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Obituary: Gordon Wales

20/12/29 to 15/10/15
All at North Leeds Cricket Club are greatly upset at the news of the death of a great club member and legend, Gordon Wales aged 85. Gordon was the second in four generations of the Wales family to have played at North Leeds.

His father , Chris Wales , mother Elsie and family moved to Leeds in 1938 from Sheffield and Gordon subsequently went to Roundhay School. After the war in 1947 he won the Roundhay School Baron Cup for the best 1st XI cricketer pf the year and he became a regular member of the 2nd X1 under his father as captain and also made his 1st XI team debut.

He was a key and loyal member of the First Team in their great victorious years of the early 1950s winning the League in 1947, 1951, 1953 and 1956 and was also a member of the 2nd X1 championship side in 1948. From 1950 he opened the batting for the 1st XI and in 1951 “Youngster Gordon Wales proved his worth “ with 490 league runs , the most in the league in that year.

In 1953 he won the League 1st XI batting award with 557 runs average 46.12 scoring 75* in a critical innings against Ilkley and then against Calverley with Roy Barker shared an opening partnership of 173 in just 85 minutes for the 1st Wicket, both getting hundreds , Gordon his first for the 1st XI, and the first time for North Leeds of having two centuries in an innings.
1955 saw his best bowling return with 6-13 against Addingham with 45 wickets in the season as he also qualified for the League bowling averages.

1955 was also the year , the only one , in which North Leeds have won the Waddilove Cup . In the final Gordon scored 79 in a key opening partnership of 110 with Neville Haslegrave and also had a bowling return of 1-1 off 3 balls.

1957 was another great year as when Denys Bull took a hat trick against Burley Gordon had 3 wickets for no runs in the same inningss and he also won the 1st XI fielding award the Ellicott Trophy. In 1989 son Steve also won this which was first and only time father and son have done so.

Gordon had League representative honours playing for the League XI against Huddersfield League and Bradford League and later for the Yorkshire Council XI against the Huddersfield League and the Yorkshire League.

Unfortunately in 1958 work took him and the family to Sheffield where he played a high standard of cricket for Hallam C C and Sheffield Utd C C .

He made his comeback at North Leeds in 1973 with the 2nd XI and in 1979 he and Steve played as Father and Son in the same 2nd XI league side. In his last year , 1980, he captained the 2nd XI who won the Birtwhistle Cup . Thereafter he retired from playing.

His service to North Leeds though was not just playing and continued and he was manager of the Under 18s in 1975 when they won the League. Gordon was honoured with Life Membership of the Club in 1987 and served 5 years as a great President 1994-1998.

The Wales family tradition therefore goes back to 1938 and covers all years until the present 2015 through his father Chris, Gordon himself , son Steve and grandson George and tea lady chairs Elsie, Pat and Jess. In 2014 he along with Denys Bull and Peter Wright as members of the Waddilove Cup winning side opened the new North Leeds clubhouse. Throughout 2015 he was still watching cricket though experiencing great breathing difficulties and was last at the club on the last match of the 2015 season.

He married Pat ( another loyal North Leeds servant ) and had a daughter Julie ( who has been a great support recently ) and son Steve ( in 1961) and then grandson George .

My memories of Gordon go back to being a North Leeds tinboy and scorer from about 1953 and then as Club Secretary , friend and President . There can never have been a greater and more loyal and successful member of the club and above all a great family man and friend to all. Our deepest sympathies lie with Steve and Jess, Julie , George and all the extended Wales family.

Ian Chappell, President, North Leeds CC