League Ambassadors & Life Members
In its' inaugural season, the League appointed two Ambassadors, whose main role is to represent the League at matches and functions, and seven life members. Sadly, one of those seven Life Members, Alan Phelan, passed away in 2022.
Terry Bentham has been a leading figure in South Yorkshire cricket since 1975. That was the year he started umpiring in the Doncaster League, moving into the South Riding League a year later. As an umpire, he was appointed to the Minor Counties List, the ECB 38 County Competition Panel, and umpired several games in the latter stages of national competitions. After umpiring over 1,200 games, he is now an umpires’ observer and mentor to new and young umpires. He has worked tirelessly to drive up umpiring standards, and increase recruitment of umpires, which has benefited all involved with the game in South Yorkshire. Terry served the SYSCL committee for many years, including as Chief Executive and latterly as League President, and as its representative to the Yorkshire Cricket Council, served as its President for two years. He was also instrumental in paving the way for the incorporation of SYSCL teams into the Yorkshire South Premier League.
Ray Knowles started his playing career as a youngster at Armthorpe Welfare in the old Doncaster League. A talented wicket-keeper batsman, he went on to play for and captain Askern, Warmsworth and Rossington, where he played until retiring in 2003. Shortly after that, he was approached by Frank Richardson to take up umpiring, and stood initially in the SYSCL and then on the Yorkshire League panel. During this time, using knowledge he gained as a police officer, Ray became an expert on child welfare issues, and soon became acknowledged as the county’s leading expert on the subject. He was appointed as County Welfare Officer, in which role he investigates safeguarding complaints, gives advice to club safeguarding officers, and delivers Safe Hands training across the county. He was a founder member of the committee of the Yorkshire South Premier League as the League's Safeguarding officer.
Bill Croft is primarily associated with Sheffield Collegiate CC, for whom he was a prolific fast-medium opening bowler and tireless committee worker during his 36 years at the club. Bill played for a number of clubs, including Rotherham Town, before joining Collegiate in 1975. He served on the committee at Collegiate for all but one year of his time at the club, serving also on the board of the Sheffield Amateur Sports Club for several years. Bill was a pro-active President of the Yorkshire League between 2008 and 2011, gaining great respect for his forward-thinking approach. He remains an active supporter of Sheffield Collegiate and of League events.
Matt Dixon was a respected off-spin bowler with Sheffield Collegiate CC, whose first team he captained for 12 seasons. He was elected to the committee of the former Yorkshire League, and was instrumental in the inauguration of the Yorkshire South Premier League in 2016. Matt served as vice-chairman of the YSPL committee and was a League representative on the newly-formed Yorkshire Premier Leagues Management Board.
He stepped down from both these roles at the end of the 2018 season due to the demands of his young family and the law practice that he set up in 2015.
Alan was President of Hallam CC for 16 years until 2019, having been actively involved with the club since 1988, when his sons joined the club. Alan in 2006 and joined the South Yorkshire umpires’ panel in 2006 and two years later was appointed as the League’s Child Welfare Officer. He served the League in this role until 2019. A retired solicitor, he provided sound and invaluable advice to the SYSCL for many years; he was a long-serving treasurer to the ACO South Yorkshire Branch; and he made a dedicated contribution to all aspects of junior cricket, in particular in the training of junior scorers.
Brian Fletcher has been actively involved the administration of cricket in South Yorkshire for almost 50 years. After being nominated as delegate to the South Riding Cricket League for Whiston Parish Church CC in the early 1970s, he soon became a member of the League Management Committee. Brian became the first chair of the new rules revision committee in 2000, continuing this role until it was merged with the cricket committee in 2018. He was elected SYSCL President in 2014, and held this post until the merger with the YSPL. Brian was the President of the Yorkshire Cricket Council in 2017 & 2018.
Until his retirement from the scorebox due to ill heath in 2019, Kevin Motley was an top-class scorer. After scoring for Harrogate in the Yorkshire League for eight seasons, he was offered a role at BBC North in 1982, and worked on Test Match Special, Radio 2, local radio and Yorkshire TV for over twenty years. On returning to local cricket, he was snapped by Barnsley in 2006 and was with them for 14 seasons. Kevin was one of the first scorers to have earned the Level 3 scoring qualification. He was instrumental in introducing computerised scoring into the Yorkshire League. Kevin was a founder committee member of the YSPL, and founded the annual comprehensive digest of League statistics, now named the Motley Almanac.
For many years, William Pye was Mr South Yorkshire cricket. William was the treasurer at Treeton Cricket Club in the 1960s, when it joined the South Riding Cricket League. In 1970, he was asked to be Treeton’s representative to the League, and from there accumulated jobs. He became secretary of the League in 1976 and, in 1982 also took over as treasurer. Effectively, he then became Chief Executive of the League. Having represented the South Riding League for many years on the Yorkshire Cricket Council committee, he was elected President of the YCC. After over 40 years remarkable service to the SYSCL and predecessors, he was appointed an SYSCL Life Vice-President when he resigned from active administration due to ill health.