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Geoff Miller asks the question: “What has Dickie Bird been doing since lockdown?”

Cleckheaton Cricket Club invited Geoff Miller O.B.E to advocate some words for the Club’s official website and he’s duly and kindly obliged -  with the onus very much on Yorkshire.

As a respected figure both in the domestic and international spheres of cricket Geoff has carved out an excellent career as a highly-regarded after-dinner speaker in recent years.

Geoff has entertained diners at Cleck’ for both the Cricket and Rugby sections several times and he is rated as one of the best if not the best after dinner speaker on the circuit.

His stories, humour and reputation as a brilliant orator have made him much sought after but his wonderful career in cricket is of course one to admire.

As a right arm off-break bowler and right-handed batsman between 1973 and 1990, Geoff played mainly for Derbyshire with a two-year spell at Essex during the late 1980s and he made his England Test debut against the West Indies in 1976.

He took 888 first class wickets in 283 appearances and captured 60 wickets in 34 Test matches played.

As National Selector appointed in 2008 Geoff led a panel, which included Ashley Giles, Peter Moores and James Whitaker after previously serving on the panel since 2000 overseen by David Graveney. Following retirement as an England selector in 2013, Geoff was awarded the O.B.E. for his services to the game.

Geoff Miller recalls good times at Cleck'

Geoff puts the onus on Club cricket as well as the County of Yorkshire and he said: “When a conversation concerning the world of cricket crops up, it is not long before Yorkshire enters the debate!! Whether it is about the County team, itself, or the players it has produced.

So, depending on your allegiance, varying opinions surface...!!

Well, allow me to take the chat to another area....Yorkshire Club cricket!!

That is where the County players, in the main, are produced. I have spoken at a goodly number of Club dinners/functions, and the passion at all of them is super.

None more so than at Cleckheaton, where the organisation and atmosphere is second to none.

Always welcoming, and more to the point, as a speaker, responsive.

I have to say as a Chesterfield lad, that has not always been the case.....

During my teenage years, developing my game, I played for a Derbyshire village team in the Sheffield League. Was invited to nets at Bramhall Lane.

At 15 years of age I was asked by the coach to put my pads on, which I did, and faced three balls. He walked down the net and said...

“We might have something here, what’s your name?”

“Geoff Miller”, I replied.

“Where were you born?”

“Chesterfield”

“Oh, take your pads off, and sort out your lift home!”

The days of having to be Yorkshire born!!!

Nevertheless, I played a lot of cricket in Yorkshire, both County, and Test, and loved the devotion to the game.

We are in difficult sporting times at the moment, and how things are going to progress.....who knows?

What we do know is the game will definitely survive, even in its modern twist.

The format, since my 55 years ago rebuke, has changed dramatically.

We need to move with the times, yes, ...but never eradicate the history.

Invention...yes

Creation...yes

Appreciation of what has been achieved to make cricket a GREAT game...certainly.

Well done Cleckheaton CC for playing your part so admirably.

My final question.....What has Harold Bird been doing with himself for the last two months??"

What is confessed cricket nut Harold 'Dickie' Bird doing just now?

The ECB has delayed any competitive cricket at every level until at least August 1st with the official statement below.

Meanwhile, former Cleck’ Chairman Dave Worrall has put forward his views on the decision.

“There may be an opportunity to play some form of cricket before the season’s over but I’m not sure what form it would take,” Dave admitted. “May be a knockout competition in a group stage?”

Dave was not only the Cricket Chairman for 20 plus years but he played the game at Bradford League level for many years and understands what goes on in the minds of cricketers. “Some players may be itching to come back and play at any cost, others might not it’s down to the individual,” he added. “Long-term it’s hard to imagine what affect it will have on Clubs. We like so many other Clubs may have casualties in terms of losing players – but in truth, we don’t know, no-one does we can only hope that once this is all over, we’ll be back to something like normal and everyone sticks with us.”

Dave touched on the Club’s finances also and looking at that situation openly, apart from main sponsor Edwin Pounds’ Ltd there’s understandably been no other incoming sponsorship for this term, which will have to be addressed for next season.

Fortunately, whilst the Cricket Section is far from cash rich it is solvent at the moment - but only for so long!

Dave Worrall is philosophical about cricket re-starting in 2020

No cricket until at least August 1st

The Bradford League’s official website has published the following statement from the ECB:

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed a further delay to the start of the professional domestic cricket season, with no domestic cricket to be played before 1 August.

The specifics of the season remain subject to ongoing advice from UK Government and health experts, but the ambition remains to host domestic men's and women's cricket across England and Wales later this summer.

The Professional Game Group (PGG) will look to outline a number of opportunities for domestic play, which will be presented to the ECB Board in June.

These plans include a number of options for both red-ball and white-ball cricket including matches played at all First Class Grounds, the use of a regional group model as well as consideration for matches played behind closed doors or with a limited number of supporters while strictly adhering to Government guidance on social distancing. The working group is also exploring options where non-televised games can be live streamed for members and supporters.

As the ongoing COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, these scenarios will be worked on and assessed. Learnings from the return-to-training programmes for England Men’s players will be incorporated, in addition to those sourced from any international matches played behind closed doors.

The recreational game currently remains suspended until further notice – with the sole exception of the use of outdoor cricket facilities (nets and pitches) for the purpose of undertaking exercise. The ECB will seek to progress discussions with the UK Government to begin mapping out a return, including the potential for an earlier return of junior cricket.

"We remain hopeful of seeing both domestic and recreational cricket this season and planning with the PGG has allowed us to map a number of potential scenarios for domestic play.”

Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer

ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said: “Naturally we want to see cricket being played at every level. We remain hopeful of seeing both domestic and recreational cricket this season and planning with the PGG has allowed us to map a number of potential scenarios for domestic play.

“While traditional formats of our competitions are the preference, we are not against exploring the unorthodox to ensure that we can return our players to the field.

“That can only happen though when it is safe, and we have said throughout this crisis that the safety and well-being of everyone involved in the game is our key priority.

“We have learned a lot and continue to learn about the safety protocols that would need to be in place to stage international cricket behind closed doors in this environment and those protocols will also need to apply to the domestic game.

“Across the recreational game it has been heart-warming to hear of clubs where players have returned to the nets. As children start returning to school in the coming weeks, we look forward to exploring how those guidelines and learnings can be deployed for cricket. This can then see the recreational game continue its phased return as soon as we have Government approval.”

No sign of any cricket at Cleck' or anywhere else !! - until at least August 1st

Cricket Committee issues statement

Subject to a possible announcement from the government on Monday June 8th a schedule will be drawn up by Cleckheaton CC for commencing practice on Thursday June 11th.

An on line Covid 19 risk assessment course will be undertaken by two members of the committee to ensure a safe and legal procedure is adopted whilst practice takes place.

Further information will be announced as soon as clarification is received.

Cricket Chairman Ian Gatenby commented: “We are putting practice on hold until June 8th when hopefully lockdown will be eased a little more. Also, it gives us more time to put effective plans in place so it will run smoothly and safely following a risk assessment of site.”

Skipper Mally Nicholson added that he is fully supportive in the notion that the players make their own decision on whether or not to practice

It appears such a message takes us a little nearer to some on-field action, whether or not there is competitive cricket in 2020 remains to be seen.


Cricket Chairman Ian Gatenby was the Juniors Manager at Cleck' for many years and as a long term school teacher also, he's well aware of the responsibilties the Club must adhere to in difficult times

True football man reveals his cricket exploits

Terry Dolan has been steeped in football all of his life but little is known about his career in cricket, a sport Terry embraced playing in the Bradford League for Manningham Mills during the 1970s.

Between 1969 and 1981, he made 448 football League appearances and scored 58 goals as a positive midfielder who had a long stride and a powerful shot and Terry played at all 92 league grounds.

For 20 years he was in football management at Bradford City, Rochdale, Hull City, York City and Guiseley and more recently held a senior role at Bradford Park Avenue for a spell. He’s been a referee’s assessor for many years and overseen duties for the League Managers Association.

Whilst Terry’s renowned for his time in football he turns his memories for Cleck’ back to his time in the Bradford League as a middle order batsman and part-time bowler.

Terry has one particular recollection that’s hard to believe could happen nowadays – as he revealed: “I can’t remember the exact dates that I played at Manningham Mills but I played for them when they were elected into the Bradford League alongside Yorkshire Bank in 1974. In fact, that summer of 1974 (June 15th to be exact) was our wedding day and several of the players were invited to the wedding. John Wilde (the Captain) was my best man so, he obviously stayed for the whole day but the other players came to the wedding at 11am in Clayton, stayed for the first course of the meal at Green Top restaurant then left at 1pm to go play cricket!”

By his own admission Terry was probably more adept in the field than he was with the bat and ball and he added: “As a player I was a middle order batsman and an occasional medium pace bowler but I think I was usually picked because I could run around in the field ( mid-wicket or covers in particular).


Terry Dolan's football career is well documented but recalls his time in the Bradford League

I had the pleasure of playing with Yorkshire CCC stars such as: John Hampshire, Phil Sharpe and Don Wilson during my time at Mills. My best innings was when we played in the Evening League and I opened the innings and scored 54 in a 20 overs game at Eccleshill.”

Anyone of a certain age may remember the charismatic Bradford City Chairman Stafford Hegginbotham who was a colourful character a brilliant orator and a man with a good sense of humour, which Terry recalled.

“One of the funniest stories of my time at Mills was when we used to play a lot of charity games on Sundays,” he said. “I can’t remember the exact time and place but it concerned Stafford.

He wasn’t the best cricketer in the world but was always willing to give it a go.

Anyway, on this occasion he managed to score fifty and in charity games if you scored fifty you gave your innings up.

So, Stafford was delighted with himself and walked back to the Pavilion with his bat in the air acknowledging the applause from the crowd. When he got to edge of the pitch, he then took his cap off and waved it to the crowd. Then finally and typical of Stafford he put his cap down and proceeded to take his toupee off and he waved that at the crowd to rapturous applause.”

For the last six years Terry has been a guest at Cleck’s Annual dinners and for several years he was able to offer an auction prize of taking one of our guest bidders to a Premiership game with the opportunity of a seat with the board members and other celebrities with excellent hospitality also.

The Club is grateful for Terry’s support in the past that we’re sure will continue in the future.


The late Stafford Hegginbotham seen with his toupee on this time!

Visit also www.cleckheatoncricketclub.com

Bob Speight has made sure that for many years there are updated facts, figures and some brilliant photographs and history surrounding Cleckheaton CC.

Secretary Antony Lee has very kindly taken over Bob's role and his details are as follows;

Home address;

Holme Bank, Stunsteads Road, Cleckheaton BD19 3DA

Mobile; 07837136744

e-mail; secretarycleckcc@gmail.com

Antony Lee is Cleck's dedicated Secretary

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