UPPER AIREDALE JUNIOR CRICKET ASSOCIATION HISTORY SINCE 1947
|A brief history of the development of junior cricket across the Skipton, Craven, Keighley and East Lancashire conurbation.|
|In the pre-Second World War era most cricket for young people was organised by schools. But there was to be a steady decline in the focus given to cricket by schools and soon community cricket clubs began to band together to set up a stream of youngsters to provide continuity for themselves.|
|President Mr H Merrall and Chairman Mr J Earnshaw of The West Bradford Cricket League and their colleagues constituted a first ever Junior Cricket League in 1947 aimed specifically at attracting to clubs junior players under the age of seventeen. That historic first season of junior cricket embraced seven clubs: Crossflatts, Cullingworth, Denholme, Haworth Methodists, Haworth Baptists, Morton Banks and Oxenhope. Records show that the first League Champions were Cullingworth under the Captaincy of E Cobb. That season for the Champions W Derrick took 8 for 7 to dismiss Crossflatts whilst F S Holmes of Oxenhope scored 80 not out against Denholme for his Oxenhope team, going on to record the first century in 1949 also against Denholme. The picture above is of the 1949 West Bradford Junior League Champions Oakworth, who markedly reversed their fortunes after not winning a match in their inaugural league season of 1948.|
|The Upper Airedale Junior Cricket League was the brainchild of a number of far-sighted cricket people from the Skipton and Craven areas in 1954. Four clubs formed the league with matches instituted on Monday evenings, remaining so to this day. Those original members are believed to have been Steeton, Silsden , Sutton and Glusburn. The Championship Trophy was originally named the Junior Challenge Cup and was won by the Sutton-in-Craven club, who went on to also take the Championship in 1956 and 1958. The most successful period was enjoyed by Steeton CC who captured the title four times in a row between 1962 and 1965.|
the fifties, sixties and seventies the two junior leagues provided cricket for
the youth of the area and in many years inter-League representative matches were
A further innovation took place when the West Bradford Junior League opted to introduce Cup cricket in 1958. The first Cup Final was held on Thursday July 10th 1958 at the Wide Lane ground of the Oakworth club. Batting first Oakworth made a modest 62 for 8 but which nevertheless proved too many for opponents Cullingworth who mustered just 46. Oaks Captain (pictured with Cup) was their current President Mr Wilfrid Scarborough. UAJCL Vice Chairman Jeff Hobson is pictured second from the left in the back row. In fact the following year the same two clubs again contested the Final at Oakworth with a repeat of the win for Oakworth.
In 1967 an
Under 15s section was created
by the Upper Airedale Junior League , playing on Wednesday
evenings. This time Glusburn CC were the
first winners. The first nine years produced different Champions each year until
Glusburn completed the first hat trick of titles in 1976-78, a record which was
equalled and then surpassed by Oxenhope in 2005. A
knock-out Cup competition
was later instituted in 1982 and the trophy was named after Mr
from the Embsay club, a founder member of the League & past President of the Craven & District League. Airedale were the first
winners. So successful was the Cup competition that after
30 years of Upper Airedale u-17 League fixtures, The William Spencer Cup
for under-17s first saw the light of day in 1984. It was often referred to as Under 18s but only in the context of
the current year. It's first winners were Skipton CI. Mr William Spencer was the original Secretary of the UAJCL.
By 1979 it was clear that the younger players in the Keighley Area were also clamouring to play and the under-17 age-group had no further 'vacancies', so the West Bradford Junior Cricket League instituted an under 14s age-group, ironically the year after the collapse of it's parent, the senior West Bradford League and in the same season as the resultant enlargement of the Craven and District League.
The picture (left) is of an early Earby junior team. Recognise anyone?
|Poor administration and growing apathy came to a head in 1994 and sadly the by now Keighley-centred West Bradford Junior Cricket League collapsed. Club junior teams dispersed to either the Upper Airedale Junior Cricket League, The Bradford Junior Cricket League or the Bradford Central Junior Cricket League. The influx of new clubs to the Upper Airedale Junior Cricket League brought the number of clubs to 15 with entries from Haworth, Long Lee, Ingrow St Johns and Airedale following 1992 membership for Oakworth.|
Current membership is, Bradford & Bingley, Bradley, Cononley, Crossflatts, Cullingworth, Denholme, Earby, Embsay, Gt Horton Church, Oakworth, Oxenhope, Riddlesden, Settle, Silsden, Skipton, Steeton, Sutton, Upper Wharfedale & Wilsden.