The Towergate Halifax Cricket League
History of the Halifax League 1914-Present Day
The Halifax Parish League was formed out of dissatisfaction with the Halifax and District Cricket League. This league had been divided into two divisions in 1908, but in 1912 had reverted to a one-division format with 19 teams who played 16 matches each, followed by a top-four play-off. For 1913 an attempt was made to attract some better-class clubs to allow for two sufficiently large divisions. No such clubs were found, but the decision was made that for 1914 there would nevertheless be two divisions, with the top ten in 1913 forming Division One.
Some clubs feared that with an unequal fixture list they might miss out on the top division, and coupled with unease about the standard of pitches on which some clubs played, began to talk of a breakaway. The initiative was taken by Siddal, who in August 1913 called a meeting with Sowerby Bridge, Stainland, Greetland, Illingworth, Norwood Green, Triangle, Clifton Britannia, Lightcliffe and Ovenden. Of those ten clubs, Clifton, Triangle, Stainland and Ovenden would have been in Division Two in 1914, with Pellon, Elland Edge, Mytholmroyd and Warley in Division One.
The breakaway duly took place, though by 1914 Ovenden had become defunct and their place was accepted by Elland Edge. A change from the District League was that no professionals would be allowed, only Siddal, Triangle and Greetland having recently used them anyway. There was also a Parish League rule that all playing members must reside within a radius of five miles of the ground, or have played four successive seasons with that club, unless they gained the special sanction of the league committee.
Until the Second World War the league stuck to around 10 clubs, but expanded to 16 in 1952 and to 20 two years later when a second division was introduced. Recently there has been further growth.
Over the years, 52 teams have featured, including the 27 current member clubs, Barkisland (now in the Huddersfield League), Northowram (now Northowram Fields in the Central Yorkshire League), Illingworth St Mary's (now Airedale and Wharfedale League), Lightcliffe (now Bradford League), and Elland "A". The other 20 clubs are now defunct.
(Editors note: - since 2006, the number of member clubs has now increased to 31)