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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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