Category Archives: Sport

Heckmondwike set to join new league in 2016

Heckmondwike and Carlinghow’s application to join the Central Yorkshire Cricket League (CYCL) has been accepted.

The club will leave the Huddersfield Central Cricket League (HCCL) after the close of 2015 season, and are set to join the CYCL for the start of the 2016 season.

They are set to follow local competitors Crossbank Methodists, who left the HCCL after the close of the 2014 season, and have now joined the CYCL for the upcoming season.

Before the start of the season, Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s Dewsbury born Richard Pyrah will open Crossbank’s new clubhouse on April 3, after a substantial extension and improvement has been applied over the last year.

HARD WORK: Heckmondwike players after renovating the scoreboard last season.

HARD WORK: Heckmondwike players after renovating the scoreboard last season.

Cricket seems to be thriving around the local area both on and off the pitch, and Heckmondwike and Crossbank could potentially be a fixture to look out for in the 2016 season.

Peter Arundel, Secretary of the CYCL, is pleased to welcome back Heckmondwike to the league.

He added: “I believe that the league recognised the recent playing ability of the club and the potential to develop this ability further moving forward.

“It is also immensely satisfying to welcome back a name that is synonymous with cricket in the area.

“They were founder members of the CYCL and were a genuine powerhouse club for most of their time in the league until circumstances overtook the club and they sadly dropped out.

“The facilities on offer were for many years amongst the best in league cricket and so it is impressive and to the enormous credit of all now involved at Heckmondwike that those facilities have been returned to their former glories.

“The club appears to be stable, well organised and needs to play at a higher level to progress and attract additional players who will assist in growth and development of both the club and its structure.

Chris Allen, Heckmondwike’s first-team captain, is looking forward to the next chapter in the club’s history.

He added: “For the team and the club as a whole, joining the CYCL will be a massive and timely move.

“It is a really good league which will present various challenges along the way, with some excellent teams and quality players, but you always want to test yourselves as individuals and as a team against the best.

IN ACTION: Chris Allen batting in a warm-up game

IN ACTION: Chris Allen batting in a warm-up game last season, with Paul Cooper bowling.

“I feel that we have enough quality to go into the league and compete with each team no matter what division we start in, in order to create more history that already dates back 123 years.”

“We are determined as a team to sign off from the HCCL by coming away with the league trophy, and to win both the league and cup would be outstanding.”

Heckmondwike’s title challenges begins Saturday April 18 for both their first and second teams, with the first team away to Netherton A and the second team at home to Netherton B.

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Local duo settling in to life at the Rams

Two young cousins are currently benefiting from the Dewsbury Rams philosophy of trying to bring through local players.

Brad and James Delaney both played their amateur rugby at Dewsbury Moor, before recently signing one-year deals for the professional rugby league side in January 2015.

Their surnames may sound familiar as Brad is the son of former Rams and Leeds Rhinos half-back Paul Delaney, who played 39 first team games for Leeds and made over 300 appearances for Dewsbury, all between 1985 and 2002.

Paul said: “I am very proud of them both as they have the ability to do well and have worked incredibly hard, so they deserve a shot in the professional ranks.

“Hard work and determination goes a long way, so hopefully they will get a chance at the Rams.

“How far they can go is up to them, they have got their foot on the ladder but now they need to work out what is required to become a first teamer.”

Paul also said he has many great memories at the club, and still goes to watch the Rams on a regular basis, claiming that the spectators are second to none and always give him a fantastic reception.

Left: Brad Delaney as a Dewsbury Rams player, Right: Brad with his dad Paul back when he played. Image courtesy of pitchero.com

Left: Brad Delaney as a Dewsbury Rams player, Right: Brad with his dad Paul back when he played. Image courtesy of Steven Horsfall Photography.

Brad, 19, who plays scrum-half, feels he is settling in great at the Rams, and added: “All the players and staff have made me feel welcome and there is always a great vibe around the place.

“I’m gaining a lot of valuable experience in training and in matches, as most of the time we all train together so I can learn a lot from  the more experienced players, and the coaching staff are always helping me in ways to improve.

“I am enjoying playing for the club my dad used to play for and I feel proud as he is well known throughout the club.”

The goal-kicking scrum-half went on to praise his father, who he says has played a massive part in the success in his career so far.

“My dad has been a massive factor and helped me most throughout my career, ever since I can remember we used to train in the gardens, he’s shown me how to pass, kick, side step and tackle.”

James Delaney as a Dewsbury. Image courtesy of pitchero.com.

James Delaney as a Dewsbury Ram player. Image courtesy of Steven Horsfall Photography.

Meanwhile James, a 23 year-old forward, realises that while he has earned a contract, there is still work to be done.

He added: “The games after have been relatively positive for me with the feed I have received, but there is still plenty of things I can improve on.

“It’s a great feeling playing alongside Brad, he’s a very talented player and the fact that he’s my cousin makes it that little bit more special.”

He looked back at when he watched the Rams as a youngster, and said: “I remember watching my uncle Paul playing as a young boy and wishing that one day I could be in his shoes, and now I feel as though I am heading in the right direction so hopefully one day I can make that dream.”

Heckmondwike confident they can challenge for the title again

The players at Heckmondwike and Carlinghow are confident they can go one step further this year and win the Premier Section of the Huddersfield Central Cricket League.

There was a tense finish to the 2014 season, with Heckmondwike just three points clear of second place Green Moor going into the final round of Premier Division games.

Moor managed to overtake their rivals and claim the league title with a comfortable victory against Upper Hopton, after Heckmondwike suffered a disappointing loss at home to Silkstone.

The West Yorkshire side finished the season runners-up on 212 points, just 11 points behind the title winners, and they expect to be challenging for the title again in the 2015 season.

Paul Cooper, last years first-team captain, said: “It was disappointing to be overtaken on the last day after being top of the table throughout the majority of the season.

“But I believe we can go one better next season and win the league, as the majority of last season we played some very good cricket but just let ourselves down in a couple of matches.”

heck and carl

IN ACTION: Cooper batting in the victory against Edgerton & Dalton last season.

Cooper has recently decided to stand down as first team captain after nine years leading the team, with last season’s vice-captain Chris Allen set to take over if elected next week.

Cooper added: “It has been a thoroughly enjoyable nine years, with plenty of ups and downs.

“I’m disappointed not to have won any of the main trophies but it hasn’t been through the lack of effort in the team.

“I’m looking forward to being told where to bat and especially when I’m bowling during games,” he added.

Allen is hoping the club can win a major trophy this season, and believes both the first and second team has the quality to win both their leagues.

He added: “Last seasons league position did not quite reflect how well the team played and the quality of the individuals in the team, but to finish second place is a great achievement for any team.

“Overall the club should be happy with what was achieved”.

Jonathan Elstub, who finished the 2014 season 6th in the entire league’s bowling statistics claiming 30 wickets, said: “I believe with the talent we have and with a positive mindset, we can win the league, if not the league and the cup.”

Preparation for the upcoming season began this week, with the first of eight indoor net sessions at Heckmondwike Grammar School.

After setting up a junior section last year, this year the club will have an under nines and under 11s team in the Heavy Woolen Junior Cricket League, with the aim to produce potential first and second team players for the future.

Youngster Cooper continues pre-season progress against hometown club

As the start of the 2015 rugby league season approaches, players are looking to impress their coaches and stake a claim for a place in the first team.

This applies to Luke Cooper, 20, of Featherstone Rovers, who was recently awarded a place in the first team squad for the warm up games against Castleford Tigers and Batley Bulldogs.

Unfortunately for Cooper, he was on the losing side in both games, as Rovers lost 18-0 to the Tigers, and 26-6 against the Bulldogs.

Luke Cooper in action against Batley Bulldogs last Sunday.

Featherstone’s Luke Cooper in action against Batley Bulldogs last Sunday.

Despite the result, The Bulldogs game was a major highlight in his career, as Batley are his hometown club.

He said: “It was probably the greatest moment of my life to date, to run out on the field in front of over 1000 spectators was such an electrifying experience.

“It was different to anything I’d played in before, I felt like I had to play well in front of all my family and friends, and make them proud.

“If I’m honest I never thought I would be playing because Featherstone are a great team with so many good forwards, so to get my name on the team sheet was a fantastic feeling and it was made that extra bit sweeter that it was against a team that I had watched and supported as a child.”

The young forward looked back at his performance at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium, and added: “I’m super critical of my performance so personally I didn’t think I played the best I could have, and I know I have a lot to learn so hopefully I can do as much training as possible, work hard, and get to that required consistent level of performance.”

In 2014, Rovers sent Cooper and another teammate over to Australia in an exciting six-month trip, with the aim for them to gain valuable experience playing at a higher level in the Sydney Group 6 Country League.

This life-changing opportunity provided Cooper with the chance to develop his skills on the pitch, and experience a different culture and lifestyle.

“We received plenty of game time in Australia and have learnt a lot, the whole experience was unforgettable and I am thankful to the club that I was offered this unbelievable opportunity.”

He is now looking to establish himself as first team player for Featherstone Rovers, and play a part in helping the club challenge for a place in the Super League.

Walmsley goes from amateur rugby to Grand Final winner in less than three years

Walking out in front of a sold out Old Trafford for the biggest game in the rugby league season is what every amateur player dreams of.

That dream became reality for Dewsbury’s Alex Walmsley, after he helped St Helens win the Super League Grand Final, by beating rivals Wigan Warriors 14-6 back in October.

Alex Walmsley celebrating with the Grand Final Trophy

Alex Walmsley celebrating with the Grand Final Trophy

This is a remarkable achievement when you consider less than three years ago, the 24-year-old was playing with local amateurs Dewsbury Celtic.

“It’s been a turbulent three years, it’s been unbelievable and I’ve loved every minute of it,” said Walmsley.

“I’ve been to numerous Grand Finals watching as a kid, and to walk out in front of 70,000 fans on the biggest stage of all was a surreal experience, and is the pinnacle point in my career so far.”

Just two and a half years ago Walmsley was playing for Dewsbury Celtic in the local cup against Birstall Victoria.

“Back then if anybody would have said to me that in less than three years time I would be lifting the biggest trophy in club rugby league I would have said they were mad,” he said.

“It’s what you dream of doing as a kid and it’s what I dreamed of doing when I was 20-years-old playing for Dewsbury Celtic.

“With a bit of luck, some great coaching, and the support of my family and friends, I was lucky enough to go on and achieve this.

“I have had to make sacrifices, but that comes with it, and when you lift up that trophy it makes it all seem so easy and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

The young prop was handed a trial at Batley Bulldogs by coach John Kear after seeing Walmsley impress during games for his University side in Leeds.

“I played my first league game against Leigh Centurions after I was lucky enough to get a spot on the bench, I came on and played well and from then on I played every single week, it was brilliant.”

He was then offered a two-year deal by the Bulldogs, and after a successful first season was selected in the Championship team of the year, received Batley’s player of the year, and the Championship’s young player of the year award.

“For me, at the time, playing for Batley was the pinnacle in my career, it’s a great club, is very family orientated and is full of great people.”

After proving to be a revelation at Batley, St Helens were interested in signing the young star, and he signed a three-year deal with the Super League side.

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Images courtesy of Alex Walmsley.

He said: “As soon as I came to St Helens and looked at the place, with all the history behind the club, I thought this is where I want to be, and when I signed it was a massive honour.

“I remember sitting in the changing rooms with all the St Helens stars, and I felt privileged to have the opportunity to play with them.

“To be able to go on a pitch and call these players my teammates, it’s what dreams are made of and it’s the best feeling in the world.”

Due to numerous injuries in the St Helens side, Walmsley got his chance, and he certainly took his opportunity by making a serious impression throughout the Super League in his first few games.

He admitted that playing as many games as he did took him by surprise, and that playing in a Grand Final surpassed any expectations, but the humble 24-year-old is now an established squad member at the Saints, and is determined to keep working hard in what for him, will hopefully be another successful season.

Walmsley gave a lot of credit to his former coach at Dewsbury Celtic, Paul Heaton, and acknowledged how hard he worked with him during his time at Celtic.

“He definitely had a big influence on the player I am today and he really stuck at me in those early days and got me back loving the game.

“I will always go back and watch the boys play at Celtic, you can never forget your roots and I’m proud of where I’ve come from.”