From choirboys to cricketers - owzat!

Author Bruce Deadman with Keith Halford, who appears in The Full Cricle, a history of Cleckheaton St John's Cricket Club.
Author Bruce Deadman with Keith Halford, who appears in The Full Cricle, a history of Cleckheaton St John's Cricket Club.
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A new book tracing the history of one of Spen’s most unusual sporting clubs is launched this week.

Author Bruce Deadman has spent seven years researching Cleckheaton St John’s Cricket Club, for his book, The Full Circle.

“I’ve called it The Full Circle because it seemed to adequately describe the 40 year existence of the club,” he explained.

“Cleckheaton St John’s was formed in 1960 by a group of former choir boys who had previously represented the church in the Dewsbury and Birstall Choirboys Cricket League.

“It competed in the Batley and District Sunday School League and despite being a Cleckheaton-based club, its home games were played on grounds in the Birstall area, initially off Chapel Lane and then at a ground off Gelderd Road.

“The inaugural season was memorable for Keith Halford’s feat of taking 10 wickets for 16 runs in 10 overs in a game against Hanover Street Congregational Church at Hystlands Park. And in 1965 St John’s won the league title beating Cross Bank Methodists in rather bizarre circumstances. Having been bowled out for only 24 all looked lost, but amazingly they managed to dismiss the opposition for 12!”
After losing the Gelderd Road ground, the team had no permanent home, playing games at Chickenley, Earlsheaton, Cleckheaton and Heckmondwike. The club eventually folded in 2000.

Bruce’s book, costing £10, is on sale at its launch on Friday April 5 at 7.30pm at Hartshead Moor Cricket Club, and at Spenborough Stationers,Albion Street, Cleckheaton. Profits donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.