Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Sunday, 27 May 2012

History of Hyde Cricket Club part 2


2nd.xi.1953 High Peak League Champions Div.2
Back row:P.H.Crabtree(cttee), G.Jones, H.Kerr, H.Oldham, H.Rowcroft, A.Hill, E.Warden, Fred Pritchard(c’ttee)
Front row, D.Bradbury, K.Sidebottom, J.F.Richardson-capt, Eric Pritchard, N.Pickup, J.Bradley.

Some of the most keenly contested matches pre WW2,were with Flowery Field and one in particular stands out.
The game was a quarter final of the Rhodes Knock Out Cup and took place on the Tuesday and Wednesday evenings of June
22nd and 23rd, 1925, at Flowery Field. A substantial crowd were on the ground and chairs were rented out for the evening by residents of the adjoining terraced houses. As far as I am aware this was the first game in which Hyde CC employed a professional, the Little Hulton pro. J.H.Hampson turning out for the Pole Bank side. On a perfect wicket Flowery Field, curtesy of 43 from Gosling, 37 from Stapely, 36 from Williamson and 20 from the home pro Handford, scored 210 on the Tuesday and in the few minutes left took two Hyde wickets for only two runs. When play resumed on the Wednesday evening Hyde were immediately in trouble and quickly lost two more wickets and were precariously placed at 15 for four.
Ernest Bardsley then joined Hampson and looked distinctly uneasy against the accuracy of Wilkinson and Conroy.He gradually grew in confidence though and kept his end up whilst Hampson cut and drove his way to a marvellous century.
The partnership realised 200 and with the match won Hyde declared. Hampson had struck twenty two fours and Bardsley eight in his 72*. Their efforts were rewarded with collections from the crowd of £4-4-7d for Hampson and £2-16-7d. for Bardsley.
And so in 1939 the pavilions at Pole Bank were dismantled and transported to Werneth Low but the only activity on the ground for the next few years came from the Aircraft Spotters and the Home Guard.
The new ground, which at 800 feet above sea level, is one of the highest in the country, took three years to finish as the levelling of the field was a gigantic task and to provide a flat table, 9 feet had to be taken out of a hillside and levelled off. The opening ceremony was performed by J.C.Fallowes, vice president of the High Peak League and Treasurer of Lancashire County Cricket Club and a former player with Hyde CC. The president of Hyde CC, Councillor E.C.Byle presidied, assisted by Mr.L.Wilson of Birch Vale and chairman of the High Peak League, Mr T.Middleton,chairman of Hyde CC, Councillor A.J.Oldham,vice-president of Hyde CC and other officials.
When cricket finally commenced on the Low in 1948 the captains were C.Rickson (1st.xi.) and Donald Blackwell (2nd.xi.).

The fifties and sixties passed and no titles came the first team's way, although the seconds won their division in 53, 54, 55 and 61. Mention must be made of Howard Kerr, who is still Hyde's treasurer after some fifty two years. In 1955 he became the only Hyde CC bowler to take 100 wickets in a season. A feat he acomplished in only 25 matches. A new pavilion was opened in 1968 and the old ones began new lives as ground huts. In the early fifties a certain Geoff Oldham had joined the Club, as had many Oldhams before him but Geoff had big plans for Hyde CC and when the new pavilion opened the first of them was realised. He then got wind of a proposed expansion plan by the Lancashire and Cheshire League, put the idea of Hyde applying to the general cttee and in 1973 Hyde became members of the L & C. His next idea was to add a pair of squash courts and in 1975 they too were opened. All the while he had been busy landscaping the ground as well as preparing the wickets with Nev Groom. By 1973 over 1,000 trees had been planted around the ground. On the field many players from the High Peak era had finished playing, Alan Hopwood, Ken Parsons, Peter Ginger, Dennis Keating, Jim Mottram, Roger Hirst, Eric Pritchard, Peter Shaw, Howard Bentley, Derek Oldham, Jack Gregory, Roy Anderson, George Pollard, Bill Thompson, Ernie Clough, Harry Parkin, Geoff Marsden, Pete Winchester, Peter Wagstaffe, Jim Yates, Harvey Taylor, John Barry, Mike Horsefield, Ken Waller, Derek Stafford and many more. Hyde were now attracting a new breed of cricketer, now that declaration cricket and eight ball overs had been left behind and the likes of Peter Hardman, Dave Shaw,Tony Ghilks, Alan Sigley, Joe Tinsley, John Miller, Stan O'Brien, Peter Bolger and Tony Stallard had joined the stalwarts such as Mike Greaves, Lee Brown, Steve Bennett, Phil Rowbotham, Harry Bracegirdle, Eddie Pomphrey, Barry Wilson, Brian Hargreaves, Brian Wagstaffe, Peter Barry and Alec Crossland. There were also promising juniors coming through and names such as Nick Brown, Gary Looker, Neil Anderson, Stephen Whittingslow, Russ Hamer and Chris Leigh were all forcing their way into the senior teams.

  1st.xi. 1975 Div 2 Champions, Lancs and Cheshire League.
Back row: A.Hill (hon sec), G.Gorman, P.Hardman, M.Greaves, T.Ghilks, D.Shaw, A.Berry, G.Oldham (chairman)
Front row: J.Eyre(pro) A.Sigley(wk) M.S.Riley(capt) P.Rowbotham, Lee Brown, Brenda Brown (scorer).
For the first season in the Lancs & Cheshire League Neville Groom was captain and he had the luxury of a professional, Mervyn Riley, an off spin bowler from Alderley Edge, who also played regularly with Cheshire. The first two years were difficult as the Club adjusted to playing league cricket and it wasn't until Riley became captain in 1975 and John Eyre, the ex Derbyshire all rounder, became pro, that the Club became champions of Div 2. In 1977 Hyde's most famous player made his debut. Jim Allen was recommended to the Club by the 1977 pro Guy Yearwood, who was a minister for sport in Antigua and regularly saw Allen play in Shell Shield matches. Yearwood was a good friend of Hyde's secretary, Albert Hill and between them they managed to get Jim over to Hyde. Needless to say Jim was a sensation and his big hitting packed grounds wherever he played. He scored almost 4,000 runs for Hyde with eleven centuries and still holds the record for the highest score in a match, 170 v Glossop, at North Road in 1978. This was also the year that the Club won the Walkden Cup, beating Denton St.Lawrence by just eight runs at Werneth Low. The icing on the cake came the following year though when the Club were champions of the 1st.Division. Pete Hardman had replaced Riley as captain in 1977 and with players of the calibre of Jim Allen, Anura Ranasinghe, Lockhart Sebastien, Keth Fredericks, Martin Mather, Alan Berry, Mike Greaves, Annersley De Silva, Dave Thomason, Tony Ghilks, Alan Sigley, Russ Hamer and Lee Brown, he couldn't really fail. As well as winning the league in 1979, the firsts also won the Parliamentary Cup and the Thompson Trophy, beating a very strong Bramhall side at Bramhall. Things went somewhat downhill in 1980. Jim Allen had been poached by Werneth and in one of his first games for the CLL side, he blasted 176 off just 80 deliveries ! Hyde's pro for 1980 was ex. Lancs all rounder John Sullivan and it was evident from his first game at Unsworth that all was not well when he was ill on the pitch and had to leave the ground. The glory days returned in 1981 when after joining the Central Lancashire League, Peter Hardman led the team to the championship at the first attempt. Hyde had engaged the New Zealand opening batsman Bruce Edgar and it was a masterstroke. In 31 innings Edgar scored 1658 runs at an average of 72.09 and also as a bonus, took 35 wickets at 19 apiece. His compatriot, Peter Holland, scored 510 runs and took 66 wkts and Alan Berry took 62 wkts. Australian Errol Harris scored 710 runs. Gary Wilkinson, the young Hyde fast bowler, had a weekend to remember in August, when he took 9/27 v Oldham on the Saturday and 9/28 v Heywood on the Sunday. He still dines out on the feat today ! Other members of the championship winning side were Mike Greaves, Andy Swain (wk), Ray Wilde, Paul Marshall, Nick Brown and Russ Hamer. That was as good as it got in the CLL. Season after season professionals were engaged who were just not good enough to compete with the likes of Joel Garner, Vanburn Holder, Franklyn Stephenson, Carl Rackeman, Gus Logie, Carl Hooper and Ezra Moseley. Hyde had a succession of pros such as Ray Berry, Trevor Barsby, Errol Harris, Radi Patel, Mike Rindel, Scott Hookey, Vibert Greene, Peter Smith and Craig Ingram. All decent cricketers but not in the same league as the Logies and Garners. 

Jim Allen driving a ball from Dave Farrington v Stalybridge. Werneth Low, July 15th, 1978.


In 1992 the Club made the decision to leave the CLL, join the Cheshire County League and instigate a junior coaching scheme. I think everyone at the Club agrees this was an inspired decision, although it wasn't unanimous, quite a few players wished to remain in the CLL, but the twenty years that have elapsed have, I think, proved it was the right move. Many honours have been won by all the teams and players such as the current Cheshire captain, James Duffy, came through the Hyde coaching scheme. Hyde have still to win the Cheshire County first division but everyone at Hyde thinks 2012 will be the season Danny Berry and his young side will triumph.



JohnT said...

Thanks for the posts Lee. You have brought back many happy memories of the good times at H C & S C. Well done!

Anonymous said...

Hi I was born in Newton Hyde in 1986, lived in Hyde for all of my youth, then joined the army 1986-2012. Currently working in Montserrat, West Indies) and today I had a few beers with Jim Allen former Hyde and West Indies cricketer. Talk about a small world!