LEPTON Highlanders’ Alan Waring and Marsden’s Gareth Ackroyd have won the Drakes League’s Lady Sykes Candlesticks.
The prestigious awards are made to recognise outstanding service to a club and the game, and Lepton are celebrating a first-ever Lady Sykes winner.
Waring followed in his father Jack’s footsteps as a very useful all-rounder in the late 1960s, early 70s and – with the exception of a couple of seasons at Kirkheaton – played all his career at the Wakefield Road club.
Lepton only joined the Drakes League in 2000, before which Waring played in the Central League with the Highlanders, winning the League’s bowling prize when the club were in Section B.
But he was equally at home with either bat or ball in hand, and has won the club’s batting (where he bats left-handed) and bowling averages (right-arm seamers) on numerous occasions.
A former first team captain, he took on the off-field role of treasurer seven years ago, while he has served on the club committee for many years.
Waring’s company, Independent Electrical Services – which he runs with his wife Julie – have also been the club’s main sponsors since they joined the League 12 years ago.
The Waring family clearly have Lepton Highlanders ingrained in their make-up, with Alan’s recognition coming just four years after dad Jack (still the Lepton president) was awarded the Fred Stallard Cup.
Alan also encouraged son Jonathan to play and both he and the club are hoping he may return for the 2013 season, when the Lady Sykes Candlestick winner is also aiming to play in some games next summer under Dale Winterbottom, who is returning from a season in the Seconds to skipper the Firsts.
Waring’s fellow joint-winner of one of the two candlesticks is Marsden stalwart Gareth Ackroyd, who has links with the Hemplow club dating back 40 years, while his playing career spans 30 years.
Having followed dad David to the club as a youngster, he began playing with Marsden’s Under 13s in 1982, helping them win the League and Cup double, while also winning the League in the Under 15s.
He began scoring with the first team and then began playing with the Seconds in 1989, and although university took him away from 1991 to 1993 he showed his commitment to the club by returning each summer to play senior cricket with Marsden.
Although he has spent most of his career in the Seconds, he has also played from time to time in the Firsts and performed with some success.
An all-rounder, Ackroyd has won the batting, bowling and fielding prizes in the Seconds and has also captained the side on numerous occasions.
Away from the playing side, he has been committed to coaching the juniors at Under 13 and Under 11 level, and in 2008/9 after qualifying as a level 2 coach, became the first coach and manager of the newly-created Under 9s, while also taking is coaching skills into the local infant and junior schools.
In 1994 he was elected onto the club committee and subsequently made treasurer, a role he still fulfils, while he has been responsible for grant applications as well as being sponsorship coordinator.
Ackroyd is currently heading the club’s Clubmark application, and has drawn up a five-year plan formulating a new constitution in line with Clubmark guidance, and has also produced Marsden’s new handbook.
A one-club man who has ‘put his heart and soul into Marsden Cricket Club’ he has been involved in painting the clubhouse, helped with general ground maintenance, including mowing, and has often worked behind the bar, and every task associated with it.
Both players will receive the Lady Sykes Candlesticks at the League’s annual dinner at the Cedar Court Hotel, Ainley Top, on Friday, January 18.