A bowler helped his team to a vital victory - on the eve of his 90th birthday.

And Leonard Tracey’s victory for Lindley Liberal Club in their match against Paddock C & BC may well be a record-breaker for the Drayton Cup.

That’s the second division of the Huddersfield Crown Green Bowling League and Leonard’s win could be the one by the oldest player.

Not that he’s a stranger to winning; over the years he has won many honours in the sport, including many with his brothers John and Arthur.

Between them, the three had notched up 200 years in the sport.

Former engineer Leonard, of Oakes, has bowled for the Lindley club for many years. He loves the sport and will be bowlng three times this week - even though his birthday celebrations at The Three Acres left him with a thick head!

“It’s nice to be able to take on opponents and sometimes beat them. I enjoy playing the veterans games but also the Huddersfield league matches

“I used to play snooker and billiards but found the cue more difficult. I’m delighted I managed to win for the team”.

Paul Cooney captains the Lindley Liberal Club team in the Drayton Cup.

He said: “The Drayton is the league’s 2nd division and is a high quality competition. We were playing Paddock C& BC at Kirkheaton Con’s green and Leonard won his game. No big surprise there but he did this at the ripe old age of 89 years and 364 days, just hours before he celebrated his 90th birthday.

Leonard Tracey in action
Leonard Tracey in action
 

“Leonard won 21-16 against the opposing team captain, Steve Tattersall, who was very gracious in defeat.

“I can’t guarantee this but I suspect that this probably makes Leonard the oldest player to have won a game in the division. His teammates, and our opposition all wished him a happy birthday and he was cheered off the green.

“It was our third victory of the season, after we won promotion last year, and with four weeks to go there is still a chance we can stave off relegation.

“Leonard is a real gentleman. He is tall and slim and walks across the green with real military bearing.

“I would be happy to be alive at his age and still be able to walk around the green, never mind playing and winning”.

Leonard and his brother Arthur have notched up numerous successes. In 1993 they were the Huddersfield Veterans’ Pairs champions and the following year Arthur won the Huddersfield Veterans’ Rose Bowl.

Bowling brothers Leonard Tracey, John Tracey, Arthur Tracey at Lindley Lib
Bowling brothers Leonard Tracey, John Tracey, Arthur Tracey at Lindley Lib
 

Their “purple patch”, as they refer to it, was from 1996 to 2003 when they were key members of the Lindley Liberal vets team which won the first division league a total of six times.

Leonard, who captained the winning teams, revealed the secret of his success: “I never go into a match thinking I will lose.

“I always think I am capable of beating anybody on the day and approach it that way. We’ve no need for a sports psychologist, that winning attitude is in-built with us.

“If you can play a bowler and beat him on his own green, you feel elated.”