William Huddleston was born in Earlstown on the 27th February 1873 and died in Warrington on the 21st May 1962 so it can be said the old boy had quite a good innings. His professional career spanned from 1899 to 1914 when cricket was suspended due to the horrors of the First World War.
Bill, as he was better known, took 685 wickets at 17.57 for Lancashire with a best of 9-36 against Notts at Aigburth, Liverpool. The earliest records of Bill's career come to light in 1906 when he was mentioned along with others at the County Club as part of a formidable bowling attack consisting of himself, Walter Brearley, Harry Dean, Willis Cuttell and Alex Kermode. Bill's full first-class statistics were: Matches 185. Batting: Innings 258, Not Outs 32, Runs 2765, Highest 88, Average 12.23. Bowling: Balls 32489, Maidens 1579, Runs 12042, Wickets 685, Average 17.57.
When Bill actually made his debut for Leigh is still not yet known but in 1923 at the age of 50 he was a major player in the Leigh team which won the Manchester and District Cricket Association's Stockton Trophy for the first time. Leigh were unbeaten in that season and Bill's personal performances were outstanding. He scored 343 runs at an average per innings of 38.1 including one century of 114 not out, and took 69 wickets at a cost of 6.8 runs per wicket and if he hadn't missed the last four matches due to injury his figures would have been even more impressive.
Bill finally retired at the end of the 1925 season but not before one last superb performance towards the end of the season where he took 9 wickets for 12 runs against Wigan.
(Article: Copyright © 2003 Pete Taylor http://www.leighcc.org)