Duo behind Halifax veterans’ rise to glory stand down

Halifax's Veterans squad
Halifax's Veterans squad

Peter Collins and Malcolm Griffiths, the two men who have done most to turn Halifax Veterans from whipping boys to champions in the Yorkshire Inter-District League, are stepping down as team captains.

Peter Collins and Malcolm Griffiths, the two men who have done most to turn Halifax Veterans from whipping boys to champions in the Yorkshire Inter-District League, are stepping down as team captains.

They will be going out on a high after Halifax won the title for a third time in the last six years this summer.

The over-65s competition was formed in 1992 and during the first two decades was won by West Riding, Castleford and mainly Huddersfield. Halifax always finished in the lower part of the league, usually bottom.

The first signs of an upturn in fortunes came in 2010 when Colin Helliwell of Illingworth Libs BC and Collins of Mytholmroyd BC captained the home and away teams respectively. Whilst Halifax still finished bottom, they gained 21 points more than the previous season.

Griffiths, of Ripponden Park BC, came in as home captain the following year. Twelve new players were brought in and champions Huddersfield were well and truly beaten as the team rose to fifth in the league.

There was further improvement in 2012. The team finished fourth and reached the final of the one-day Hickson Trophy competition, losing to Hudderfield.

Halifax scaled the heights in a memorable 2013 season, winning the league by five points from Bradford and doubling up in the Hickson Trophy as hosts, beating Skipton in the final.

Philip Holroyd won the league averages for a home player and did the same the following year when Halifax came third, a position they occupied again in 2015.

Halifax were champions by a 29-point margin in a memorable 2016 campaign and Griffiths won the league averages for a home team bowler.

The 2017 season reached an exciting climax. On the final day Bradford, West Riding or Halifax could have won and Halifax had to settle for third.

There was a three-way tussle between the same teams this year and Halifax won by two points ahead of West Riding.

Over the past nine years 58 bowlers have represented Halifax. The only two to have been with Collins and Griffiths since the start are David Warburton and Brian Winrow.

Griffiths thanked Shabir Hussain from Bluebird Care, who has sponsored the team since 2014, and all the local clubs and players who have been part of the journey.

He added: “The league has become more competitive with most teams raising their games because they have seen what we have done.”

The challenge now is to find two people to form a committee to run the teams. Anyone interested should contact Malcolm Griffiths by October 28.