DEVELOPMENT OF THE EAST LANCASHIRE CRICKET CLUB
When Corporation Park was constructed by Blackburn Borough after buying the land owned by Joseph Fielden, it led to the construction of West Park Drive which, in turn, cut the existing land in two. Where the present cricket field is now sited there used to be a military drill field for the 2nd Lancs. Fusiliers Regiment in the very early 1860’s and this military connection led to the club's beginning in the early 1860’s – possibly 1864.
It is said that, originally, the club was called Blackburn Alexandra Cricket Club when it first leased the ground in 1866 from R.J. Feilden Esq., for two years, at an annual rent of £60 and the ground became known as Alexandria Meadows. In the early days, it has been noted, that it was never intended to be a Blackburn Club and was a private venture by officers of the Local Volunteers and, for many years, was closed to outsiders other than those invited, therefore, being run for the amusement of the elite of the town, especially the Cotton Magnets - “The Hornby Family” and Daniel Thwaites Junior. On June 21st, 1878, the club obtained a 10 year lease of the ground from Mr. Fielden. The lease was signed by the following club gentlemen members: - James Brogden Esq. (solicitor), W.H. Hornby Esq. (later Sir. Harry), Thomas Houlker Esq., John Rutherford Esq. (later Sir John) and J. Walsh Esq.
Players were signed on from all over East Lancashire to play friendly games against other sides. It was not until 1887 that arrangements were made to report their matches in the local press and club membership was still difficult to obtain. This situation continued to the 1890’s, gaining the Club the nick-name the “cuff and collar brigade”. Among the earlier players were such famous names as A.N. Hornby, an all-round sportsman, who also played for Blackburn Rovers, and Arthur Appleby. From the start, it was policy to get the best professionals for the club to aid its development; a policy that was continued throughout its history. Matters changed at a meeting in the Commercial Hotel, Accrington on October 25th, 1890, by which time, the club had changed its name to East Lancashire Cricket Club; it was decided to join the proposed North-East Lancashire Cricket League of 13 clubs. In 1892, the title of the league was changed to the Lancashire Cricket League and Bury were admitted as members but withdrew two years later. This meant that club friendly games now gave way to league cricket which increased local interest in the club. In 1913, East Lancashire Cricket Club were runners-up in the League Competition and, by now, the club had big gates attendances.
In the early 1900’s banking was created around the pitch so that in winter it could be flooded and used as a public ice-rink. Blackburn Rovers also leased the ground for some of its earlier matches before moving to Ewood Park and a famous clash against Darwen F.C. at the Meadows led to major supporter clashes which caused the match to be abandoned. For the first time in the club’s history they won the Lancashire League Championship on Saturday, September 20th 1919, by two points, from Nelson, and were captained by H. Emmett. They repeated this feat in 1942 when the deciding match with Enfield provided one of the most thrilling matches ever played at the “Meadows”. In 1933, the members passed an overwhelming vote against the introduction of Sunday cricket and also tennis and bowls which, by then, were well established at the club. In December 1934, it was announced at the annual general meeting that the new club professional would be W. E. Merritt from New Zealand; so even in the early days the club was attracting overseas professionals. At the same meeting, it was stated the Lancashire County Club had honoured them by allowing them a match against Glamorgan’s second team and that arrangements had also been made for Sir Julian Cahn to bring a side including some internationals for a two-day match during Blackburn holiday week. The club captain at this time was C.R. Davies. During the annual general meeting in December 1944, the treasurer, F.A. Astley, stated that in 1937 the club had an overdraft of £580 but now had a balance in hand of £140 and, in addition, £300 had been raised for special projects which in the future should be spent on building. There had also been an increase in gate receipts helped by winning the league and when Rishton played them. A League record for gate receipts was set for the war period of £77-15s-3d.
In 1945, East Lancs. had another good season, finishing 2nd to Church and ending with another seven-wicket victory against Ramsbottom; losing only one match out of 22. Although finishing second, they had a better match record than Church who won three games less and lost three games more!! This situation occurred because the Church club were an all-amateur side, so they received three points for a win against a club with a professional. The chairman, E. Higham, also announced that it was intended to erect a Memorial Pavilion at a cost of £5000 of which £2500 had been raised. When all the money was raised it would be built to provide amenities for members especially those who would have returned from the Forces after the end of the 2nd World War and would be available to the ladies. It was also hoped that the former club captain C.R. Davies would be available next season after he had been demobilised. During the year 1949, the East Lancashire Club team spirit was praised as the club won both Lancashire League Championships and also the Worsley Cup for the second time in three years. The Club's second eleven completed the Club’s treble success by winning the Lancashire Junior League for the fourth time since it started in 1893. The league, as a whole, enjoyed a record year for gates which raised approximately £17,000, a rise of £6,000 on 1948. The East Lancashire Club Professional was Bruce Dooland from Australia, who had proved to be a good all-rounder. A dinner and social was held at the White Bull for members to celebrate the Club’s success. The Chairman, Eli Higham, announced that £1,000 would be spent on improvements at the club, including a raised embankment between the pavilion and the tea room. At the same time, the Club was to trial a plan to reserve 300 seats for matches as members were finding it difficult to find a seat on match days.
Praise was given to the Club’s players at the 1951 annual dinner at the White Bull and to the success of the third eleven in winning the N.E. Lancashire League and to the professional Bruce Doolan for his batting success in India. In June 1950, there was an incident at the end of the League match against Bacup when the Bacup captain, S. Banham, was escorted from the field at Alexandria Meadows by a police officer after being surrounded by a crowd of spectators who alleged that he had wasted time in an endeavour to force a draw. Following this, a meeting of the Lancashire League committee said, that they felt that officials of the clubs did not exercise adequate supervision over spectators at this match and should ensure this situation wasn’t repeated. At the same time, the Bacup club was criticised for allowing a club official to make a statement to the press. At the Annual Meeting in the same year, glowing praise was given to C.R. Davies who was again elected club captain and Alderman J. Fryars said it was 26 years since Mr. Davies joined the club which he believed was a club playing record. A special word of appreciation was given to one player, namely, T.E. Dickinson, who had played for the County and they hoped he would prove himself at Old Trafford as he was one of the best fast bowlers in the County.
It was stated in July 1960 that East Lancs. had been in 13 previous finals, with eight of them at Alexandria Meadows, and had won 7. They first won the competition in 1925 with Ralph Whitehead as professional, beating Todmorden, and won again in 1929 against Bacup, beat Nelson in 1933, beat Rawtenstall in 1947 with Big Jim Smith the star, then beat Burnley in 1949 and 1951, then Colne the following year. In 1962, a commemorative plaque was unveiled at the opening of the new Meadow’s Pavilion by Mrs Hindle with Big Jim Smith, F.A. Astley (chairman) and C.R. Davies in attendance. The new memorial pavilion was an almost complete reconstruction of the old one with a modernised frontage, improved facilities and a handsome ballroom. In June 1962, the East Lancashire Club and Nelson played the clubs first Sunday match in a second round Worsley Cup Tie. At the seasons end, in 1964, the club laid new drains at the Meadows to avoid the too frequent flooding of the playing surface. During the work, three or four feet below the surface, they came across what is believed to be the original drains laid down a hundred years previously which was an old-fashioned grid system of stone drains which was still serviceable so was used again linking up with the new system. In 1965, there was a further extension built to the new pavilion with a new members bar and lounge which was opened in February and named the Hornby Lounge, after A.N. Hornby, who was a club member and captain of Lancashire and England Cricket teams and who with his brother, W.H. Hornby, (later Sir Harry) had much to do with the formation of the club. During a match in 1867, the East Lancashire Club fielded four members of the Hornby family in their team. During 1966, East Lancashire Club were undisputedly the team of the year in Lancashire League Cricket, finishing with a 14-point lead as champions, the biggest margin of their eight titles so far and they also won the Worsley Cup for the ninth time. The Meadow's league receipts for the season were £1,237 from 10,390 spectators and the Worsley Cup brought in £823 from another 8,241 spectators.
East Lancashire Cricket Club
Members Card For 1941
EAST LANCASHIRE CRICKET CLUB TEAM PHOTOGRAPHS 1900–1970
Club Rules For East Lancashire
Cricket, Bowling And Tennis
A SELECTION OF CLUB PLAYERS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER 1900-1970’S
1 2 3 4 5 6
1. DAVID ADAMS – Played for the first X1 during the 1970/80’s
2. A. ALSTON -- Played for the club’s teams from the 1920’s through to the 1940’s
3. F.L. ASKEW – Played for the club in the 1940’s
4. JOHN ASPIN – Played for the club in the 1910/20’s and became club vice-chairman in 1942
5. F. A. ASTLEY – Was a member of the club from the age of 16 when he was drawn into
6. J. AUBIN – Played for the club in the 1920/30’s.
7 8 9 10 11 12
7. J.W. BAKER – Was the official scorer for the teams in the 1920’s
8. S. BENT – Played for the club in the 1890/1900’s
9. LEN BIBBY – Played for the club in the 1920/30’s
10. J.M. BLANKENBERG – Played for the club in the 1920/30’s as the professional
11. FRANK BOOTH- Signed as the club professional from Lancashire C.C. Ground Staff in 1930 at the age of 23 where he had been an all-rounder for the County team both as a medium paced bowler and excellent batsman. He stayed at the club for a number of years.
12. TOMMY BOOTH – One of three cricketing brothers he played for the club’s second X1 before graduating to the 1st.X1 in the 1950’s leaving the club in 1958 for Preston C.C.
13 14 15 16 17 18
13. H. BOTTOMLEY – Was a local J.P. and club president in 1933.
14. R.G. BRANDWOOD –Played for the club in the 1920/30’s/
15. F.M. BRUCE – Played for the club in the 1930’s
16. J. CAMPBELL- Played for the club in the early days of its existence and became club President in 1927
17. R.W. CAMPBELL – Played for the club in the 1920/30’s.
18. J.W. CARMICHAEL –Played for the club in the early 1900’s and became vice President in 1939
19 20 21 22 23 24
19. R. CARMICHAEL – Played for the club in the 1920/30’s
20. G.R. CARTER – Played for the club in the 1890/1900’s
21. SAMUEL CATTERALL – Played for the club from 1898 for more than twenty seasons having first played cricket in Darwen. He took 32 wickets in his first season at the East Lancashire Club as a wicket keeper.
22. JACK CHADWICK – Played for the club in the 1930’s
23. J.H. CHADWICK – Played for the club in the 1930’s
24. J. COULTHURST – Played for the club in the 1910/20’s and was a recognised bowler of good length and pace with good fielding qualities.
25 26 27 28 29 30
25. BOB COWPER – Played for the club in the 1950’s
26. S. CRAWFORD – Played for the club in the 1910’s and was a very good bowler. He came from Manchester where he played for 10 seasons at the south Manchester club but had business in Blackburn and then started playing for East Lancs.
27. R.G. CRESSWELL – Played for the club in the 1940’s and then in the 1950/60’s
28. IAN CROMB – Was the club professional in 1933 and came from New Zealand where he was a Test Cricketer and was a good bowler and batter.
29. E.C. CROMPTON – Played for the club in the 1960’s
30. C.R. DAVIES – Played for the club over 25 years during the 1920/30/40’s and became a club official in the 1950’s. He was club captain for many years and a league representative before becoming the Chairman of the Lancashire League and a committee member of Lancashire County. He became club President in the1950’s
31 32 33 34 35 36
31. J.H. DAVIES – Played for the club in the 1960’s or 70’s.
32. ARTHUR DAWSON – Played for the club from 1913 – 1920’s and was a Blackburn Rovers player. He was an opening batsman of quality and an excellent slip fielder. Arthur was born in Blackburn in 1882 and also played in Rishton for many years .In 1916 he compiled 842 runs for the club with an average of 40 and was in the army during the First World War but survived and in one season scored two hundreds against Bacup a club against who he also scored 1000 runs in his career.
33. K. DEWHURST – Played for the club in the 1950’s
34. RICHARD DINAR – Played for the club in the 1890/1900’s and became club Captain.
35. JOHN DRANE – As a 17 year old “colt” he made his first team debut at Haslingden in 1964 following the club’s policy to blood youngsters
36. JOHN DUCKWORTH – As an eighteen year old he was the first recipient to receive the Harry Mercer Cup for the youngster who had made the most progress during the year (1961) and also won the third teams bowling prize – a good prospect.
37 38 39 40 41 42
37. JOHN DUCKWORTH
38. H. EASTWOOD – Played for the club in the 1890’s/early 1900’s
39. G.B. ECCLES- Played for the club in the 1920/30’s
40. TOM EDWARDSON – Played for the club between the 1930’s/40’s. As a fifteen year old youngster from the Grammar school he quickly gained promotion to the first team after taking five wickets in ten bowls for the second X1! A natural bowler who could turn the ball either way and two years later was earning a living playing for his county but could still play for East Lancashire Team as an amateur.
41. HARRY EMMETT – Played for the club in the 1910’s/20’s and was captain of the first X1.He was an all- rounder and very enthusiastic cricketer who first played cricket in Darwen.
42. CHARLES FORD – Played for the club in the 1910’s/20’s and was captain of the second eleven. In one match at Salesbury he took six wickets for two runs and caught three men in the slips. He was a medium paced bowler.
43 44 45 46 47 48
43. JIM FRASER – Played for the club in the 1950’s/60’s. Originally a Nelson batsman he moved to East Lancashire during the 1950’s.
44. A.R. GRADWELL – Played for the club in the 1910’s/20’s
45. A.C. GRAHAM – Played for the club in the 1920’s/30’s
46. W. GREEN – Played for the club in the 1920’s/30’s
47. G. GREENWOOD – Played for the club in the 1940’s/50’s
48. S. HAGGAS – Played for the club in the early 1900’s
49 50 51 52 53 54
50. J.A. HANSON – Played for the club in the 1920’s/30’s and later became club chairman.
51. R. HARGREAVES – Played for the club in the early 1900’s.
52. KEITH HARWOOD – Played for the club in the 1960’s before becoming a professional. Originally the opening batsman for Darwen he was a fine stroke player. He had two seasons at East Lancs. Before becoming a professional for Edgeworth Recs. within the Bolton association and also played in Australia at Manley a Sydney club.
53. NEIL HAWKE – Was the club professional from Australia in the 1960’s/70’s
54. PETER HAYDOCK – Played for the club in the 1950’s’60’s.
55. A.E. HIGHAM – He was the long term president of the club from the 1920’s to 40’s.
55 56 57 58 59 60
55. E. HIGHAM – Played for the club in the 1920’s/30’s and was club captain.
56. FRANK HOPWOOD – Played for the club in the 1950’s and was a class batsman and captain in 1955 and 1956. He later became the club secretary.
57. JACK HOULDSWORTH – Played for the club in the 1960’s.
58. JIMMY HOYLE – Played for the club in the early 1900’s to 1920. He was a popular player who came to the club in 1896 after playing for local cricket clubs and gaining a name as a fast bowler. During the 1st. World War he was not called up due to his occupation and proved a real stalwart at the club when there were fewer players available. He went from 2nd X1 captain to the first team due to his bowling and batting skills.
59. PETER JONES – Played for the club in the 1960’s and was a noted leg-break bowler.
60. RAY KELLY – Played for the club in the 1950’s/60’s as a wicket- keeper and was club captain in 1961/62 and broke the club record by gaining
61 62 63 64 65 66
61. JIM KENYON- He was a well- known left handed batsman from his days at Blackburn Northern and joined the East Lancashire Club in 1965. Jim started playing cricket locally at age 14 and aged 21 he became the youngest secretary of the Lancashire Football Association in its 86 year history. He was also on Blackburn Rovers books playing for the colts and “B” teams. After playing he became a well-known cricket coach and broadcaster but died early in 1971 of a stroke.
62. BOB LETHERBARROW – Played for the club in 1964/5 as a club professional from Australia and was a medium-fast swing bowler. He came from Brisbane in Queensland as a 24 year old as a good all-rounder who developed his seam bowling fairly late after a spell as a wicket-keeper-cum batsman. Whilst at the club he took a keen interest in coaching young players.
63. TERRY LEE – Played for the club in 1962/3 as a club professional coming from Australia aged 21 from the state of New South Wales. His 557 league runs made him the top scoring professional in the league and he also gained 45 wickets through his bowling skills as a medium paced off-spinner.
64. FAZAL MAHMOOD – Played for the club as a professional between 1957 and 1959 having come from Pakistan where he was a policeman(deputy superintendent of police) and had played in their test team for 13 Tests. He took special leave of absence from his job to take up his post at the club. As a fast bowler he was the league’s leading wicket taker with 56 wickets for 463 runs.
65. ALAN MARGERISON – Played for the club in the 1960’s/70’s.
66. J. Mc KENNA – Played for the club in the 1920’s/30’s.
67 68 69 70 71 72
67. CHARLES A. MILFORD – Played for the club in the 1920’s/30’s/40’s and was a club official in 1924 when he became the club secretary . He came to the club in 1920 and became one of the most consistent amateur batsmen of the club and became team captain.
68. WILLIAM MITCHELL – A club professional who joined the club in 1901 and had a testimonial in 1903. He originated from Bolton. He was a first class club man and a skilled bowler and also had gymnastic skills and had previously played football for Bolton Wanderers Reserve team.
69. JOHN MORLEY – Played for the club in the 1950’s/60’s.
70. W. MORLEY – Played for the club in the 1940’s/50’s and was club captain.
71. VICTOR NORBURY – Joined the club in 1912 as club professional and apart from 1916-18 played for the club up to 1924. He was a very noted batsman and bowler and also played for Lancashire.
74. NORMAN O’NEILL – Played for the club in the 1940’s/50’s.
73 74 75 76 77 78
73. G. PEMBERTON – A long term member of the club playing in the 1920’s/30’s and became club captain.
74. PETER PHILPOT – An Australian professional who played for the club in 1962. He was a New South Wales all-rounder who had played previously with Ramsbottom and specialised in leg-spin bowling as well as being a first class batsman.
75. L. J. PICKERING – Played for the club in the 1920’s/30’s. He was a very keen cricketer and a skilled batsman.
76. BRIAN RATCLIFFE – Played for the club in the 1960’s and was club captain. He became one of East Lancashire’s leading batsmen and played many central league games for Blackburn Rovers
77. JIM REID – Played for the club in the 1950’s as opening batsman and captain of the club.
78. P.S. RENNISON – Played for the club in the 1920’s/30’s and was club captain.
79 80 81 82 83 84
79. J.E. SAGAR – Played for the club in the 1930’s/40’s.
80. ROGER SHARP – Played for the club in the 1950’s/60’s and was the opening bowler. He was also an all-rounder as he was an under-rated batsman.
81. JACK SLATER – Played for the club in the 1920’s.
82. PERCY SMITH – Played for the club in the 1910’s and was a highly rated Blackburn Rovers player as a centre half after first playing cricket and football in Preston.
83. HUGH TAYFIELD – He was the club professional in the season 1956/7 and was a high class bowler. A cleaver off-break bowler who had played in a number of test matches which meant the club had to pay one of the league’s biggest ever fees for his service
84. A.TAYLOR – Played for the club in the 1980’s/90’s.
85 86 87 88 89 90 91
85. R.G. TOWNLEY – played for the club in the 1940’s/50’s.
86. TOM TURNBULL – Played for the club in the 1910’s/20’s and re-joined the club after the First World War. He was skilled batsman and fielder who also played hockey and rugby locally.
87. SAM VICKERS –Played for the club in the 1910’s. He was a Grammar School old buy who played at the club before joining the Canadian army and came back over here with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1916 but was wounded when he was sent to France fighting in the First World War.
88. LESLIE WARBURTON – Played for the club in the 1930’s/40’s as the club professional and coach coming from Littleborough where he was also a bank clerk. He first started playing cricket at the age of 14 at Haslingden where he eventually became professional and at Littleborough he achieved the cricketer’s double 1,000 runs and 100 wickets with batting averages over 50. Due to his consistency he was retained for a number of seasons at the East Lancashire Club and in 1940 he headed the league batting averages with 122.50 with 18 innings where he was not out in ten games and scored 980 runs.
89 .G.E.WHALLEY – Played for the club in the 1920’s/30’s.
90. RANDOLF WHITEHEAD – Was the club professional in the 1926/78 seasons and then coach having been a good Lancashire all-rounder but a noted batsman.
91. JIM WILSON – Played for the club in the 1960’s/70’s and has been a keen member of the club and ground staff.
East Lancashire Cricket Fixtures
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