Friday, 12 February 2021

Westmorland Cricket League Grounds Part 2

 By Mike Latham

Here’s Part 2 of the Westmorland League Cricket League grounds, background information kindly provided by the League’s estimable historian, John Glaister. I hope it inspires you to watch cricket in this well-run league this summer. Parts 3 and 4 to follow.

Coniston CC: First established 1872, continuous since 1962

The history of Coniston CC is a chequered one. An attempt was made in 1884 to re-establish the 1872 club which prospered until 1876. The 1884 club was very short-lived. In 1910 there was another revival with cricket on the Institute Recreation Ground, where they play to this day. It took some time to get the club up and running again after the Great War, but cricket was again played on the Rec' in the 1930s. Since joining the Westmorland Cricket League in 1947 there have been two phases, 1947-1954 and 1962 until the present day. The 1872-76 club played on a ground ‘picturesquely situated near the far-famed Coniston Lake.’ The present ground is simply lovely amidst awe-inspiring scenery, and a visit to Coniston CC comes highly recommended, as does a visit to any ground in this league.

Galgate CC: Founded 1860, re-formed 1877

Founder members of the Lancaster and District League in 1892, it was not until 1977 that the 'Silkboys' joined the Westmorland Cricket League. Though no longer producing silk the magnificent Galgate Mill still stands proud. Fourteen times were they L&DL champions and in 1993 WCL champions. Sport in Galgate shares a communal area, the Recreation Field, where Galgate FC have had their share of fame as well. Rhubarb is a prolific plant around the area and the bi-monthly local newsletter is entitled The Rhubarb City News. Close to Lancaster University and J33 of the M6, the village is an important centre of communications with the main-line railway line and the Lancaster Canal close-by.

Heysham CC- founded 1887/8

Heysham CC bought their Carr Lane ground in 1926 and could have played there since their formation. The ground was considered highly prestigious and a monolith of a pavilion was built by club members in 1934. The club joined the Lancaster & District League in 1900 and transferred to Westmorland in 1939. This is a beautiful ground to watch cricket, just inland from a great heathland and coastal area.

Holme CC: Founded 1866

The original organisation was called Burton and Holme CC, the two villages being indivisible. They often played independently against one another. This was before league cricket, of course. Initially the favoured ground was in Curwen Woods Park near Holme but then in 1872 Squire Hornby of Dalton Hall, Burton created his own country house cricket field. The break came in 1889 when Holme formed a new club. They have played on the North Road ground since 1921. The Burton club expired well before World War One. Both clubs were founder members of the Westmorland Cricket League in 1894.

Ingleton CC: Founded 1868

The Ingleton club has a unique position in the Westmorland Cricket League as they are based in Yorkshire and are detached from the main body of member clubs. Not until 1849, with the coming of the railway, did Ingleton enter the wider world. The team that played the first-ever game at Giggleswick School probably hopped on the train. It is likely that railway men and miners comprised the nucleus of the team. There were deep shaft mines on the edge of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Flanked by Ingleborough, spoil heaps and pit head winding towers - what an incongruous sight it must have cut, playing a game of cricket. It was also filthy and invariably cricket whites finished the game black. On Monday 21 October 1935 a 'cease work' notice was issued which ultimately finished the Ingleton coal industry. The cricket club played in the WCL between 1926 and 1935 and from 1978 to the present day. They have also had two spells in the Lancaster and District League, in 1925 and between 1964 and 1977. The club plays on the Town Sports Field, shared with football.

Kirkby Lonsdale: Founded 1840

Kirkby are the oldest village cricket club in South Westmorland (Appleby are the oldest in North Westmorland). They played their first competitive game against Sedbergh School in a field opposite 'The Swan' at Middleton on Thursday 7 October 1841. Securing a ground was an annual problem but in 1863 the Earl of Bective, the Master at Underley Hall, granted a permanent pitch on his patch. Right up until the outbreak of war in 1914 it was the scene of the gentleman's game. In 1924 the Lune Valley team succumbed to league cricket and on a new ground, Lunefield Park, where they still play. An amazing fact: Kirkby Lonsdale have never won the Championship of the Westmorland League.

1 comment:

Greg Weddell said...

Fanastic effort Mike. Making me home sick! Look forward to traveling back up to the beautiful Coniston as soon as possible.