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Tuesday, 23 July 2019
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Honours - Professionals - Roy Gilchrist - Frank Tyson - Basil D'Oliveira - Hedley Verity

The History Of Middleton Cricket Club

There is evidence that in 1857, "Middleton Albion" reported a match was played at Hollin Lane between Middleton and Chadwick's employees, Middleton scored 66 and the employees 27; this was followed by a sumptuous feast at the Old Boar's Head, Mr. Chadwick was a local silk manufacturer. 
The Boar's Head in Middleton - Where the first Middleton CC meeting took placeIt should be remembered that Middleton was, in those days an agricultural district and every other man one met was a farmer, a farm labourer or a hand-loom weaver. What a lovely town or village it must have been. The contour of the land lent itself to natural beauty, with its woods and fields and its two rivers, brimful no doubt with trout and other fish. What a contrast to the current town, heavily populated and surrounded by light and heavy industry polluting the atmosphere.

There is no doubt that the current home of Middleton - Towncroft - was the last of several areas in the town where Middleton played the wonderful game. One certainly on record was opposite the Old Town Hall; owned by Mr. Schwabbes, whose factory chimney in Rhodes was a landmark that few could forget. The terms of the one year lease was five shillings; half of which had been paid prior to the start of the season. The first match was to be played against Rhodes, but was in jeopardy as having spent seven shillings and sixpence in Needhams Sports Shop on equipment the club found itself with only one shilling and nine pence. This dilemma was soon rectified with a collection on the Friday evening in the Old Boar's Head; the match went ahead with Rhodes scoring 51 to Middleton’s 47.

Then followed a gap with no matches being reported in 1879, but on the 28th August, 1880 Middleton organised an Athletic festival on the Rhodes ground. From that date to 1888 there were still no matches reported. The late Frederick Entwistle, who became the Town Clerk, came to the rescue and called a meeting at the Town Hall, the result was the present club; matches were played at Towncroft in 1889 against Stand, Prestwich and Bury.

On 19th April, the pavilion was opened in the presence of a large crowd, which included the elite of the town including Samuel Barlow and all the principal men concerned with the government of the town. The ceremony was performed by Alderman John Willie Lees and a silver key is still held today at the headquarters of the brewery. The first professional to be engaged was Hone Foster from Kent in 1895, followed by Bill Brown of Staffordshire who remained with the club for ten years. It was during his appointment that Middleton won their first trophy; the league championship in 1898, the captain was John Henry Wood.

Alderman Wood was distinguished in the civic life of the town, holding the office of mayor from 1911-13 and from 1922-25; during his first years of office he was president and captain of the club at the same time. He lived opposite the ground on Towncroft Avenue and on 27th July 1922 he became the clubs greatest benefactor. In agreement with the Rector of the Parish Church, The Reverend Thomas Jones and in conjunction with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England, for a sum of £1,800 he purchased the glebe land for the club.

In 1924, John Henry Wood conveyed the land to the club trustees, of whom he was one, subject to the future covenants contained in the 1922 conveyance; a recital in this deed said that John Henry Wood was desirous of making provision for the permanent use of the land by Middleton Cricket Club so long as such club should continue in existence as a cricket club. There were however restrictions in the deeds, in respect of the Sabbath and the sale of alcohol.

The victorious Middleton side with the Wood Cup in 2001 (click to view scorecard)Well those basically are the facts of how are forefathers gave us the opportunity to flourish, prosper and have the basics for developing and area in excess of 3 acres of land as an ongoing exercise, for the benefit of players and members. The next real challenge to the club outside the cricketing arena was in 1963 when the league decided to introduce Sunday fixtures. The club was literally stumped, under the covenants. The committee, certainly not unanimous on the sale of alcohol decided to seek "Queens Council's opinion". Mr. Joseph Turner, L.L.M. the Recorder of Liverpool was engaged. His findings were no way conclusive, but he recommended we approach the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

The Rector of Middleton was Harry Moore. Trevor Roydes and Hubert Taylor, some of Middleton's greatest servants and characters were summoned to the Rectory. The first words the Rector said to Hubert were "I have not seen you in church recently Hubert". To which he replied, "No I haven’t seen you in the White Hart either". Despite this, it was not until 1965 that the committee saw fit to build a bar.

Middleton can be proud of some of their cricketing feats; both individual and bowling records were held until recently by Middleton players. On 26th April 1952 Middleton born Eric Price the club professional returned the remarkable bowling figures at Littleborough of 8.7 overs 5 maidens 4 runs for 10 wickets. This record has stood for almost 50 years and is likely to so for another 50. Until 2000 Middleton also held the batting record with an inning by South African Brad Osborne of 223. Previously beating the popular Trinidadian Kelvin Williams (another Middleton player). This record has now gone to former Oldham professional Brandon Nash.

How many clubs can lay claim to having had three players at their club, who later became County players and prosper even further and play for England. Middleton are proud to be in this position; Hedley Verity, Frank Tyson and Basil D'Oliveira. They, along with former West Indian Professional Roy Gilchrist can be found elsewhere in the club History section.

Since winning the League Championship in 2000 and Wood Cup in 2001 Middleton have been in transition, looking to build again for the future. 

Since winning the League Championship in 2000, the club has been steadily rebuilding for the future, which epitomised the 2011 season, where the club won the Wood Cup, the Twenty20 Cup, the Second Division Trophy and the Oldham Brewery Trophy. In 2012 the club went even further by retaining the Wood and Twenty20 Cups and winning the Burton Cup. If they continue along this path, which Middleton’s forefathers set, their future should look bright and successful.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 12 April 2017 )
Home of the Moonrakers

Middleton C.C. currently compete in the Lancashire Cricket League.

Senior matches take place on the majority of Saturday and Sundays.

The Junior sides play on various nights throughout the week, as well as the Under 13s playing on Sunday mornings.

We have a function room that is available for hire all year round. For more information click here.

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Club Opening Hours
Sat        12 noon-11pm
Sun        12 noon-11pm
Mon  8:00pm-11pm   
Tues  8:00pm-11pm   
Weds  8:00pm-11pm   
Thurs  8:00pm-11pm   
Fri  4:00pm-11pm
Play Cricket Website
For all fixtures, results and statistics please visit our Play Cricket website here.
Training Times
Senior Training
Mon/Tues   6pm-8pm
Thursday   6pm-8pm
Junior Training
Friday     6pm-7.30pm  
Club Membership

The Club is always on the look out for new members. Be it purely social or playing membership, we are always looking to expand our community.

Membership forms can be picked up from behind the bar or downloaded from here.

50/50 Club
The Club hold a weekly draw. The cost is £5 per month, and the weekly prize is £50. Anybody interested should contact Peter Collinson.
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