnny Whiteoakand Josh Thurwell battling it out to partner Wardy and his capture is welcomed by Skipper Mally Nicholson. “Wardy brings experience to the side,” admitted Mally. “He is the type of bowler that’s capable of taking early wickets, which is something we’ve missed in recent times.”

Iain is a welcome addition to Cleck’ and his knowledge, cricket nous and experience will benefit the team as a whole.

Wardy seen celebrating a wicket whilst playing for his country and sporting his familiar warm smile

Fabulous photo' gallery

Former Chairman Dave Worrall was ‘snappy’ recently in acquiring a number of photos at the last game of the 2019 season at Moorend against Hanging Heaton.

The match was of course additionally significant as it was John Wood’s last game before retiring at the age of 49.

There is a full overview of John’s time with Cleck’ in the news part of the Archive Section at the top of this website’s Home Page.

Woody coming out to bat for his last ever innings for Cleck'


John can be seen bowling his final overs for a Club he served for 15 years


Players, members and friends sharing a toast to Cleck's one time Captain who was relaxed and still in fine form after the Hanging Heaton contest


An after match drink in the bar enjoyed by every one of Woody's team mates


John surrounded by his family with one 'rather attentive' lady!!


Another family photo' with John's brother Ian pictured smiling alongside his wife Sarah and their children - and both brothers were hugely influential at Cleck' for so many years

Cleck's players in fine spirits alongside Woody

Woody’s fifteen years in brief!

Cricket is not just about statistics but they do have a fascination to most purists and students of the game.

John Wood’s fifteen seasons at Cleck’ has been about loyalty, endurance and leadership and of course his natural ability - that is highlighted by an overview of the facts surrounding his batting and bowling.

The Club's former Captain for thirteen of those fifteen years has had a remarkable time at Cleck' and to play until the age of 49 is testimony to John's keeness and it is worth noting not once during his time at the helm as he missed games other than through injury!

The bottom line is; John scored 7,335 runs during his time at Moorend with an overall average of 24.95. He’s achieved four hundreds during that time including 136 against Hanging Heaton in the Club’s first Championship winning season of 2013 - the year that Woody notched 5,000 Bradford League runs.

His best tally with the bat came in 2011 when he totalled an impressive 718 runs.

John took 272 wickets in his time with Cleck’ with an average of 19.88 and he bowled a total of 265 maidens. His best tally was 44 wickets in his first season at Cleck’ in 2005 whilst his most impressive performances were capturing 8-17 against Morley in 2005 and 6-57 against Pudsey St Lawrence in 2010.

Fascinating facts and impressive statistics but they only tell a part of the story surrounding a true Club legend!

*statistics kindly provided by Bob Speight*

John Wood scored 7,335 runs during his time with Cleck'

Much more to come as autumn/winter unfolds

Although still in September it won’t be long before the out of season months witness a few cold days but things will be hotting up off-the-field.

An overseas player is a target together with at least one other signing and an opening fast bowler has been targeted.

Ethan Lee has been allocated a first team spot for 2020 and the teenager, who has come through the ranks, has done enough this term to earn that place – but it’s now that the hard work starts for Ethan as the Bradford Cricket Premier League is a tough league in which to compete.

It’s well documented recently concerning John Wood’s retirement and the Club is losing the services of both Nick Walker and Andy Gorrod also. With a limited budget - that hasn’t altered for many years - the Cricket Section is looking towards youth to step up and next season is a big one for Alex Midgley who has tremendous promise and hopefully he too can eventually cement a First Team spot.

It’s not been easy playing Second team cricket for any of the lads with too many players all too often missing and last Saturday at home to Keighley there were only nine players available to play, which is a situation the Seconds’ Captain Elliott Hallas with assistance from the Cricket Committee, is looking to address.

Azeem Rafiq has agreed to stay at Cleck’ for next season, which is a major boost as the formerYorkshire CCC all-rounder has made a big impression during his first season at Moorend.

Ethan Lee steps up to the First Team for the 2020 season

So many positives despite final day defeat

John Wood said a last farewell to a wonderful playing career both in full time and semi-professional cricket following the four wickets defeat at Moorend on Sunday September 8th at home to Hanging Heaton.

The former Cleck’ Captain who played professionally at one time for both Lancashire and Durham was surrounded by his family, friends and playing colleagues in the function room at Cleck’ after a subdued playing contest that was at least witnessed by a healthy attendance and the evening celebrations were enhanced by the brilliant singer/musician Sam Wilson.

All of the First Team and some of their families stayed behind as well as many Sports Club members and they were there for one reason - to congratulate Woody and say thanks to an iconic figure. Impressively, none drinking Tom Kohler-Cadmore was part of the group for a couple of hours without any sign of a man who usually enjoy's the surroundings of Headingley on a regular basis.

Woody pictured at the end of the game against Hanging Heaton

The day’s play saw Cleck’ struggle at times with the bat in achieving a total of 172 - although SkipperMally Nicholson performed well for his 49 runs with good support from Tom who notched a hard-earned knock of 29 and there were 19 runs apiece for both Andy Gorrod and Johnny Whiteoak.

Despite the best efforts of Azeem Rafiq, who finished with figures of 3-47 off his 10.5 overs bowled andCraig Fletcher, who acquitted himself well ending on 2-37 from his seven overs, the visitors ended the game as winners finishing on 178-6. Nick Lindley was economical as he bowled five overs conceding just sixteen runs.

Woody’s retirement takes precedence from a man who has given so much to Cleck’ – but we should acknowledge also Andy Gorrod and Nick Walker who are likely to have made their final appearances for the Club barring emergency call-ups!

The day was fine and at times sunny but the overall glow is one of pride.

Woody surrounded by his playing colleagues in the function room at Cleck'

Woody admits it was tough to call time on career

John Wood recently revealed he is to retire at the end of the season and the Club’s loyal and long-serving all-rounder and former Captain gave his thoughts on what was a difficult decision by saying; “The decision to retire has certainly not been an easy one, I’ve thought long and hard about it for a couple of months now and on Saturday felt it was the right time to let the Club know of my decision.

I knew the moment that I met Dave Worrall 15 years ago that this was the Club for me as he had the same ideas and vision about the way he wanted to Club to develop and I knew that he was a man of his word and over the years he has certainly proved that time and time again.

The committee were open to new ideas and worked tirelessly to change the ethos around a Club that was wallowing at the wrong end of the division. It really is down to a team effort that we have achieved so much over the last 15 years.

Obviously winning the Bradford League First Division Title for the first time was the highlight of my time here and to do it again the season after was the icing on the cake. It really was my most proud moment on a cricket field and to achieve it with my brother Ian and team mates was a real added bonus, I will certainly never forget that night and how the Club reacted to us. At the time we had a fantastic side, talented players who all wanted to win but also bought in to the Club and what sacrifices needed to be made to achieve it. Moving forward we certainly need to get back to that if we are to challenge and succeed again.

Craig Fletcher and Nick Walker sharing a joke - we think?!! As Woody says; camaraderie and team spirit is important

I would like to thank DaveBob SpeightKeith JohnstoneIan Gatenby and Kevin Mitchell and the rest of the committee over the years for all their support of which there has been a lot - and for giving me the opportunity to play for this great Club. Also I would like to thank my team mates over my time here, it had been a pleasure to play with you and I hope you continue to enjoy playing for such a fantastic outfit.  It has been a pleasure to spend the last 15 years playing for Cleckheaton - I have made some fantastic friends and my family have enjoyed being part of a very supportive, family orientated Club.

I look forward to watching the team over the coming seasons, hopefully with a pint in my hand with Dave,Kev’Bob and Keith sitting on the car park wall in the sun enjoying some great cricket."

Cleck' pictured on Saturday August 31st the day Woody decided to retire from cricket. Back row L to R; Azeem Rafiq Andrew Deegan Nick Lindley Johnny Whiteoak John Wood Nick Walker. Front row L to R; Craig Fletcher Andy Gorrod Mally Nicholson (Captain) Toby Thorpe Josh Thurwell

Former Chairman heaps praise on Woody

For well over 20 years Dave Worrall was the Cricket Chairman at Moorend and he more than most knows John Wood extremely well and the following words are those of a man who is still heavily involved at Cleck’ and pays a tribute to our one-time Captain who decided to retire from Cricket on Saturday August 31st.

‘We received the news just before the end of Saturday’s game against New Farnley that John decided this was his last season and one-year short of his half century!

How do you summarise his contribution to Cleck’?

The only way I can - is to say John gave everything as we were a Club pottering around the wrong end of the First Division hanging on for another season most of the time. John took up a reference from our former Skipper and ex-Lancashire and England star Ian Austin before agreeing to join us and we did manage to stay up again.

We sat on a wall during a game against Saltaire and decided on a pretty drastic course of action which, within a few seasons saw us challenging at the top end of the table and eventually back to back Championships and everyone knew their jobs, everyone gave full commitment both on the field in the dressing room on practise nights and at club fund raisers.

The camaraderie and team ethos which all successful teams needed was there and admired by the Club members and on plenty of occasions the opposition. John’s commitment was matched by his family, his brother Ian who was an important member of the team, his mum Anne responsible for the best teas in the league and his dad Brian and the rest of the family all getting heavily involved in all the things needed  to be done on matchday.

Fortunately, we will still be able to tap into his coaching and advice skills in the future so the playing days are over and all we can do is say thanks to the most successful Captain in the Club’s history ...cheers mate and thank you very much.’

Brothers John and Ian Wood pictured five years ago alongside John's 'young looking' son Joe

John Wood announces his retirement

Following Saturday’s 39 runs defeat at home to New Farnley the Club’s former Skipper John Woodannounced that he will retire from the game at the end of this term after a highly successful 15-year stint with Cleck’.

The 49-year-old all-rounder has had a distinguished career as a full-time professional with Durham andLancashire for many years and he was later a big favourite at Spen Victoria before moving to Moorendwhere he led the side to consecutive Championship successes in 2013 and 2014 having built a team on a limited budget and a side that was very much geared towards camaraderie, consistency and team spirit - as well as true ability, of course.

Woody remains in the Club’s archives forever as arguably the most iconic player and figurehead ever to have represented Cleckheaton Cricket Club.

His parents Anne and Brian alongside John’s children have and still will be a part of everything that’s good surrounding the Club and not forgetting his influential brother Ian who was another real stalwart and highly-rated player until a knee injury forced him to retire from the game three years ago.

John is an unassuming man and rejects any fuss but despite another disappointing defeat on August 31st the memory of this date will be of the day one of Cleck’s greatest ever players decided to call it a day and his health was toasted by many in the dressing room after the match.

For the record; New Farnley made 193-6 in a rain affected 40 overs game and thanks to Toby Thorpe’shard-earned 63 not out, Cleck’ claimed two bonus batting points after finishing on 154-9.

A few home truths were spoken also after the disappointing contest – but what was said in the dressing room remains in those four walls.

But the day belongs to Woody who is honest enough to realise that his tremendous career is at its end – but John leaves with his head held high and with the utmost respect and love of all of us at Cleckheaton Cricket Club.


In his prime John Wood was one of the most destructive batsmen ever to grace Moorend and as a genuine all-rounder arguably in the top-ten best players that the Bradford League has seen in recent years most certainly

Throughout the years that Woody has served the Club he and his family have been very supportive but it's sometimes individual parents that put themselves out for their off-spring and none more so than Nick Lindley's Dad Ian, who has rarely missed a game home or away this season.


Ian Lindley seen 'dog sitting' Nick Walker's family pet whilst 'trying' to watch cricket!!




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