The teams line up before the fundraising match at Burley Cricket Club

Players and residents rally behind arson-hit cricket club

Olicanian Cricket Club has been supported in its hour of need by players from across the Airedale and Wharfedale League.

Players from several clubs have figured in a fundraising match played at Burley Cricket Club. The event raised £1,600 for Olicanian’s building fund.

An Olicanian select XI took on an Aire-Wharfe League team which featured players from Ilkley, Tong Park, North Leeds, Ben Rhydding, Beckwithshaw, Hall Park Horsforth and Bingley cricket clubs.

Yorkshire first teamer Harry Brook and England U19’s starlet George Hill, who started his cricket career at Olicanians, also played in the game.

The match was the idea of Burley CC’s Richard Brook who said: “We wanted to do something for Olicanians and I think that was a sentiment that was felt right throughout the league. “All the clubs in the league have to put up with a degree of vandalism from time to time but to lose the whole clubhouse and all the history and memorabilia that goes with it is the worst nightmare for all of us.”

OCC Chairman David House said: “The weather was kind to us and that helped bring people out. We’re very grateful to everyone who took part and particularly to Burley CC and Richard Brook, in particular, for doing this for us.”

OCC president Mick Christopher, left, thanks The Station landlord Mark Russell

Meanwhile, the landlord of The Station pub in Ilkley has raised £519 for the cricket club in barely three weeks. Mark Russell placed a collection box on the bar and the cash rolled in:

“It’s been amazing. Regulars and not-so-regulars have been putting loose change into the box when they’ve come in for a drink but we’ve also had people coming in off the streets and stuffing £20 notes in the box and just walking out again. “

Quite a few of our regulars have long-standing connections with the club and there’s been a real wave of support since the fire,” he said.

And elsewhere several year five pupils from Ben Rhydding Primary School raised £180.80 for Olicanian Cricket Club when they staged “The Great Oli’s Bake-off”.

 

Youngsters and parents made the cakes before selling them to pupils and parents at the school.

Parent Sarah Burke said: “Four boys from the club initially came up with the idea but then quickly other children in their class and their parents offered to bake as well. The children loved running the stall and making assorted buns, rocky road and rice krispie cakes.”

Head teacher Glen Hartford said: “We were all shocked by the recent fire at the cricket club but it was rewarding to see our young people having such a sense of community spirit that they wanted to respond so positively to what had happened.”

Arsonists destroyed the club’s pavilion last month. Police have yet to make any arrests in connection with the blaze.

Over £20,000 has been raised for the building fund so far.

Pupils from Ben Rhydding Primary School enjoying The Great Oli’s Bake-off

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