Keith Gillhouley celebrates his 80th birthday tomorrow.
A star performer in the Drakes Huddersfield Cricket League back in the 1950s and early 60s, the Crosland Moor-born all-rounder went on to play for Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire and also represented the MCC.
A left-arm spin bowler and right-hand bat, Gillhouley is one of the select band to have taken all 10 wickets in a Huddersfield League match (10 for 23 for Dalton) and he was in the Sykes Cup winning side for Lockwood in 1955, when they had a 23-run win against Lascelles Hall in front of 5,398 at Fartown.
His career at Lockwood ran almost parallel with that of David ‘Corky’ Beaumont, who went on to take over 1,000 wickets in the league, and Gillhouley then became pro at Dalton.
Gillhouley played schools’ cricket, Federation, Colts and Second XI before being called to the Yorkshire first team in 1961.
There was a strong Huddersfield contingent at Headingley at that time, with Ken Taylor, Roy Booth, Mel Ryan and Bob Platt also in the County Championship side.
Having grown up listening to tales of Yorkshire cricketing greats, he was proud to represent the White Rose.
He will be at Headingley today with his whole family for Yorkshire’s clash with Worcestershire in the new Royal London One-Day Cup, and his daughter Kim Kelly said: “He has always been a modest man, but one who is immensely proud of being a Yorkshireman and even more proud of being able to say he has played cricket for his County – especially among some of the most talented players and international names of that era.
“He always describes playing for Yorkshire as a dream come true and, although he finished his professional career playing at Notts in 1966, nothing in his cricketing memories will ever equal the experience of playing for his own county for the first time.”
Gillhouley stepped up when Don Wilson got injured in 1961 and he took 77 wickets at 22.10 (with a career-best seven for 82 against Middlesex) until Wilson – who was a capped player – returned to take his place.
The Huddersfield man moved on successfully to Nottinghamshire, finishing his career with 255 first-class wickets in 108 matches and also adding 2,051 top-level runs.
He settled in Nottingham and, after his career, started his own business. Now retired, he has moved back to his beloved Yorkshire and lives in Guiseley, where he can be found every summer weekend watching his grandson play for the club at Nethermoor.
He continues to support Yorkshire and always attends the Players Association meetings and dinners.
Kim added: “The family want to wish him a very happy birthday.
“He is our hero and we love him very much.”