A special year for the Thorpe family was completed at Friday’s Foster’s Halifax League annual dinner when Tom became the first recipient of a new award.
The Copley groundsman collected the Simon Lees Memorial Trophy in front of almost 250 people at The Venue, Barkisland.
The trophy has been donated by the Lees family in memory of former Halifax League player Simon, the father of Yorkshire opening batsman and rising star Alex Lees. Long-serving Bradshaw player Simon died in 2011 aged just 47.
Simon’s brother Adam and son Tom were present to hand over the award, which is for someone who has served a club for more than 25 years, including as a player and also for an outstanding contribution off the field.
Tom Thorpe’s connection with Copley goes back more than 60 years. He was a successful first and second team player and captain, a long-standing committee member and worker behind the scenes as well as being groundsman for the last 30 years.
He provided a superb pitch for this year’s Parish Cup final and had the satisfaction of seeing his son Richard and grandsons Oliver and Toby help Copley beat favourites Jer Lane.
Oliver was the final man of the match with five wickets while 16-year-old Toby made a century in the same game and the Yorkshire player has since been crowned Young Sportsman of the Year at the Halifax Courier Sports Awards evening. He picked up the league’s under 20 batting prize on Friday.
The other winners announced on the night were Stones CC, who collected the Roy Smith Sportsmanship Trophy.
Yorkshire and England player Tim Bresnan brought along the county championship trophy and presented prizes while the main speakers were Henry Olonga and local comedian Pete Emmett.
Olonga, born in Zambia, was the first black cricketer and the youngest person to play for Zimbabwe.
The quick bowler’s international career came to an end in 2003 when he and team mate Andy Flower - who went on to become England coach - wore black armbands during an international match at the 2003 Cricket World Cup to “mourn the death of democracy” in Zimbabwe. He now lives in Somerset.
Olonga spoke eloquently about his career and also provided a ‘first’ at a Halifax League dinner with an excellent rendition of Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s opera Turandot.