A NEW cup competition will be contested in the Mewies Solicitors Craven League this season.

The John Clayton Cup, named after the Haworth Road Meths stalwart, will be a 40-overs-a-side event for second and third XIs.

When the league opted to play the group stages of their cup competitions on a Saturday for 2023, it again opened up the path for 40-over matches, which was what the Cowling Cup used to be before it reverted to a T20 event.

A straw poll at the league’s annual meeting in December revealed that half of the eligible teams wanted to stay with the T20 format but that the other half preferred to go back to a 40-over format.

League secretary Peter Foster explained at the league’s pre-season meeting at Cross Hills Social Club: “We were going to disappoint one half of the league and please the other half.

“I am no politician but that is not a good situation to be in so we had a word with our chairman Martin Burgess (Haworth Road Meths) and that is how the John Clayton Cup came about.”

Clayton, who died aged 76 in 2016, began his involvement with Haworth Road Meths in the 1950s as a wicketkeeper-batter, but became known as ‘Mr Haworth Road’ for the amount of groundwork that he did over the next five decades.

Meths’ league representative Les Gudgeon said: “He could be seen every Tuesday night or Sunday morning mowing the perimeter of the cricket field, and it was only after his passing that the true amount of his work was realised.”

Latterly, Clayton was club chairman at the Baildon Bottom club, and he played in the Bradford Mutual Sunday School League, the Bradford Central League and the Craven League, becoming a scorer after his retirement as a player.

Gudgeon added: “The John Clayton Cup is a fitting way to acknowledge his endeavours and to recognise what an excellent ambassador he was for Haworth Road Meths and the Craven League.”

In addition to the John Clayton Cup, which has attracted 10 entries, there is also the Wynn Cup (20 teams), Cowling Cup (11) and Manorlands Plate (13).

The finals will be at Haworth Road Meths (John Clayton Cup, Sunday July 30); Airedale (Wynn Cup, Sunday, August 6), Ingrow (Cowling Cup finals day, Sunday, August 20) and Keighley (Manorlands Plate finals day, Sunday, August 27).