Captain leads team to glory

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The last time I played cricket I was still at Lightcliffe Junior School, back in the days when John Brooke was the sports teacher and taught us all the correct way of holding a bat and how to bowl properly – happy days.

I was selected to play for the school team and remember going to the regular inter school matches. Playing against St Chad’s was always a frightening experience because their big gun was fast bowler Mick Brayshaw. He came thundering down with a grimace that was scary in its self, causing many of us to just stand there ridged terrified to move.

I met up with Mick again at St Martin’s School in the early 60s when we were both in geography and sports teacher Mr Les Young’s football team. Mick was a terrific goal keeper. But it was another frightening experience being one of the full-backs on the same side as Mick.

When the forward players were charging down towards our goal we had two problems firstly we had to stop the forwards from passing us to protect Mick’s goal. But more importantly to us was that if we didn’t manage to do that and the forward blasted a goal passed Mick, who got the blame the two full-backs. Out came Mick charging at us like a raging bull, it was easier to run off than face his wrath. But it was only a game and we all always managed to have a laugh afterwards.

I was sad to read recently Mick had passed away, an event that brought back those sporting memories from fifty years ago, and of an old school mate who was Freddie Trueman and Gordon Banks all rolled into one.

For a short while I did go to Lightcliffe cricket club but being a brass player the local brass band had a stronger pull which brought an end to my cricket playing days.

Even now I am still interested to check the scores to see if Lightcliffe have won. Following our own Dave (The Big Voice of Sport) Parker’s weekly columns on the cricket I was pleased to see the final result at the end of this season when Lightcliffe topped the second division in the Bradford League.

In this week’s featured photograph are the members of another successful Lightcliffe team, the 1964 triumphant first team which won the Priestley Cup against East Bierley.

Left to right: Herbert Aspinall, the captain - his innings of 43 in what was a low-scoring game was crucial. Herbert played his first game for the club in 1940 and went on to make 501 appearances before he finished in 1967. He was captain from 1949 until 1966, a period during which Lightcliffe won the Priestley Cup three times, 1950, 1955 and 1964. Herbert was much more than a player. He was the long serving club secretary and league representative he supervised all aspects of the club with a military efficiency. He was also groundsman for the last two decades of his life.: Alan Warren, Norman Scott, Bruce Deadman, Rodney Heywood, Stuart Kewley, Eric Langton, Brian Wade (almost obscured - you can make out an extra pair of hands in the middle!), David Beaumont, Brian Whitham, wicketkeeper Donald Garside (he hit the final four deliveries of the Lightcliffe innings for four), and twelfth man Martin Radcliffe.

Looking back now it seems strange that Martin Radcliffe who went on to score more runs for Lightcliffe than anyone else should have been twelfth man. Back in those days Martin was a student at Loughborough and did not have the time to play in the early rounds.

The selection committee decided to stick with the winning team that got them to the final.

I suppose once all the back slapping, congratulatory hand shakes and celebrations are over plans for next season will start in earnest.