The Drakes League Under 21 side should make the most of tomorrow’s big occasion against MCC.
That’s the view of Huddersfield cricket stalwart John Booth, who skippers the MCC in the Drakes League 125-year Anniversary Celebration match at Honley CC (11.30).
Marking the special league milestone, Drakes officials have selected a highly-talented team, and Lascelles Hall’s Booth reckons the match has added significance because of the demise of both the White Rose and Inter-league representative competitions.
“Playing representative cricket is a great thing, and I would recommend to all the Under 21 lads to make the most of it,” said 50-year-old Booth, a previous winner of the Lady Sykes Candlesticks.
“Their teammates could be some of the best players they ever play alongside, lads who could go on to have very successful careers, so this is an occasion to be relished.
“I remember captaining the White Rose team myself back in the day, and from that I have a really strong bond with the Huddersfield League, where I have played all my life.
“I have been an MCC member for the last 23 years, too, and this anniversary match is a terrific chance to tie the two things together.”
Booth’s son Harvey is in the Drakes line-up tomorrow, when officials are hoping for a big crowd at Far End Lane.
Harvey and twin brother Toby, who plays at Kirkburton, are down as candidates to follow in dad’s footsteps by becoming playing members of MCC.
“As far as I know, John Sanderson, who is well known from his days at Honley, has been the only sort of serious MCC playing member from our neck of the woods over the years,” added Booth.
“I’ve done something like 140 games for them now, and it’s not only a great experience but a tremendous honour as well.
“We are hoping that this fixture might become an annual event.
“About 10 years ago we set up a fixture against Huddersfield New College, through Dave Weston. That match continues to thrive and we hope this one against the Drakes Under 21s might become regular as well. We’ll have to wait and see.
“But for the Drakes lads this match to mark 125 years of the league is a tremendous opportunity.
“With the demise of the White Rose and the Inter-league competitions, they don’t often get the chance to play alongside the best of the best in their age group, and they should relish that opportunity.”
The MCC team also has a Huddersfield connection in Tim Taylor, formerly of Old Almondburians and now of hosts Honley, but they are mostly county wide.
And they include a remarkable cricketer in former Cheshire player Tom Hodson, the wicketkeeper, who is 77 years old and has played over 700 matches for the MCC!
The match is being sponsored by AJ Harrison Accountants of Summer Lane, Barnsley, thanks to Hoylandswaine’s Tony Harrison.
Umpires for the game are David Haikings and Ron Tindall.
Drakes League Under 21s: Timmy Taylor (Honley, capt), Bradley Birkhead (Rastrick, wkt), Saqib Matlub (Armitage Bridge), Harvey Booth (Broad Oak), Luke Bridges (Barkisland), Siraj Sajid (Kirkburton), Lewis Kenworthy (Honley), Jake Finch (Barkisland), Michael Finan (Delph & Dobcross), John Keeling (Broad Oak), Louis Brook (Scholes). Scorer: David Holmes (Meltham).
MCC: John Booth (capt), Tom Hodson (wkt), Nick Summerscales, Ben Morley, Imran Dawood, Tim Taylor, James Moorhouse, David Lees, Ben Cawood, David Sadler, Tim Jackson. Scorer: Andrew Summerscales.