JOHN CRAWSHAW, who has died aged 65 after contracting a rare illness, was one of the finest golfing products produced by Huddersfield and district and, indeed, Yorkshire as he made 139 appearances for the county.
Representatives from the county and its eight district unions were among those who joined a celebration of his life on Tuesday at a packed Dewsbury Moor Crematorium where the numbers spilled out on to the car parking areas.
Along with his brother Alan, who later moved to Bradley Park, JR Crawshaw – Richard was his middle name – was brought up at the Dewsbury and District club near his Mirfield home and taught by his late father Albert, the club professional, who was proud of the achievements of someone he often referred to as Son No1.
Only six players played more matches for Yorkshire than John Crawshaw, who along with Selby’s Les Walker was perhaps the finest player never to win the county championship.
Twice he reached the final, losing on the 34th hole to Garforth’s Mike Holiday at Alwoodley in 1972 then four years later by 3&2 at Ganton to Gordon J Brand, who went on to play in the Ryder Cup.
In the Yorkshire Open of 1979, played at West End, he was the leading amateur, carding 138 over 36 holes to win the John Bairstow Trophy, not to be confused with the Yorkshire Amateur Strokeplay which came into being in 1986 and played for the same trophy after the Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs withdrew from the Yorkshire Open after 1985. The strokeplay was scrapped in 2002.
His biggest achievement on the national stage was his victory in a matchplay championship organised by the Daily Mirror in the 1970s.
John was a strong hitting player, particularly with his irons. I once caddied for him – or rather carried his bag! – and marvelled at his iron play. He could reach the green with his second shot with an iron at the long 10th and 11th holes in the winds that can blow hard at The Pinnacle, Dewsbury’s hill-top course.
He spent most of his playing career as a member at Halifax (Ogden), where he served as captain and won the Halifax-Huddersfield Union championship four times, the Union Strokeplay for the Peter Cockroft Trophy and scored victories in the Yorkshire Foursomes with Geoff Horrocks-Taylor and Peter Cockroft while being a member of a several winning Halifax teams in the Union Scratch Team championship. He was Union president in 1992.
John, was a biochemist and retired a few years ago after a career in the brewing industry. He worked with Tetley’s for many years then became head brewer at a brewery at Snaith.
He is survived by his wife Margaret, daughter Helen and son Clive, who recently won the captain’s prize at Ogden.