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
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.