THE Bradford & District Evening Cricket League is underway, but tinged with sadness, after the withdrawal of John Breare following a 44-year association with the league.

John Breare were the longest serving club in the league, making three appearances on Finals Day but never progressing to the final itself.

Win or lose, they played within the spirit of the league and always insisted that their players stayed for a drink after a game but with many of the players now of a certain age, the club felt that the time was right to call it a day.

John Breare were originally Westmyer Printers. Steve and Gary Tinsley, with the help of father Roy, a director of the company, set up the team with employees and a few friends just out of junior cricket.

After a few seasons, Steve and Gary bought John Breare, a small printing company. All employees, however talented, were expected to play for the team on Wednesday nights, with no excuses.

Andrew Simpson, one of Breare’s many long standing players commented: “The league had five divisions in our early years with us performing mainly in the bottom division.

“This did not spoil our enjoyment of playing cricket. Once a Breare always a Breare was our motto.

“All players have only fond memories of their time playing with Breare’s. Many overseas players have played for Breare’s, each one of them remembered affectionately.

“Ground-wise, Westmyer first played at Highbury Works in Headingley of all places, which was very difficult to find. After that we played at Tong Park, before Windhill and then Hepworth Idle.

“I played at least one game in all Westmyer/Breare’s seasons. Steve despite his health problems played in every season except one and Gary missed just two seasons.”

Other long-standing players included Jonathan Ross (32+ seasons) and Peter Kempton (32+ seasons).