Whitley Hall CC People


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The creation of this splendid new pavilion at Baxter Field in 2009 was a great source of pride to John Cave –and to his late father, Stan.

JOHN CAVE

A WHITLEY HALL CC LEGEND

By Steve Fletcher

John Cave...has served Whitley Hall CC in many roles, and is a great leader.

John Cave…has served Whitley Hall CC in many roles, and is a great leader.

 

JOHN CAVE has been a member of Whitley Hall CC for 40 years.

He joined the club in 1974, making his debut for the Under-18s one Tuesday evening at Stannington. Whitley scored over 200 for 0 wickets that night, so John didn’t have the opportunity to bat. With Stannington’s reply at 20 for six wickets, we decided to let the new lad have a bowl. We set a field of six slips and three gullies. His first ball was pushed back past him by the batsman, and after a sdhort pause John realised he was the only person within 30 yards, so he trudged off after the ball, allowing the batsman to run a steady three.

Five balls later our opponents were 23 all out. ‘Cavie’ had arrived!

That Saturday he was picked to play for our 2nd XI at Ecclesfield, and scored a hard-hitting 60. The following week, he was put straight into the first team at Thorpe Hesley. He went on to play for Whitley for more than 30 years…and he became a true club legend.

John was a right-arm, fast medium swing bowler, and a very hard-hitting batsman. He was particularly good at bowling late in-swinging Yorkers to left-handers, and hitting all manner of spin bowling a very long way.

Bowling to him in the nets was a nightmare. On releasing the ball, the bowler had to dive to one side to avoid the ball coming straight back at him at over 100 miles an hour!

Apart from his straight drive, John also had two other shots –a cut shot, with both feet in the air, which could end up anywhere from third man to deep extra cover; and a one-handed swat for four off his legs. One visiting captain was once heard to mutter: “How do you set a field to a farmer’s boy?”

As a captain John thought tactics were a small white minty sweet, but when you were a totally natural cricketer why complicate matters? Under John’s leadership, Whitley won our last two Sheffield League championships, followed by immediate promotions through to the top division of the Yorkshire Council. Numerous Sime League, Thorne Cup and Barnes Hall Cup trophies were also won as Whitley began to be recognised as one of South Yorkshire’s leading clubs.

A typical example of John’s capabilities came in the final over of the 1989 Whitworth Cup final against Elsecar at Treeton. Elsecar needed four runs to win with five wickets in hand. John had earlier bowler poorly by his standards, and so he looked around the field for a volunteer to bowl this last over.

Needless to say, nobody fancied it, so John (after a few expletives) took the ball and bowled the over himself…taking two wickets for only two runs to seal a memorable Whitley victory.

John has retired from playing cricket, and is now our club chairman. For all his prowess on the field, I know that his proudest achievement has been the planning and construction of our new clubhouse, which was completed in 2009. Without John’s tireless efforts, there is no way that we could have undertaken the project, and future generations of Whitley Wizards will be forever in his debt.

Our recent League, Council Championship and Black Sheep Trophy triumphs have all been made possible thanks to the example set by John both as a player and chairman of our cricket club.

I have never heard anyone have a bad word for ‘Cavie’ (except the odd batsman and bowler), and I personally would like to thank him for all that he has achieved for our club. Long may it continue.

*This article appears in the 2014 edition of the South Yorkshire League Handbook, and we thank the League for permission to reproduce it here.

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