Bowling Old Lane

Secretary: Geoffrey Hanson
League Representative: Michael Hope
1st Team Captain: Zubair Najeeb
2nd Team Captain: Haqueeq Siddique

Division One Champions: 1915 1923 1924 1978
Division Two Champions: 1948 1961 1964 1997 2006
Second Teams Division Two Champions: 1973 1985 2006
Priestley Cup winners: 1915 1920 1922 1968
Priestley Cup runners-up: 1923 1928 1929 1931 1932 1934 1959 1961 1965 2006
Priestley Shield winners: 1919 1975


Bowling Old Lane was formed in 1905, but it was not until 1915 they entered the league and what an impact they made. In their first season they pulled off the coveted league and cup double and the inspiration for their success was provided by all-rounder Charlie Grimshaw. He was a slow bowler and batsman who regularly played for Yorkshire colts and was as good an all-rounder as there was in the league at that time.

Statistics certainly support the argument. In 1915 he scored 618 runs and took 68 wickets. In the Priestley Cup he smashed a record score of 230 in a 351-run win over Great Horton. In the final he helped Old Lane dismiss Windhill for 107 on their way to a ten-wicket win. Old Lane won the league by a single point from Bingley. They suffered just two defeats in 20 games and one of them was inflicted by Saltaire in a match which marked S.F. Barnes’s debut. He took eight for eight as Old Lane were dismissed for 31.

During the 1920s and 1930s Grimshaw continued to impress. He helped his side secure a ten-wicket win over Bankfoot after bowling them out for 30 in the 1920 final which lasted just 88 minutes. Old Lane defeated Saltaire in the 1922 final by 23 runs and the following year the two sides attracted a league attendance of 6,400 for their encounter at Old Lane. Maybe it’s hard to imagine now but a massive 10,069 packed into Old Lane to watch a cup final replay in 1918 between Saltaire and Bankfoot..

The championship trophy returned to Old Lane in 1923 but they were helped when Barnes quit chief rivals Saltaire before the end of the campaign. Hopes of a double were shattered by Idle who defeated them in the cup final. The ubiquitous Grimshaw topped both the league batting and bowling averages in 1924 as the league title was retained. He averaged 47.80 with the bat and took his 60 wickets at 6.38 runs each. His haul of wickets included a hat-trick against Low Moor.

Old Lane missed out on a hat-trick of titles by one point in 1925, Undercliffe just taking top spot. In 1928 they became the first side to score over 200 and lose a Priestley Cup final – their 243 was bettered by Bingley’s 244 for eight. Amazingly it was the second of nine successive final defeats before the cup was lifted by Old Lane again in 1968.

Their unluckiest defeat was in 1932 when Keighley defeated them by just three runs. Once again Grimshaw did his best to try and turn the game his side’s way. He took six for 94 as Keighley made 200 and hit 55 when Old Lane replied with 197.

During the 1939-1945 war Harry Elam was the captain. Besides being a good player, Harry was later to become the club president. He was also a much respected official at league level.After the war Frank Lowson emerged as a classical opening batsman. He was a local who went on to play a decade for Yorkshire as Len Hutton’s opening partner. He was also capped for England in this country.

It was at this time that Jack Hill started his career at the Old Lane. This was to last in various guises for more than 40 years and a more dedicated club man it would be impossible to find. He was the captain for ten years and holds the club record score in league matches of 148 not out.
Having served in India during the war years, he had an instant rapport with the Asian people when they came to our area in the 1960s. It is as a direct result of his actions that a strong bond now exists between the communities.

In the early 1950s Doug Padgett and Gordon Barker were a very successful opening pair. Doug went on to play for Yorkshire and England and Gordon made over 20,000 runs for Essex. In the late 1950s Malcolm Shackleton and Harry Rider were Old Lane’s opening bowlers. They were considered the best opening pair in the league since the war. David Pickles from Halifax – who Jack Hill seemed to find from nowhere – also had two fine seasons. He then had a string of games for Yorkshire who thought he was as quick as Fred Trueman!

After Hill, Brian Clough was captain for 14 years during which time the club won the Priestley Cup in 1968 to end its long run of final defeats. It may not be widely known, but they won that final against Saltaire by 18 runs with the lowest all-out total of 125 since it became a 50-over-a-side contest. Malcolm Naylor and Michael Bateson were the fast bowlers then and they were of the same ilk as Shackleton and Rider.

In the late 1970s it was Terry O’Connor who was the captain, and Harold Rhodes of Derbyshire and England was opening bowler for a few years. It was under O’Connor that Old Lane won the league championship in 1978, for the fourth time. They also went on to win the Yorkshire Champions Trophy beating Knaresborough in the final. He did, however, receive considerable help from Steve Sylvester who had a great season.

During the 1980s and1990s Old Lane had the assistance from time to time of several young county-players. Some went on to play for England, such as Martyn Moxon, Bill Athey and Darren Gough while Alan Ramage, Ian Fisher and James Middlebrook, all had spells at Old Lane as well as playing for Yorkshire. Hampshire’s Jason Laney was another such player and the club is proud that they suitably encouraged these prospective first-class cricketers.

Old Lane were quick in the field with the Asian community and Babar Butt was an outstanding signing in 1985. In his second year he became the youngest player in the league to total 1,000 runs in a season. More recently Old Lane introduced Yousuf Youhana and he has gone on to be a key player for Pakistan.

The club also unleashed the unknown Mohammad Siddiq on the Bradford league in 2004 and he took 110 wickets to become only the fourth player to top 100 wickets in the competition’s long history.

During a transitional period in the 90s Richard Coates was captain and he soldiered on with a mainly inexperienced side. Loyal ervants Geoff Hanson, Michael Hope and Brian Clough have seen the club through some troubled times and still give the club wonderful support. Clough has played Bradford League cricket in seven decades and shows no signs of retiring even though he has been drawing his pension for some time.

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