From Craig Lingard.
We are continuing to research the number of players to have represented Batley since its inception in 1880 and are collating two separate lists. One of players to have represented the club from 1880 until the 1895 split and one list from 1895 up to the present day.
We have currently researched players up until the end of 2011 and have over 1700 players to have represented the club from 1895. When compared to other clubs that have been around since the split we have a far greater number of players than any other club and we believe that there is no other club in RL that has had as many players to have played for them as Batley. As an example, Wakefield Trinity, up to the end of 2016, had less than 1400 players on their heritage list and Leeds have just over 1400. The sheer volume of players and lack of official club records has made it extremely difficult to formulate the list and a number of sources have been consulted to get as accurate a list as possible which has been immensely time consuming.
The records and registers at Heritage Quay, electoral registers, newspaper archives, records from Laurie Grailey, Matthew Price and Brian Cartwright, memories of supporters and ex-players have all been consulted to get us where we are today. One of the big problems that we have had is the number of AN Other players. These come in many forms from AN Other, SO Else, Jackson, Smith, Newman as well as many other popular surnames. Also first names or even initials have been difficult to come by as newspaper articles until recently only used to report the players surname.
There has even been confusion on who should be the number 1 player in our heritage number because there are conflicting reports on which team played in the first game against Hull on the 7th of September 1895. In some newspapers Tom Elliker would, alphabetically, be the number 1 in our heritage list however other newspaper reports suggests that Fred Bennett played in the first match so this would make him number 1. This is just one of a number of issues that have arisen during the research. Another big issue and one that has increased the number of players to have played for Batley is around the Second World War. Teams would include and call upon guest players to be able to fulfil fixtures during this period. Our records would suggest that there are “officially” over 200 players that were guest players during this period but there are a significant number of other players who also only played one game for the club that we can’t confirm or deny whether they were guest players or not.
We are very close to being able to start issuing heritage number to ex-players or their family member and we appreciate that although we have been as detailed as we possibly can be there may be players that we have missed due to the lack of information at hand. Measures have been put in place to include these players should the come to light after the official list has been published.
Once the list has been compiled we will move on to other areas of the heritage project such as a hall of fame. We will also start to put up pictures and displays in and around the ground to celebrate the heritage of the club.
Our next event is due to take place on the 10th of August where we will celebrate the 20 year anniversary of Batley winning the Trans Pennine Cup against Oldham. Tickets for the event at Howley Hall Gold Club are priced at £25 and include a 3 course meal. Coach David Ward and a number of players form the cup winning team have already confirmed their attendance and interviews will take place with them during the evening.