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Club History Page 2

FIDE SED CUI VIDE………’trust, but be careful of whom you trust’.

Article by Steve Knowles, April 2007

The fifties saw greater numbers playing cricket nationwide and as various leagues started again post war so Bretton enjoyed success at their homely Park Lane ground. Their long membership of the Huddersfield Central Cricket League started in 1952 and continued successfully for over fifty years. Bretton started with two teams in the HCCL and continued likewise for a number of seasons. Various characters and officials made their mark on the club through their efforts and performances at this time; the Lund’s continued their pre-war association at Bretton, along with various members of the Earnshaw family. These two names dominated Bretton cricket in the fifties and beyond. Chris Earnshaw once took 9-51 against Rowley Hill – then had to open the batting – chasing 103. Bretton finished one run short in 45 overs and Chris finished 13 not out. What a performance – on the losing side! The highlight of the fifties, though, was the winning of the Cup competition – repeated just the once since then. The general poor standard of wickets meant that a virtual bowler’s paradise was the order of the day. Team scores were low and wickets tumbled as belligerent bowlers such as Trevor Roberts, the Earnshaws, the Whiteheads, the Hibbins’s, the Greens, the Oddies, the Lunds, the Cockings and Keith Smith delivered fine bowling performances. One batter, dismayed at some away teams wicket, said to one of the umpires how it was the worst wicket he’d ever seen; whereupon said umpire retorted that he’d been tending said square for the last twenty years! Oops! Needless to say the batter was unfortunately given out lbw soon after. Indeed, the fifties seemed to belong to bowlers. Mightily, Alan Whitehead took 10 for 29 in a match against Lepton in 1952 – and Keith Smith also took 10 wickets in an innings that decade (the only two ‘full house’ occurrences recorded by Bretton players). On the batting and bowling front Billy Lund became well known locally – like his son Ian would two decades later.
Life was harsher during those times and money scarcer – but the efforts of the few ensured that Bretton survived and continued into the sixties. Yearly subs had to go up to 10 shillings for the 1956 season – whilst the club had just £46 in the bank at the end of 1955! Player’s wives were also able to attend the club’s Annual Dinner. In the mid-fifties the Club at last succeeded in purchasing the ground and buildings from the Allendale Estates (via Messrs Oddie and Middleton) for the princely sum of £313. See also under ‘Meetings and Minutes’ for further details of the club’s ‘everyday’ running – including decisions/expenses/officials/finances etc made since 1946.

The sixties saw close, keenly fought matches. The likes of Chris Sharp, Norman Senior, Vic Hirst, Don Hayes, Don Miller and Bev York performed well whilst Billy Lund, Chris Earnshaw and Trevor Roberts continued their good service for the club. A young lad called Ian Lund first started playing in 1966 – a player who has virtually dominated the clubs’ cricket records for 40 seasons since. Sadly Ian packed up playing after the 2006 season – hardly an old man at 51 – and still, the club felt, with a lot to give. Finance stabilised in the sixties – £200 on account in 1965 – whilst players were asked to contribute 1 shilling per match that same year. Subsidence on the ground’s outfield was a problem throughout the sixties. At first the NCB wanted nothing to do with it – but eventually admitted liability. The mess was sorted out in the early seventies with the help of compensation from the NCB – and help from local contractors.

During the seventies Ken Hewson reinforced his potential and put in some great bowling stats; his dogged, productive partnerships with both Trevor Roberts and Chris Sharp would do very well for the club. Trevor would, on occasion – whenever the opposition needed just one run for victory – quite deliberately ball a wide. Well we laughed anyway – even if the batsman didn’t find it funny! Younger players turned up at the club in the seventies – all long hair and music with refreshing attitudes. A junior team was paraded and had some success. A few of these lads would play for many years – others would go elsewhere. Richard & Mark Senior plus David Richardson followed their dads into the team. Another long serving player – Steve Knowles – first started in 1978. The ground all this time remained consistently in poor shape – no new buildings and low funds. The generosity of some though, plus frugal housekeeping, helped keep the club going. Subs were raised to £2 per player and the club had ‘grown’ to £411 on account in 1975. The presence of the nearby well known Bretton College of Education meant that more young people were encouraged to participate at the ground. During summer the sight of female students passing the ground had put many a young lad off his stroke whilst batting! Alas…the ladies no longer walk by – as it closed its doors recently.

Various captains had been tried over the years – and in the early eighties new guy Barry Hanson seemed to give the team a bit of steel. His direct approach worked and results improved. He was a stickler, though. One young fast bowler literally disgraced himself while in his run up to bowl in a match (he’d apparently had a dodgy curry the night before). He was packed straight off the ground (after he’d been to the toilet) ! But abrasiveness can lead to a downfall. A Bretton player once barracked a visiting bowler for being ‘rather plump’ shall we say. The bowler just stopped in his run up and marched over to the heckler on the boundary – now red faced and sheepish. What a gob full he gave him! A few good players arrived and gave consistent performances – David Essex (no, not the pop star !) seemed to be very adept at pulling sixes to mid-wicket boundaries and won the batting averages four years running. David still turns out nowadays (for the opposition) in friendlies against WBCC. The combination of these two plus Lund jnr, Hewson, Roberts and the Barnes brothers ensured memorable wins and one or two promotions through the leagues. Cricket’s a funny old game, though, and one week in 1984 the team, fresh from hammering Woolley MW away from home the week before, got skittled for 14 at home to Lepton – one of the lowest recorded scores by a Bretton team. (That dubious record falls to the 2nd team – who reached the magnificent total of 6 during an innings in 1957). The week after that, a Bretton player’s wife stormed on to the wicket during his innings to demand he went home – pronto – and he did. Now that’s cricket!

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