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Rawdon CC

Club Details
Navy Blue & Gold
Home Ground: LS19 6DZ

Evidence is in place that confirms Rawdon CC was in existence in 1835 making it one of the oldest clubs in the area. Down the years many players have come and gone, all with varying abilities, however without doubt the most famous sons of the club are former Yorkshire batsman Bryan Stott and the legendary Yorkshire and England Test cricketers Hedley Verity and Brian Close, all whom played their early cricket at Rawdon.

The facilities the present members enjoy, both on and off the field, are a far cry from the days gone by. This indeed is a testament to the older members who fought to establish the club, and the belief that the present facilities at our club are widely accepted as among the best in the League are borne out by the fact that our ground and facilities have been chosen by the League to host many representative fixtures and Cup finals down the years.

One name synonymous with Rawdon Cricket Club is Jack Lees (pictured below), one of a rare breed these days, a true one club man, indeed he was a member for 74 years joining as a junior in 1928 and has served the club in virtually every capacity. He was a player for 25 years, secretary for 8 years, treasurer for 17 years, Club President for 5 years, he was elected a life member in 1966 a fitting tribute to a great man who was widely respected at Rawdon and throughout the Airedale and Wharfedale Senior Cricket League (of which he was a Life vice president for his services to the League).
So back to the humble beginnings. As previously mentioned the club was in existence in 1835, and an extract from the Wharfedale Observer in 1897 reads “In the Airedale & Wharfedale League Rawdon defeated Baildon Green who scored 93 by three wickets thanks to a fine innings by J A Rawnsley who scored 48 and W Barrett who scored 18 was the only other Rawdon player to reach double figures. J A Hustler and W Thomas each took four wickets”. By 1929 the club was playing in the Aire-Wharfe section of the Yorkshire Council, and in 1934 reached the Championship final where they lost to Rawmarsh in front of a crowd of 5,000 at Swinton. The Rawdon team that day was; R.D.Denison, V.Grimshaw, A.Carlisle, E.Denison, G.Heptonstall, F.Greenwood, J.Brogan, C.Carlisle, J.Greenwood, H.Jefferson and W.Long.
1936 is a year that without doubt shaped the whole destiny of the Clubs future. That year the Aire-Wharfe section of the Yorkshire Council resigned en bloc to form the present Airedale and Wharfedale Senior Cricket League. More significantly though, at a grand ceremony held at the Cricket club the deeds of the ground were handed to the club, on the proviso that Cricket continues to be played there for all time. Newspaper cuttings describe how Mr. Heaton Naylor, the donor, received the deeds from Capt. J.H Pardoe the agent for the Green Emmott Estate, as a Coronation gift to the Cricket Club and to Rawdon. Mr. W. A Wood the Club President described it as “A very proud day indeed for Rawdon Cricket Club and thanked Mr. Naylor for his gift, we on our part will try and give you some good cricket”. Hedley Verity snr stated, “this is one of the happiest days we have seen at this ground, and our dreams have at last come true”.
The club has long held strong ties with the county club holding benefit matches for among others Len Hutton, Emmott Robinson and Herbert Sutcliffe, matches that attracted gates of over 1,000 to Larkfield Road. These games featured legendary test stars such as Learie Constantine and George Headley. Jack Lees recalls both these hitting huge sixes, which cleared Highfield Terrace a feat that has only been repeated by Bruce Percy in modern times. As well as the Benefit matches the legendary former Yorkshire player George Herbert Hirst regularly visited the club for coaching purposes, Len Hutton also attended the Club dinner as guest speaker in 1952, a fellow speaker at the function stated “In Cricket in this part of the world there are no quarters asked and no quarters given” – something we still like to believe today.

Apart from the clubs county players there are several names people readily associate with the club namely, Arthur and Clifford Carlisle, Claude Barrett, Fred Hardaker, Reg Kirkbright, Reg Richardson, Jack Palliser, Albert Houghton and Walter Firth. Many batsmen also remember with fear and trepidation the prospect of having to face the likes of Colin Stretton, Denis Newell and Jim Kitson on a ‘Rawdon Flyer’, before it was the more batsman friendly wicket of modern times. Of more recent past Mike Hitchenor and John Kirkbright were all rounders of note (see records section), however it is generally accepted the outstanding player of the recent past has been Bruce Percy (picture below) the Clubs record run scorer (see records) and more than useful medium pace bowler he is a joy to watch when in full flow. He learnt his junior cricket at Rawdon before moving out of the area; he had two spells in the Bradford League but has always returned ‘home’.

The Club has also been well served by overseas players down the years namely Simon Stirling, Cliff McNally and Chris Smith (New Zealand) Darren Hall and Andrew Sugars (Australia) and Kenrick Marshall (West Indies).

As far as recent successes go, 1995 and 1996 will live long in the memories of the club members. In 1995, the first team achieved promotion back to Division A, and was unlucky to come runners up to Horsforth in a closely contested Waddilove cup final. However in 1996 they went one better winning the Division A title at the first attempt, for the first time in the clubs history. Craig Walsh was the proud skipper both seasons. Since then the club have finished runners up twice and never been out of the top four, they also finished runners up to local rivals Guiseley in the 2001

Waddilove cup final. Not to be outdone the second team enjoyed unprecedented success in the last four years. Gary Walker took on the captaincy in 1998 and introduced one or two new faces and a much more positive attitude and will to win, the result they won the Reserve Division A title in 1999 going through the League campaign undefeated and retained the title in 2000. They also got to the Birtwhistle Cup Final in 2001, for the first time in the clubs history again losing out to Guiseley.
2003 saw the Second team once again winning the Reserve Division A title.

The Junior section of the club has always thrived, indeed Rawdon Cricket Club was at the forefront of the formation of the Airedale Junior Cricket League in 1939. The clubs youngsters had won the Leeds Red Triangle Sports Federation Knockout in 1938, and the idea of a third team section of the senior League to foster junior talent was mooted, at a meeting at Rawdon on 17 May 1939 the Airedale Junior Cricket League was formed. Fittingly the Leagues first president was the Rawdon president Mr. W. A. Wood (an office he held until his death in 1944), Rawdon were the first Junior League champions the side was – Jack Palliser (Captain), Douglas Cowgill, John Sharpe, Tom Palliser, Ken Westcott, Alf Massheder, Colin Stretton, W. Smith, S. Nunns, M. Codd, Jack Moon and J. Dixon. The Club has enjoyed limited success since and at present have teams at under 17, 15 and 13 levels and have always been indebted to coaches and helpers who have given their time freely down the years and got their rewards seeing the boys they have nurtured at Junior level progress to senior cricket. 1999 saw the club enter a third team in the Airedale and Wharfedale Senior Cricket League the objective being for the clubs junior players to acclimatize to senior cricket in readiness for promotion to second team and ultimately first team cricket

Off the field the existing dressing rooms, though modernized and extended many times down the years, have been in place over 100 years, the exact date is unknown but thought to be late 1800`s or early 1900`s, the opening ceremony being performed by Mr. Walter E Green Emmott. The tower above the dressing Rooms which now houses the clock was formally the scorebox, the new scorebox being built in the 1950`s a result of ground improvements carried out from a Hedley Verity memorial fund.

The main Clubhouse has perhaps seen the most changes down the years. The original old wooden pavilion was obtained from the Army apprentices college at Harrogate and transported to Rawdon by club members, many will recall the steps leading up to it with the verandah on the front. Again this was modernized and extended many times the most significant change being the addition of a licensed bar in 1973, The main structure was almost totally demolished and rebuilt in 1995, the club can now boast a bar lounge area to view cricket from which is the equal of any club in our League, and the envy of many.

Finances are another aspect of our Club, which has seen much change an extract from the 1944 balance sheet showed the total running cost of the Club to be £161 7s 4d, It also states that postal orders to the value of 7 shillings and 6d along with the Clubs good wishes for Christmas were sent to our 43 members in HM Forces. This is in stark contrast to the Balance sheet of today which shows a turnover of approx £80,000, a six month hobby has without doubt become a twelve month business.

The Club has always been renowned for, and very well supported by a very active and hard working Ladies section. Not only providing excellent cricket teas in the summer months but working tirelessly all year round organizing social and fund raising activities. This goes back many years and the Club is most fortunate and grateful for this.

Our forefathers at the club would see a totally different picture looking at the club now, Bar Lounge, Dressing Rooms with showers and toilets, all the very latest motorized ground machinery (Jack Lees used to recall many years ago the outfield cutter being pulled by a horse wearing protective boots so as not to damage the field), and the most recent addition for the Club, roll on wicket covers. Surely they would be impressed at the progress made by the Club, and perhaps a little envious of the luxuries the modern members enjoy. Let us just hope the future members keep progress going and make it their business to ensure the solid foundations laid are maintained and guide Rawdon Cricket Club into the next millennium.