Leeds and Wetherby Cricket League hits a century

A cricket league in Leeds has organised a special fixture this weekend to celebrate a major milestone in its history - reaching 100 years not out.

The Leeds and Wetherby Cricket League Centenary Handbook, compiled by David Spavin. Picture: James Hardisty

The Leeds and Wetherby Cricket League is marking its impressive 100th anniversary with a match on Bank Holiday Monday, August 31 in the hope of bringing the league together to celebrate the historic occasion.

The league first came into being in 1920, after representatives of the Clifford, Kirk Deighton, Spoffoth, Stocked Park, Thorpe Arch, Boston Spa and Wetherby cricket clubs unanimously decided that a cricket league would meet what at the time was a long-felt need in the Wetherby District.

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Over the years, it went onto expand beyond Wetherby to attract over 30 teams and later re-branded as the Leeds and Wetherby Cricket League to signal its inclusivity to teams from the wider local area.

Leeds and Wetherby Cricket League celebrating its 100th anniversary. Pictured Zai Ali, (chairman of the Cricket League, Dan Leadbeater, fixture secretary, and David Spavin, umpire and author of The Leeds and Wetherby Cricket League Centenary Handbook. Picture: James Hardisty

Monday's match will see Kippax Cricket Club, as Division 1 Champions, take on Wetherby League select-XI at 1.30pm for the special centenary fixture.

Umpire David Spavin, a senior cricket committee member of the league who has compiled a celebratory centenary handbook to mark the milestone, said: “It is very important for the league to celebrate this milestone for the many people who have contributed over the years, for the current teams and also to look to the future.

"The league was formed just after the Great War and has survived through various difficulties, now including Covid-19, and we aim to carry on that proud legacy with the support of local clubs.

"Our hope for the future is to keep the league competitive and relevant to clubs in the Leeds and Wetherby area and we are always welcoming of clubs who want to join whether as new, or returning, members.

"We all believe passionately that local cricket clubs are an important community asset and can provide a home for players of all ages and experience.

In fact, the current England head coach, Chris Silverwood, played at Kippax Cricket Club as a junior before graduating to the senior side and then into the higher echelons of the game.

"Kippax Cricket Club are our defending League One Champions and will host the Centenary Fixture on Bank Holiday Monday, 31st August from 1.30pm.”

The fixture will also see the teams play for the annual Betty Chadderton Memorial Rose Bowl - marking what club officials called the "great contributions" made by Betty and her husband Eric, who died this year, made to grassroots cricket in the region and in the history of the league itself.

Spectators to the match are welcome, following Covid-19 guidelines issued by Kippax Cricket Club.

Despite sport being hit hard by the pandemic, the league's executive committee have been able to organise a shortened fixture list which began on July 18 and will run until September 19.

Any clubs from the Leeds or Wetherby areas who are interested in joining the league next season can email chairman Zahid Ali at [email protected]