Honley Cricket Club won six top flight Huddersfield Cricket League titles between 2005 and 2011 and now, a decade later, club chairman Robert Moore believes the good times could be about to return.
Honley have had a good start to the Premiership season and have been in the top three alongside Hoylandswaine and Scholes.
On the season so far Robert said: “We’ve started this season well, we’ve only lost a few games, we were beaten by Armitage Bridge and Hoylandswaine. However apart from those results we’ve looked quite good.
“As a club we always want to be in the top four or five clubs in the division and would like to be fighting for titles.”
Robert, 50, has been a huge part of the club over the years, joining them as a player in 1998. He took over the captaincy in 2001 and retained it until 2013. A few years after that he became chairman of the club.
On that successful period in the club’s history he said: “We had some great teams back then and to win the league so consistently it was just brilliant.
“It was a really happy time at the club and we also won two Sykes Cups in that period too. We did two doubles where we won the league and cup in consecutive years. We could have made it a treble but were knocked out by Skelmanthorpe in the Sykes Cup sadly.
“I was very lucky to play in those sides and what made it better was the fact we were all friends.”
Robert believes there could be another special couple of years on the horizon if the club can keep the current crop of players together.
He said: “I think since the break up of that great side we’ve been in a transitional period. However, what is really encouraging is how well this current squad is coming together, it’s got a lot of spirit and youth. I am very excited about what we could achieve in the next few seasons.”
One thing Robert is very proud of is the club’s junior section, and whilst he appreciates that there does need to be an assessment of why there are less youngsters coming through to play first team cricket, that is not going to stop Honley from driving that pathway forward.
He said: “We do have a thriving junior section and we have a lot of kids from around the seven years old to eleven years old mark. Once they start using the hard ball we do see a drop off and obviously when it comes to second and first team cricket there is a bottleneck. You can only have 22 players across the two teams.
“So what we did was enter a third team. Last year there were eight clubs who did this and now there are 15 of us. So it’s definitely a growing trend. We think it’s a good idea because it helps that transition through the teams.
“The oldest player in the third team can be 18 at times so our youngsters are getting to play the sport they love in a competition environment.”
Off the field Robert says the club is in a good place especially coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have come out of it OK,” he said. “We have noticed how people’s drinking habits have changed and so instead of the bar having lots of custom on a night we get lots of people coming in the afternoons now. As ever we want to be at the centre of the village and the place where people come to socialise.”
Finally, back to on-the-field matters and Honley supported the new ‘three teams to be relegated’ proposal. Like a lot of the clubs Robert believes, in time, it will make the league stronger.
“The league this year is more competitive than ever,” he said. “The points totals are so close from the bottom to the top and that makes for an exciting league.
“At the moment we are doing OK and we thought it was a good proposal by the league. It will be harsh on the third team who goes down but I do think it will boost the quality of cricket we see in the league going forward. Everyone wants to stay in this division and we are no different.”
The club has also reached the quarter-final stage of both the Sykes Cup and Heavy Woollen Cup. Robert says it would be great to have a good go in both competitions.
He said: “The Sykes Cup is prestigious and we’d love to win it again. We are facing Armitage Bridge, though, who we just lost to in the league. So we know it’s going to be a tough test for sure.
“It’s nice to do well in the Heavy Woollen Cup, I do believe it’s the oldest cup in the world after the Ashes. So to win that would be a brilliant achievement to say you have teams from all across Yorkshire taking part in it now.”