Thurstonland Cricket Club

The Post War Period

In 1946 Thurstonland revived its 2nd XI in common with most other Central League teams. The Tinker Cup semi-final, the knock out competition for 2nd XI’s, was held at Thurstonland, the clubs involved being Shelley and David Brown’s. On June 29th heavy rain caused all games to be cancelled but Skelmanthorpe reported Thurstonland for not having a team ready to take the field.

Indeed 1947 saw the team fined 30/- because it had not enough players on September 13th to fulfil a 2nd XI fixture at Clayton West whilst a fixture at Cartworth Moor was not played by the 2nd XI on August 28th the following season.

Yet again, as in the previous decade, misfortune seemed to Inspire the club to make renewed efforts and success was particularly enjoyed by the 2nd XI which had been somewhat unreliable earlier. The team was runner up in the Tinker Cup Final against Scholes at Holmbridge in 1950 but two years later, under the captaincy of Eric Halligan, victory was achieved in the same competition at Shelley over Denby Dale. Afterwards the cup was handed to Matthew Lockwood who had for so many years been an enthusiastic worker for the club, particularly on the ground.

In between these two years the 1st XI, not to be out done, reached the final of the Holden Cup where at Skelmanthorpe defeat was had at the hands of Scholes who never seem to be far away on such occasions.

Walter Noble had been elected vice-president of the league in 1951 and he was invited to present the Auckland Cup to the champions for that year. Further distinction came to this long standing member of the club when, in 1953, he was elected League President. He continued to serve the league and club until his death in October 1965.

Another club stalwart, Luther Denney, died in 1955 but his nephew, Frank, was to keep up the family tradition of service to the local village team by being its league representative for several years until other commitments forced his resignation in 1971.

The late fifties usually found the team occupying a respectable midtable position until 1959 saw relegation, along with Shelley, to Section ‘B’.

The year 1960 saw the club purchase a trophy to be presented to the league for award to the player with the best first team bowling average. In later years this was awarded to the holder of the best bowling average in Section ‘A’. This was named the ‘Geoffrey Booth Trophy’ as ‘a memorial to a fine player’. Fittingly its first winner was a member of the Thurstonland club, Gerald Oldham, who, in that 1960 season, took 42 wickets at a cost of 6.45 runs each.

G. Oldham gave unstinting service to the club as a player during the fifties and sixties and only stopped turning out after the 1972 campaign. He captained the 1st XI from 1952-4 and again in 1958 as well as guiding the fortunes of the 2nd XI later in his career. Additionally he served the club as its chairman from 1961-1973.

In 1961 he represented the Central League side and at this point mention can be made of others who have also achieved this distinction in recent years:- A. Priestley (1967), F. Harrison (1969) and T. Uff (1970)..

Promotion was achieved in 1961 after being runners up to Holmbridge. Senior status was held until relegation in 1965. The best position reached was 4th in 1963 but Section ‘B’ has been the club’s home from 1966 apart from a single season in Section ‘C’ in 1973 when promotion was won easily at the first attempt following a poor season and eventual relegation the year before.

Undoubtedly, however, the team’s greatest feat of recent years came in 1967 when, although very much the underdogs in the final, the Allsop Cup, now the knockout trophy for Sections ‘A’ and ‘B’, was won in a game against Scholes. The team played away in each round: at Shelley in round one, at Cumberworth in round two and at Cartworth Moor’s ground in the semi final against Holmbridge.

Details of that final follow:-

At Cawthorne 5-8-67

A. Thackery b Kettlewell 0
N. Turner c and b Kettlewell 0
S. Ellis lbw Kettlewell 14
N. Oldroyd b Kettiewell 34
J. Ellis c Hartley b Kettiewell 0
R. Hallas c Priestley b Fisher 0
G. Kaye b Fisher 0
S. Wliiteley b Kettlewell 22
N,I. Beaumont b Kettlewell 0
A. Haigh st Hobson b Kettlewell 2
D. Ellis not out 1
Extras byes 4, leg byes 2, no balls 1 – 7
Total 80
B. Kettlewell 12-3-34-8
F. Fisher 11-3-39-2

B. Kettlewell lbw S. Ellis 39
D. Haigh h Hallas 20
L. Hobson not out 3
A. Priestley c Turner h Hallas 8
F. Harrison not out 10
T. Sharp
J. Hartley
R. Barritt
T. Peace
G. Oldham
F. Fisher
Extras 2
Total 82 for 3
R. Hallas 16-7-31-2
D. Ellis 3-0-17–0
G. Kaye 3–0-8-0
N. Oldroyd 2–0-12-0
S. Ellis 8-1-12-1

During four seasons in the sixties the club engaged a professional who was able to help with coaching the juniors, a vital part of any club with an eye to the future, but even the relatively modest outlay the club was able to run to proved a little too much. These who held the post were B. Kettlewell in 1966 and 1967 and C. Fearns in 1969.

This history is now almost up to date and, on the eve of its centenary year, the club has undertaken, at considerable expense with help from the old Kirkburton U.D.C., to put in new drains in an attempt to prevent the severe waterlogging which used to occur in parts of the outfield and, indeed, which seriously disrupted home games in the particularly wet June of 1972. Hopeful the problem will have been solved for the start of the second century.

Mention must be made of the year round efforts made by club members to raise funds and also the vital contribution made by the village Gala Committee which, by very hard work and unceasing enthusiasm, raise a great deal of money for the club and the village Pensioners’ Committee.

In passing the name of Lawrence White has occurred in this account but reference must be made to his work for the club which stretches back before the 2nd World War, perhaps longer than he cares to remember at times. After many years of service on the field, since 1961 he has been club president where his tongue in cheek bullying and forthright views enliven many a monthly committee meeting.

Two other long standing members also have continued to give yeoman service after the end of their playing career. They are George Morson, 1st XI scorer and then successively secretary and treasurer, and Tom Sharp, first assistant secretary before taking up the job outright in 1971. At the risk of stating the obvious their selfless endeavours, like those of so many before them, are the lifeblood of village cricket and ensure its continuance. This also applies to Peter Holloway in his work as grounds-man over a number of years.

Various members of the Gill family have also been prominent in Thurstonland C.C. affairs and the most recent player has been Edmund Gill who only finished turning out regularly in 1970 although he has made an occasional appearance since. For around thirty years his long run fooled many a batsman into thinking he was a faster bowler than he actually was and he took countless wickets with his unerring accuracy, almost entirely in 2nd XI cricket.

One could go on for ever about local characters but, perhaps, one final anecdote can stand for others which it is hoped will be readily recalled by readers. Herbert (‘Erb) Walton was a ferocious hitter of the ball as any opponents of his in years gone by will no doubt recall. He had the misfortune to lose in an accident the fingers on his right hand so that a close fieldsman was never quite sure whether he would be called upon to catch the ball or the bat as it occasionally flew from ‘Erb’s’ grip after a particularly big hit. In spite of this handicap he enjoyed his cricket thoroughly and was no mean performer. He must typify the village cricket enthusiast.