Best Team

WALSDEN C & B C – The Best Team of all Time  V The Double Winners 1962 & Champions 1964 V The Double Winners 2016

Around the Millennium local historian Brian Heywood selected what he considered to be the best ever team of Walsden players. It is interesting to compare this team against possibly the two most successful teams in the clubs history, those being the double winners (joint champions) of 1962 and league champions of 1964 and the double winning side (outright) of 2016. No attempt is made to say which players are the best, and in all probability Brian’s selection would be favourites in a game between the sides below. Nevertheless the double winning side of 2016 contains a lot of excellent cricketers and it would be interesting to see which of this team, if any, would make Brian’s side if he re selected his team in 2017 or thereafter.

Whilst Brian selected his team the Club President, Allan Stuttard has written the details relating to the 1962/64 side. Allan writes “as president of the club in 2016 when the Double was won and as a playing member in 1962/64 I feel I am well placed to compare the two teams. I do not believe the players of the past were better than the modern day player. One can’t really accurately compare because current situations and conditions are very different to those in the 1960s. In the 60s time cricket was played (no over’s limit), wickets were uncovered and not as good, and clubs spent more money on world class international players than they did on the ground. Today more clubs have the right balance with covered wickets, good ground maintenance, excellent youth programmes and not as much dependence on professionals. One thing both teams have in common is that they were all local lads.”

All Time Best WCC Team1962/64 TeamDouble Winning Team 2016
Richard EastwoodW (Sammy) Connor (wkt)Jake Hooson
Harry SmithAlan SutcliffeJosh Gale
Trever Chappell (pro)Allan StuttardNick Barker
Bill Barker (capt)Bill Barker (capt)James Rawlinson (capt)
Frank ScottBob Bartells (pro 62)Umesh Karunaratne (pro)
Mark HoosonGeoff PicklesMatt Dawson (wkt)
Lenny MossLenny MossStevie Barker
Rev Russell NapierPeter HorneJoe Gale
Albert Connor (wkt)Peter GreenCallum Rushton
David LordSteve BoamCameron Hanson
Jack CoupeJack CoupeJamie Shackleton

In the 1964 Championship winning side, the team was basically the 1962 team above with the addition of Albert Connor, the former wicket keeper and top order batter and the professional John Springhall who replaced Bob Bartells as pro. Also appearing in the 1962/64 side were J Dawson, C Anker, A Jones and H Smith.


1) Best Team – Richard Eastwood – a solid and consistent opening batsmen who scored 500 runs in a season six times between 1984 and 1990. His best season for Walsden was in 1995 when he scored 1154 runs. He also bowled very useful medium pace outswingers, and was good enough to have a couple of seasons as professional in other leagues.

1) 1962/64 Team – W (Sammy) Connor – An excellent all round opening bat and wicketkeeper. Started in first eleven in 1956 batting at number 11 and worked his way up the order to become one of the most consistent opening bats in the CLL.

1) 2016 Team – Jake Hooson – an attacking opening left handed batsman. Already at the age of 21 Jake has consistently passed the 500 run mark in recent seasons  and in 2016 scored the highest ever amateur score in limited over’s cricket with 141 not out v Glodwick. Jake is also a very useful medium pace left arm swing bowler.

2) Best – Harry Smith – a devastating, fierce hitting batsman on his day. He holds the record amateur score of all time with his 205 not out V Moorside in 1915.

2) 1962/64 Team – Alan Sutcliffe – A seasoned campaigner and stylish batter. Alan was a former Lancashire School Boy player opening batter. In the mid 60s he became the anchor man in the middle order and his 30 not out in the 1962 Wood Cup final was a major factor in the success.

2) 2016 – Josh Gale – Initially a makeshift opener, Josh quickly proved his worth as a powerful and clean hitting batsman. In 2016 he was the leading run scorer with 650 runs, quite a feat for his tender age of 21. His strongest suit however may be his medium pace cutters which have accounted for some very good players who tend to underestimate his nip off the wicket.

3) Best – Trevor Chappell (pro) – Chappell was an extremely talented top order batsman who was good enough to represent Australia at all levels. He was extremely competitive and was the first Walsden player to do the double of over 1000 runs and over 100 wickets in a season. His varied medium pace was excellent and in the 1975 Wood Cup final scored 124 not out and took 5-30 to win the cup for Walsden.

3) 1962/64 Team – Allan Stuttard – Regular number 3 batter who gained his place in Walsden  folklore  with his innings in the 1962 Wood Cup semi when he hit Garfield Sobers out of the ground 4 times. Inconsistent at times he would today be referred to as a “pinch hitter”.

3) 2016 – Nick Barker – Like his grandfather Bill, very competitive and values his wicket highly.  Another regular contributor of over 500 runs per season. He likes to occupy the crease for long periods and when he does the team tend to benefit. He has currently scored just short of 8,000 league and cup runs (excl T20).  Like most of the 2016 side he too bowls, in his case useful slow medium cutters. Along with several other senior players in the 2016 side he is now a 3 times league championship winner and double Wood Cup winner for Walsden.

4) Best and 1962/64 – Bill Barker (capt) – Like his grandfather, Frank Scott, another Walsden legend whose first team career spanned 4 decades. He was an outstanding and shrewd captain who commanded great respect from the team. He was Walsden’s captain for a staggering 21 seasons. A very determined and stylish batsman, he was particularly strong on the leg side, and was good enough to top the CLL amateur batting averages twice in 1963 and 1964 (691runs at 35) and appear many times for the league representative team. He scored 125 not out in the 1975 season, a limited overs record at that time. He was an excellent fielder and also a useful leg spin and googly bowler when the situation demanded.

4) 2016 – James Rawlinson (capt) A very aggressive opening batsman for most of his career, James as captain in 2016 moved himself to bat down the order at 4. In 2010 he became the WCC all time highest amateur run scorer with 1376 runs in a season and until 2016 also held the WCC record for the highest amateur score in limited over’s cricket of 137 (and the previous of 127). James has now scored over 9,500 league & cup runs (excl T20) over his career and is recognised as one of the best league batsman of his era and who at his peak had a season at Settle CC as professional.

5) Best – Frank Scott – A Walsden legend. The only amateur in the history of the CLL to score 5000 runs and take 500 wickets. The club’s location at Scott Street is named after this Walsden great. He is great, great, grandfather to Nick & Stevie Barker.

5) 1962 – Bob Bartells (pro) in 1962 – Bob from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) dominated the league. His consistency with bat (915 runs – the most by a pro in the league that year) and ball (91 wickets only bettered by the great Sobers and Eric Dennison) were the main reasons for Walsdens success in that year.

5) 1964 – John Springall (pro) in  1964 – Notts and Middlesex all rounder. John initially struggled to adapt to league cricket but he installed a great team spirit into the team and in the following year became a good league pro. In 1964 John scored 413 runs and took 38 wickets.

5) 2016 – Umesh Karunaratne (pro) – Excellent and popular all round cricketer who in 2015 was voted the best domestic all round cricketer in Sri Lanka.  An aggressive middle order batsman whose best suit in English conditions is his excellent off spin bowling, which always sees him at the very top of the league bowling averages. In 2014 he achieved the second best club bowling figures in limited overs cricket of 9 – 50. 2017 will see him enter his 4th year as Walsden professional.

6) Best – Mark Hooson – An excellent all round cricketer who in 2004 (with 785 runs & 32 wickets) was the best all round cricketer in the CLL. Mark scored 1067 runs in the 1995 season. An aggressive top/middle order batsman and excellent slow medium bowler who could swing and cut the ball to order. Another Walsden player to have a couple of seasons as professional, in the Saddleworth league.

6) 1962/64 Team – Geoff Pickles – a hard hitting middle order batsman, occasional pace bowler and specialist close fielder.

6) 2016 – Matt Dawson (wkt) – For years has been the best wicket keeper in the league having also played at Minor County level for Cheshire for several seasons. Is the current holder of the WCC limited overs record for most dismissals in a season when he took 45 in season 2002 (29 caught, 16 stumped). Also an excellent top order batsman who at the peak of his career scored over 900 runs in a CLL season. He has only recently dropped down the batting order. 

7) Best and 1962/64 – Lenny Moss – An aggressive and consistent middle order batsman and highly effective medium pace in swing bowler. Lenny was Walsden’s player of the 1950s passing 500 runs in a season 5 times. He also did the amateur double of 500 runs and 50 wickets in 1959, the first player to do this post  war. He was a former paid footballer with both Burnley and Moseley FC.

 7) 2016 – Stevie Barker – An excellent all round cricketer now with over 2,300 career runs and 350 wickets. His brisk medium pace inswingers regularly see him as one of the top wicket takers for the club. An extremely useful number 7 batsman who would bat in the top order at most other clubs. A very competitive cricketer who does not like to lose.

8) Best – Rev R. Napier – Was Vicar of Walsden in the 1890s and the clubs outstanding player in that decade. Reputedly the fastest bowler in England at the time, he bowled out the touring Australians for Lancashire in 1888. His religious calling curtailed his first class career which was very much to Walsden’s benefit. He was the first president of the CLL in 1892.

8) 1962/64 Team – Peter Horne – stylish former England school Boy cricketer whose loss of sight in one eye curtailed his career. Will always be remembered for his last wicket stand with Jack Coupe at Milnrow where he batted for 30 minutes without scoring (in time cricket) to secure the point needed to win the title.

8) 2016 – Joe Gale – The youngster of the 2016 side aged just 20. Potential to go on to be a top all rounder in league cricket. Joe is probably the quickest bowler in the current side and certainly likes to use the short ball. A clean and very long hitter of the ball in all forms of the game who regularly moves up the order when quick runs are needed. He is a superb fielder with a bullet arm. Another player who hates losing and at his young age has not done so very often.

9) Best – Albert Connor (wkt) – Like his brother Sammy an excellent all rounder wicketkeeper batsman. Albert was a more than useful batsman and who in 1955 held the Walsden record for most dismissals behind the stumps of 45 victims with 22 caught and 23 stumped (later equalled by Matt Dawson). Albert was a league medal winner with both Walsden and Todmorden.

9) 1962/64 Team – Peter Green – Strapping pace bowler and hard hitting late order batsman who made several important contributions including his 5 wickets in the Wood Cup semi final which included the key wicket of Garfield Sobers.

9) 2016 – Callum Rushton – A very useful batsman who contributes runs at vital stages when given the opportunity. A team man who will always sacrifice his wicket in the pursuit of quick runs. Has developed into an excellent short leg fielder.

10) Best – David Lord – Still the clubs amateur leading wicket taker in a season with a superb 93 wickets in 1978. This is unlikely ever to be beaten. David bowled steady medium pace inswing, and was very accurate achieving an immaculate length and line. Many top league batsmen tried to get after him, but rarely succeeded. Another Walsden player to ply his trade in other leagues as a professional.

10) 1962/64 Team – Steve Boam – Just breaking into the side in 1962 Steve went on to become one of the leading bowlers in the league taking 53 wickets in the 1964 championship winning team and in 1968 took 65 wickets to become Walsden’s first winner of the Pickup Trophy for most amateur wickets in the league

10) 2016 – Cameron Hanson, Stuart Hanson, Chris Dewhirst, Kris Halstead, Paul Marrow, Danny Brown (wkt) – One of the main strengths of the 2016 side was their strength in depth. All these individuals played their part in the success of this 2016 side. Cameron is an aggressive hard hitting batsman, former top order all rounder Stuart (now in the veteran bracket) contributed with bat and ball, whilst Chris, Kris, and Paul are dogged, determined batsmen who are also excellent fielders and always give everything for the team. Danny Brown is an excellent keeper with a wealth of first team experience.

11) Best and 1962/64 – Jack Coupe – Another club legend of the 50s and 60s. Jack was a very good medium pace swing bowler who was regularly the clubs leading wicket taker and was recognised as the best swing bowler in the league at his peak. In 1962 Jack took 54 wickets and in 1964 took an excellent 71 wickets at 10.64 (second in league averages) and was a regular in the top six bowling averages in the league.

11) 2016 – Jamie Shackleton – Shack has been the premier new ball bowler at the club for several years. A tall strong bowler with a good high action which when coupled with his pace means that he can extract bounce and movement on most wickets. On his day he is one of the best amateur bowlers in the league. He is also at times a dangerous hitter.

12) Best – Albert Ross – Brian’s 12th man was this very competitive  opening batsman who hit over  500 runs every season between 1974 and 1981, a club record at the time. An excellent, fearless player of fast bowling in the era of Garner, Roberts, Stephenson et al. Albert is believed to have scored a combined total of in excess of 10,000 runs for Walsden and Todmorden. He also bowled medium pace and was an excellent short leg fielder.

Allan did select what he considered to be the best combined side from the 1962/64 side and the 2016 side which was :–

Jake Hooson, James Rawlinson, Nick Barker, Bob Bartells (Pro), Bill Barker (capt), Matt Dawson (wkt), Lenny Moss, Joe Gale, Peter Green, Steve Boam, Jack Coupe.

Authors – Allan Stuttard and Chris Barker Feb 2017