The new field and 'Charlie Mitchell's team'
It was not all plain sailing after the move from Disney's Field. Much
hard work had to be done on levelling the new ground and local figures
such as Harry White, Ben Wood and the redoubtable Matthew Lockwood gave
a great deal of help. The last named figure was, until World War II, largely
responsible for the maintenance of the ground and any lively young Thurstonlander
found larking about on the ground would be sure to get such a reprimand
that a repeat performance was extremely ill advised.
In addition, the Rev. Jerome, the local parson, was on several occasions
able to give assistance with a wheelbarrow to move the large mounds of
During the 1890's, Charlie Mitchell, founder of a local motor engineering
firm, began to play for the club. Many people felt that he, perhaps, began
to influence the playing personnel to such an extent that it almost became
'Mitchell's team' but undoubtedly at the turn of the century and up to
the outbreak of war in 1914 several highly competent players turned out
for the club. Brief details follow about several players from this period
and the reader is referred to the photograph of the team of 1906. It was
kindly loaned by Mr. D. Lodge of Wooldale and is taken on the current
Frank Lee was a good all rounder and often gave large sums of money,
as much as 20 sovereigns in one case, to be looked after by a nervous
scorer. Usually he was a lively fielder at point and batted stylishly.
Sam Fox was an ebullient wicketkeeper whose enthusiasm was such that
loud appeals of 'Howzat' were often designed to intimidate both batsman
and umpire. Often, it was alleged, the appeal came when there was little
chance of a dismissal.
Beaumont (Beau) Charlesworth played for many years and was known for
his fine fielding in the deep and for his big hitting.
William Henry Potter was for a time the licensee at 'The Rock' in Brockholes
whilst Albert Gill did joinery work for Charlie Mitchell and, indeed,
Frank Lee was employed by him.
Ted Pontefract, whose father invested £250 in the L.M.S. for the
chapel, was brought from Huddersfield, Joe Haley came from Holmfirth whilst
Harold Pontefract, a fast bowler, came from Honley.
From all this it can be gathered that the team had rather a cosmopolitan
flavour about it, more in keeping with the composition of teams today.
Charlie Mitcliell had a great deal to do with this and was quite a remarkable
At the turn of the century he had one of the few cars in the area and
his business connections enabled him to invite players from quite far
afield, even by today's standards, to come to Thurstonland for cricket.
The most remarkable was probably a cunning spin bowler called John Hall
who travelled all the way from Goole. As a railway worker he had a pass
to Wakefield where he was usually met by Charlie Mitchell who brought
him the rest of the way in his car.
It is alleged that often John Hall's cricket bag contained more than
his tackle. Tobacco was smuggled from the docks at Goole and brought to
Thurstonland where it was sold. His best feat on the field of play was
to take all 10 wickets against Lascelles Hall.
There is the tale that one day as John Hall walked up Thurstonland Bank,
he was joined by a man who had come specially to watch the team's new
star and he did not know that it was Hall himself to whom he was speaking.
He went on to play league cricket for fifty years and lost his life at
72 in an accident.
Charlie Mitchell himself fielded in the slips and was a useful player
in addition to his other business and social commitments. He once beat
Malcolm Campbell in a hill climb up Holme Moss and a stir was once caused
when Jack Johnson, the coloured world heavyweight boxing champion, had
his car mended at Mitchell's garage.
He gave Joe Haley a job if the latter played for Thurstonland. This he
duly did and also acted as professional in 1910-11. Joe Haley's claim
to fame is that he won outright the Leonard Masters Cup for batting, being
top of the averages for three successive seasons. Cyril Haley, Joe's son,
has kindly given back to the club this splendid rosebowl. The winners
1908 J. E. Pontefract Avg. 24.53
1909 F. Lee Avg. 22.66
1910 E. C. Studart Avg. 32.70
1911 J. E. Haley Avg. 22.85
1912 J. E. Haley Avg. 22.80
1913 J. E. Haley Avg. 19.17
As well as acting as match professional, Joe Haley also did a great deal
of valuable coaching.
District, Alliance, Combination Leagues
By this time the Huddersfield area had a well established league system,
It was hierarchical with promotion within leagues as well as from one
league to another with the District league forming the most elevated status.
Interestingly, when the Central League was founded in 1914 it also felt
that its best clubs should be promoted on merit.
The following list shows how the leagues were made up in 1900:-
Dalton, Kirkheaton, Paddock, Primrose Hill, Lascelles Hall, Golcar, Slaithwaite,
Holmfirth, Honley, Lockwood, Marsden, Linthwaite Hall, Meltham Mills.
Broad Oak, Kirkburton, Almondbury, Hall Bower, Holmbridge, Thongsbridge,
Bradley Mills, Skelmanthorpe, Linthwaite Hall, Meltham, Denby Dale, Lindley.
Combination (Sect. A)
Cartworth Moor, Thurstonland, Shepley, Netherthong, Shelley, Cumberworth,
Combination (Sect. B)
St. Andrew's, Lepton, Almondbury Parish Church, Oakes Baptists, Netherton,
Helme, Farnley Tyas, Sheepridge and Deighton.
The order of names represents league positions in mid-season. Thurstonland
missed being champions only because of a shock defeat in the season's
last game by lowly Hepworth.
This season of 1900 saw an appearance by the club in the semi-final of
the Lumb Cup where defeat was met by the holders, Saint Andrew's.
The scorecard of that game follows:-
E. Armitage c Hirst b Mitchell 30
W. Jessop c Pontefract b Mitchell 18
E. Pilling c Renshaw b Marsden 4
T. Holdsworth b Hirst 10
J. Holdsworth b Hirst 19
A. Rushworth c Mitchell b Hirst 9
A. Pontefract c Lee b Hirst 1
S. Sykes b Lee 24
E. Moorhouse c F. Walker b Lee 12
J. Winterbottom not out 15
H. Brook b Lee 5
B. Charlesworth b Brook 0
E. Mitchell run out 12
A. Marsden b Rushworth 0
G. Hirst c Rushworth b Brook 0
F. Lee b Brook 2
S. Walker c Moorehouse b Rushworth 11
L. Schofield c Armitage b Brook 5
A. Drury b Rushworth 12
W. Pontefract b Brook 0
T. Renshaw b Brook 4
F. Walker not out 0