The first recorded mention of Low Moor Holy Trinity Cricket Club was in the Bradford Observer, dated 18 June 1894, when the team were all out for 32 and lost by 7 wickets. An old minute book from those early years makes interesting reading and indicates that some of the early problems were similar to some of those of today. Meetings were held in the ‘tent’ almost every week and one of the points raised was that ground improvements were going slowly because of the lack of support from some of the players, while team selection was questioned as to whether the best players should always be picked ahead of those who do the most work.
Membership in the early 1920s was confined to those who attended church regularly and the Club President was the vicar who was apparently quite a formidable character. Money raising was just as important then as it is today and a dance was held in one of the local Sunday Schools, knowing full well that the vicar did not approve of this ‘flaunting of bodily contact’. In his sermon the following Sunday he lambasted the Club from the Church pulpit for this terrible sin and stood down as President. It was some years before things got back to normal.
In those early Sunday School League days nobody had a car and most people worked on a Saturday morning so the matches didn’t start until three o’clock and finished not later than ten past seven. Not a lot of cricket. Over the years, there were spells when we weren’t doing too well and others when we won a few trophies, most famously a cup win at Bradford Park Avenue in 1975 when the winning run was scored off the last ball of the match with the last pair at the wicket.
Over many years we had three different grounds and our present one was under threat from developers who were wanting to build a housing scheme there. We managed to put them off for a few years, but without any legal rights to the land we realised that we would soon have to move. Eventually we were given an area of land towards the golf course which had to be levelled and turfed, and a wicket laid. Our first match on the new field was in April 1989 and after many months of fundraising, we were able to build our new pavilion which was opened by the Club’s Senior Vice President, Mr Frank Tetley, on 8 July 1990.
The Club played the majority of its cricket in the Bradford Central League until, after seeing teams leave year on year, the Club called for a review of our current position in 2005. We considered the Bradford League and the Halifax League as viable options based on geography and travel requirements. In 2006, the Club gave formal notice to the Bradford Central League of its intention to switch to the Halifax Cricket League.
Following ground inspections, presentations and evidence of the Club’s viability and sustainability, we were accepted into the Halifax League in 2007 and have been made very welcome by the League Executive.
In our first season in the Halifax League, we won promotion from Division 2. Over the 10 years we have been members of the Halifax League, we have seen our fortunes ebb and flow from missing out on promotion to the Premier Division by one point in 2011, to relegation, then promotion, then relegation again!
The Club’s journey into the Halifax League’s history books was almost crowned in August 2012 when they reached the final of the Parish Cup, beating 2 premier division sides along the way. Unfortunately, in a rain affected game which meant some players could not make the following day, the team were narrowly beaten by SBCI in the rain affected showpiece final.
As the cup final of 2012 came to an end, it was clear that we’d attracted many new followers and our approach, our conduct and our overall commitment to cricket in Halifax, was duly noted by the League’s Executive. Our Club was now on the radar of our many new friends and followers. The cup final was a triumph, no matter what the history books tell you, and this was the catalyst the Club needed. The rebirth of a new generation had started. Secretary, Alan Ford and Chairman Anthony Hubbert stepped aside, having seen their Club surpass all expectation, to make way for a changing of the guard. Martin Jenkins was appointed as Secretary and the Club turned to a new dawn, an era under different leadership.
As experienced cricketers stepped aside, a new regime started, as the juniors of 2007-2013 took their place in Low Moor’s history, as the self-proclaimed ‘Next Generation’. Building on the success of their junior cricket, where the team had won the Halifax League and Cup double, they embarked on senior cricket through the second team. A younger, more modern approach to cricket was born and the Club saw its social endeavours increase, with occasional cricketing success.
To achieve the on-the-field success the Club craved so much, would involve a complete review of the off-the-field activities. A new committee was formed, creating a mixed structure of youth, exuberance, experience and realism. The Committee would drive the Club into a new era of performance based cricket with an eye on significant investment in facilities. To attract new blood would mean improving the overall cricketing experience. After a couple of years bumping around in the middle and lower leagues, a new 5 Year Development Plan was submitted to the ECB, with substantial plans for growth, on and off the field. Junior cricket had all but lapsed, as the former glory days were now embedded in senior cricket. Without new players coming through, the future looked bleak. Thankfully, players Nick Wood and Gareth Harrison began to re-open the junior cricket section and had a team of under 9s ready for the summer of 2015. That team, which was made up of mainly 6 and 7 year olds, found its feet and developed into a squad of some promise. Since then, the junior set up at Low Moor HTCC has gone from strength to strength, creating new teams through the age categories and building a coach and volunteer network.
In the winter of 2017, the Club began its biggest construction project since the pavilion was erected in 1989. After an astonishing display of community donating, fundraising, events and competition wins, the Club managed to secure enough money to commence the redevelopment of the external area. This included the complete installation of a new specialist metal fence, covering the whole circumference of the field (420m) alongside the installation of an ECB approved all-weather pitch. The funding needed to complete both projects was in excess of £60,000. With support from Sport England, The National Lottery, Aviva, Persimmon, YCC Trust and various donations, the Club finally realised its dream of having state-of-the-art facilities to rival every club in Yorkshire, and so, the project started in February 2018 and was completed before the start of the 2018 campaign. Added to the list of assets was a new kitchen, new wicket covers, new coaching equipment, a new cutter/mower and a re-plastering of the internal changing rooms. The hard work was starting to pay dividends.
The investment in facilities has both secured the land from external forces but also allowed the Club to create its most memorable season since the cup final. The birth of All Stars Cricket, an ECB programme which aims to attract young boys and girls (aged 5-8) into cricket became a reality. Unsure of its likely success, the Club opted out of its inaugural season in 2017 but entered in 2018 with leadership from Emily Jenkins and Joanne Bottomley (parental volunteers). As bookings rolled in, the final figure of 42 children enrolled at Low Moor was testament to how far the Club had come over recent years. As junior cricket is now firmly in place for under 9s, under 11s and under 13s, All Stars programmes have given the Club the early engagement it needed to create the cricketer of tomorrow. The Year 2018 will be recorded as one of the greatest off-the-field years at the Club and has provided a platform to build on for the next 5 seasons.
Senior cricket remains the bedrock of the Club and the main reason we continue to do all the things we strive to undertake. Junior cricket provides the basis of progression, either through the ranks at Low Moor, or on to bigger and better cricket with higher profile clubs. The positive vibe around the Club at present is pleasing to see. As press coverage increases, the question of ‘how did they do all that?’ becomes a recurring theme. That said, the Club remains grounded and firmly of the opinion that success off the field must start to shine through on the field. The future is bright.