Great Horton

Secretary: Anthony Hamer
League Representative: Anthony Hamer
1st Team Captain: TBC
2nd Team Captain: TBC

Joined League: 1903
Division One Champions: 1904 1906 1908 1909
Second Teams Division One Champions: 1911 1933
Second Teams Division Two Champions: 1955 1978 1989 1990
Priestley Cup winners: 1906 1909 1911
Priestley Cup runners-up: 1910 1913 1935 1937
Priestley Shield winners: 1947

Albert Smith Spirit of Cricket winners: 2009


Great Horton’s meteoric start as a founder member of the Bradford League in 1903 was nothing short of remarkable. First Division champions in 1904, 1906, 1908 and 1909 and Priestley Cup winners in 1906, 1909 and 1911. Few clubs can boast of such a productive era. The fact that they could not sustain this success is hardly surprising. But, to go a further 101 years without a sniff of silverware is indeed mystifying.

Great Horton were third in 1903 before winning their first title the following season by six points from Clayton. They underlined their early dominance of the competition by becoming the first side to perform the league and cup double in 1906

The recruitment of Percy Yewdall from Lidget Green enabled them to edge out Bankfoot in the title race while Joe Haley was the star of their emphatic nine-wicket Priestley Cup final win over Clayton. He took seven for 25 as Clayton were dismissed for 79.

A third title followed in 1908 when Undercliffe were their main challengers and they repeated the success a year later when they finished six points ahead of Queensbury. They also completed their second double by dismissing Lidget Green for 86 on their way to a seven-wicket triumph in the Priestley Cup final.

Defeat in the 1910 Priestley Cup final to Undercliffe by 118 runs, was a setback but Great Horton returned to the final in 1911 where they beat Windhill by 166 runs Few people would have believed then that it would be their last major honour but that has been the case. Priestley Cup final appearances in 1913, 1935 and 1937 all ended in defeat and have been the only bright spots for a club who set such high standards in the league’s formative years.

Great Horton have been fortunate to be served by some fine players. Nobody has made a more dramatic impact for the club than George Leach did on his debut in 1916. He took ten for 16 against Pudsey Britannia and followed up with 65 runs when he batted. Leach certainly made his mark during the summer of 1916. His top score of 173 not out against Bowling Old Lane was anew league record at the time.

One of the most famous players to appear for the club was the highly-respected Yorkshire opener Percy Holmes. His top score for the club was 100 not out against Eccleshill in 1918.
A second Great Horton bowler claimed all ten wickets in a match in 1927. Sutcliffe Culpan achieved the feat against Baildon Green at a personal cost of 44 runs.

One of the most talked about characters to have captained the club was Edgar Robinson. He was a dour, gritty player who was a fine batsman and a great motivator. He showed his prowess in 1940 when he equalled the club record score of 173 set by Leach in 1916. Robinson, who was to become Lord Mayor of Bradford, played at a time when Great Horton were beginning to find the going tough. After dropping into Section B in 1937 they began to experience a turbulent few years. Promotion in 1939 and 1941 was followed immediately on each occasion by relegation he next season.

The advent of one division in 1946 was a boost for Great Horton. They finished ninth and clinched a place in the top flight when the league reinstated two sections in 1947. They held their status until 1953 when they were relegated again.

Promotions in 1958 and 1966 were once again followed by immediate relegation and they last just two seasons in Division one after their last promotion in 1972 In the 1960s, players such as Alan Jennings, Dennis Dobson, Alan Aspinall, Alan Douglas, David Douglas and Tony Hamer were stars in the Bradford League.

The next decade produced Alan Rothwell, John Hebron, John Oxley and David Dunne. Their all-amateur principles have made them reliant on home products and shrewd signings from the minor leagues. John Hebron, John Oxley and David Butterfield were typical recruits from lower leagues who made good.

Hebron was a classic example of a cricketer plucked from the obscurity of minor cricket who was able to flourish at a higher standard. Horton transformed him from being a prolific wicket-taker with Yews Green from the Bradford Mutual League to a fully fledged Bradford League seamer of some standing.

It is ironic that his powers quickly faded under the pressure of a professional contract at Bankfoot. Bradford Central League Buttershaw St Paul’s were always a good source of recruitment– in the 1970’s David Butterfield was an early capture followed by Paul Robinson (formerly Saltaire) in the late 80’s and Martin Kelly in the 90’s.

With the dawn of the 1980’s, Horton suffered in the new era of unlimited pros. Still limited to home products and signings from minor leagues their lack of star quality stifled their progress. If they did stumble on an impressive recruit or young rookie he was lured away to a more fashionable outfit.

One raw youngster who benefited from a spell with Great Horton as a teenager was current Pakistan Test player Imran Nazir. Great Horton were able to encourage and nurture his skills, just as they have done for so many players down the years.

Newsletter Subscribe

Just enter your mail and subscribe, we don't spam!