IN their first season in the ENCO Halifax League, Oakworth have won a noteworthy award.

They picked up the Roy Smith Club Sportsmanship Trophy, awarded by the Halifax Cricket League’s Association of Cricket Officials, at the league’s annual dinner and prize presentation at Dean Clough Mills.

Michael Scarborough, who collected the trophy, said: “This is a massive shock as we were not aware that we were winning it.

“It is a major surprise, but it is a measure of how we have been perceived. We do things right and we have earned it from our peers, so we are very, very happy.”

The former Craven League club finished sixth in the first XI’s Second Division, fifth in the second teams’ Second Division and second in the Sunday third XI’s Division Four, thus earning promotion from the latter.

Oakworth picked up two more awards – the Ernest Clay Trophy for being the best second XI over the last six games of the season, as well as an individual honour, with Wajid Hussain being the top second XI fielder in his division with five marks from his 16 matches.

Reflecting on the 2023 league season, Scarborough said: “The standard was very consistent – more so than the previous teams we have played against – and I was impressed overall.

“We had hoped to do better but it is difficult for a team of our standing, but we competed and can take a lot of positives from it.

“One has been the welcoming nature of everyone that we have played, there has been the opportunity to play at new grounds, and the standard has been competitive more times than not.

“We have lost games that we should have won, but that is the way cricket is, and you don’t always get out of it what you should.

“To win a trophy in our first year is exceptional, and we are very happy with the move, and maybe we should have made the move a bit earlier.

“We would like to thank all the Halifax League executive, we want to embrace what we have been given in the league, we want to be part of this league for many years to come and we want to become a Premier Division club.”

Keighley News: Michael Scarborough collected plenty of trophies for Oakworth during their time in the Craven League, and he is thrilled to see the club being honoured by the Halifax League already.Michael Scarborough collected plenty of trophies for Oakworth during their time in the Craven League, and he is thrilled to see the club being honoured by the Halifax League already. (Image: UGC.)

First XI skipper Rob Hollingsworth said: “We want to bring the youngsters on. We don’t want to go out and find a new opening batter or a new opening bowler as I believe we have the talent within the club.”

Third XI skipper Keith Gilert added: “The most significant thing is that we have started in a Sunday League proper and have therefore been able to focus the third team on playing on Sundays rather than having to hop between Saturdays and Sundays.

“It has been easier to get a team out and because of the way the league rule works we have been able to use some second-team players.

“We have entered the league when we have some really competitive younger players, along with some older heads who have been able to steer them through, and we have got promotion because we have been consistently able to turn really good teams out and we have won games that we needed to win.

“We were lucky that we got a couple of concessions at the tail end of the season which meant that we didn’t have to win the last game of the season to get promoted, and we had a weather interruption which meant that we drew.

“The Sunday League is clearly designed to bring young cricketers on, and we have done that and hopefully we can do it again next season.”

Scarborough added: “We have ambitions to improve the ground to the level that we have seen in some of our away matches, and we look at Copley for example, who staged a very impressive Parish Cup final.”