Drakes Huddersfield League stalwarts John Booth and Peter Harrison are deserving winners of this year’s Lady Sykes Candlesticks.
The 49-year-old Booth, in his third spell at Lascelles Hall, has been a leading player at four Drakes clubs , while Harrison has given 38 years of service to Armitage Bridge.
The Candlesticks are the top league award for current players and both Booth and Harrison are honoured for giving “outstanding service to their clubs and the game in general.”
Booth was first taken to watch Kirkburton almost half a century ago by his father Brian (who ran the post office and played football for the village team), and started playing at Riley Lane in the juniors.
He made his senior debut there, too, in addition to being captain of the Joe Lumb Cup side and the League’s White Rose team – being awarded the Reg Haigh Trophy as the League’s most promising young cricketer in 1989, by which time he’d joined Lascelles Hall.
Booth left Lascelles Hall at 24 to spend a season at Pudsey St Lawrence in the Bradford League, but he returned to spend four years with Broad Oak.
He then returned to Lascelles Hall and has been there ever since, apart from two seasons with Slaithwaite a decade ago.
A left-handed high-order batsman, Booth has scored over 1,000 runs on a couple of occasions and has played in five Sykes Cup finals, winning twice with the Hall.
He also won the Byrom Shield (League championship) with Lascelles Hall, alongside the likes of James and Mick Pamment.
Also a respected coach, Booth played numerous times for the League representative side, he’s been a member of the MCC for around 20 years and played for them as captain, now helping organise matches for them in this area.
“I’m very honoured to get this award because the list of previous winners is full of guys you have lots of respect for,” said Booth, whose twin 19-year-old sons Toby and Harvey play for Kirkburton and Broad Oak respectively.
“The winners going back into the 1970s and before are all names I’ve known and are familiar with and that’s the thing about cricket – it’s all about the people and the friends you’ve made, not just at your own club but around the League.
“I’m sure that’s what all the fellows who’ve been involved a long time feel – it’s the camaraderie that exists throughout the League.
“And having started playing and been given the Reg Haigh Trophy, the Lady Sykes Candlesticks sort of book-end my career, which is certainly something I’ll look back on with pride.”
V ideo: Delph skipper Andy Gleave talks about their Sykes Cup win:
His fellow award winner Harrison has been a familiar figure at Armitage Bridge for the past four decades.
A true club man, he has served them as a player and volunteer since joining as a junior back in the 1970s.
A key member of the Bridge juniors, he graduated to become one of their most successful senior players, contributing with both bat and ball.
He joined the RAF as a young man, but always stayed close to the club and rejoined upon exiting the forces.
Harrison has become one of Armitage Bridge’s leading all-time run-scorers, with a number of centuries under his belt.
Since then, he has captained sides and acted as a valuable vice-captain and mentor for many of the club captains and players who have followed on to make their mark in an illustrious club history.
He is always one of the first to support club functions and his barbeque skills are a particular favourite!
Following in the footsteps of his late father Mike, Harrison coached the juniors for a number of years, despite the fact that he never had a child of his own in the team.
This has been such a crucial role, as he has helped bring through a number of the club’s current senior players who are doing well in the Drakes Premiership.
Players such as Joel Barker, Elliot Harrison, Joel Harrison, Irfan Nazir and Ben Roberts have all benefited from his guidance.
He and his family are true ‘Armitage Bridgers’ and he’s a second recent winner of the award for the club following Mark Roberts in 2014.
The awards will be presented when the Drakes League hold their annual dinner and presentation evening at the Cedar Court Hotel on Friday, November 11 (6.15 for 6.45).
Main guest on the night is Matthew Hoggard.