Tykes ‘determined to bounce back’

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Coach Andrew Gale says Yorkshire CCC’s players are determined to atone for last season’s below-par performance.

The Headingley outfit, champions twice in recent years, had to battle to maintain their top section status in the summer and failed to make the impact they would have hoped in the other competitions.

Gale, speaking at the Spenser Wilson Halifax League annual dinner at The Venue, Barkisland on Friday, told the 200-plus guests that 2017 had been a let-down after the successes of the previous five years.

The former captain said: “We have been back in training for two weeks and I can see the hunger among the players.

“The supporters expect us to be challenging for trophies and rightly so. Last year was a disappointment and hopefully we can bounce back.”

Yorkshire opener Alex Lees, who started his career at Bradshaw in the Halifax League and has also played locally for Illingworth and Lightcliffe, said he would not look back on the summer with great fondness.

“I took a bit of a backward step last season and we under-performed as a team,” he said.

The winners of five special awards were announced on the night.

Lees presented the Simon Lees Memorial Trophy, in memory of his father who was a long-standing member of Bradshaw, to Bridgeholme’s Keith Hudson.

Hudson’s association with the Eastwood club started around 45 years ago as a scorer and still continues as a player and the main man behind the scenes.

His many roles have included first team captain and chairman but he is best known for his work on the Bridgeholme ground, dealing with the regular floods and making it arguably the most attractive in the league.

He has won a Yorkshire Outstanding Services to Cricket Award for his dedication and receives tremendous support from his partner Sharon with jobs at the club.

Hudson was described by league official Phil Sharples, who announced the award winners, as “a force of nature.”

Sharples added: “His drive and determination are unique and unmatched. Without him the club he plays for and is dedicated to would not exist.”

The Fred Stallard Trophy, which has been handed over the Halifax League following the demise of the Huddersfield Central Cricket, went to retiring official Peter Taylor.

The trophy is for a long-serving individual who had not necessarily been a one club servant.

Taylor was described by Sharples as “a pivotal figure in the decision making and running of the Halifax League as a key executive member for the last 10 years.”

His roles have included being fixtures secretary, a well respected umpire and a huge contributor to junior cricket.

Sharples said that the Halifax Junior League would have struggled to survive, but for his commitment and drive after the untimely death of Keith Goulden.

The heritage award went to Stones CC, who joined the Halifax League in 1937 and were one of eight founder members of the Halifax Junior League in 1948 - a combined service of 150 years.

The Ripponden club runs seven junior teams and have a newly refurbished pavilion.

Greetland’s Andy Cleveland won the Umpires’ Association Sportsman of the Year Trophy for his efforts in keeping the West Vale club alive while Bradley and Colnebridge, league newcomers in 2017, won the Roy Smith Club Sportsmanship Trophy, based on umpires’ marks.

The MC was Pete Emmett and the comedian was Josh Daniels.