East Bierley

Secretary: Phil McKirgan
League Representative: Ian Ormondroyd
1st Team Captain: Gavin Hamilton
2nd Team Captain: Matthew Anderson

Joined League: 1912 Rejoined 1928
Division One Champions: 1981 1988 1993 1994 1996
Second Teams Division One Champions: 1990 1998 2003 2007
Second Teams Division Two Champions: 2002 2007 2008
Priestley Cup winners: 1981 1984 1991 1998 1999 2000
Priestley Cup runners-up: 1930 1933 1950 1957 1962 1964 1980 1989 1993 1995 19997
Priestley Shield winners: 1944 2004 2006 2007 2008
Influential players: Gordon Phillips, Phil Taylor, Harry Waterhouse, Paul Topp, Brian Lymbery, Murphy Walwyn.

The club was formed in 1865 and played their earliest games on land known as The Shay behind the New Inn before moving to their present South View Road site. At first the ground was rented and in 1905 it was levelled and a viewing embankment created with views of the Pennines.
Eventually the club bought the ground in 1932 from Saville Estates and have since upgraded facilities to make their ground one of the best in the Bradford League.East Bierley’s earliest success came when they won the Bradford District League in 1895, 1898 and 1899 and they moved into the Bradford League in 1912. They have played in the competition ever since apart from a two year spell between 1925 and 1927.

Amazingly for a club who have won five league championships and six Priestley Cups they had to endure seven cup final defeats and wait until 1981 for their first domestic honours. When they made the breakthrough they did it in style by doing the double. The catalyst for their triumph had come two years earlier when they won the coveted National Village Trophy at Lord’s under the captaincy of Phil Taylor.

Patience certainly proved to be a virtue for a club which had become used to waiting. They had to display that quality in the 1930 Priestley Cup when bad weather meant that the semi-final and finals were not played until the following summer. When the final was eventually played they were defeated by Idle who made 128 for four in reply to East Bierley’s 127

In 1933 East Bierley put up a great fight against Undercliffe but despite scoring 246 they were beaten by five runs. The margin of defeat was just one run in 1950 but Lightcliffe did suspend their innings and could have batted again. Bierley making 153 after Lightcliffe halted their innings at 154 for four.

Bradford inflicted cup final defeats in 1957 and 1962 by four and seven wickets respectively while Lightcliffe by 12 runs and Undercliffe by 32 inflicted more heartache in 1964 and 1980 before Bierley finally made their deserved breakthrough.

The 1981 cup final was against Farsley and an eighth defeat looked on the cards when openers Mark Brearley and Billy Holmes put on 114 in reply to East Bierley’s 195 for five. But Bierley proved they were made of sterner stuff and Paul Topp showed his quality as he took six for 44 as Farsley crumbled to 158 all out. The key figures in the double side, so expertly led by the astute Taylor, included opening batsman Brian Lymbery, seamer Tony Pickersgill and the ever-dependable Topp.

East Bierley simply haven’t looked back since. Further championship successes in 1988, 1993, 1994 and 1996 were a reflection of their consistency while the ensuing Priestley Cup wins in 1984, 1991, 1998, 1999 and 2000 underlined their toughness in sudden-death competition.

The hat-trick of Priestley Cup wins between 1998 and 2000, under the leadership of Dermot McGrath, was a considerable feat and one that no other club has ever achieved. The trophy cabinet has also housed the Yorkshire Champions Trophy on three occasions, 1982, 1983 and 1989.

One player who had a massive impact on their golden period was all rounder Murphy Walwyn. He twice took all ten wickets in an innings and produced many match-winning innings with his cavalier brand of strokeplay. His first all ten came against Farsley in 1986 and came at a cost of 47 runs. Twelve months later, Yedon were on the receiving end as Walwyn took ten for 45.

He is just one of a long list of fine players to play for East Bierley down the years. Even before the silverware started to roll in, the club had been graced by some fine performers, men like prolific opening batsman Harry Waterhouse, wily skipper Gordon Phillips and the tireless football and cricket star Brian Redfearn.

Among the first class players who have worn East Bierley’s colours are seven who have played for their country – five for England and three for the West Indies. The first Test player to appear was West Indian pace bowler Edwin St Hill in the 1930s. He has been followed since by tearaway fast bowler Roy Gilchrist and all rounder Collis King. The five England Test players are Jack Birkenshaw, Nick Cook, Les Taylor, Anthony McGrath and Gavin Hamilton – the club’s captain for 2006.

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