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IndianFlagSTAR OF INDIA

 

Profile of Dilip Doshi by Rob Hardie

 

 

Dilip Doshi was one of India’s best left-arm spin bowlers during the 1970s and 1980s and it was Meltham CC that benefited from his talents during the early years of his career.

 

Born in Rajkot, Gujarat, in 1947, Doshi arrived in England at the age of 25 in 1972. He came to this country with the intention of plying his trade as a holidaying cricketer and, with his family ties in the south of England, Doshi began to play for Sussex’s 2nd XI.

 

In 1972 Meltham had re-laid their pitch for the forthcoming season and with this the committee signalled their intention for a fresh start, including the prospective signing of a few top players.

 

Initially the club had the intention of signing another player at the time, as former club chairman Dennis Schofield explains. “We tried to sign John Sullivan from Lancashire for the ’73 season, but he had a year left on his contract.” This did not deter the pursuit of Sullivan as the committee members went after their man. “We went to his house one Sunday in August 1972 and sat down over a coffee and talked it through.” The meeting was not without reward, however, as Sullivan told the MCC delegation of a left-arm spinner he witnessed as his county side played against Sussex.

 

The player was confirmed as Dilip Doshi by Lancashire’s Clive Lloyd after a phone conversation with Meltham officials. Lloyd gave Doshi a glittering recommendation and said he could be a 100-wicket-a-season bowler. This was only just enough to convince the club as the decision to sign the Indian only just scraped through a committee vote. A letter sent to Hove gave Doshi details of the contract offer which included a £24-per-week wage and a guaranteed benefit match.

 

Acquiring the bowler’s signature, however, was not without drama. A week after contacting Doshi, it was found out that he was returning to India. Cue a mad dash to London by several board members to snare the player. Schofield was on the trip and narrates the events. “We found out he was to board a plane to India and had to reach him before he did. At 4am in the morning a car of committee members drove to Heathrow Airport to catch him.” Their tracking down of Doshi bore fruit as beside Heathrow’s Terminal 3 Doshi signed the papers which confirmed him as being under sole contract to Meltham Cricket Club for the 1973 season.

 

After only a few weeks of the 1973 season his performances started to make county teams take notice of his considerable talents and Meltham gave him permission to take part in a trial match for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. After only a short while at Mean Lane, Doshi was to be transferred to Notts. However, due to the Trent Bridge club already having an overseas player, it was arranged that Doshi play on for Meltham until the end of the 1974 season.

 

In 1973 Doshi became the first Meltham player to be awarded the Huddersfield League bowling prize for his phenomenal 112-wicket hall. Only Paul Booth has achieved the honour since then, completing a hat-trick of prizes in 1999, having won the award in the two previous years.

 

Doshi went on to play for a number of sides including Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire and Hertfordshire. He was finally called up to India’s Test side in 1979 at the age of 30 and went on to take 114 wickets at Test level. It is little surprise that Doshi’s abilities were called upon by his country and even when he wasn’t in contention for a place he was glued to his country’s Test performances.

 

This was most notably the case in 1974 when India were touring. During a match at Mean Lane, Doshi set himself up a wireless near the boundary and didn’t stray far from it despite this harming his fielding performance! Many would claim this wouldn’t have been an issue as he was well known for his poor fielding, except of course taking catches off his own bowling!

                                                                                                                       

                                            D.Doshi                          

 

                                                   In Test action for India

 

Doshi was a well educated man known for his excellent linguistic skills and exceptional grasp of the English language. He retired from cricket in 1989 after becoming only the second man in history to take more than 100 Test wickets after having made their debut aged 30.

 

Doshi’s son Nayan currently plays for Derbyshire County Cricket Club.


HAT-TRICK!

 

Profile of Nirmal Nanan by Robert Hardie

 

 

 

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After having tasted rich success with overseas players from India in the form of Dilip Doshi and Madan Lal, Meltham looked overseas once more to enhance their chances of success. This time the club looked west to the Caribbean instead of east to Asia. Nirmal Nanan, born on the 19th of August 1951 in Preysel, Trinidad, signed on to play for Meltham Cricket Club in time for the 1977 cricket season. Nanan will go down as one of the best players, if not the best, who has ever donned the Meltham whites and took to the field at Mean Lane.

 

Nanan was a fine batsman, using his strong, effective right-handed style to great effect. It was almost as if he were waving a magic wand and directing the leather from the willow in any direction he wished his shot to go. His prowess was down to the great West Indies side of the time, learning under the tutelage of the magnificent Garfield Sobers. There were rare occasions when Nanan dabbled with ball in hand, using the odd leg-break or googly ball to mix up his side’s bowling attack, but it was with bat in hand that Nanan really came to the fore.

 

 

NirmalNanan

 

Nanan with the second of his three

Huddersfield League batting awards (1978)

 

 

Such was his accomplishment with the bat in his three years of Huddersfield League cricket with Meltham that the trophy-winning record he laid down way back in 1979 still stands today.

 

After scooping a brace of league batting prizes in his first two seasons, the master batsman set about claiming a hat-trick in 1979. The feat was never in doubt, with Nanan collecting his third consecutive batting award to complete an unprecedented collection of titles. Almost 30 years on from this phenomenal achievement the record still stands today and remains unlikely to be broken by anybody any time soon.

 

In addition to his own personal achievements, Nanan’s impressive batting displays helped Meltham’s 1st XI to the Byrom Shield in 1978. This was the third time in the club’s history that they had taken the league championship title back to Mean Lane.

 

Nanan left the club after his record-busting 1979 campaign to continue on with his county championship career with Nottinghamshire, for whom he played from 1971 up until 1980. His first-class career spanned longer than this, however, with Nanan playing first-class cricket from the age of 18 in 1969 up to his retirement from cricket aged 33 in 1984. In his nine seasons of first- class cricket in England, Nanan played 35 matches for Nottinghamshire. In these games he racked up 925 runs at an average of 15.67, hitting three half- centuries; despite his obvious talent at the crease with a bat in his grasp, he never managed a ton in his time there.

 

Perhaps it was this inability to hit the big scores at the highest level that kept Nanan from ultimately being called up to the West Indies national side at a time when they were the dominating team on the international stage. With players of the calibre of Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Larry Gomes, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Michael Holding, Roy Fredericks, Alvin Kallicharran, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts and the legendary Viv Richards, it was something of an impossible task to be selected for a very strong side. Indeed, Nanan like many other West Indian cricketers, had to watch on from afar as the islanders were victorious in the first two cricket world cups in 1975 and 1979.

 

As well as Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, Nanan played top-flight cricket back in his native country, playing for provincial sides South Trinidad and Central Trinidad before and after his time in England. No matter that Nirmal Nanan couldn’t break through into his national side - his achievements at Meltham show that he was a fine batsman, as does nearly a decade of first- class county cricket in England, and a hat-trick of Huddersfield League batting prizes speaks for itself.




WORLD CUP WINNER

 

 

Profile of Madan Lal by Robert Hardie

 

 

Barely a year had passed after the highly successful Dilip Doshi had left Mean Lane for pastures new that Meltham Cricket Club once again looked to the Subcontinent for inspiration.

 

Born in the Punjab town of Amritsar on the 20th March 1951, Madan Lal Udhourma Sharma took to the field for Meltham for the whole of the 1975 season. Much like his countryman before him, the signing of the deal was somewhat unorthodox in its completion. This was due to the fact that he signed his contract on the roof of a car while at Headingley after England played India in a one-day match. Club officials Gordon Holroyd, Dennis Schofield and Colin Booth drew up a contract and eventually got their man after signing the contract on the roof of Tony Greig’s car - Greig was the England captain on this occasion.

 

Madan Lal was the club’s preferred signing after the then Indian captain, Ajit Wadekar, offered the services of Lal and teammate Brijesh Patel after meeting with club officials in the Bridgford Hotel in Nottingham. This was after the Indian touring side had taken on Notts in a tour game. Patel chose to sign for Elland after Lal was taken on by Meltham.

 

The signing was something of a coup as Madan Lal was already a full international player. After making his name and producing excellent displays for Indian sides Delhi and Punjab, he earned a call-up for the Indian team for the 1974 tour of England. Not only was he playing for his country, he also won the title of ‘Indian Cricketer of the Year’ in 1974 - the same year in which he made his Test debut for India v England at Old Trafford.

 

Like Doshi before him, the talented batsman would claim a prestigious league prize during his first season of cricket in Huddersfield. In the 1975 season he would collect the league’s batting honour and by doing so became only the third man in the history of the club to do so and the first for 12 years after Roy Kilner picked up his second award in 1963. Since then, only Nirmal Nanan has been awarded this honour.

 

At domestic level Lal was a regular wicket-taker and prolific scorer of runs. With his right-arm medium-pace bowling and middle-order hitting, he became known for his versatility. It was his consistency that saw him become a key member of the Indian Test side in the 1970s. However, his international career was not without controversy. While at the peak of his powers in the 1978 season, he was excluded from the national side for no apparent reason until the 1981 tour of England, when he proved all the selectors wrong by performing extremely well on his return.

 

However, he would be dropped again in 1985 by the selectors. At the age of 34 he was replaced by younger medium pacers coming through to Test level, but again he was brought back for the tour of England in 1986, where he would make his last Test appearance for India. Again he performed commendably, taking three wickets at a rate of 1.61 and notching up 20 runs before falling to the bowling of Graham Gooch.

 

 

MadanLal

Madan Lal taking the wicket of Dennis Amiss at Lord’s

 

After his initial period of exile in the late 70s/early 80s. Madan Lal would come back to great effect and was an integral part of India’s successful World Cup campaign in 1983. India qualified from the preliminary group stage along with the mighty West Indian side to set up a semi-final clash with England in which the Indian side knocked out the host country by 6 wickets.

 

Many saw India as huge underdogs in the final against the West Indies. But this was Madan Lal’s moment. He stepped up to take the vital wicket of Viv Richards and then two more in quick succession, to take 3-31 overall. Lal played the conditions perfectly and helped reduce the era’s most successful batting line-up to a mere 140 runs. With the help of Lal, India had pulled off one of the biggest sporting upsets in history.

 

83IndiaWorldCup

The victorious 1983 India World Cup squad (Madan Lal, back row, 2nd left)

 

Since putting away his bat and pads at the age of 40 in 1991, Lal has tried his hand at coaching. He coached the United Arab Emirates team with limited success before coaching the Indian national team between 1996-98, after which he became a national team selector for Indian cricket in 2000 and 2001.

 




 

KIWI WHO LIKES THE BUDGIES!

 

Grant Robinson – Overseas Player 2007

 

By Rob Hardie

 

Hailing from New Zealand, first-class cricketer Grant Robinson signed for Meltham Cricket Club for the whole of last season.

 

                                                                                                                   GrantRobinson

Much like many southern-hemisphere cricketers, Robinson sought a club in the northern hemisphere to play cricket for in the summer months while clubs south of the equator endured their winter months. Kiwi Robinson signed on for Meltham after being caught up in red tape over in the Republic of Ireland.  Originally signing for Merrion Cricket Club, one of the oldest clubs in the Irish capital of Dublin, Robinson fell foul of the ‘overseas’ policy in that country. Having played too many first class matches in New Zealand, Robinson was in breach of the rules in Ireland and the deal fell through a mere two weeks before he was due to fly out from Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand.

 

Cue a desperate search for a club. But a certain West Yorkshire club from Mean Lane came calling, as Robinson explains: “Meltham made contact via email and the rest is history. I was jumping on a plane to a place I’d never heard of.” Robinson signed a contract to play for Meltham in 2007 as the overseas pro.

 

However, his first summer was blighted by wet weather. But, having played in England for Downham Town CC in 2001 and 2002 and Liverpool CC in 2005, Robinson had a good idea of what to expect with respect to playing conditions: “Having played three seasons in England prior to playing for Meltham I had some knowledge of the slower, softer wickets, smaller boundaries, quaint and beautiful grounds, and good club atmospheres.”

 

The weather particularly frustrated Robinson: “As a batsman, wet cricket conditions are easily the most frustrating. The wickets become slow and unpredictable for batting.” He goes on: “In New Zealand if the pitch is damp or it’s raining when play starts, we are pretty quick to call it off and head for the bar. Perhaps we are too precious and expect to bat only on hard, firm batting wickets, but then we see less rain, so our expectations of what makes a good cricket game differ.”

 

Having played just the one season, I asked him what his Mean Lane highlights were. Robinson was keen to focus on the non-playing side of the club: “The players are lucky to have a committee keen to provide good facilities for their players. The outfield is great and the changing rooms, bar facilities etc are excellent.” Beating Shelley two games out of three over the season is one of Robinson’s highlights as well as defending low scores in tight games – the Shelley and Scholes games at home bringing particular joy.

 

A big highlight for the club was surely Robinson’s batting prowess. He finished the season with the highest first-team batting average of 43.32, and this included two not outs and a highest score of 127. Robinson’s fielding was also of particular note: he took 11 catches, more than anyone else at the club. Grant explains: “In New Zealand we are constantly told our fielding needs to improve. As a result the standard of fielding is quite high. I guess because we’re a small nation we have to maximise any skills we have to compete with the best in the world.”

 

Outside cricket, Robinson enjoys a variety of other sporting activities, participating in football, golf, tennis and rugby when possible. As New Zealand is crazy for rugby, Grant supports the Auckland Blues union side while also enjoying watching NRL club Auckland Warriors. Grant also works for small regional cricket board Waikato Valley Cricket Association. Away from cricket, Robinson has recently entered the world of property investment while running his own business and also has an honours degree in business management. Like any other male, a few drinks on a Saturday night are the norm as is chasing the local ‘budgies’!

 

The Kiwi also looks back fondly on the time he spent at Meltham. He also reminisces about the tremendous support and help he received in this foreign land. “The people of Meltham were an absolutely wonderful bunch of people. The ladies always greeted me with a smile and the lads were keen to talk cricket and always have a beer after a match. They couldn’t have provided better support to someone away from home and who was meeting strangers for the first time.” The typical hospitality and friendliness of the Yorkshire people shone through as a foreign traveller was made welcome in the local community.

 

Overall, Robinson sees his time at Meltham as a great experience, not least because of the challenging weather conditions. Having played professional cricket for a number of years, he also says that the club has the potential to be a big success with the current squad. “I believe the boys need to harbour a stronger belief in their own games. Some of the experienced guys will move on and it’s up to the younger guys to take up the challenge.” He goes on: “I saw some outstanding skills of first-class ability. It’s mastering application to the game that will take these guys to the top and that’s where Meltham can take their cricket.”

 

Grant Robinson currently plays first-class cricket for New Zealand state side Northern Knights and is still a big fan of the budgies…

 


 

KIWI CRUSADER!

 

Profile of New Signing Leighton Morgan by Rob Hardie

 

 

                                                                                                           LeightonMorgan                                 

 

With the 2008 cricket season approaching fast, there is news of a new addition to the Meltham squad. Following on from the success of Grant Robinson in 2007, the club have once again looked to New Zealand in order to acquire an overseas professional.

 

Leighton Morgan, 26, who hails from the Kiwi capital, Wellington, will join up with the rest of the team in time for the first game of the season away to Barkisland at Scammondon Road on 19th April. Like fellow Kiwi Robinson before him, Morgan is a talented batsman and should prove to be a great asset as an opener for the club. As well as his batting prowess, Morgan is also a useful bowler. With his slow left-arm orthodox bowling style, he will be a top addition to the squad in all departments.

 

The move for Morgan was linked to the fact that his partner hails from Halifax, and so Meltham is close by. With three campaigns of English cricket firmly under his belt, the seasoned batsman knows exactly what to expect from the season ahead and in particular the atmosphere in the local leagues, which he’s looking forward to, “I really enjoy the English way of cricket, the support and the passion,” he tells me. And that’s not all he is relishing: “I love the fact that there is real club atmosphere in the UK. Something we miss here [New Zealand], I feel.”

 

On the field the player is looking to give 100% to the cause and hopefully help Meltham towards a highly successful season and is looking forward to meeting his new teammates and everyone involved at the club. As he explains: “I’m aiming to contribute as much as I can on and off the field and hopefully the results will go our way. I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone. To me that is one of the greatest aspects of this, the chance to meet new people and make new friends that you will have forever.”

 

As you would expect, the patriotic Kiwi follows the national cricket side, the Black Caps, but is also a big fan of most of the national sports of New Zealand. Outside cricket, Morgan supports the All Blacks rugby union side as well as the Hurricanes in the Super 14 competition. In rugby league, the NZ Warriors are Morgan’s preferred team of choice, once again staying firmly loyal to his New Zealand roots. But it’s another ‘small ball’ sport that he enjoys when he isn’t taking to the cricket field: “I love all sport really but I guess golf would be my first pick outside of cricket,” he says. “I love my golf!”

 

To date, Morgan has appeared for major New Zealand side Wellington and current club Otago Volts. So far in his first class career, he has racked up 13 innings and in these he has accumulated over 300 runs at an average of 24.61, his highest score being a creditable 81. He was named captain of Otago in 2006 and led the ‘A’ team to victory in the New Zealand provincial ‘A’ tournament, being named Otago ‘A’ player of the year in the same season.

 

 

A GROUNDSMAN’S CRAFT

 

Profile of Chris Berry by Rob Hardie

 

In the 15 years of his 1st team career at Meltham Cricket Club, Chris Berry was part of something special. Before playing for the first team, Berry played for juniors and 2nd XI, from 1977 onwards.

 

He went on to become a member of the hugely successful side that dominated proceedings for the Drakes Huddersfield Cricket League during the early- and mid-1990s. In a team that included former county cricketers Ian Swallow and Paul Booth and current Meltham 1st team player Dave Cocking, Berry racked up an incredible 12 team titles in his time playing for the first team between 1988 and 2003.

 

 

1XI-1996

 

Chris is on the front row, far right

 

 

These titles included four Byrom Shields, one Hinchcliffe Cup, five Sykes Cups and two Champion of Champion honours. As well as picking up these awards with the 1st team, Chris was recognised for his efforts and claimed the Black Sheep Man of the Match Award.

 

A supremely confident and proud man, when asked which of these victories was the highlight of his cricketing career, the simple response came: “I won everything.” Well, except one thing that is. “Well, not the Walker Cup anyway, I haven’t won that.” Now Chris plays for Meltham’s second XI but not being part of the first team anymore has not stopped the silverware amassing, as the second string claimed victory in the Paddock Shield in 2005 and 2007, Berry playing an integral part in both victories.

 

However, his commitment to the club sometimes leads his temper to get the better of him and he has been banned twice during his time at Meltham for on-field incidents. The first incident occurred during a Sykes Cup semi-final one year, Berry was adjudged to have obstructed the bowler mid-delivery. The second incident was a slightly more serious one. During the final second XI game of 2006, one of Meltham’s overseas players was getting severely abused by an opposition player. Berry took it upon himself to intervene and confronted the abuser and then proceeded to put the player on the floor. Berry explained what happened and is still clearly shocked at the player’s reaction after the confrontation: “He just ran into my fist.” Berry was given a 6-week suspension from playing.

 

As well as playing for the second XI, Berry is the Mean Lane groundsman, working on a part-time basis. Berry has eight first-team wickets and four for the second team to maintain and prepare for the rigours of a cricket season and the adverse weather that an English summer can throw up. The wickets themselves are a cheap form of Mendip loam grass that is very hard-wearing and similar to that which is used on bowling greens. At the end of the playing season the ground is aerated and re-seeded. During the winter months little is done to the playing surface and hopefully this coming winter will be kind to the pitch.

 

During the playing season each wicket takes three week to prepare, as it usually gets a lot of time dedicated to it, whether that be cutting, rolling or aerating. However, when the season starts and matches start to pile up, the preparation can be affected, especially if the weather takes a turn for the worse. As Chris explains: “Sometimes when fixtures get postponed games can get played on Mondays and Wednesdays, with team practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This leaves only the Friday for preparing the pitch.” Obviously, this sort of situation can lead to problems if a match is due to be played on a Saturday and the weather is poor.

 

Hopefully, the winter months will be kind and then the summer and spring fine, sunny and rain-free. If this is the case then Chris can prepare Mean Lane for some good cricket and some trophy-winning exploits. 

ONE SWALLOW MAKES A SUMMER

 

 

Ian Swallow – 16 Years at Meltham CC

By Rob Hardie

 

 

Since making his debut for Meltham against Holmfirth way back on the 25 April 1992 Ian Swallow has provided the club with 16 years of dedicated service.

 

Before his time at MCC, Ian was a first-class cricketer with Yorkshire and Somerset, playing 88 matches. During his eight years of county cricket, Ian hit 1,550 runs at an average of 20.39, including two half-centuries and a highest score of 114. On the bowling side Ian and his right arm off-break style took 106 wickets with an economy rate of 3.10.

 

 

                                                               1XI-1996

 

 

 His playing career at Meltham - with ten years as captain - saw the club win over ten titles, Ian capturing four major awards himself during this time. These included the Clifford Sykes Cup for most league catches in a year in 1996 and the Jack Gledhill Memorial Trophy, presented to the best all-rounder of the year in 2000. As part of the great Sykes Cup-winning teams that claimed the trophy four times in five years between 1993 and 1997, Ian claimed the man- of-the-final award twice. The first of these came in 1994 with the second being in 1997, the last time the club triumphed in the competition.

 

While Ian was at Meltham, the club experienced a highly successful time. In the 16 years between 1992 and 2007 the club won the Byrom Shield in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998. In addition there were Sykes Cup triumphs and Yorkshire Champions honours in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1995 and 1996 respectively. The last championship honour that the club netted during Ian’s career at Mean Lane came in 2001 with the Huddersfield League Conference Championship - the 11th and final trophy captured by the club during his time as skipper.

 

The award for best all-rounder in the Huddersfield League in 2000 came as no surprise as Ian produced a marvellous season. His batting statistics saw him finish the season with an average of 46.58 from 23 innings including 4 not outs and a top score of 101*. His bowling stats were also impressive: he finished the season with an economy rate of 2.75 form 260 overs. This also included 49 wickets and 53 maiden overs. Ian was also adept in the field in 2000, with a total of 14 catches.

 

During his 16 years at Meltham, Ian played many great innings and his batting was worthy of great respect. This was especially the case in 2005. Ian finished with an impressive average of 50.25, his highest seasonal batting average while at the club. This included a career highest score of 122 not out and over 1,000 runs from 24 innings.

 

Ian Swallow played his final game for Meltham away to Honley on 15 September 2007. In total, during his time at the club he hit 13,706 runs at an average of 38.50. He also took 482 wickets with an economy rate of 3.28. He was a remarkable servant of the club and it is safe to say that his name will not be forgotten.

HOWZAT!

 

Meltham’s Tradition of Top Bowlers

By Rob Hardie

 

Since the formation of Meltham Cricket Club, there have been some outstanding bowlers and bowling achievements. It could be argued that Dilip Doshi was, and probably will remain, the best bowler that ever starred for the club. To many, the statement about Doshi is true as he went on to become a Test bowler for India, but others could lay claim to this title and here are three more quality bowlers who have featured at Mean Lane over the years.

 

Joseph Brooks

 

Exactly 70 years ago, Bradley Mills CC felt the wrath of this man. On a day so special, his achievements set a sparkling new record for the Huddersfield and District Cricket League. The man in question was Joseph Brook.

 

His finest hour came on Sunday 20 August 1938. On this day, Brook took all ten opposition wickets for a mere 8 runs. Not only that, but all but one of these wickets were clean bowled, the other being caught by teammate J.Hirst. The feat only took Brook 40 balls and he also bowled four maiden overs.

 

                                                             JosephBrooks

 

 

His accomplishment at Mean Lane is documented on the above scoresheet which was produced especially for the occasion. 1938 also saw MCC claim their first ever Hinchcliffe Cup triumph and it is surely performances of this calibre that helped the side claim that title.

 

Alfred Topp

 

Alfred Topp’s achievements for Meltham are also of the highest order. In a period of over 15 years at Meltham, the former professional cricketer took more than 1,000 wickets for the club. The first landmark on the way to the phenomenal achievement came in 1958. After helping the side to its second Hinchcliffe Cup win in 1957, Topp claimed his 500th wicket for the club. At the time, this was a fantastic accomplishment and as such was given a special award in recognition of the feat - see below.

 

                                             AlfredTopp

 

 

Present at the special event were, from left to right, club captain Ray Kilner, club president and now club historian Dennis Schofield, councillor J.Steel, and club secretary D.Naylor. Presenting the award to Topp is B.Ridley, the umpire twho raised his finger to give Topp his 500th wicket. However, little did they know then that Topp was only halfway to his ultimate goal of 1,000 wickets for Meltham.

 

It took the great man seven more years to reach his target and he finally took his 1,000th wicket on Sunday 16th May 1965. His only wicket in a league match against Linthwaite was batsman L.Robinson, plum lbw for that magic 1000. By doing so he joined an elite group of only three men to have taken a four-figure haul of wickets - the others being fellow Huddersfield professional Walter Hedford and Broad Oak Cricket Club’s Harry Hinchcliffe. It is no coincidence that Alfred Topp’s wicket-taking prowess aided the club to two more major honours in the 1960s, those being the Sykes Cup in 1965 and the Byrom Shield in 1966 – see below.

 

                                                             1966ByromShield

 

 

Paul Booth

 

Thirdly in this list of outstanding bowlers is modern club favourite Paul Booth. In fact, his claim to fame is a rare one. He is the only player to have achieved it in the entire history of Meltham Cricket Club and the Huddersfield and District Cricket league. 1999 saw Booth – an orthodox slow left-armer - become the first player in the history of the league to claim a hat-trick of successive league bowling prizes, and only the second Meltham player since Dilip Doshi in 1973 to win the award.

 

 

In a career that took him to Yorkshire and Warwickshire, Booth has become something of a Meltham legend. Booth also won the Jack Gledhill all-rounders trophy in ’92, ’97 and ’99. It was also this all-round ability that helped Meltham claim 12 major titles in his time at the club – and that includes four league championships and five Sykes Cup wins.

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