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Welcome to Northwich Cricket Club
Northwich Cricket Club

Reportedly formed in 1826 although no documentation has yet been discovered to prove this notion and no idea of where they played for the first 30 years. The earliest recorded scorecard in existence is from 1856 when Northwich played at Bowden, the home teams first match, this suggests that Northwich were already well established and respected.

Early research has discovered that the first reported home ground was on a field called “Fat Lay” which covered approximately 40 acres, from what is now the Winnington Lodge down to Winnington Bridge encompassing all of I.C.I works and Winnington Avenue and the golf driving range, in a lease with the then landlord Lord Stanley. In 1873 the estate was sold to Brunner Mond causing the club to relocate to Winnington Park, an estate somewhere near the previous field, in view of Winnington Hall. In 1880 the club moved again to Hartford Hill Park, an estate comprising about 35 acres on modern day Castle. The stately house was situated at the top of Spencer Street and the cricket ground was located on roughly the site of Castle Private Club, the same fields were also home to the newly formed Northwich Rugby club.

Winnington Park Cricket Club was formed in 1883, and it is almost certain that it was formed by a split in the members of Northwich C.C. on the use of Hartford Hill or the return to the Winnington Park site.

In 1889 Northwich were unable to fulfil any fixtures because the estate owners were declared bankrupt, leaving the club without permission to play. That year the club A.G.M. declared the officers of the club as JT Brunner- President, W.E.E Harrison –captain and C.J. Hughes as secretary, who was also secretary of Northwich Victoria F.C. This time is a bit clouded as of initial findings, the club is reported to have shared the Drill Field with Vics, the common secretary pointing to 1890 -. However the club also played at “Brewery Meadow”, what is now the site of Lidl in a match documented by Davenham C.C in 1888. 

A report in the Northwich Chronicle highlights some interesting facts. At an A.G.M at the Angel Hotel on Nov 5th 1898 the new chairman, a John Burgess reported that the landlords of “Brewery Meadow”, Barlow’s butchers had refused use of the field for the foreseeable future. He had obtained a 10-year lease from Mr. Royle of Southport for 7 acres of land past the Witton Grammar School over the railway bridge, undoubtedly what became Vicarage Walk.

During the 1st World War the entire cricket field was allocated as allotments to aid the war effort. After the war the club managed to secure sufficient finances to purchase the land it currently occupied. It is believed that the ground and pavilion were on the far side of the field, away from the railway lines and in view of the vicarage. In 1931 the cricket club sold part of its land to Northwich Urban District Council for the construction of a housing estate, now known as Danefields. This led to the relocation of the square to its final position on that site and the building of a new pavilion.

It is understood that the deal for the housing land was a bad one for the club and the construction of the new pavilion and costs incurred were greater than the sum received for the land. Consequently in the years immediately prior to the 2nd World war the club faced extinction and almost folded at least once.

After the war the club regrouped and thanks to the efforts of some of its members the 50’s and 60’s saw the clubs most prosperous years.

In 1959 Northwich hosted a Commonwealth XI which included Gary Sobers and Frank Worrell. The fixture was repeated in 1961 when the visitors paraded the likes of Basil D’Oliveira and R.J. Ramadhin. Both matches drew in crowds of over 2000. The later half of the 60’s saw Northwich collect 4 championship trophies in the then prestigious Manchester and District Cricket Association, including consecutive Burrows Trophies in 1966/7/8. During this time and on through the 70’s Vicarage Walk staged many representative games at county level for the Cheshire side. A certain I.T.Botham paid a visit for Somerset 2nd XI in 1972. The ground also played host to visiting touring sides, notably Canada and Kenya. In 1975 Northwich became one of 12 founder members of the Cheshire Cricket League and in 1980 the 1st XI were league runners-up.

As the stalwart members who had founded the clubs most successful period passed away, and modern day replacements could not be found Northwich Cricket Club fell on hard times. Numerous leaders and committees, seeing the potential of the club came and went, never quite grasping the depth of the problems and leaving when matters became too far out of hand. In this time the junior section was flourishing and good young cricketers were being produced. In 1983 the under 15’s won their league and repeated the success in 1985 as under 17’s. A number of these players featured in the last Northwich side to collect a senior trophy, the 3rd XI Champions in 1986. Another batch of under 17’s again won the Mid-Cheshire league in 1995.

In 1997 Northwich Cricket Club faced bankruptcy, repayments on a loan secured by a previous administration could not be met, the club had been forced out of the County League because the ground and pavilion were in a sorry state of repair and the end seemed near. However the current membership consisted almost entirely of players from the junior sides of the previous 10 years who were determined not to lose the club and were accepted into the Cheshire Alliance League, at the bottom of the Cheshire cricket ladder. With all possibilities explored the only recourse was to sell the clubs only asset, it’s ground and relocate to a fresh start. A deal was secured in the last minutes before threatened closure, which ensured the existence of the club and provided the opportunity to rebuild the structure and reputation of the historic and proud name of Northwich Cricket Club.

             In 1999, with the invaluable assistance of Vale Royal Borough Council, the club re-located to Moss Farm Leisure Complex. For 2 seasons matches were staged on a temporary ground with a single Portacabin as a ‘pavilion’. In 2001 a county standard facility was completed on the primary recreation site in Northwich and the process of re-building on the pitch began. With the valued contribution of committee members and volunteers the past few years has seen the club continually strengthen. There is now a full compliment of junior sides from Under 9’s to Under 18’s, a girl’s team, and 3 senior sides. The club has won 43 trophies since 2001, the under 15’s were North England runners-up in 2007, the 3rd XI has won 2 successive divisions in the past 2 years, and, 16 years after being expelled, following 6 promotions for the 1st XI in 11 years, the club regained its place in the Cheshire County League.

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