|Secretary: Geoff Porter|
|League Representative: Reg Nelson|
|1st Team Captain: Ijaz Khan|
|2nd Team Captain: Mick Robinson|
Joined League: 1905
Division One Champions: 1917 1918 1922 1926 1943
Division Two Champions: 1941 1967 1970 2003
Priestley Cup winners: 1905 1918 1927 1941 1942
Priestley Cup runners-up: 1921 1922 1960 1968
Second Team Division One Champions: 1905 1908 1909 1927 1928
Second Team Division Two Champions: 1960 1981
Priestley Shield winners: 1955 1998
Saltaire Cricket Club was founded in 1869, just 16 years after the opening of the famous Saltaire Mills in 1853. Ever since the club has been in existence it has played in Roberts Park. The local history of Saltaire, records that Roberts Park was not officially opened until July 25, 1871 by Sir Titus Salt, and there is no record of them having played elsewhere, so it is assumed that the club must have played the first seasons on the pitch by the riverside during the period when the park was being laid out. Sir Titus Salt bought the cannons which used to stand on the parade in the park in August 1869.
The area of Roberts Park, intended as a recreation games area, is 14 acres. The cricket ground covers five acres approximately 900ft long and 350ft wide with the river running the along whole of the west side of the field. When the ground was first laid out it was subject to flooding from the river in high water, but the situation was improved by widening the river to 60 to 70ft which avoided flooding.
The ground is noted for its drying properties and it is often possible to play at Saltaire when most of the other Bradford League playing areas are unplayable. Roberts Park, including the cricket ground, remained under the ownership of the company of Salts (Saltaire) Limited, until the principal, Sir James Roberts, in 1921 offered it under trusteeship, first to Shipley Council and then to Baildon Council. As neither council would accept, it was then offered to Bradford City Corporation who undertook the trusteeship. Bradford finally transferred it to a joint trusteeship of the Shipley and Baildon Councils in 1966.
Extracts from the original lease when the park was first laid out by Sir Titus Salt are interesting.
No history of Saltaire would be complete without the mention of its most famous son Sydney Barnes. The outstanding bowling feats Barnes performed for Saltaire on nearly every Bradford League ground, will never be forgotten. The Bradford League attracted a great many famous cricketers during the war years when Barnes was bowling against batsmen like Jack Hobbs (Idle), Frank Woolley, Jack Hearne and Schofield Haigh (Keighley), George Gunn (Undercliffe), Sam Cadman (Tong Park) and Bill Hitch (Eccleshill).
There is no doubt that Barnes put Saltaire in world renown, but the club officials are to be congratulated in having the foresight to bring to the Bradford League such a great personality. He was the first of the noble players to be introduced to the league in 1915 and there is no doubt the attraction he created eventually encouraged other clubs to bring in county players. None, however, captured the attention that Barnes commanded and clubs playing Saltaire reaped a rich harvest from their gates.
The league record attendance was when Saltaire visited Bowling Old Lane. The attendance was 6,400 with receipts of £176.8s.0d. as from his first game he set the scene alight. Playing Old Lane, Saltaire were all out for 126. In reply Old Lane were bowled out in 9.3 overs. Barnes’ figures in five overs were eight wickets for eight runs. In the next match, the local derby against Baildon, he took all ten wickets for 14 runs in six overs. The scorebook showed the sixth over as 2.w.w.w.w.w. Against Windhill who were all out for 21, his figures, eight wickets for four runs, the fifth over read w.w..2.w.w.
In the nine seasons he played at Saltaire he achieved the remarkable figures of 803 wickets for 4,221 runs and also scored 7,239. It is interesting to note that having left Saltaire he returned to the league with Keighley in 1934 at the age of 61. When he signed as a professional in 1915 he was paid £3.10s 0d in his last two years of 1922 and in 23 he received £18 15s 0d.
Barnes was simply awesome for Saltaire. He won the bowling averages in nine successive seasons and took 100 wickets in a season three times – the feat has only been achieved five times in the league’s 100 year history. Barnes took 122 in 1922, 112 in 1918 and107 in 1917.
His performances were largely responsible for Saltaire winning the league championship in 1917, 1918 and 1922 as well as winning the Priestley Cup in 1918 when he took eight wickets and a hat-trick in the tied match with Bankfoot. He also took five wickets in the replay which Saltaire won by seven wickets.
Saltaire were to win the league title twice more in 1926 and 1943 while they lifted the cup in 1927, 1941 and 1942 but those successes tended to be overshadowed by the ones inspired by Barnes.
That is harsh on the team of the early forties which lifted successive Priestley Cups and a league championship. That side had some formidable players such as Alf Pope, Bill Copson, and Charlie Townsend. They needed all their fighting qualities to win the 1941 cup final. They looked have little chance after being bowled out by Undercliffe for 102 with Sandy Jacques taking six for 37 but Saltaire hit back to dismiss Undercliffe for 44 as Copson claimed six for 30. Saltaire had a comfortable five-wicket win in 1942 when they dismissed Windhill for 94 with Townsend taking five for 22.
The 1943 championship winning side again had top stars. Bill Voce and Tom Goddard, two England Test bowlers. Goddard wasn’t regularly available but he did write his name into the Bradford League record books. He took a hat-trick in his spell of four for four at Brighouse. On the same day, Saltaire stalwart Alf Burgoyne also performed the hat-trick in his five for seven return against Eccleshill. This was the only occasion when two players from the same club have achieved this unique feat.
Another famous son of Saltaire was Jim Laker. He never matched Barnes’s figures in league cricket but has the unmatched figures in Test cricket by taking 19 wickets for 90 runs against the Australians in 1956.
Another great cricketer, Sir Learie Constantine, wrote: “Some of the loveliest grounds I have played on are Perth in Western Australia, Todmorden (Lancashire League) and Saltaire”. No doubt he would be impressed with the work of the current Saltaire committee who have brought about dramatic changes to the famous ground. Under the inspired leadership of their chairman Jeff Driver, winner of the Bradford League’s coveted Sir Leonard Hutton Trophy in 2005, they have refurbished the clubhouse, built a new electronic scorebox as well as performing a wonderful transformation on the Half Moon so that it can be used as a tearoom.
The club’s fortunes have rise on the field too under the leadership of Ijaz Khan. They won the Division Two championship in 2003 and have since consolidated their position in the top flight.