West Yorkshire market town of Pontefract
Pontefract Letters Page


ADDED 17 MAY 2007

Thank you for publishing my photograph of Pontefract Kings School in the Pontefract Digest and for forwarding the letter sent in by an old friend of mine, Eric Evans.

In his letter Eric explains that a friend sent him a copy of the Digest so he wrote to me. It was a surprise to hear from him after 60 years and we arranged a meeting in Selby which was a great success. We intend to keep up our renewed friendship in the future thanks to the Digest.

On a different subject I am enclosing a photograph of Dunhill’s Cricket Team taken about 1937-38. The boy shielding his face from the sun is myself, aged about 7 or 8. Behind me, in the Tanshelf Wellclose cap, is my father John Hardcastle, whose haulage firm transported Dunhill’s products all over the country. I only know the name of one player, Alf Milner, he is third from the left on the back row. Perhaps the photograph will jog the memory of their grandchildren or great-grandchildren!

Dunhills Cricket Team Pontefract

Alf Milner served in the army during World War Two and when he returned he was in charge of the mushroom department at Dunhill's. Dunhill’s sports field was situated on the road to East Hardwick and boasted a cricket pitch, hard tennis courts and a golf course, all for the use of the employees. Unfortunately wartime regulations meant it was all ploughed up for the war effort and is now a large housing estate.

My father went on to play for Pontefract after the war, on the same ground in Tanshelf where he used to play for Tanshelf Wellclose. I am not sure what has happened to the ground which was owned by Prince of Wales Colliery, but I understand that Pontefract Cricket Club folded a couple of years ago. What a shame. A lot of effort was put into keeping the club going and I myself spent many happy hours there, scoring and sometimes playing. Many good local cricketer’s played there, including my father John Hardcastle, Albert Blackburn, Headmaster and opening bat Jim Pell, former Mayor of Pontefract, wicket keeper and headmaster, Jim Rhodes, a fast bowler Geoffrey Ashworth, bowler Phil Richard, batsman and later umpire, Albert Hirst, bowler, and later on Granville Gardiner, Barry Croft and Brian Hall. The team even played against Fred Trueman one year when he was in the R.A.F. - they lost! What a pity that the town has lost this tradition of a team of its own. By the way, what happened to the old score books? I hope someone is keeping them safe. I for one would like to see them.

Jim Hardcastle

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