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)
HOWARD COOPER INSTALLED AS YCCC PLAYERS’ PRESIDENT
Howard Cooper was installed as Yorkshire CCC Players’ Association President at the Association’s annual general meeting at Headingley on Sunday, April 9.
The former Yorkshire fast bowler took over from Richard Blakey who had completed his two-year term of office.
Both Howard and Richard, who was one of the most successful wicketkeeper-batsmen in the Club’s history, pledged to do all they can to spark more active interest in the Association, particularly among the younger members.
After being installed as President by Chairman, Neil Hartley, Howard thanked everyone for electing him and said that as well as being an honour the presidency meant a great deal to him as an uncapped player.
Howard, who learned his cricket with Bankfoot in the Bradford League, developed his skills with Yorkshire Colts before making his first team debut in 1971, going on to take 227 first class wickets at an average of 27.87 as well as capturing 177 List A victims at 23.63.
Richard will continue to be actively involved in the Association because he was elected to the committee following the resignation of Anthony McGrath who is now on the coaching staff at Essex CCC.
Receiving his Past President’s jewel, Richard said he had enjoyed his time as President and it had also given him a greater appreciation of the hard work of the officers in making it known what the Association was all about.
It would be nice to be able to bring back one or two former players who had perhaps left with a bitter taste in their mouth and he felt that the appointment of current fast bowler, Steven Patterson, to the committee would help to get the present players actively involved. He would continue to do all that he could in that direction.
Neil said that Patterson was a valuable addition to the committee and he felt sure he would be able to help the playing staff engage more fully in the Association’s social events.
“Our primary function is to stick together and relive old moments which will bring a smile to our faces,” he said. “It is important to keep going and not take life too seriously.”
Neil congratulated former Yorkshire and England all-rounder Richard Hutton on being elected President of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and he thanked Yorkshire Chief Executive Mark Arthur for his continued commitment to the Association which had made sure there was good interaction between the players and the Club.
Neil retired from the management committee by rotation but was unanimously re-elected and agreed to continue as chairman. Also re-elected were: secretary, Geoff Cope, treasurer, David Ryder; auditor, Richard Hutton; press officer, David Warner. Jim Love retired by rotation from the Discretionary Fund committee and was re-elected.
YCCC Players’ Association enjoy annual golf events
Yorkshire County Cricket Club Players’ Association members have just enjoyed two of their traditional end-of-season golf matches which are held in memory of two of the Club’s most popular cricketers.
A mixture of former players, including Barrie Leadbeater, who had travelled from Kenilworth, and Chris Old, from Falmouth, along with staff, took part in the Tony Nicholson Trophy competition at Ripon City Golf Club.
They competed against a team from Ripon in the annual challenge and Ripon were the winners, receiving the Trophy at a meal after the event from the Association’s secretary, Geoff Cope. Ann Nicholson, Tony’s widow, was presented with flowers for her help in organising the event.
The Phil Carrick Memorial Trophy was played for at Pannal Golf Club and there was a good turnout of players in Steven Patterson, Tim Bresnan, Adam Lyth, James Wainman, Josh Shaw and Jack Leaning, plus special guests Steve Foster, from Mazars, Colin Dent and Nigel Martyn.
Despite some strong YCCC pairings they were no match for their Panel opponents who won 9-1 to keep hold of the Trophy.
Geoff Cope made a special presentation to Neil Douglas, from Pannal, who has been instrumental in organising the event for several years.
Both days were blessed with good weather and the Players’ Association extend their thanks to both Golf Clubs for their excellent hospitality.
Players’ Association’s warm tributes to John Hampshire
Yorkshire President, John Hampshire, who died on March 1, was remembered with affection by Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s Players’ Association at their committee meeting at Headingley two days after John’s death.
John had played a full part in the Association’s varied programme of activities since its formation ten years ago and he had served on the committee himself.
Association President, Richard Blakey, said of the former captain and leading batsman: “John’s career with Yorkshire had already ended when mine began but he was still hugely regarded by players past and present and that remained the case throughout his life.”
Chairman, Neil Hartley, and secretary, Geoff Cope, both have fond memories of playing alongside John and later enjoying his company at Association functions and other events.
“John had the respect of players and supporters alike and he never lost his love of cricket,” said Neil. “He made a massive contribution to the game in so many ways, first as a Yorkshire and England Test player and then as an international umpire before becoming Yorkshire’s President.”
Geoff, who was John’s team-mate when Yorkshire won three consecutive Championship titles in the 60s, said: “‘Hamps’ loved playing cricket at any level but it was his days with Yorkshire that made him most proud and he considered it a great privilege when he was elected President.
“He was a wonderful attacking batsman, a great close-in fielder and a dear friend of all who are members of the Players’ Association. We will miss him a great deal but he will never be forgotten.”