THE wins for both Oxenhope teams at the weekend were played in subdued circumstances as the club mourned the passing of lifelong club servant Howard Smith aged just 62 after a brave battle with cancer.
Howard served the club as player, groundsman, committee man and league representative across five decades and played for the club in all five decades.
A classy batsman and handy change bowler, he was a key member of the all-conquering Oxenhope side of the late 70s and 80s who won numerous titles and cups in the Bradford Central League and got to the Yorkshire final of the National Village Cup.
Described by League president David Normanton as a "true cricket gentleman", Howard was known throughout the league for his good humour and sportsmanship and will be remembered by all at the club as a great friend, servant to the club and Oxenhope through and through.
Oxenhope posted a much-needed victory at Clayton in Roy Smith Division One by the slenderest of margins.
All looked to be going to plan as Clayton were reduced to 64-5 by opening pair Liam Dyson and Ben Addison. F Glough, A Windle and D Selby all scored 22 to stabilise the Clayton innings but Adam Bailey continued to take wickets on his way to 3-51.
At 135-9 the innings looked over but last man D Roddis struck 31 not out to move the total up to a respectable 175.
A disastrous start saw both Oxenhope openers back in the hutch with just six runs on the board. As in the Clayton innings, batsmen got a start and then failed to consolidate it.
Liam Dyson (38) and Grahame Ellis(30) looked to be moving the visitors to victory before succumbing. Skipper Duncan Tetley looked to be the man for the occasion before being bowled by Clough with ten still needed and eight wickets down.
Enter young bowler Ben Addison to calmly knock off the required runs with all the confidence of youth to give the visitors a welcome 12 points.
Oxenhope 2nds continued their improved form with a comfortable six-wicket win after a tricky start to the game against Mytholmroyd.
T Russel and B Burnside put on a century stand for the first wicket before Robin Cusdin (6-57) took out the middle order, assisted by youngsters Nathan Storton (1-34) and Tom Mawer (2-50) to curtail the innings for 183.
Fourteen-year-old Tom Mawer then demonstrated his blossoming all round skills as he shared an opening stand of 134 with Brendan Ellison (49) on his way to a fine 70, which included 14 fours.
Following their dismissal a couple of quick wickets gave the visitors some hope but fellow 14-year-old Akash Gopal steered the home side to victory with a classy 28 not out.