A Bentley’s cricket team from about 1914. Apprentice cooper George Wright is looking out from the pavilion.
A Bentley’s cricket team from the 1930s. Second from the left on the back row is church organist and dance band leader Tom Noble. Teddy Walsh is third from the right on the back row. On the left of the front row are John Naylor and Syd Barrett. Tommy Gill is holding the bat. Cooper George Wright is just visible looking on from the pavilion.
Tommy Gill on the brewery cricket pitch. There was also a football pitch, tennis courts and a cycle track on the sports ground. In the backround is one of the pylons for Water Haigh colliery’s ariel ropeway which took spoil to slag heaps between the canal and the river. Tommy was born in 1899, the son of miner Lawrence Gill and Annie Elizabeth Hughes who also came from a local mining family. Tragically she died when Tommy was only about a year old and he grew up with his father staying first with relations at Beecroft Yard, which was known as Hell’s Jet, and then as lodgers on Airedale Terrace. Tommy loved sport all his life and as a boy used to skate on flooded land between the river and the canal. He also went down the pit and in 1926 married Lily Wiles who worked as a brickmaker at Armitage’s. Around the time of the birth of his only daughter, Marie, in 1927 Tommy went to work at the brewery where he stayed until his death in 1965. In 1928 he was one of the opening batsmen for the Bentley’s team. In July he scored 62 in a first wicket partnership with Norman Tait in a home match against a team from John Smith’s brewery in Tadcaster. Tommy was clearly Bentley’s star player and the following season in a match on Saturday 1 June against the London, Liverpool and Globe Insurance Company he was “on sparkling form” and hit ten boundaries scoring 71 not out. “He batted throughout the innings with remarkable confidence. His driving was particularly sweet, and he never gave a chance. The effort was a very creditable one.” The next best player was John Naylor with a score of 17. Along with Holt Tommy was also a good bowler taking 5 for 28 in the same match. The visitors were all out for 67. The best was yet to come though because in a match against a team from Barnsley on Saturday 27 July he scored a century which included 15 fours and one six. “It was a delighful contribution by Tommy Gill, the groundsman, who hit up 105, before retiring unbeaten. Gill followed his batting feat by taking five wickets for 15 runs.” Barnsley were all out for 69 and the B.Y.B. score was 236 for 5.
Bentley’s football team from the 1928 – 1929 season. They were champions of the Division II Alliance League. Tommy Gill is the player on the right of the front row. On his right is Teddy Walsh with John Naylor to his right with his arms folded sitting behind the cup. Charlie Blackburn is second from the left on the front row. Raymond Wilson is fourth from the left in the middle row. On his left is the goalie, Clifford Carter. His brother Ronnie Carter, who went on to run a fish and chip shop on Aberford Road, is next but one on his left. Stan Wright is to his left. In the third round of the Leeds League Cup in March 1929 the team beat Beeston Hill Parish Church 4 – 1. “Holt, Wilson, Walsh and Gill played prominently and with such experienced players Bentley’s need not have any qualms in entering the semi-final of the competition,” declared the match report in the Wakefield Express.