Sporting highlights of 2012

John Sparkes has played snooker for Ackroyd Street WMC for over 50 years. In 1980, John was part of the Ackroyd St snooker team who won the Leeds & District League. 32 years later, he was part of the team who won it for a 2nd time. (D540C229)
John Sparkes has played snooker for Ackroyd Street WMC for over 50 years. In 1980, John was part of the Ackroyd St snooker team who won the Leeds & District League. 32 years later, he was part of the team who won it for a 2nd time. (D540C229)

AS another memorable year of sport comes to an end sports reporter Andrew Hunt takes a look back at some of the people and moments that have made the headlines in 2012.

In a year in which the legacy of the London Olympics created a lasting memory for many it has been just as hectic on the Morley sports scene.


Morley RU began 2012 in dramatic fashion when a last-minute try from leading points scorer Simon Bradshaw saw them snatch a 20-19 victory over Waterloo in National League Three North which gave them a boost in their fight against relegation.

Hunslet has always been a hot bed of rugby league and the three top sides came together to play the inaugural Hawks v All Stars challenge.

Hunslet Hawks used the game as part of their pre-season, with the All Stars side made up of players from Hunslet Warriors and Hunslet Old Boys.

The game, at South Leeds Stadium, attracted a crowd a 1,147, to see the Hawks run out 38-6 winners.

The Hawks then met a very youthful Leeds Rhinos side in the traditional Lazenby Cup fixture.

However, the cup returned to Headingley as the Rhinos edged a 22-20 win.

Elsewhere, plummeting temperatures saw many local football and rugby matches fall victim to the weather.


The Hawks began a new era when Hunslet Independent Supporters Trust took over the running of the club after Grahame Liles and Sean Cluderay stepped down.

Morley RU made a special presentation to Simon Bradshaw, who reached the landmark of passing 1,000 points for the club.

However, the Maroons’ survival hopes suffered a massive blow when former England international Scott Benton sustained a badly broken hand and dislocated wrist, which would rule him out for the remainder of the season and ultimately end his playing career.

Birchfield Primary School in Gildersome won a football competition, which earned them the right to represent Leeds United at the npower Football League Under-11s Cup.

Hunslet Old Boys and Hunslet Warriors battled through the early rounds of the Challenge Cup to get to within one win of drawing a professional side in the third round.


Challenge Cup fever continued to grip Hunslet as the Warriors thrashed Wigan St Patricks and were paired away to Whitehaven in the third round, while Yorkshire Cup winners Hunslet Old Boys edged out Blackbrook 16-12 and were drawn at home to Featherstone Rovers, although the tie was switched to Post Office Road.

Despite putting in brave performances, the Hunslet amateur duo’s day in the spotlight ended in defeat as the Warriors lost 52-6 and Old Boys 86-12.

Hunslet Hawks swooped into the Northern Rail Cup quarter-finals thanks to an impressive 20-10 victory over Doncaster at South Leeds and also made progress in the Challenge Cup beating The Royal Navy 34-14.

Churwell Lions Under-15s were also in the spotlight as they reached the Heavy Woollen Blackburn Cup final, which was played under floodlights at Liversedge FC.

Unfortunately it proved a step too far for the brave Lions, who went down 2-0 to Wyke Wanderers.


Hunslet Old Boys suffered a 26-0 defeat to Siddal in the BARLA National Cup, while their commitments elsewhere handed the initiative to Drighlington in the race for the Pennine League Premier Division title.

While Old Boys were concentrate on various cup competitions, Drig opened up a 12-point lead at the top of the table and reached the President’s Cup final by beating Keighley 44-6.

Churwell darts player Danny Dutson qualified to play in the UK Open in Bolton, in June.

Dutson earned enough points from a qualifying tournament to earn a place in the UK Open alongside some of the greatest dart players in the world.

Gildersome Spurs FC celebrated their 35th anniversary, while Tingley Tigers Under-13s suffered an extra time defeat to Yorkshire Amateurs in the Garforth League Cup final.

Morley RU’s relegation from National League Three North was confirmed by an 88-13 defeat to Birkenhead Park and they would later replace coach Peter Seabourne with David Murray.

The local cricket season was delayed as heavy rain left grounds waterlogged.

An unprecedented decision was taken by both the Bradford and Central Yorkshire Leagues to move the opening two matches to later in the season but this was only the start of a nightmare campaign for groundsmen and club officials.

Morley CC were further hampered when vintage cars were driven onto an already saturated outfield during the town’s St George’s Day celebrations and the club were forced to bring in specialists to carry out repairs.

Drighlington RL clinched the Pennine League Premier Division title with a 26-18 win over rivals Hunslet Old Boys.


Morley Borough RL won the Leeds and District Cup, defeating Troydale in the final at sun drenched Scatcherd Lane.

Bruntcliffe High School’s Year 11 rugby team won the Leeds Schools final at Headingley.

With the cricket finally underway, Morley made a winning start to their campaign, while Adwalton unveiled a new two-story digital scorebox which had been built by club members.

Tingley Tigers overcame their cup final disappointment by winning the league title.


Hunslet Nelson CC surged up to second place in the Central Yorkshire League Premier Division and an emphatic victory over struggling Batley helped set up a top-of-the-table showdown with Wrenthorpe.

Morley’s Bradford League promotion push began to gather pace, led by several sparkling displays from overseas star Kashif Naveed.

Morley earned victory over fellow hopefuls Baildon and then stunned Pudsey St Lawrence by dumping them out of the league’s Twenty Cup.

The club’s second team also hit form by reaching the Priestley Shield semi-finals.

Hunslet Hawks continued to struggle in the Co-operative Championship and a 56-10 defeat to Batley Bulldogs left them rooted to the foot of the table, before they bowed out of the Northern Rail Cup, losing away to Sheffield Eagles.


The month was dominated by the Olympic Games, which will live long in the memory of many people involved, not least former Bruntcliffe pupil Adam Scholefield.

The 27-year-old began playing water polo at Morley leisure centre under the watchful eye of coach Phil Hill.

Having progressed rapidly, Scholefield found himself on the biggest stage of all as he was part of the Great Britain team who took to the pool.

But despite several brave performances against some of the best team’s in the world, the hosts were unable to qualify for the latter stages of the competition.

Staying in the Olympic pool and David Lyles had began swimming in Morley but was at the Games as part of the Chinese swimming coaching team.

Tingley cyclist Melissa Lowther has dreams of one day too representing Team GB at the Olympics and the 16-year-old Woodkirk Academy student was selected for the Olympic Talent Team.

Sam Hirst returned from the World Pool Championships in Blackpool as the no1 ranked junior player.

The Morley Academy pupil won 19 from 22 matches at the World 8-Ball Championships.

Ackroyd Street WMC won the Leeds and District Snooker League Division A title, over 30 years after first getting their hands on the trophy.

63-year-old John Sparkes has played for Ackroyd Street since 1956 and he was a part of the 1980 title winning side and in the team who re-captured the crown this year.


Morley reached their first major cricket final in 25 years when they defeated a full strength Woodlands side in the Dyson Insulations T20 Cup.

Morley’s namesake club from Perth in Australia sent their best wishes as did Leeds United footballer Leigh Bromby, whose brother plays for the team.

A coach load of supporters travelled to Bradford and Bingley to watch them play the final under floodlights against Pudsey Congs but despite a brave display in a thrilling game, Morley lost by nine runs.

Behind the scenes at Scatcherd Lane, David Nebard was rewarded for his hard work with the club when he collected the Yorkshire Cricket Board’s Ralph Pritchard Award for volunteer of the year.

Leeds Rhinos starlet Stevie Ward realised the dream of every young player by walking out at Wembley for the Challenge Cup final against Warrington Wolves.

Ward had combined playing for the Rhinos with studying for his A-levels at Woodkirk school but his final ended in heartbreak as the Rhinos lost 35-18.

Lee West won’t forget his 21st birthday in a hurry as he scored a hat-trick of tries and was named man-of-the-match as Hunslet Warriors earned a dramatic 30-30 draw against Milford Marlins.


After one of the wettest summer’s in living memory, Morley went into the final two weeks of the cricket season involved in a three horse race for promotion.

Defeat to Baildon ended their hopes of winning the Bradford League Division Two title but they went into a final day clash with Yeadon knowing victory would see them finish second.

Yeadon still had a chance of winning the title going into the match but a superb 59 not out from captain Matt Baxter steered Morley to a thrilling six-wicket win and with it promotion to the top flight, which spark huge celebrations among the Morley faithful.

Hunslet Hawks signed off their Co-operative Championship season by ending a 15-match winless run when they overcame York City Knights 28-26 in their final match.

The Hawks completed a league double over York and this win lifted them off the foot of the table.

Hunslet immediately announced that they had signed Waine Pryce 12 months after he left South Leeds to join the Knights.

A host of other new signings, including Chris Buttery from Batley, have also joined Hunslet as Barry Eaton strengthened his squad.

Morley RU - under new coach David Murray - made a bright start to life in North One East, including registering a first away win since April 30 2011 when they defeated Morpeth 13-0.


Stevie Ward overcame his disappointment of the Challenge Cup final defeat by helping Leeds Rhinos retain their Super League crown in style.

Ward came off the bench as Leeds won a thrilling semi-final 13-12 at Wigan to set up another showdown with Warrington at Old Trafford, when the Rhinos lifted the trophy for a record sixth time with a 26-18 win.

Hunslet Warriors had competed in National Conference League Division One, which had switched to a summer season alongside the professional game.

The Warriors just missed out on promotion despite defeating Egremont 26-22 in their final game as they provided a winning send off to out going coach Paul Jackson.


Morley RU’s fine run continued with emphatic victories over Darlington (80-5) and Durham City (94-7).

Morley CC’s overseas player Kashif Naveed was honoured when he collected two awards at the Bradford League dinner.

Naveed won the Margaret E Mallinson Trophy, for the highest batting average in Division Two, and the Jack Hill Trophy for all-rounder of the year.

Naveed has agreed to return next season, while Morley also announced the signing of David Paynter from Wrenthorpe.

Drighlington RL player Scott Murrell threw his weight behind the charity Heartbeat of Sport, who hope to get defibrillators into all local sports clubs, following the tragic deaths of Morley’s Leon Walker and Adam Watene.

Murrell got involved in the charity along with Anthony Tonks and Adam Robinson having signed for Halifax following a seven-year stint at Hull KR.

Murrell’s home club, Drighlington, crashed out of the Yorkshire Cup, losing 22-16 after extra time to Keighley.


Simon Peach landed the job of Hunslet Warriors new coach after Paul Jackson left to play professionally for Whitehaven.

Peach has been at the Warriors for 17 years as a player and coach of various sides.

Morley RU defeated Middlesbrough 17-15 to set up a Yorkshire Cup quarter-final with Cleckheaton in the new year, while the super Maroons also overcame promotion rivals Wheatley Hills 36-5 to register a sixth straight win.