End of an era as Woodman bring curtain down in style

The Woodman Batle Carr football team played their final fixture in the Heavy Woollen Sunday League last week and were made to dig deep as they fought back from 3-0 down to beat Woodkirk Valley 5-3.
The Woodman Batle Carr football team played their final fixture in the Heavy Woollen Sunday League last week and were made to dig deep as they fought back from 3-0 down to beat Woodkirk Valley 5-3.

One of the longest established teams in the Heavy Woollen Sunday League is no more after the Woodman Batley Carr played their final fixture last weekend.

The Woodman were formed in 1988 and at their height ran two teams from the popular Batley Carr pub.

However, a lack of younger players coming through and a group of mates getting old together, has led to them folding.

Woodman have had just three club secretaries in their long history, with Lindsay Wright helping form them almost three decades ago.

Andrew Walker held the post for a couple of seasons before Gary Raine took over the role, which he has held for over 10 years.

The long-serving secretary said: “It was a shame that we couldn’t quite make the 30 year anniversary.

“In recent years you have seen the likes of Thornhill Lees, Littletown and Birkenshaw all fold, which is sad but times have changed.

“When young players finish junior football, they find other things to do.

“Pubs and nightclubs are now open a lot later and the younger generation would rather go out on a Saturday night than play Sunday football.”

Woodman’s only major trophy success came in 2000 when they won the Heavy Woollen Challenge Cup but they have built a reputation of a group of friends socialising together, while enjoying playing at a decent standard on Sundays.

Raine added: “We have always had a good camaraderie at the Woodman and we have always said that if league titles were won on team spirit alone, we would be champions by Christmas.

“We haven’t gone out chasing the best players so we can win trophies, its more about a group of pals playing together and we built a solid foundation around a social side of things.”

Around 60 supporters, including many former players, turned up to watch the Woodman’s final Premier Division game last Sunday as they met Woodkirk Valley at Sands Lane.

Woodkirk raced into a 3-0 lead and Woodman were made to dig deep as Jamie Wasley pulled a goal back before half-time to give them hope.

Andrew Pickles has been injured for most of the season but was introduced at half-time for the final 45 minutes in the club’s history.

Pickles scored with his first touch to make it 3-2 before another long servant Dom Karimi bagged the equaliser.

Pickles established himself as one of the Woodman’s all-time leading goal scorers when he added a second and Karimi also completed a brace as they signed off in style with a 5-3 win.

Raine added: “It was a typical Woodman performance of doing things the hard way.

“A lot of clichés were coming out at half-time but the lads knew this was the last time they would play together and wanted to give everything. It was nice to have signed off with a win.”

The Woodman will stage their final end of season get together on the evening of Saturday June 10 when they invite any former players to join them in a celebration of the club.