50 Years Ago This Month   By John Steel

Having not reached a Hepworth Cup Final since before the second world war, East Leeds enjoyed a tremendous cup run 50 years ago – this is the story if what happened…..

Having been competitive but inconsistent in recent years, East Leeds CC was bolstered by the return of top order batsman Dave Wharton who had spent the whole of the 1960s in the Wetherby League at Thorner; winning the league batting averages along the way. With the addition of former Whitkirk and Claytons all-rounder, Jack Gahan who had been teased out of early retirement by Alan Stirk.

It would be these two experienced hands who would set East Leeds on a thoroughly absorbing cup run when Colton came to visit on the 17th May.

Round 1 - versus Colton at Pontefract Lane – 17th May 1970

Batting first, East Leeds found themselves in trouble against the seam pairing of Gordon Johnson and Eric Precious who each took two wickets to reduce the home side to 51-4 in the 15th over. Wharton, going in at 3 had dropped anchor and was joined by Gahan to set about repairing the damage; Wharton, watchful in defence and effective in rotating the strike enabled the forceful Gahan to flourish as he reached his half century in only 41 minutes with three 4s and four 6s, being particularly harsh on the medium pace of Peter Eckersley whose 3rd over cost 24 runs and the pair had added 123 for the 5th wicket in 84 minutes before Wharton was caught by Walker off Harry Horner for a solid 51, (four 4s / 114 minutes).

It was, perhaps surprising that the Terry Caine was preferred as next man in when the big hitting Wilson and Steel were in reserve, but with 24 out of 46 added in the last 5 overs, he provided exactly what was required whilst Gahan completed a maiden century, finishing with 106 not out, (thirteen 4s / 4 6s).

On the resumption, East Leeds’s premier strike weapon, Jack Wilson struck twice to bowl Walker and Brown in only his second over before Gordon Kirby joined George Hunter to add 44 for the third wicket before a mid-wicket mix up led to Hunter’s dismissal run-out for 29. Rhodes came to the wicket to add impetus in a well-honed 36 out of a 63 partnership with Kirby, but the visitors were still well behind the required run-rate. Dewar entered at number 6 with a clear brief which he executed with considerable aplomb as a further 55 runs were added in only 23 minutes before Kirby’s innings came to an end on 57 as the second of 4 run-outs in the innings. Dewar and Salmon took the score to 201 before the former’s dazzling display which brought 58 runs in just 34 minutes came to an end courtesy of another run out with victory in site but Gahan’s cool head prevailed, dismissing the 3 of the last 4 batsmen to leave Colton 10 runs short of victory with 2 balls to spare.

East Leeds:         220-5     D Wharton 51, G Raw 23, J Gahan 106*, T Caine 24*

Colton:                 211-10   G Hunter 29, G Kirby 57, D Rhodes 36, I Dewar 58, J Gahan 3-45

Round 2 – versus Swillington at Pontefract Lane – 6th June 1970

A day after succumbing to an 8 wicket defeat at the hands of East Leeds, Swillington returned on Sunday 6th of June to attempt to storm Fortress Pontefract Lane.

Winning the toss and electing to bat, the visitors got off to a disastrous start when Lee fenced at a sharp delivery from Jack Wilson to be neatly taken behind by Terry Caine, however Dawson dropped anchor whilst the free scoring Bedford contributed 24 of a 32 run second wicket stand before departing in exactly the same way as his predecessor; caught Caine, bowled Wilson.

Former Hunslet Nelson all-rounder, Barry Mayhew then joined Dawson in adding a further 52 to move the score on to 90 before the opener fell for a carefully constructed 41 to the part-time medium pace of Ken Watts who went on to dismiss Tegerdine a couple of overs later.

With Wilson bowling Mayhew for an attractive 33 with the score on 126, East Leeds would have been confident of wrapping the innings up in fairly short order, however Rollinson played expansively to add 44 for the 6th wicket with Morris until the return of Gahan saw him caught by Hawkyard for a run a minute 28. With both opening bowlers now back in harness, the visitors were only able to ad a further 10 runs before the 47 overs were completed.

East Leeds had breezed past Swillington’s 107 the previous day with Warton and Raw leading the way and history was soon to repeat itself.

A mix up saw Hawkyard run-out for 5 with the score on 11 to bring Wharton to the crease; Render was caught and bowled by Horton before Raw joined Wharton in a stand of 123 in just 43 minutes, Raw was his usual elegant self in racing to 52, but Wharton was in imperious form taking the hapless Mayhew for 46 runs in just two overs; in all, his 96*, (which would remain his highest 1stXI score) was made in just 69 minutes with 15 boundaries and three maximums as East Leeds raced to victory in the 33rd over.

Swillington:         180-8     P Dawson 41, W Bedford 24, B Mayhew 3, K Rollinson 28, T Morris 26*,

                                J Wilson 4-65

East Leeds:         181-4     D Wharton 96*, G Raw 52

Semi-Final – versus Woodhouse at Meanwood Road 28th July 1970

For anyone who attended the Meanwood Road headquarters of Woodhouse CC on Sunday 28th July, there was a feast of drama and entertainment awaiting; both sides were vying for position at the top of the table and were pretty much at full strength for the encounter which was blessed with fine warm weather.

Batting first against the probing attack of Wilson and Gahan, runs were difficult to come by with only 23 on the board in the 10th over before Gahan trapped Charlie Stirk, LBW for 6. Opening partner Stan Graham was neatly taken by Hawkyard for 20 off Wilson before Lawrence was caught behind by Caine off Gahan without scoring to leave the innings in some distress at 39 for 3.

The free scoring Ian Rowlands was then joined by the talented all-rounder, Keith Jones to take the score on to 73; Rowlands having removed Gahan from the attack, taking 18 off his 8th over was dismissed for 39 by Wilson, courtesy of a catch from the Leeds University student Peter Brown whose left arm seam replaced Gahan in the attack.

Jones batted with considerable assurance and found useful support in Dave Greaves, (18) adding 56 for the 5th wicket; Fred Dobson, (13) contributed to a stand of 35 for the 6th wicket before the returning Gahan trapped Jones LBW for 84 with 8 boundaries and 5 sixes in 94 minutes.

With Wilson coming back to help quell a briefly wagging tail, the home side were all out for a formidable 210, but crucially with 14 balls of the 47 overs allocation remaining.

East Leeds opened with Watts and Hawkyard, the former being run-out for 9 before the in-form Wharton came to the crease; the pair added 56 in 41 minutes before the leg spinner, (and future East Leeds skipper) Eric Harris bowled Wharton for 36.

Raw, uncharacteristically, found rhythm difficult to come by and when he was run out for 8, Caine bowled by Harris for 0 and Hawkyard LBW to Child for a solid 51, the innings had unravelled from 109-2 to 116-5. Cometh the hour, cometh the man; Gahan strode to the crease and soon hit Harris out of the attack; when Alan Weir was adjudged LBW to the miserly Child for 6, the pair had added 24 for the 6th wicket, but the rate required was mounting.

Gahan found a willing ally in his new ball partner Jack Wilson and the pair ran well between the wickets to supplement the dispatch of anything loose to add 52 for the 7th wicket in just 34 minutes before Alan Child’s persistence paid off when he bowled Wilson for 32.

19 required from 15 balls – Denis Steel, who had had a disappointing game with the ball came out to join Gahan; Child overstepped to give East Leeds a couple of free runs, but there was nothing coming off the bat; Jones was back in the attack by this time and time was running out.

Gahan was unable to score off the first and second balls of the penultimate over leaving 16 required from 10 balls – Steel swung and missed with the next before launching Jones over Meanwood Beck for 6 and taking a single off the last. The wily Child was sent to the boundary by Steel off the first ball of the last over followed by a scrambled leg bye off Steel’s hip before three hectic singles were taken to bring victory from the last possible delivery. The home team and crowd were stunned as Gahan and Steel were roundly applauded from the field by their teammates and supporters. Child’s 3-46 from 18 overs was in vain as his colleagues conceded 150 between them from 29 overs. Numerous “if only” situations are recalled in such circumstances, but Woodhouse must have rued their failure to bat the full overs.

Gahan’s 42* in just short of an hour included two 4s and 2 6s.

Woodhouse:      210-10                   I Rowlands 39, K Jones 84, J Wilson 4-59, J Gahan 4-44

East Leeds:         211-7                     P Hawkyard 51, D Wharton 36, J Gahan 42*, J Wilson 32,

                                                                A Child 3-46

Final – versus Rothwell at Town Street, Carlton 23rd August 1970

After being stunned by a Woodhouse side seeking retribution the previous day when David Horsey’s 78* orchestrated a recovery from 106-6 to add the 100 runs required for victory in just 39 minutes, East Leeds needed a clear collective head going into their first Hepworth Cup final of the nuclear age.

Perhaps the fact that their title hopes had faded and that today’s opposition had won both league clashes affected confidence, but in overhead conditions which favoured swing, Rothwell moved smoothly to 43 before Wilson bowled Aspin for 27 precipitating a collapse which brought heart to the Pontefract Lane men.

Green was run out without scoring before Gahan took the edge of Arthur Sweet’s bat to have him well caught by (Cup) skipper Wharton at slip. The redoubtable Mick Fletcher held firm, but all around him wickets started to tumble in a fashion which reflected the skills of the bowlers rather than recklessness in batting technique. Gahan ran through the middle order to finish with figures of 15.2-4-27-6, while the pacy Wilson played his part taking 3-45 from 19 overs to leave Fletcher stranded on 27* after 86 minutes of patient defence and the Rothwell total, a well under par 87.

On the resumption however, and in no time at all, East Leeds were five down with only 8 runs on the board; the much vaunted batting line up was in tatters as Ian Hunt picked up where Gahan had left off assisted in no small part by two suicidal run-outs. After Aspin had bowled a tidy but wicketless spell, Fletcher joined the attack and met with immediate success, bowling Terry Caine for 5 with his fourth delivery – 20-6. Next down, 10 run later was one of the heroes of East Leeds’s cup run, Gahan, caught by Ward off the young left armer, Hopwood for 8 – 30-7.

Enter 18 year old Paul Clarke who had not originally been selected, but got his chance after Peter Brown’s withdrawal and he and Wilson took the score to 58 taking advantage of some wayward bowling by Hopwood, however hopes of a sustained revival were dashed when his 3 minute stay of 26 runs ended when he was bowled by Fletcher who then wrapped matters up, bowling both Wilson, (15) and Weir, (3) to clinch an unlikely 14 run victory leaving Steel not out on 5.

Rothwell:             87-10     F Aspin 27, M Fletcher 27*, J Wilson 3-45, J Gahan 6-27

East Leeds:         73-10 P Clarke 26, I Hunt 3-16, M Fletcher 4-17