History of YSCA

Welcome to the History of Yorkshire Schools Cricket Association page...

Yorkshire Schools’ Cricket Association, originally known as Yorkshire Elementary Schools’ Cricket Association was founded in autumn of 1923 after a meeting of enthusiasts from Ardsley, Dewsbury & Batley, Huddersfield and Morley with the object of providing schoolboys with facilities for playing under the best possible conditions. From this small beginning YSCA has grown considerably and now covers ages 10 to 15 with “A” & “B” squads at each level to accommodate the large number of boys identified with a good level of cricketing talent. There is also an under 19 team which has now been amalgamated with the full County age group squad. Until 2010 Yorkshire Senior Schools’ Cricket Association operated separately for boys at under 19 level and where their main focus was a five day Festival held at St.Peter’s School, York as from 1969.

For more than 50 years, chairmanship of YSCA rotated on an annual basis with a representative from one of the 24 district associations assuming that role. Dr. Bernard Knowles MBE has given outstanding service for 40 years, 29 as Chairman and YSCA has been fortunate to enjoy wonderful support from a large number of dedicated individuals including Harold Galley who is only the sixth Secretary having joined the committee in 1984 and Andy Rowsell who has managed the u15 team since 1989. The President’s position was traditionally a figurehead role and Norman Yardley and Sir Lawrence Byford served for many years but in 2000 Chris Hassell was elected and has taken a more active management role including that of Treasurer.

The original and indeed continuing strength of YSCA lies in the commitment of so many individuals prepared to give so freely of their time in running the various teams and competitions. The County Cup was introduced in 1924 for district matches and a trophy donated by the County Club. The rules stipulated that boys were to be under 14 and with 52% attendance during the previous month and not excluded by School medical officer. Huddersfield were first winners and received, along with finalists Brighouse, a copy of Ebor’s “History of Yorkshire Cricket”. In later years it was decided to present medals to the finalists. Until recent years the focal point of activity amongst the district associations was the County Cup with honours generally shared over a period of time. Matches at that point were played on a 20 yard pitch but in 1937 the Hull Association successfully proposed the move to 22 yards. In 1938 Bradford won the County Cup for the second time with assistance from Bob Appleyard who took 22 wickets but it was not enough for him to be selected for the County boys team. In 1949 Doug Padgett of Bradford made a record individual score of 120* against Bridlington.

Inter County matches began in 1930 with an annual match against Lancashire at alternating venues and the list of matches features individuals who have progressed to Test & International level as well as some who have excelled on the soccer pitch such as the Neville brothers with Manchester United. Fixtures were expanded after the war with matches against Durham 1949, Derbyshire 1950, Cumberland & Westmoreland 1952, Nottinghamshire 1953, Middlesex 1958, Essex 1960, Warwickshire 1961, Cheshire 1964 and then a southern tour undertaken in 1965 with matches against Bucks, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire. In 1972 to celebrate Lancashire’s 50th year an u16 sixty over match was played at Old Trafford. For Yorkshire’s 50th a year later a festival was held in Bradford with Lancashire, Essex, Hants, Sussex and Norfolk as visitors. In 2001 and 2007 ground breaking tours were undertaken to Cape Town to broaden and enhance the boys educational and cultural experience. For Lancashire’s 90th celebrations in 2012 a match with dinner was played at Old Trafford with Yorkshire victorious through a match winning innings of 60 from u14 Matthew Fisher. For Yorkshire’s 90th the following year Lancashire took the honours at Scarborough in a rain affected match.

YSCA has played a significant part in the development of so many players and takes great pride in the success of those who have progressed to the Test and International arena with Bresnan, Bairstow, Lyth, Rashid and Root the latest in a most distinguished line of stars. It has been most rewarding to follow the progress of so many young cricketers through to the Yorkshire Academy. Indeed, all 18 First Class Counties have engaged a Yorkshire player on their staff at some point and two new records were established when Barney Gibson (Crawshaw School, Pudsey) in 2011 became the youngest ever first class cricketer at the age of 15 years 27 days along with Matthew Fisher (Easingwold School) who at 15 became the youngest post war player to be selected for a competitive cricket match (YB40 League) against Leicestershire at Scarborough in 2013. A number of other former Yorkshire boys are now in management/coaching positions within the game including Martyn Moxon & Ian Fisher (Yorks), Chris Silverwood (Essex), Steven Rhodes, David Leatherdale & Kevin Sharp (all Worcs), Richard Dawson (Gloucs), David Ripley (Northants), John Sadler, Simon Guy & James Pipe (all Derby), Gareth Batty (captain at Surrey) and Tim Boon (ECB) as well as Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough, Alex Wharf & Ismail Dawood operating on the First Class umpires list. Paul Grayson following a long career as player and head coach at Essex is now Director of Cricket at Durham University.

At under 15 level Counties are grouped geographically and also by playing strength with an A and B division sponsored by Royal London Insurance with four regional groups producing two teams progressing to quarter finals with the four winners meeting at a central venue for play-offs over two days to produce a national champion. The Yorkshire team has a good record in this competition having won the Cup on 6 occasions and been runners up on four. The ECB/ESCA u15 County Cup has been the focus of attention in terms of age group cricket with challenging encounters against Lancashire and Surrey with a fair measure of success. The County has also been well represented in the North of England squad competing at the Bunbury Festival week where a number of boys are chosen by ECB selectors for inclusion in development programme training during the winter period. The under 15 squad finished in 3rd place in both 2014 & 2015. At under 14 level Royal London Insurance also sponsor four regional competitions on a league basis but with no national play-offs. At under 13 level ESCA organises a northern championship for those counties wishing to take part with the top two teams meeting for a play-off final which Yorkshire won in 2014 with an emphatic victory over Lancashire and again in 2015 with victory over Nottinghamshire following an outstanding season unbeaten over 18 matches.

In addition to representative matches the Association also organises inter schools competitions at each age group. At under 11 there is an 8-a-side hardball pairs competition with the Yorkshire winner qualifying for the national play-offs (8 teams) currently held at Oakham School in Leicestershire. At under 12 there is the David English Bunbury Trophy where the Yorkshire winner qualifies for the national competition during the following year as under 13’s. A similar competition (ESCA/ECB Trophy) operates at under 14 where again the Yorkshire winner (taking the Barbara Woolley Trophy) qualifies for the national competition during the following year as under 15’s. The under 13 competition for state schools is sponsored by Yorkshire Post with a finals day at Headingley where the four semi finalists are entertained on the Test Match ground with electronic scoreboard facilities. The under 15 ESCA/ECB T20 competition is completed each season with the Yorkshire winners meeting Lancashire, Durham & Cumbria winners at Netherfield, Cumbria in the northern play-offs for a place in the national finals at Arundel Castle in September against South, West and Midlands qualifiers.

The Association has for many years held a presentation dinner for teams at 13,14 & 15 but in 2014 introduced a presentation evening for junior boys at 10,11 & 12 which was hugely popular with 320 attending at Headingley in 2015. The senior dinner was also staged at Headingley with a record attendance of 275.


History of Yorkshire Senior Schools Cricket Association (YSSCA)

Yorkshire Senior Schools’ Cricket Association started in 1967 and during that time was very fortunate to have had a number of stalwart officials who kept the Association running on a sound footing. The founding fathers were Jay Bicknell (Headmaster at Tadcaster GS), Lawrence Bennett (Hanson School), Alan Cook (Tadcaster GS) and Bob Harding—Treasurer (St.Peter’s School) assisted in later years by David Impey—Chairman (Tadcaster GS), John Herbert—Treasurer (Wetherby HS) and Jim Harkin—Team Manager (Dinnington HS). More recently Dennis Richards (Headmaster at St.Aidan’s School) was Chairman for 12 years, John Chambers (Ripon GS), Secretary & Assistant for 40 years and Roy Gittins (Tadcaster GS) Treasurer for 20 years—they all made an outstanding contribution to the success of the Association and the long running Festival at St.Peter’s School.

Presidents over the years have been Sir William Worsley, John Nash (YCCC Secretary), Sir Leonard Hutton, Sir Lawrence Byford and Robin Smith. With age creeping up on these stalwart officers and in order to ensure the future of the Association and its very successful Festival at York it was decided in 2010 to amalgamate with Yorkshire Schools’ Cricket Association (YSCA) thereby covering all age groups for Yorkshire Schools cricket from under 10 through to under 19. Fortunately Gary Hebden came forward to undertake the organisation of the Festival with Ian Frost (Woodhouse Grove, Bradford) and Glenn Roberts (Silcoates School, Wakefield) continuing to run the playing side.

The festival has been held at St.Peter’s School since 1969 and is the focal point of the season. A number of household names have participated at St.Peter’s including Michael Vaughan, Martyn Moxon, Richard Blakey, Paul Grayson, James Middlebrook, Kevin Sharp, Richard Kettleborough, David Byas, Ashley Metclafe, Richard Dawson, Graham Stevenson, David Bairstow, Bill Athey, Mike Smith (Glos), Richard Illingworth, Stephen Rhodes & David Leatherdale (all Worcs), Peter Martin & Gary Keedy (Lancs), Devon Malcolm (Derby), Neil Mallender & David Ripley (Northants), Tim Boon (Leics) and Geoff Cook (Durham). The Lawrence Bennett Trophy is presented to the Players Player of the Week for the best all round contribution. The winner in 2014 was Harry Lister (Ashville College) grand son of Joe Lister (long serving Yorkshire Secretary 1972-91) followed by Pat Dixon (Woodhouse Grove) in 2015. After the sad death of former team manager Jim Harkin an annual memorial award was instituted in 2015 for special contributions to the Festival and the first winner was Lewis Kenworthy (Huddersfield New College).

Yorkshire is the only first class county to have maintained a purely under 19 schools XI in these days of County Boards and County Academies. Until 2015 all those selected must have been in full time education but it has been felt appropriate to join with the full County under 19 squad which competes in a meaningful championship each season with a number of other counties. Even so most of the boys will still be attached to an educational establishment. Captain for 2015 was Bradley Birkhead who was presented with a copy of “The Art of Captaincy” by Mike Brearley.