Football and the Beautiful Game

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Back Page, Thursday 1st December 2016 (© Harrogate Advertiser)

The headlines have all been about Gareth Southgate this week both nationally and locally as the FA decided to employ him as the full time, England Head Coach.  The Harrogate Advertiser had the headline of “From Pannal Ash to England Boss”.  A bit of an odd headline but delving into the words we can confirm that Gareth is a member of Beckwithshaw Cricket Club along with his son Flynn.  Unfortunately, and is often the case with the local media, they totally ignore you when you think you are doing them a favour, like supplying the correct names of players, so they got junior Southgate’s name wrong.  Perhaps they like randomly renaming players?  During the 2016 season, Southgate senior player on loan for Pannal Ash in their win over Spofforth 2nds on June 4th.  Gareth was playing alongside his son, bowled five overs at fourth change but took no wickets.  He did however take 2 catches.  Young Flynn returned match figures of 1/30  In the Pannal Ash innings, father and son batted together putting on 74 for the fourth wicket.  Flynn (18), Gareth 22*) to see Pannal Ash to victory.  The full scorecard can be viewed here

Many of us know of the pedigree and history surrounding players in the Nidderdale League who have gone on to play representative, first class or even test match cricket, but have we had any other professional footballers amongst our ranks.  With little prompt, some information came to light.

The former Wimbledon, Leeds United, Sheffield United and Chelsea “hard man” Vinnie Jones played a couple of times for Lofthouse and Middlesmoor whilst he was on the books at Leeds.

Vinnie Jones (© Alchetron)

How he found that ground is unknown, but the records show Vinnie played against Burton Leonard on the 12th May 1990, scored 6 runs but was run out, and on the 26th May 1990 against Birstwith, bowled for 4, took 1 catch and bowled 1 over for 2 runs. Both games were played at Lofthouse. Club secretary, John Downey remembers that it was “a bit surreal at the time”.  John remembers the team going to the pub in Lofthouse where Vinnie bought the beer and celebrated.  Unfortunately, the press got wind of Vinnie’s activities and the Daily Mirror in particular chased him.  What would a national newspaper make of the Lofthouse ground?  Given the press intrusion, Vinnie dropped out of the team.

After seeing a tweet about Southgate and Jones, Christian Hendy was moved to write about two other players in his time at Rainton.

Mark Crossley (© Nottingham Post)

Mark Crossley (© Nottingham Post)

Hendy says he played with Mark Crossley on a few occasions, the former Middlesborough, Nottingham Forest and Wales goalkeeper who was “….actually a really nice bloke”. Crossley lived behind Hendy’s Mum in Rainton.



Hendy goes on to say that Rainton also  had Michael Duckworth playing for them who went on to play for Hartlepool Untied and is currently at Fleetwood Town in League One!

Michael Duckworth (© Sky Sports)

You know what they say….Strong Nidderdale, Strong Yorkshire, Strong England.  It might just to true.




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