SOME leagues acknowledge their unsung heroes by way of an individual award at their annual dinner and prize presentation.

However, the Bradford Mutual Sunday School League have gone the extra mile, and some, by awarding FIVE unsung hero awards.

Presented at their annual dinner and prize presentation at the Park Suite, Otley Road, Bradford, they were specifically chosen by league chairman, Dr Rizwan Hameed.

The quintet, whose efforts were highlighted under the category of Chairman’s Choice, were: Tariq Hussain (Great Horton Church), Rajinder Kumar Lad (Bradford Friends), Mohammed Junaid Khan (Apperley Bridge), Qazi Tahir (TABS) and Nasir Shabbir (Hallfield).

Hussain has a near-30-year association with the league, having played for Graduates Association, despite numerous offers to play elsewhere.

Lad’s involvement with the league stretches back to the early 2000s, while Hameed, said Khan, would “ask for favours with an innocent face but was a powerful speaker”.

Tahir has been very active via the increasingly important sphere of social media, presenting a positive face for the league, while Shabbir’s role involved working on the league’s accounts and being an ideas man.

Paul Cummins, director of recreational cricket at the Yorkshire Cricket Board, also spoke at the dinner and said that he had never come across someone as passionate about cricket and his league than Dr Hameed.

Rather like a piece of potassium dropped into a glass of water during school chemistry lessons, Hameed fizzes about (inspiring all around him), but unlike the potassium does not run out of energy.

It was therefore fitting that he received the league’s’ top honour, the Leslie B Briggs Trophy, for his services to the league.

The 50th recipient of the trophy, Hameed, a graduate of the University of Leeds, has been associated with the league for more than 30 years, with the last two as league chairman.

It is fair to say that the Mutual League was not in great shape in 2021, but, as much by force of will as anything, Hameed has pulled the league up by its bootstraps and it is now in a much better place.

He said: “We have a culture that we are very proud of that we have developed over the past two years, but the current year has been very challenging as we had two secretaries who were new to the role.

“We played all of our league matches on Saturdays and our cup matches on the Sundays and successfully established a complex new points system on Play Cricket.

“We also trialled the (pink) ZAP ball in the H Broadbent Trophy (second XI cup competition) and introduced digital umpires’ cards and match-day cards.

“We have also increased our following on social media, with a new Facebook page having almost 16,000 hits and were named, by Cricket Yorkshire, as the best league cricket website in Yorkshire.

“We have also recruited more umpires and held umpires’ workshops, also having an annual umpires’ award as well as monthly awards.

“Also, we have introduced coloured clothing for our T20 matches and have received two new applications by clubs to join our league.

“Our Rizues T20 Cup also had prize-money of £1,700 for the winners, which is unmatched.

“Life is about learning and no-one is perfect but I am sure that we have a better understanding and that together we will do it.”

League president Mohammed Amir Majid summed up the feeling of the room when he said: “I can’t think of anyone better to get this award.”