A SPORTS historian has been awarded £43,000 - to research almost 200 years of cricket in Huddersfield.
Dr Peter Davies, a senior history lecturer at Huddersfield University, will use the National Lottery Heritage Fund cash for the ambitious project.
It could eventually result in a book about the game in Huddersfield and in Calderdale.
The news was announced to 400 guests at the Drakes Huddersfield Cricket League's annual dinner at the Cedar Court Hotel, Ainley Top, and confirmed today.
Paul Whiteley, the league's executive secretary, said the money was to research and archive the history of the game in the region, which stretches back nearly to the time of Napoleon. The oldest club in the Huddersfield area is Lascelles Hall.
Villagers used to play the game before obtaining their own field there in 1825.
The lottery money will pay for a research assistant, boards outside local cricket clubs giving details of their history and audio tapes of interviews with former players.
The Huddersfield and District League came into being in 1891 and now has 29 teams.
Other authors have researched the league's history, most notably Alec Lodge and Leslie Duncalf in a centenary publication.
But Mr Whiteley said the latest project would be extremely ambitious and was long overdue.
"The whole idea is there are 29 Huddersfield League clubs, there are lots of Calderdale League clubs and in the clubhouses there must be a history of cricket in the area which clearly has not been put together in any shape or form.
"The Huddersfield Cricket League has the centenary booklet, which went into some detail. But the whole idea is to go out there and speak to clubs and members, particularly the older members."
Mr Whiteley said it would take vast amounts of time to devote to trawling through old records, club books and scoresheets, as well as speaking to former players about their memories.
One of the most important aspects of the project would be talking to older players.
Mr Whiteley believes there could be ex-cricketers who were involved in the game around the First World War.
Dr Davies was appointed honorary historian of the league in March last year.
And the league committees hope that, within a year or two, he will produce a book on his findings.
"The Bradford League archives are a lot better than in Huddersfield," said Mr Whiteley.
"Lots of stuff here wasn't considered to be of historical value."