Settle Cricket Club Sign Sri-Lankan All Rounder

Ashen Silva Signs For Settle Cricket Club

Settle Cricket Club have confirmed they have signed Sri Lankan all-rounder Ashen Silva as the clubs professional for the forthcoming 2019 Ribblesdale league season.  Silva has spent the past three seasons with Great Harwood in the Lancashire Cricket League scoring more than 3,000 runs in his time with the club as well as taking 125 wickets.

Ashen Silva

Settle Cricket Club finished in third place last season in the Ribbesdale Cricket League and lost the Ramsbottom Cup Final to Padiham Cricket Club. The move will also see him split coaching roles between his new club and the town’s Giggleswick School.

Speaking about the signing Settle Chairman Andrew Davidson said, “There were games last season where we buckled and lacked that class, know-how and mental fortitude to see out the games, I think that his experience will assist us to do that next season.

He will also give a presence in the dressing room and around the club and we want Ashen to show the rest of the team what it means to be and what should be expected of the club professional. His work with our younger players will be vital to help them move from the junior ranks to senior teams, their careers in league cricket will be better for his input.”

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Davidson also believes the link-up with the school will be beneficial to both parties and revealed that Silva’s reputation as a coach was a major factor in the decision to bring him to the club. Davison added, “We have let the coaching side slip at senior level in recent seasons, mainly due to not having a proper cricket professional.

Ashen’s remit is to gel the team on the field by performing and giving advice and wisdom and to inject passion and enthusiasm into the coaching aspect of the club’s activities. We have always tried to find a pro who not only performs on the park but adds value off it by leading on the coaching front.

We heard that he had become available, so after extensive talks with Giggleswick School about sharing the professional, the opportunity to combine his duties as club and input with a supporting coaching role at the school, we put together package which is quite rare as an offer to league club professionals and he accepted the offer.”

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Former Bantam Stephen Darby Retires

Stephen Darby Diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease

Bolton Wanderers defender Stephen Darby has sadly been forced to retire from football after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.  The full back, who has been at the University of Bolton Stadium since the summer of 2017 received the diagnosis from a specialist recently.

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Darby reunited with manager Phil Parkinson after signing a contract with Wanderers following his departure from Bradford City where he made 236 appearances during his five seasons in West Yorkshire.

Coming through the youth ranks of his hometown club Liverpool, the right-back made his first competitive appearance for the Reds as a substitute in a Champions League fixture against PSV Eindhoven.

The following year he made his first competitive start again in the Champions League, against Fiorentina.  Following loan spells at Swindon Town, Notts County and Rochdale, Darby made the move to Valley Parade where he spent two seasons as club captain.

Stephen Darby

Stephen Darby today said, “It’s with sadness that I announce my immediate retirement from professional football due to a recent diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease. I would like to take the opportunity to thank my teammates, Phil Parkinson and all the staff at Bolton Wanderers Football Club for their amazing support thought what has been an extremely difficult period for myself and my family.”

Bolton Wanders manager Phil Parkinson said, “This is heart breaking news for Stephen and his family and the thoughts of everybody at Bolton Wanderers Football Club are very much with him and Steph.

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He is an outstanding professional and a fantastic person, he was simply magnificent during his time at Bradford City and was a key figure in the resurgence of Bradford City as a football club.  He typified everything the city and the football club represented and led by example on and off the pitch.

The Bolton Wanderers fans didn’t see the best of him due to limited first team opportunities, but I can assure everyone that he made a significant contribution in last year’s survival.  He constantly set high standards in training every day and encouraged and drove his fellow teammates on. All the staff & players at Bolton Wanderers Football Club think the world of him and are determined to give him every possible support.”

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Peter Leebrook Completes Hardmoor Sixty Race

Former Clarets Full-Back Completes East Coast Race

As the Clarets battled to stay in the football league some thirty-one years ago, manager Brian Miller turned to youth players such as Phil Devaney, Jason Hardy, Ashley Hoskin and Peter Leebrook for the club’s biggest ever challenge, saving the club from relegation into non-league football.

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Over the weekend, one of those youth players Peter Leebrook returned home to the UK from the USA where he is a football coach to test himself again. The former Clarets full back who turns fifty this week completed in the epic Hardmoor Sixty Race, which is a sixty-two mile run along the east coast from Guisborough to Filey.

The route follows the second half of the Hardmoors 110, along the beautiful Cleveland Coast through Leebrook’s home town of Saltburn By the Sea, then on to Runswick Bay, Staithes, Whitby, Robin Hoods Bay, Ravenscar and Scarborough before finishing at the seaside resort of Filey.

Speaking to the former Clarets defender this morning he said, “I have completed a few marathons and a 50k run in the US, but for my fiftieth I wanted to do something that I could remember and that would be a challenge.  I therefore took the decision to run the Hardmoor 60 (100k race) which was made more special as the course goes through my home town of Saltburn By The Sea.

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I was a little apprehensive at the start line due to the fact that I had not run more than twenty miles whilst in training due to injuries. I bumped into a young Clarets supporter from Colne at the start and I was having a chat to him about the club and how well they are doing at the moment in Premier League and Europe.  I mentioned the Orient game but he didn’t remember the match, saying that his dad had told him about it.

The race itself was really challenging with some difficult coastal paths and some massive hills and if that wasn’t enough the race has a cut off time of eighteen hours.  There were two places in the race that really tested me, the first was Robins Hood Bay to Ravenscar and the second was at 51 miles, there was supposed to be a checkpoint in Scarborough but the checkpoint never came until 55 miles and those four miles were the toughest.

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As in life when expectations change and you are under stress you just want to quit and that is what it was like from Scarborough to Filey, it was the last leg of the race and even though I was hurting badly I enjoyed it immensely.  I went on to finish the race at 1.45am finishing in 153rd position in a time of seventeen hours and twenty-nine minutes.

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You have many things going on in your head and my time at Burnley and especially the Burnley v Orient game comes back to you.  Also what inspires you and keep s you going are people who are no longer with us, like my good friend Ian Britton or people who are with us but have been dealt a bad hand with disabilities or illness.

Walking over the cliff tops on your own in the pitch black when you are exhausted in a way is very exhilarating, your senses really come alive. I thank every day how lucky I am to still have everything working and will keep enjoying every challenge life throws at me.”

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Guiseley AFC v FC United of Manchester

Guiseley AFC 3 v 0 FC United Manchester (Vanarama National North)

Guiseley welcomed bottom of the league FC United of Manchester to Nethermoor Park as they looked to continue their seven game unbeaten run in the Vanarama National League North.  Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neil made a couple of forced changes to the team with Will Hatfield replacing Scott Garner and Tabish Hussain added to the bench.

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It was the home side that had the first effort at goal on just five minutes, when a Lewis Walters cross into the area was met by Rowan Liburd but his stooping header went just over Dave Carnell’s crossbar.  On twenty minutes, the home side went close to taking the lead following a free-kick from the left-wing which Niall Heaton came close to making contact with on the six yard line, but the ball went straight out for a goal kick.

Guiseley opened the scoring on twenty-eight minutes with a corner that was straight off the training ground, as the ball was played to Kingsley James just inside the area, Will Hatfield got a slight touch and divert the midfielders shot past Dave Carnell in the visitors goal to make the score 1-0 to the home side.

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I then became the Will Hatfield show as the midfielder had two chances in two minutes, the first was a difficult overhead kick which was easily saved by Dave Carnell in the FC United goal following an excellent cross into the visitors area.

The second chance should have extended the home sides lead as Hatfield broke into the right hand side of the visitors area. Hatfield could have squared the ball to Liburd who was unmarked on the six yard box, but he chose to shoot and his shot went across the box and wide of the far post for a goal kick making the half-time score 1-0 to Guiseley.

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The home side extended their lead just two minutes into the second-half, as Rowan Liburd capitalised on some poor defending at the edge of the area before rounding the on rushing keeper and slotting the ball home from a very tight angle to make it 2-0.

On fifty-three minutes, Alex Ray-Harvey stung the palms of Dave Carnell in the visitors goal before Rowan Liburd hit the rebound just wide of the post.  Just seven minutes later Rowan should have added Guiseley’s third but he glanced his header just wide of the post.

Rowan Liburd added his second and the clubs third on sixty-three minutes, following a corner which was cleared to Will Thornton he in turn fed James who picked out Liburd at the far post for his second of the afternoon.

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The visitors came close to pulling a goal back on sixty-eight minutes, as Joel Logan flashed a dangerous ball across the face of Green’s goal, before going out of play.

Rowan Liburd was now in search of his hat-trick and he had two excellent chances within two minutes, his first effort on seventy-four minutes was a shot straight at Cardnell and his second effort a minute later went just wide from a tight angle.

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On eighty-five minutes, the visitors had the final effort of the half when Joe Green dropped an effort from Joel Logan, however the keeper recovered well to collect at the feet of Logan to stop him putting the ball into an empty goal, to make the final score 3-0 to Guiseley.

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Speaking after the match joint manager Marcus Bignot said, we know despite their league position FC United would be a difficult side after going three games without defeat, I think we got our balance right today both with and without the ball.  We are now eight games unbeaten after an impressive performance we now have back to back wins.

The defence was excellent today, its good to see Will Thornton, Scott Smith and Tabish Hussain have all come through the system from the academy which is great for the club. Next week we have a break from the league as we enter the FA Cup and like all of the non league sides we are looking to get through to the third round this year and get one of the Premier League big boys back at Nethermoor Park.

Match Details

Guiseley AFC – Green, Moyo, Heaton, Purver, Thornton, Halls, Walters, James, Liburd, Hatfield, Ray-Harvey (Subs) Kennedy, Hussain, Smith, Clayton, Dyche

FC United Manchester – Carnell, Senior, Thompson, Baird, Priestley, O’Halloran, Jones, Winter, Willoughby, Donohue, Litchfield (Subs) Tattum, Egan, Banister, Dickinson, Logan

Goals (Guiseley) Hatfield (28), Liburd (47, 62)

Attendance – 907

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Women’s Snooker Returns to Leeds

Leeds Welcomes the LITEtask UK Women’s Snooker Championship

Leeds will this weekend welcome female snooker players from around the world as it hosts the LITEtask UK Women’s Snooker Championship at the Northern Snooker Centre on Kirkstall Lane.  The tournament will include some of the sports biggest names such as the current world number one Ng On-yee, as well as Reanne Evans, Maria Catalano and Keighley born Rebecca Kenna who is ranked world number four.

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As part of the event the World Ladies Billiards & Snooker governing body in partnership with Leeds Kirkgate Market will host a Women’s Snooker Day on Friday 14th September 2018, the idea behind the event is to increase the profile of women’s game, but give the women and girls of West Yorkshire the opportunity to learn how to play snooker with some of the finest female snooker players in the world.

Speaking about this weekend local snooker player Rebecca Kenna said, “This the first time the UK Snooker Championship has been the first tournament in the season, it will be a hard event but it is my local event as I am based close to Leeds so I will be looking forward to giving it my best shot.  I’ve put in a lot of practice in over the pre-season so I hope to see some improvement on my performances this season.

Now is a good time to be involved in the women’s game, as we are starting to see the game grow in terms of the number of players coming into the sport.  The introduction of more events such as Cue Zone means that women and girls can see us pick up a cue and play the game, hopefully this will mean more girls will get involved.  I am pleased to see that we have another Cue Zone this week at Leeds Kirkgate Market that will give us more exposure which is great for the players and the sport.

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As well as being the ranked the current world number four on the tour, I have a business in Keighley called Cue Sports Yorkshire which as well as selling snooker equipment such as snooker cues, cue cases and chalk, I also conduct coaching lessons on site. I completed my level one coaching around eighteen months ago and I have just completed the level two coaching qualification, which has seen an increase in customers to the business with people of all ages booking lessons.”

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Clarets Legend Duff Takes Managers Post

Cheltenham Town Appoint Michael Duff As Manager

Cheltenham Town Football Club have this afternoon officially announced the full time appointment of Michael Duff is their new manager. The former Northern Ireland defender will start work with the Robins tomorrow having ended a fourteen year as both a player and a coach with Burnley Football Club.

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Before joining the Clarets, Michael was a member of the Cheltenham Town team that progressed from the Southern League to Football League Division One in 5 remarkable years under the management of Steve Cotterill.

Since his retirement from playing in 2016 Michael has been employed at Burnley as the academy manager, most recently taking charge of the Burnley U23 team at Turf Moor. A UEFA Pro Licence coach, he has played and worked under some outstanding managers including Steve Cotterill, Owen Coyle, Eddie Howe and of course Sean Dyche.

The facts and stats regarding Michael Duff’s playing career are remarkable, he was playing for Carterton in the Hellenic League when their manager Derek Bragg recommended him to Cheltenham Town youth development officer Mike Davis in 1996. After only six appearances for the reserve team he made his first team debut in the Southern League against Dorchester Town in September that year.

Following a spell on loan at Cirencester Town in the Southern League Midland Division, Michael’s career took off following the appointment of Cotterill as manager and he was a member of the team that won the FA Trophy at Wembley before going on to score the goal that won promotion to the Football League in 1999.

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In 2002 Michael became the first ever Cheltenham Town player to win an international cap while playing for the club when he made his debut for Northern Ireland in a friendly against Poland and two years later, after 372 first team appearances for the Robins, he was transferred to Championship club Burnley where his career continued upwards.

It total he made 384 first team appearances for The Clarets and won three promotions to the Premier League, the last in 2016 at the age of 38, before retiring to concentrate on a second career in coaching and management. He won 24 Northern Ireland caps including a substitute appearance in the 1-0 win over England at Windsor Park in 2005 and he is one of the few players to have made league appearances at each of the top eight divisions of the English football pyramid.

Speaking about becoming Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff said, “I can’t wait to get started back at Cheltenham Town, it’s a big step for me to leave a job I was settled in and working with a great manager at a Premier League club, but I feel the time’s right.

It is a fantastic opportunity and I would like to thank the Board for the faith that they have shown in me. I know that they have worked very hard to get the deal done and I am very grateful for the opportunity.

I only played professionally for two clubs so obviously Cheltenham Town is a club that I know well and one that is very close to my heart.  It is also an opportunity to move my family back home and I’m looking forward to meeting the staff and players on Tuesday.”

Michael faces a busy first day at work with meetings, media commitments, first team training and two matches at the training ground as the U23’s take on Plymouth Argyle in the Central League while the U18’s play Bristol Rovers in the Youth Alliance Cup. We will bring you further updates from Michael’s first media conference tomorrow.

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North Ribblesdale v West Park Leeds

North Ribblesdale 20 v 14 West Park Leeds (Yorkshire League Two)

Following a summer of changes which has seen the club welcome a new President in Andrew Mills, whilst Ian Close has become the clubs new first team captain and Carl Patterson has taken over the role of first team player coach.

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Carl Patterson’s first game in charge last weekend at Old Grivons finished in victory as North Ribblesdale welcomed West Park Leeds to Grove Park this weekend for their first home game of the season, which also saw the clubs longest-serving player John Thwaite start his thirty-sixth consecutive season.

North Ribblesdale started the stronger of the two sides in what turned out to be a game of two halves, the home side played some excellent rugby in the first-half as they pinned the visitors deep inside their own twenty-two.  It wasn’t long before the home side got on the scoreboard as John Padley finished off an excellent move to score and give the home side a 5-0 lead following a missed conversion.

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North Ribblesdale continued to press and extended their lead midway through the half, as the ball was collected by Ryan Sumner at the back of a line out and he quickly turned and went over the line to make the score 10-0, Michael Thwaite added the conversion to make the score 12-0 to North Ribblesdale.

The visitors got more into the game in the final ten minutes in terms of possession of the ball, however it was the home side that added to the scoreline with a Michael Thwaite penalty, to add a further three points to make the half-time score 15-0.

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West Park Leeds management team must have read the riot act at half-time because the visitors came out for the second-half like a new side, they put pressure on the home side straight from the kick-off which lead to Jack Brown going over for a try in the fist five minutes.  before Callum Smithson added the conversion to make the score 15-7.

Once the visitors had pulled a try back, North Ribblesdale did show their passion to win the game as they held off a Leeds attack just five yards from their line for about five or six minutes.  However as the half progressed it was the visitors who continued to play some excellent rugby, forcing the home side into errors, but they failed to take advantage of the possession until later in the game.

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The home side managed to score a third try midway through the second-half to extend their lead to 20-7, but again the conversion was missed which give the visitors more encouragement as they continued to put the pressure on the home side.

As the game entered the final stages, Oscar Hall managed to get free before attracting three Ribblesdale players over for the tackle, Hall then feed the ball to Callum Smithson who beat the final man to score before putting over the conversion to make it 20-14. This lead to a nerves final few minutes but the home side held on to win.

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The victory leaves North Ribblesdale second in the Yorkshire Division Two league table with a trip to Wetherby Rugby Union Club next Saturday as Carl Patterson squad look to continue their winning start to season.

Match Details 

North Ribblesdale – Patterson, Frick, Moore, Kaup-Samuels, M.Thwaite, Cook, M.Close, I.Close, Lynn, Booth, A.Thwaite, Padley, Fromm, Sumner, J.Thwaite, Middleton, Howarth

West Park Leeds – Cromack, Brown, Knowles, Hall, Harrison, Smithson, Obbotson, Michael, Rowe, Rodgers, Booth, Pearson, Gamble, Dickinson, Lee, Baker, Forester, Thompson

Tries(Ribblesdale) Padley, Sumner, Fromm (West Park Leeds) Brown, Smithson
Penalty(Ribblesdale) M.Thwaite
Conversion(Ribblesdale) M.Thwaite (West Park Leeds) Smithson (2)

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