BOB PLATT has announced his retirement as President of the Drakes Huddersfield Cricket League.
The former Yorkshire pace bowler has been League figurehead for the last 20 years, but has now decided to step down after serving the League magnificently for two decades.
He took on the presidency in 1993, succeeding the late Jim Dawson, and his deep knowledge of the game and advice has been invaluable to the League and its principal officers, chairman Trevor Atkinson and his predecessor Roger France.
Platt has been made an Honorary Life Vice-President and will be succeeded as League president by Almondbury’s Donald Earnshaw (inset), also a Life Vice-President of the League.
League chairman Atkinson paid tribute to Platt, whose family firm sponsor the Frank Platt Championship section of the League.
“During my first year as chairman Bob has been extremely approachable and very supportive,” he said.
“His knowledge and enthusiasm for cricket, when combined with considerable business expertise, has made him a formidale and much-respected president.
“It is reassuring to know that he will remain involved in the League in a new role as Honorary Life Vice-President.”
On the new president, Atkinson added: “I’ve worked very closely with Donald in his dual role as Senior Vice-President and Disciplinary Officer and found his knowledge and wisdom invaluable.
“His appointment as the League’s new president is a just reward for a life-time of commitment to both Almondbury Cricket Club and the Huddersfield League.
“I am looking forward to the continuation of our excellent relationship.”
Platt began his playing career with Holmfirth as an 11-year-old while still a schoolboy at Holme Valley Grammar School and, four years later, helped his club win the Huddersfield Junior Cricket League’s Knockout Cup (the forerunner of the Walker Cup and Oldfield Cup).
He joined Leeds in the Yorkshire League at 19, and from there was given a chance to play for Northamptonshire Seconds.
In 1954 he went on National Service, during which time he played for the RAF and Combined Services. He also played for Bradford Park Avenue, helping them to the Bradford League Championshp and the Priestley Cup.
At the conclusion of National Service he was quickly snapped up by the then Yorkshire chairman Brian Sellers and made his debut for the county Second team at Macclesfield, before making his first team debut against Sussex at Bramall Lane, Sheffield in 1955.
For the record, on his debut, his teammates were Lowson, Padgett, Sutcliffe, Watson, Wilson, Close, Yardley, Illingworth, Wardle and Binks, and when Platt was thrown the ball he made his mark by taking four for 70 in the first innings.
He was awarded his county cap in 1959 and went on to take almost 300 wickets in 96 games before his Yorkshire career ended in 1964 after serious injury – he ruptured an Achilles tendon – following which he began to help with the family’s electrical business.
However, he resumed his Yorkshire League career two years later, playing with Halifax, with whom he won the League’s bowling averages, before briefly returning to Northants to run the Seconds and help out in the Firsts when they were short.
“Brian Sellers promptly rang me to say I could do the same job at Yorkshire, so that’s what I did,” reflected Platt.
In 1968 he was appointed Second team captain before returning once again to Bradford Park Avenue, whom he also served as president for three years, not to mention winning the Bradford League bowling averages in both 1971 and 1972.
While at Park Avenue he also produced two remarkable performances, grabbing a hat trick against Idle with the first three balls of the match, while he once took seven wickets for no runs against Lidgett Green.
He finally called time on his playing career at the age of 40, turning is attention once more to the family business, and to the administrative side of the game, being elected to represent the Huddersfield district (later to become the West district) on the Yorkshire County committee in 1983.
He was chosen as Drakes League president in 1993, but then in 1995 came the biggest accolade when he was elected as chairman of Yorkshire’s cricket committee.
Another role that he will long be remembered for was being instrumental, along with Bob Appleyard, in setting up Yorkshire’s now much-admired Cricket Academy.
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