There is no doubt that cricket existed at Illingworth during the 1850's as is proved by Tom Emmett in Old Ebor's "Talks with Old Yorkshire Cricketers". In fact Tom Emmett can claim to be Illingworth's one player to have reached County and England standards. At one time he was known to live in or close to Cousin Lane before moving to a cottage at the top of Moor Lane. He stated that his early cricket was played "close to my Uncle, John Dilworth of Illingworth, near Ovenden, who was fond of cricket. One of the great traders of this place was Mr. Henry Ambler who owned Holmfield Mills (now Smith, Bulmer & Co.) and he had a fine carriage drive leading up to his residence, Ovenden Grange. At the entrance to the drive were two stone posts and it was one of these that we used for our wickets. That is where I was first initiated into cricket and found that I could hit the post with a round-arm delivery One of the two gates of the entrance to the Grange with the stone posts still exists today in Keighley Road, almost next door to the Queens Head public house.
As Tom had been born in 1841 in Crib Lane, Halifax, this must have occurred in the early 1850's at the very latest. He talks of becoming the "cock of Ambler's Walk Top" and having dodged a fearsome police constable by the name of Nicholson. While'p laying here he once struck a ball through the window of an adjoining combing shed and hit a man called Harrowby, who was persuaded not to carry on with magistrates proceedings after Tom promised to pay for the broken glass.
Emmett relates that his first Club was called "Illingworth" with its headquarters at the White Lion Inn at the corner of Cousin Lane and Keighley Road, later to be converted to cottages known as North View and which are still there today. By this time he had removed to the top of Moor Lane but he was made a member of the Club and once played in an Illingworth Feast Match against Thornton. He also mentioned that he was with the Illingworth Club when a Mr. Priestley, a fellow member who had connections with the Todmorden Club, engaged him to play for the latter against George Farr's XI. In this match Emmett related that he scored a century and took 6 or more wickets. No trace of this match appears to have been handed down but it was prior to 1864 and was almost certainly not against the All England Eleven with which Fan was connected. It was not long before he joined the Halifax Club as a professional and was paid 2s 6d a match. In 1863 Keighley acquired his services where he stayed until he joined the County Club three years later.
Test Debut: Australia v England at Melbourne - Mar 15-19, 1877
Playing Statistics - http://www.cricinfo.com/england/content/player/12518.html