Yorkshire County Cricket Club Players’ Association has gone from strength to strength since its formation in 2005 and has been able to use funds generated from its activities to provide financial backing in a variety of ways to help make sure that cricket continues to flourish throughout the White Rose County.
It is rather surprising that although Yorkshire CCC was formed in 1863 and went on to become the best known cricket club in the world, it lagged behind other first class counties for many years in not having its own players’ organisation.
Left-hand opening batsman Bryan Stott and off-spinner Geoff Cope, two of Yorkshire’s former distinguished players, were determined that this unsatisfactory state of affairs should not continue and in the early part of 2005 they worked hard at sounding out just how much interest there was in forming a Players’ Association.
The response was so enthusiastic that the pair arranged for a meeting at Headingley in the April of mainly former players to discuss the idea further and as a result the Players’ Association was formed with the first annual general meeting being held the following year.
That initial meeting in 2005 was attended by former Yorkshire and England players in Bob Appleyard, Brian Close, Geoff Cope, John Hampshire, Richard Hutton, Martyn Moxon and Ken Taylor. Other former county players present were Brian Bainbridge, Paul Booth, Mike Bore, David Borrill, Bernard Brooke, Peter Broughton, Dickie Bird, Peter Chadwick, Tony Clarkson, Howard Cooper, Mike Cowan, Andrew Dalton, Stuart Fletcher, Keith Gillhouley, Phil Hart, Neil Hartley, Philip Hodgson, Bill Holdsworth, Peter Ingham, Peter Kippax, Greg Lambert, David Pickles, Bob Platt, Iain Priestley, Alan Ramage, Arthur Robinson, Dennis Schofield, Chris Shaw, Rodney Smith and Chris Wood.
Yorkshire’s greats past and present, from left stood: Andrew Gale, Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird, Brian Close, Geoffrey Boycott. Sat: Ray Illingworth, Bob Appleyard.
Andrew Gale, Joe Sayers and John Blain, who were then all current players, found time to attend with director of cricket, David Byas, despite the new season being only days away.
Bryan took on the role of chairman and Geoff secretary and through their initial efforts the Association flourished with former wicketkeeper, Jimmy Binks, having bestowed upon him the honour of being elected their first President in 2006.
A couple of years ago, Bryan retired as Chairman with former Yorkshire all-rounder and vice-captain Neil Hartley taking on the role but Geoff remains in office as Secretary and both he and Bryan have now been made honorary life members in recognition of their outstanding services.
The rules of the Association now allow all cricketers who have played at least one game for either the first or second teams to be eligible to join.
The Association held its first winter re-union at Fulford Golf Club, York, in late January 2007 and it was so well received that it became an annual event – as did the summer re-union which is held on a match day at Headingley.
The Association’s first major fund-raising activity was a dinner held in the Long Room at Headingley in October, 2008, with its long term goal being to support cricket in Yorkshire which it has since achieved. The event was sponsored by Philip Hodson and his Oval Insurance which had been the Association’s main sponsors since their formation. Philip played for Yorkshire Seconds in the early 1970s and went on to become President of the MCC.
Another dinner the following year was equally successful and as a result the Association was able to establish its Discretionary Grant Fund, its purpose being “to assist in furthering the game of cricket within Yorkshire.” In 2011 it was used to sanction a grant of £1,000 each to two then Academy players , Moin Ashraf and Gurman Randhawa, to help finance their places on Yorkshire’s pre-season tour of Barbados.
In Yorkshire’s 150th anniversary year of 2013, the Association further boosted its funds at the Gala Dinner at Elland Road by providing for auction an individually signed framed photographic montage of all surviving Yorkshire cricketers who had also played for England.
In addition to the summer and winter lunches, the Association also organises two major golf days for its members – the Tony Nicholson Memorial Trophy at Ripon and the Phil Carrick Memorial Trophy at Pannal, as well as more informal social gatherings.
The current President of the Association is former batsman, Peter Chadwick, and the previous Presidents have been: Jimmy Binks, Don Wilson, Brian Close, Martyn Moxon, Philip Sharpe and Jim Love.
2014 Management Committee
Neil Hartley (chairman)
Geoff Cope (secretary)
David Ryder (treasurer)
David Warner (press relations)