Almondbury Wesleyan Cricket Club is 101 years old this year and the Crawshaw family have been involved right from the beginning. 

Former Pennine Radio presenter Andrew Crawshaw is proud of his family’s cricketing history. It stretches back over 100 years as his grandad Harold Crawshaw helped to form the Wesleyans. 

Since then Andrew’s dad Philip and brother Keith have played for the club as well as Andrew himself. 

“I am proud of my family’s connection to the club, it’s been a big part of our lives,” he said. 

Andrew, who presented on HuddersfieldFM/Pennine Radio during its 10-year run between 1999 and 2009, has always looked back on his family cricketing history with fondness. 

The club was founded in 1920 and played its first fixture in 1921. Harold, who was part of the original committee, had fought in the First World War five years earlier. He went on to have a 20-year playing career before retiring in the 1940s. 

Harold Crawshaw holding the bat with the first ever Almondbury side in 1921.

Andrew said: “The blokes from the Methodist church got together and founded the club after the First World War. My grandad was part of founding it, he was in the war and got gassed at Passchendaele and went blind for six weeks. 

“He was also wounded at the Somme where he was shot through his left shoulder. He was a slow bowler and – fortunately – bowled with his right arm.”

Harold once took 9-18 in a game and grandson Andrew aspired to beat that score in his playing days!

He said: “My ambition was to always beat my grandad’s score. I came closest to it in my very first season in 1974 when I was just 13. I took 8-11. I went on to play a total of 39 seasons and that was the closest I ever got to it.”

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Andrew’s father Philip, born in 1923, then took up the reins of representing the Crawshaw family on the cricket field. He played from 1930 right up until 1979. He also became the club treasurer and secretary. 

Andrew’s brother Keith, born in 1953, played in the junior set up and then moved up to the adults’ section. He played in the club’s second team until his career was cut short in 1986. He was diagnosed with cancer and had a leg amputated. Keith is now the club secretary and has done that job for the past 30 years.

Philip Crawshaw in the 1950s Almondbury team.

On his dad’s career Andrew said: “My dad played his last game in 1979 when he was 55 years old. He played in the second team and they won by one wicket, he scored 55 not out and he won the game for us by getting a six. He walked off the pitch and said he would never play again and he didn’t. 

“My dad was secretary of the club from 1953 until 1986. There was then a gap where other people did it for a bit and then Keith took over the role.”  

Andrew himself played his first match in 1974 and retired in 2010 for the Wesleyans. 

Before his dad retired in 1979 and brother in 1986, Andrew got the chance to share a cricket pitch with all three Crawshaws playing for the club they loved all at the same time.

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Andrew said: “I always remember my dad saying it was something he wanted to do, to be part of the same team with me and Keith. We managed to play a number of times together which made my dad very happy.” 

Grandad Harold passed away in 1963 when Andrew was just three years old. His father Philip died in 1998.

Andrew, now vice president of the club, would have loved to have celebrated Wesleyans’ centenary last year but the pandemic put paid to that.

So is there another Crawshaw generation to continue the legacy? Andrew said: “My son doesn’t play cricket and so I think the playing journey is at an end.

“He lives down south now but he’s got his company to sponsor things and teams at the club – so the Crawshaw connection lives on, just in a different way.”