Background of the Club

EBCC was founded in 1865, playing its earliest cricket on a plot of land known as The Shay, behind the New Inn. Later a field was leased on its present South View Road site, which was part of Lord Savile's estate.

Development moved apace and the sloping field was levelled out creating an embankment view over the playing field area towards the Pennines. Dressing rooms, scoreboard and tea pavilion were erected and in 1933 a clubroom was opened to complete the facilities.

Modern amenities have replaced the early functional buildings and an automated scoreboard, well equipped dressing rooms, a comfortable modern tea pavilion and licensed club lounge have established East Bierley as a well furnished sports and social venue.

The Cricket

Early cricket was very successful as we won the Bradford and District Cricket League in 1895, 1898 and 1899. Entry to the renowned Bradford Cricket League in 1912 saw us challenged to repeat former glories but we dropped out of the league for the three years of 1925 to 1927. Then after being runners-up in the Heavy Woollen Cup in 1927 we returned to the Bradford League in 1928. Our first success came in 1944 when the 2nd XI won The Priestley Shield.

Patience certainly proved to be a virtue for a club that had become used to waiting. We had to display that quality in the 1930 Priestley Cup when bad weather meant that the semi-final and finals were not played until the following summer. When the final was eventually played they were defeated by Idle who made 128 for four in reply to East Bierley's 127.

In 1933 East Bierley put up a great fight against Undercliffe but despite scoring 246 they were beaten by five runs. The margin of defeat was just one run in 1950 but Lightcliffe did suspend their innings and could have batted again. Bierley making 153 after Lightcliffe halted their innings at 154 for four.

Bradford inflicted cup final defeats in 1957 and 1962 by four and seven wickets respectively while Lightcliffe by 12 runs and Undercliffe by 32 inflicted more heartache in 1964 and 1980 before Bierley finally made their deserved breakthrough.

The 1981 cup final was against Farsley and an eighth defeat looked on the cards when openers Mark Brearley and Billy Holmes put on 114 in reply to East Bierley's 195 for five. But Bierley proved they were made of sterner stuff and Paul Topp showed his quality as he took six for 44 as Farsley crumbled to 158 all out. The key figures in the double side, so expertly led by the astute Taylor, included opening batsman Brian Lymbery, seamer Tony Pickersgill and the ever-dependable Topp.

EBCC's 1
st XI recorded its initial success in 1981 but then achieved in great style in taking the Bradford League double of Division One Championship and a Priestley Cup win to round off a remarkable year. We have won both several times since then and our honours boards relate the success consistently achieved in the last 30 years by both 1st and 2nd XI teams.

The catalyst for their triumph had come two years earlier when we won the coveted National Village Trophy at Lord's under the captaincy of Phil Taylor in 1979 - the pinnacle of our success.

East Bierley simply haven't looked back since. Further championship successes in 1988, 1993, 1994 and 1996 were a reflection of their consistency while the ensuing Priestley Cup wins in 1984, 1991, 1998, 1999 and 2000 with more to come in 2009 and 2012, underlining their toughness in sudden-death competition.

The hat-trick of Priestley Cup wins between 1998 and 2000, under the leadership of Dermot McGrath, was a considerable feat and one that no other club has ever achieved. The trophy cabinet has also housed the Yorkshire Champions Trophy on three occasions, 1982, 1983 and 1989.

One player who had a massive impact on their golden period was all rounder Murphy Walwyn. He twice took all ten wickets in an innings and produced many match-winning innings with his cavalier brand of stroke play. His first all ten came against Farsley in 1986 and came at a cost of 47 runs. Twelve months later, Yeadon were on the receiving end as Murphy took ten for 45.

He is just one of a long list of fine players to play for East Bierley down the years. Even before the silverware started to roll in, the club had been graced by some fine performers, men like prolific opening batsman Harry Waterhouse, wily skipper Gordon Phillips and the tireless football and cricket star Brian Redfearn.

The Bradford League is recognized as a premier competition. History shows that many great cricketers have played the game at this local level. International legends such as Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton and Learie Constantine are among these. Several great players who achieved the highest level have served East Bierley

 

Among the first class players who have worn East Bierley's colours are seven who have played for their country - five for England and three for the West Indies. The first Test player to appear was West Indian pace bowler Edwin St. Hill in the 1930's. He has been followed since by tearaway fast bowler Roy Gilchrist and all rounder Collis King. The five England Test players are Jack Birkenshaw, Nick Cook, Les Taylor, Anthony McGrath and Gavin Hamilton.

In 2016 EBCC became one of the founder members of the new Bradford Premier league.

The Village

The village of East Bierley is perched on a hilltop at the edge of Kirklees, on the Bradford border. Though only three miles from Bradford, people have always experienced the greatest difficulty in finding East Bierley and this, perhaps, helps to account for the way it has kept its very real village identity.

The centre of the village is the triangular village green with its stocks, and in springtime a beautiful array of daffodils, crocuses and trees bright with pink and white blossom. Around the green are clustered the school, Methodist chapel, a row of cottages with lovely gardens, and a much older cottage which was formerly the dame school. A former owner, demolishing an inner wall, discovered a 'whipping post' which no doubt had been put to good use.

The oldest thing in the village is the 'Cup and Saucer', beside the pond. These two large stones certainly look like a cup and saucer, but the top stone reputedly once had a cross on top. This is said to have been erected by a Norman lord of the manor, in memory of a peasant who had been killed by his horse. The cross gave its name to Cross House, built in the early 17th century, which stands beside it, and also to the pond. In olden times, religious services were held around the cross, and in bad weather, inside Cross House.

The age of the stocks is uncertain, but one five year old boy at school thought he knew. His description ran "The stocks are very old, but I do not think they are as old as my teacher". Beside the Methodist chapel is an old well, last used in a drought in the early 1930s.

Names, too, reflect the village's past. The name of the northern end is The Marsh. A block of flats is Well Green Court, for it was built on the old well green which was no doubt a meeting place for village women. Bierley Bar, at the top end of the village, recalls Victorian times when a bar was placed across the road every evening to discourage 'off-comedanse', especially would-be suitors! The Granny Croft, a field path, no doubt recalls that this was an old lady's piece of land. Local people always refer to Raikes Lane as 'going down the Ginnies'. Here, a notorious lady named Ginny kept a tavern, very popular with the men of the village but not their wives! As for Cliff Hollins, who gave his name to a lane, no-one is sure whether he was a man or a geographical feature.

The village is rightly proud of its sporting facilities, which include a golf course, football ground and cricket club. The village won the National Village Cricket Competition at Lords in 1979, a day when very few people were left in the village. For younger children there is a recreation ground, but even more popular is the pond, with an abundance of frogs, newts and small fishes in summer, and opportunities for sliding and skating in winter.

Every village has its ghost, and East Bierley is no exception. In the 19th century, Manor Farm was owned by Widow Kaye. Moanings and rattling of keys in the upstairs rooms convinced everyone that the farmhouse was haunted by a boggart. Various members of the clergy were invited along to pray for its speedy departure. The boggart, however, proved singularly resistant to prayer, and the noises continued. One day a neighbour visiting the farmhouse, gave it as his opinion that 'that boggart wants shooting', picked up a shotgun and fired up the chimney. The farm still stands; the boggart was never heard again.

It should not be thought that this is a village which lives in the past. The school and many houses have been attractively modernised, and new buildings blend well with the old. Nowhere is this seen to better advantage than at the Methodist chapel, which retains its Victorian stone exterior, but inside it has been modernised, making it both practical and beautiful, and allowing for five new houses to form part of its building. The village church, St Luke's, is notable for the beauty and superb modern craftsmanship of its internal woodwork, designed and created by Jack Broughton, a local man.

 


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