Team mates, good mates

editorial image

IT was at a meeting in December, 1966, chaired by Frank Thurlow, when the resolution was passed to form a new cricket club and to call it the Lane Head Church Cricket Club.

As with any organisation there has to be what I always call ‘top tablers’, the committee officials.

The appointees were: Neville Helme, secretary; David Butler, treasurer; Frank Thurlow, club captain; Fred Robinson, vice-captain and, third in line, David Gillson.

Once the officials were in place there was the small matter of finance. It was decided that a membership fee of 10 shillings for adults (based on today’s value that would be £6), 2/6d for school children and senior players would pay 2/6d per game to cover insurance was considered to be about right.

The next rule - and just how many other clubs would have this in their rule book - said ‘members would drop out in rotation in order to give every member the opportunity to play’. A game for gentleman indeed.

Frank Milnes and Donald McLoughlin were appointed the umpires - Donald was also appointed as the club’s president. Then with Joan Helme and June Holmes both ably assisted by Stephen Haigh as scorers everything was in place. Bring on the first match.

David Booth, who made 348 appearances for the club, once said that he felt there was a need in Brighouse in the 1960s for a team like Lane Head.

Back in the 60s Brighouse and Lightcliffe were both in the Bradford League, Rastrick in the Huddersfield League and New Road in the Huddersfield Association. Hartshead Moor, just over the hill, were also in the Bradford Leage and Lower Wyke Moravians played in the Bradford Sunday School League.

Lane Head offered opportunities for those players who enjoyed their cricket but were not quite up to the standards required to play in those leagues

With far less people owning motor cars 50 years ago, for players to travel to a local club beyond the major league teams was practically impossible. This only left the workshop competitions which had games of 20 overs and were played either in the evening or on Sunday mornings.

This gave Lane Head the opportunity of attracting either young players on their way up to adult cricket, those players who wanted to step down from the cut and thrust of competitive cricket and wished to play in a more friendly atmosphere and players who could play but had not quite got the technique to play at league level.

These facts all set the tone for a club that sounds to have had a philosophy where playing the game was more important than the result.

From those early days the club grew in strength as more players came and went who had played in the higher leagues. While the team had fluctuating results by the turn of the millennium the club was in good spirits.

Two years later the club’s fortunes had turned with difficulties in raising regular teams. Guest players were becoming more of the norm than the occasional cover for an absent playing member in order to supplement the regulars.

The club became more reliant on young guest players who were not always available with prior commitments with Saturday and Sunday league teams.

Lane Head was finding it increasingly more difficult to put out a full strength team and as the declining number of regular players were getting older and not enough young blood coming through.

So it was on Sunday, August 17, 2003, that Lane Head took to the field for the last time in a match at Thorp Perrow, situated near the picturesque North Yorkshire village of Snape.

Although they won by seven wickets it was the last over for Lane Head Church Criket Club and the end of 36 years of cricket and fellowship.

While the members had played their last season I am sure that many of the 678 matches played will have been relived time after time.

n The photograph dates back 40 years to May, 1971, and was taken at Arthington near Leeds. From left, back row, Stanley Dennison; David Booth; Trevor Atkinson; Jimmy Broadbent; David Gillson; Jack Tiffany; John Blamires; Graham Dyson; Donald McLoughlin

Front row: Leslie Smith; Malcolm Booth; Lynella Holmes; Frank Thurlow and Stephen Haigh.