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Ground:Albert Terrace Oakenshaw, Bradford BD12 7AX
Telephone 01274 603778

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Contacts
Secretary: Brian Pearson
League Representative: Phil Godfrey
1st Team Captain: Pieter Swanepoel
2nd Team Captain: Steven Pearson

Honours

Joined League: 1910 Rejoined 2001
Division One Champions: 2005 2006 2007 2008 2011
Division Two Champions: 2001
Second Teams Division One Champions: 2001 2006
Second Teams Division Two Champions: 2002
Priestley Cup winners: 2006
Priestley Cup runners-up:
2003 2004 2005 2008
Priestley Shield winners: 2001 2002
Priestley Shield Runners-up: 2007

History

Woodlands are now established as one of the major teams in the JCT600 Bradford League but it’s been a long journey from their first game in the league 102 years ago.

Tim  Orrell
Tim Orrell
Safraz Ahmed
Safraz Ahmed
Pieter Swanepoel
Pieter Swanepoel

Their initial participation in the Bradford League lasted only two years due to the disbanding of the second division after the 1911 season.  The club had been formed in 1894 and had played in various local leagues, under various different names, until 1920 when they joined the Bradford Central Cricket League where they spent the next 74 years.

Feeling the need to improve their standard of cricket, Woodlands joined the Central Yorkshire League in their centenary year, 1994.  A satisfactory first season gave the club an appetite for further success which they achieved in the following season when promotion to the first division was achieved under the leadership of former Yorkshire and Lancashire pace bowler Stuart Fletcher. 

Two years later the club’s ambitions had grown once more and sights were set on further advancement, with the re-joining of the Bradford League the initial goal.  To this end Woodlands made their most significant signing when they recruited Tim Orrell from Saltaire to lead the campaign to achieve this aim.  The first indication that Woodlands were capable of going places was in 1999 when the club reached the final of the Heavy Woollen Cup, beating Hanging Heaton and Windhill on the way, only to be defeated in that final by Baildon.

By 2001 the club had finally achieved Bradford League status once more and celebrated by taking the 2nd Division championship, going through the season undefeated.

2003 saw the club reach another milestone when they reached the Priestley Cup final, a feat which they repeated for the next three years, finally managing to collect the trophy itself at the fourth time of asking in 2006!  2004 saw another landmark when the Heavy Woollen Cup was won but the real target was reached in 2005 when the club was crowned champions of the 1st Division of the Bradford League on a remarkable final day of the season which saw great rivals Pudsey Congs fall at the last hurdle in their quest to win six successive titles.  If 2005 was memorable, as Woodlands reached both the Priestley Cup and Heavy Woollen finals that year, then the following year was quite remarkable when they went on to retain the 1st Division title, finally won the Priestley Cup and to round off the season in style, convincingly beat Townville to take the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions’ Trophy.  This trophy was retained in 2007, as was the 1st Division crown which was then retained for a fourth successive year in 2008.  After the heady days of the first years of the decade, 2009 saw a decline in the club’s fortunes and they could only finish in sixth place in the final table, which position they managed to improve by one slot in 2010.

So what transformed a village cricket club into Bradford and Yorkshire champions?  Woodlands have always been blessed with members who were prepared to roll up their sleeves when necessary, and it was very necessary in 1951 when the club was given notice of eviction from their ground of the previous 57 years which was situated in Woodlands hamlet.  The villagers of Oakenshaw rallied round the club members and together they raised sufficient money to level an old dross tip, Salthorn Common, which had been gifted to the club by a generous benefactor, George Hughes.

Owning their own ground meant that development of the club could take place - and develop it did; in 1961 when the first permanent pavilion was built; in 1980 when the first bar was installed; in 1984 when the pavilion was extended and the scorebox built and most significantly in 1991 when the club completed an ambitious project to build its own sports hall.  In every case much of the actual work and the vast majority of the finance was provided by the club members themselves, helped along by various loans and grants.

Much of Woodlands’ success has been based on teamwork and a settled squad.  Former skipper Tim Orrell and bowler Richard Spittlehouse both completed 13 years at the club last year whilst present captain, Pieter Swanepoel, and Chris Brice will both be starting their ninth season in 2012.  Opening batsmen Sam Frankland and Scott Richardson are relative newcomers – they’ve only spent five and six years respectively at the club!  Overseas star Sarfraz Ahmed has returned each year for the past 11 seasons – a quite remarkable record - and Steven Pearson, himself a Woodlands player for over 20 years, will continue as skipper of the 2nd XI.

If players stay a long time at Woodlands, they are put in the shade by the club’s officials! President, Gordon Rishman, skippered the junior side which won the Bradford Central League trophy in 1949 and followed in his father’s steps when he became President in 1983. 

David Wharf played and looked after the junior sides from the 1950s and then the ground from the 1980s, becoming chairman in 1986. Treasurer Stuart Tordoff has had two spells in the position totalling 26 years - his first commenced in 1974, and present secretary, Brian Pearson, served as chairman in 1983-5 before taking on the secretary’s job in 1994 and together with Brian, assistant secretary Phil Godfrey has been responsible for cricketing matters for the past 16 years. Wayne Richardson has overseen the junior section for many years and was rewarded with silverware at U13 and U15 levels last year.

In an effort to redress a period of two years during which no senior silverware made its way to Albert Terrace, Woodlands made two significant signings for the 2011 season.

Proven JCT600 Bradford League slow-bowling all-rounder, Grant Soames, joined from Yeadon and class batsman Simon Mason, a prolific run-scorer in the Yorkshire League in recent seasons was signed from York. 

Although Grant missed most of the season through injury, the strengthened squad proved itself when Woodlands were crowned JCT600 Bradford League champions for the fifth time in seven years.

Scott Richardson senior became the first Woodlands player to accumulate 1,000 league runs in a season and Woodlands bowlers filled three of the first four places in the  league averages with ever-popular overseas star Sarfraz Ahmed leading the way. Saffy also had many entertaining knocks during the season, one of which earned him the league’s fastest fifty award.

The 2012 season sees the bulk of the 2011 squad retained, the only exceptions being stalwart Richard Spittlehouse, who has decided the time has come to play his cricket nearer his Harrogate home, and Dan Shuffe, whose Woodlands’ career has been severely blighted by injury. 

Their places will be taken by Scott Richardson junior who has worked his way up from the junior XIs and Steven Piercy who has been signed from York Senior League club Easingwold.

Woodlands will undoubtedly again be the team to beat in 2012 and they will also have eyes on a third Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions trophy.

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