Oakworth Cricket Club - Player Profile

 

Wilfrid John Scarborough (First XI 1957 to 1995)
In every club its possible to point to a stalwart. Its an over-used noun without a doubt. But in the case of Wilfrid John Scarborough there is no more apposite description. The man has lived and breathed Oakworth Cricket Club since at least the age of 6 in 1948, when he first registered as a member. He made his First XI debut in the last match of the season on 14th September 1957 at just under 15 years of age against long-time rivals Haworth Methodists and he scored 1 before being bowled by wily old dog Jack Inman. In fact he didn't pull up many trees in his first 10 appearances racking up only 20 runs for eight dismissals. But he learned well at Oakworth and at School where he also played in the First XI.

It was to be Keighley rivals Long Lee who saw his real arrival in 1960 on the West Bradford League stage. His 45 runs in May couldn't save Oaks from a 4-wicket defeat but his knock stood out in a team total of just 84. Expectations of Wilfrid were very high as Oakworth had been languishing in the basement of the League Second Division and the batting department was in need of a major boost. Wilfrid followed in a long line of 'white hopes' for Oaks batting but he assumed the mantle fully on 18th June 1960. Ironically it came at Riddlesden, not far from his eventual family home, with a stunning 85 not out. Fellow teenager David Greenwood had bowled magnificently to take 7 for 37 in holding the home side to 151. Nevertheless it was a decent total but with 5 wickets down for less than 50, hopes of a victory were fading fast. Wilfrid had been a member of the successful Oakworth Junior Cup winning side in 1959 along with Brian Wilson and Brian was the not out batsman when Wilf entered the fray. Wilson remained resolute to the end with 28 not out whilst Wilf took the Riddlesden bowlers apart to claim an unexpected 5-wicket win. That season was a personal triumph as all the expectations were fulfilled with 270 runs and 8th place in the League averages at only 17 years of age!! For those not privileged to have seen Wilf in full cry it should be realised that perhaps his favourite shot the lofted straight drive for six became a trade mark throughout the league. Oakworth followers saw 7 of them at Ingrow on 18th July 1964 to go with his 11 fours to make up 86 of his first Century, 102, from a team total of 179-7, just 27 short of another remarkable victory. His partner-in-crime that day was 19 years-old newcomer Barry Sayer in only his 5th match. He also made 28 in the first of many successful partnerships for the pair over the next 30 years or so.

Long-time buddy Barry judges Wilf's best knock ever to be in the Keighley Cup semi-final at Morton Banks on 5th July 1970. Oaks best season in the WBL could have produced a League & Cup double but at 40-odd for 5 the Cup element was drifting away. David Greenwood (18) was able to hold up an end whilst Wilf blasted the Bankers bowlers McGowan, Helliwell & Binns. Fifteen sweetly struck fours and five full-bloodied sixes took his contribution to 118 not out (over 70% of the total) with his final six as the home sides 163 total was overhauled inside 42 overs of truly "ding-dong" cricket. Oakworth reached their second Cup Final thanks to Wilf's single-handed demolition of their opponents. Wilf added another 53 in the Final but sadly Oxenhope took the Cup.

Wilfrid had a persistent liking for run-scoring against Long Lee and his next and first Century at Wide Lane was 108 with 10 fours and 8 thrilling sixes in 1972. In his prime at the age of 32, two years on he broke Cyril Pegg's record number of runs for Oakworth in a season with 469 from 19 innings. 1977 was the Queens' jubilee year and Wilfrid celebrated in style with his best ever season at the age of 35. With scores of 28, 58 and 49 Wilfrid did his bit in taking Oaks to their third tilt at the Charity Cup, this time against Ingrow. In a rain affected game he made just 11 runs but this time he did have a winners medal to soften the blow. 

A fortnight on poor Long Lee again caught the cold. Cyril Pegg's 21 year-old record high score of 129 was surpassed with typical aggression. On the way to a titanic 156 he helped himself to another new record of 12 sixes in the innings as well as 16 fours. To round the season off he racked up another Century (103) off Ingrow, who no doubt had had their fill of Wilf for 1977. His year was complete with 704 runs and an all-time West Bradford League record including 38 signature sixes. His average of 44.00 brought him and the club the League Batting Prize, an honour not seen since 1948 and Arthur Lockwood.

After the Cure Hill club entered the Craven & District League, Wilfrid continued to accumulate runs wherever he played and once again it was Long Lee's patrons on 25th August 1979 who witnessed his first Century (102) in the new environment. By May 1982 and approaching 40 years of age, Wilfrid took a fancy to the Church Institute bowlers from Skipton in the Wynn Cup 1st Round and he flayed them around the Sandylands ground Only 20 runs didn't come in boundaries from the 164 run tally. Sixteen sixes and 12 fours helped him smash his own club record high. and share a fourth wicket partnership with John Mason of 121, of which John made 29.

The 1983 Century at Upper Wharfedale was Wilfrid's 8th and his batsmanship continued to blossom with a Craven & District League Batting Prize in 1984. That season's average of 76.4 remains a club high as does his score made on 18th August. That match against Champions Cononley came one day before Oakworth's eagerly awaited fifth Charity Cup Final. What a week-end it turned out to be! Cononley top bowler Chris Isherwood finally had Wilfrid's timbers rattled but the scoreboard showed 168 runs to our man's name. The remarkable innings came after Cononley had posted an unprecedented 286-0 with Centuries for John Toothill (166) and Roger Nelson (106). Wilf and Dave Parker (49) shared a 103-run stand in the chase and Wilf's 16 fours and 13 sixes amazingly helped Oaks overturn the massive  score.The week-end was complete as Oakworth lifted the Charity Cup for the 2nd time after eclipsing Oxenhope by 24 runs. One week later again Wilf combined with Barry Sayer to add 119 against the luckless Pendle Forest attack.

 

The swan-song of a great batting career came on 21st July 1990, aged almost 48. Batting at number eight, with eyesight beginning to lose its keen-ness of edge he showed the Cowling club how a good old 'un can do it in a club record 77-run 7th wicket stand with Jack Anderson Wilf claimed victory with a 62 not out score. Four matches later he made his 600th appearances for his one and only club but didn't bat against opponents Airedale. At the end of 1991 season he hung up his boots after 629 appearances but came out of retirement to make two more in 1992 and 1995.

Wilfrid's records are myriad although his son Michael has set yet higher standards than his illustrious father. Wilf's last completed innings was typically in a Cup Final, the 1991 Wynn Cup Final which was lost to Embsay. The Oakworth club batting Prize went to Wilf 16 times, He scored 9 Centuries, a further 42 fifties and almost 10,000 league runs (average 23.91); all at their time club records. He also gained the 1968 wicket-keepers Prize just for good measure and in 566 innings was never himself stumped! To cap it all he took a single five-for, 5-20, with his leg-breaks against Riddlesden on 17th May 1974 and five stumpings and 226 catches came his way over the years.

If that wasn't all. Wilf became Chairman of the General Committee in 1984, a life-member in 1997 and in 2002 he assumed the duties of Oakworth groundsman. When does it end?

His truly magnificent record against 32 opposing clubs is shown on the right:

OPPONENTS first last appeared innings no runs 4s 6s hiscore average
Pendle Forest 1980 1991 13 12 5 338 41 16 84 48.29
Barrowford 1979 1991 12 8 3 213 27 8 64 42.60
Long Lee 1960 1991 39 34 5 1081 97 64 156 37.28
Ingrow 1958 1978 17 17 5 436 49 21 103 36.33
Cononley 1980 1991 14 13 2 367 44 18 168 33.36
Haworth West End 1962 1981 25 22 3 585 34 18 65 30.79
Prince Smith & Stells 1965 1970 4 4 0 118 8 10 46 29.50
Oxenhope 1963 1975 11 11 1 286 22 5 87 28.60
Upper Wharfedale 1980 1995 17 15 3 330 37 18 104 27.50
Haworth Methodists 1957 1988 34 33 3 819 38 25 75 27.30
Gargrave 1978 1991 10 7 0 177 22 4 43 25.29
Ingrow St Johns 1959 1978 20 19 3 391 23 17 55 24.44
Cross Roads 1960 1977 19 18 4 338 19 19 76 24.14
Morton 1960 1978 21 20 3 378 19 12 86 22.24
Cullingworth 1960 1972 15 15 3 265 14 16 64 22.08
Riddlesden 1960 1987 31 30 3 584 31 15 85 21.63
Denholme 1961 1972 12 11 0 230 20 14 85 20.91
Cowling 1980 1991 15 15 1 288 25 18 62 20.57
Embsay 1982 1991 16 16 3 267 26 13 74 20.54
Harden 1959 1978 22 21 3 367 24 11 71 20.39
Thornton-in-Craven 1980 1991 18 17 0 334 39 15 81 19.65
Foulridge 1981 1989 15 14 4 189 25 5 68 18.90
Eldwick & Gilstead 1959 1978 27 23 1 402 28 19 82 18.27
Knowle Park 1963 1973 10 9 1 143 15 3 36 17.88
Skipton CI 1979 1991 8 7 2 78 12 1 27 15.60
Sutton 1980 1990 5 5 1 57 7 2 20 14.25
Bradley 1980 1991 10 6 2 56 8 1 20 14.00
Morton Banks 1959 1978 22 22 4 233 19 5 34 12.94
W Slingsby's 1966 1975 12 9 0 107 3 4 30 11.89
Crossflatts 1963 1968 5 5 0 54 2 1 30 10.80
Glusburn 1980 1983 6 6 1 45 6 2 20 9.00
Airedale 1980 1990 8 7 1 52 7 2 26 8.67