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All time Baildon XI - John Helm


In the second of our features whilst we remain in lockdown our President John Helm picks his all time Baildon XI.


1. Richard Robinson

How could it possibly be anyone other than our record runmaker ? Decent fielder too. If he'd had a haircut he might have played for Yorkshire.


2. Paul Spragg

Edges out Simon Davies and Reg Simpson. Reg who you might ask. R.T.Simpson played for Baildon during the war years and went on to open for Nottinghamshire and England. As for Spraggy I once got to East Bierley forgetting it was a 1.30 start and walking in at 3 o'clock couldn't believe we were 190-0 with Spraggy and Richard going berserk.


3. Geoff Dean

One of the best close fielders I've ever seen at any level of the game. He could peel an orange in his pocket. Quick scoring batsman who was also a cracking footballer. Pips Jonny Reynolds to get in.


4. Chris Balderstone

One of the most gifted all-round sportsmen. Hence played professional cricket and football on the same day. Cricket for Yorkshire, Leicestershire and England, football for Huddersfield and Carlisle. He got a helicopter to change from his whites into soccer strip.


5. Mick Emmerson

Superb captain and he had to be to keep out Ronnie Burnet who left Baildon to lead Yorkshire to the County Championship in 1959. Of similar talent with the bat, but primarily born leaders.


6. Blair Oakley

That might surprise many but I loved the Aussie's wholehearted contribution to every ball of a match. He was involved from first to last. I also need a quick bowler because you'll notice a heavy loading of spin coming up. My mentor when I was a junior George Moore was a stylish, fluent batsman who was also a contender for the No 6 slot.


7. Johnny Lawrence

joined us from Somerset and we laughed when we saw his donkey drops falling from the sky. He was clobbered on his debut but after four matches he'd taken 24 wickets and carried on like that bamboozling batsmen who just couldn't work him out.


8. Geoff Kay or "Golden Gloves" as we called him

Unlucky to be around at the same time as David Bairstow and Richard Blakey - superior batsmen as even Geoff would agree, otherwise he'd have played for the county.


9. Mark Bray

Super servant, all round good guy who played a notable role in us winning trophies. I'd loved to have picked Andy Walker too his partner in the pace department, or Craig Hitchenor but I can only play 11.


10. John Marshall

Often referred to as the best off spinner to grace the Bradford League and another who spent some of the best years of his career at Jenny Lane. Sorry Mushy - it was a close call.


11. Wilf Burkinshaw

Took a hat-trick to destroy Keighley in our 1952 Priestley Cup Final win. Took three huge strides but was deceptively quick, which is why he opened the bowling. We also had a chap called David Pickles who was so terrifyingly fast when he played for Yorkshire, opposing batsmen used to want to face Fred Trueman from the other end. Sadly he "lost it" and disappeared from the game.


So that's my XI - no room for International players like Hoggard or De Grandhomme, Asad Rauf or Waqas Maqsood. Nor the Sherreds, Silla or Duce!


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