The club would like to take this opportunity to mark Jack’s 90th birthday on July 18th.
Jack’s involvement in cricket is lifelong, having been around to witness the all-conquering Australian “Invincibles” when they toured in 1948 and it was as a youngster that he joined Whitkirk CC in the Leeds League before national service and the army gave him further opportunity to play cricket and football; it rather seems that there wasn’t much soldiering involved as Jack’s sporting prowess was in high demand.
A spell as a professional at Clayton Sports in the early 1960s followed before returning to Whitkirk to torment both batsmen and bowlers; in separate matches for Whitkirk versus East Leeds in 1964, he made 73* and took 6-41; his returning spell on this occasion resulted in an improbable draw when East Leeds openers, Ken Wardman and Terry Caine had taken the Pontefract Lane side to within 10 wickets and 15 runs from victory; thus Jack is one of a very select band of players to have scored a 50 and taken a five wickets in an innings both for and against East Leeds.
Jack retired from cricket in the late 1960s to concentrate on family and business but was persuaded to come out of retirement to play for East Leeds in 1970. Jack fully contributed to a strong Hepworth Cup run, making 106 not out, (15 x 4s and 4x6s) against Colton, (his sole century), a vital 42 not out in a thrilling semi-final victory over Woodhouse and, in the final, 6-27 to reduce Rothwell to 87 all-out. Unfortunately, East Leeds were unable to reach victory and thus Jack played his 6th Hepworth Cup final without a winner’s medal.
Jack played sporadically over the next couple of seasons before finally retiring from competitive cricket, however his involvement in the club did not end there; taking up the role of President in 1976, Jack introduced the Clubman of the Year award with Jack Render being the first and well deserved recipient; it was also at this time that the Jack Gahan Sunday League came into existence. The format mirrored that of the (then) John Player Sunday league which involved a 40 over a side league completion with bowlers restricted to 8 overs each and enforced 12 yards maximum run-ups. The competition was a considerable success and is remembered fondly by those who took part.
Jack’s younger son, John also started to play in the junior teams, moving through into the senior sides in 1980 which persuaded Jack play alongside his son and fill in for a few games when the 2ndXI was short; an unbeaten 50 in one match and 6-29 in another at the age of 50 merely added to the legend.
In later years, Jack’s passion for photography captured the exploits of many an East Leeds player and his stewardship of the club’s website for many years won fans, (and an award) the world over.
So, in recognition of 50 years’ support and involvement with East Leeds CC, thank-you Jack!