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History of Read CC from 1878 to 2013

Read is the only club with continuous membership of the Ribblesdale League since the foundation in 1891. Tradition says that the making of the cricket field was started in the Great Strike of 1878. A club historian writing in a 1939 booklet said that "Men in 1939 could clearly remember the present ground being a meadow with a great hole in the middle".

The first match recorded by the Burnley Advertiser was of Read second XI versus Lowerhouse Colts at Read on 6th July, 1878.

In the mid 1880's the farmer adjacent to the ground antagonized the villages by building a barn in the north west corner of the cricket field, taking advantage of the absence on holiday of the landowners, the Forts of Read Hall. This barn, which used to provide some shade on hot days for spectators, has now been pulled down but the short boundary has caused headaches for captains placing their fieldsmen ever since.

The bowling green was laid about 1909. No league cricket took place during the First World War. In 1919 there was reconstruction of the ground following dilapidation during the war years, so that no cricket was played and Read missed its only league season.

In 1923 came the tennis courts (on the site of the present pavilion), the old tearoom was erected and part of the field was re-drained. With scant resources and a village population of less than a thousand, Read had few successes until after Second World War.

In 1949, just before the strong clubs such as Blackpool, Leyland, Lancaster left to form the Northern League, the first championship was won. The skipper, Harry Haworth, village blacksmith, joiner and undertaker, was a tough character who did not believe in "tey party cricket" but was immensely popular. Professional Jack Dyson from over the hill at Sabden, fast bowler and legendary figure, once hit a ball on to the then Co-operative Shop roof on Fort Street, arguably the greatest hit ever made at Read. And during 1949 a youngster Peter Fairclough made his debut. He was to prove the mainstay of the Read batting for the next 25 years and more. The championship was celebrated by flags and buntings’ streaming from every house and a video exists of the highlight of the final triumph and the massed crowds welcoming home their heroes from the nail biting 5 run win at Settle.

During the 1950's Club President, Richard Fort, MP was tragically killed. A band of dedicated supporters raised enough money to buy the land from Mrs Fort, ensuring the continuity of cricket for future generations. The League Trophy was won again in 1957, when it was shared with Earby. The captain now was Ronnie Stevenson, a man of fanatical determination.

In 1961 the title was won outright with Tommy Lowe as professional, and again in 1964 when the professional was the popular West Indian Rupert Jackman. Outstanding amongst the amateurs in this vintage period was villager Richard Goodway whose loyalty, sportsmanship, brilliant stroke play and fielding have delighted Read supporters and still do.

The 1970's were vintage years for the club. 1972 saw Read achieve the double under Ernie Sumner. The league was won without a defeat: Played 22, Won 14, Drawn 8, Lost 0, Points 64 - 22 clear of Blackburn Northern in second place. The cup was won without professional Alan Worsick. His 86 wickets the following season ensured a second successive championship. A second double came in 1975, this time incredibly without a professional, an unparalleled feat in the League's history. John Waddington was the enterprising captain and Frank Newby's incredible economical bowling (8 overs, 6 maidens, 10 runs, 2 wickets) helped beat Barnoldswick in the Ramsbottom Cup Final.

The groundsman during these halcyon years was a colourful village character, diminutive in stature but highly vociferous when supporting his team Jack Wade.

During this period the Haig National Village Cup Competition created great interest and the team had a tremendous following. Of many famous battles, the most worthy of recall is the quarter-final match 1974 versus Bomersund of Northumberland, who narrowly beat Read and went on to win the Final at Lord's. The crowd, estimated at 2,000, was the largest anyone could remember at Read.

The highest scoring Haig Cup game was at Woodhouses (Manchester) in 1975. Read scored 260, losing their last four wickets in four balls with two overs to spare. Woodhouses also scored 260, taking the last run with a leg bye off the last ball of the match and winning by virtue of having fewer wickets down. In 1977 in another last-ball thriller against Warton, wicketkeeper Peter Grainger scored the winning run after failing to connect with the previous two balls!

A new tea room had been erected in 1964 and in 1975 under the imaginative chairmanship of our now club president, Derek Birchall, a new pavilion was built and opened by the Lancashire Chairman Cedric Rhoades and Lancashire and England batsman Cyril Washbrook. The club's centenary in 1978 saw the opening of a new scoreboard and was celebrated by a match against David Lloyd's Lancashire XI which included Clive Lloyd, Jack Simmons and David Hughes.

The championship was won in 1979 under the astute captaincy of the former Chairman, David Rigby, and with the talented Australian Barry Curtin as professional. The second XI under Frank Newby won the Division 1 title and the Lawrenson Cup in 1979 to make it a truly vintage year.

The only trophies in the 1980's were a second successive Lawrenson Cup win in 1980 and the Ramsbottom Cup won at Cherry Tree in 1987 under the captaincy of Michael Georgeson with Graham Bushell as professional. Malcolm Grainger, village baker and erstwhile groundsman and odd-job man was chosen as Ribblesdale League Clubman of the Year, the award presented by Jim Laker.

In the winter of 1995 the Club brought in as Chairman an outsider from Rishton Wilf Woodhouse who had been Chairman at Rishton C.C. for the last 15 years. During the following seasons the club won the Ramsbottom Cup and the Lewis Cup in 1996, and were Division 2 champions in 1995 and 1997. Nick Marsh set a new club batting record of 794 runs in 1995.

In 2000, Read won the Ramsbottom Cup by defeating home club Cherry Tree. Professional Peter Sleep took 1-11 from 10 overs and then hit 52 to take Read past their target. Oliver Newby won the 'Man of the Match' award for his spell of 3-30. Sleep in his second and final year as professional hit a club record 1411 league runs. The club won the Lawrenson Cup in 2001.

After a break of 23 Years the clubs recent run of success was again to the fore by lifting the League Championship under the captaincy of Warren Eastham in his first year at the helm in Season 2003. In the following season the club had its most successful to date with 5 out of the 6 teams lifting a Trophy, The first XI did the double by defeating Gt Harwood in the Cup Final in a high scoring game at Padiham and by lifting the league title a double was again achieved. T Little broke N Marsh's club batting record by scoring 800 runs for the season. 

In season 2004 Read carried on with its winning ways by lifting the league title again, making it 3 championships in succession, a feat not done for over 60 years.

In 2005, Read’s professional was Kenyan vice-captain all-rounder Thomas Odoyo, having been recommended by Padiham pro Mudasser Nazar, Kenya’s chief coach. Odoyo had first been capped as a 17 year old in the 1996 Wold Cup. Warren Eastham continued as captain. Young Will Driver scored 799 runs at average of 34.73; with Terry Little scored 457 runs at 41.54. Unfortunately Odoyo’s contract had to be cancelled when he was badly injured fielding at Read. He returned home for treatment.

In 2006 was not a great season, Chairman Wilf signed Dodda Ganesha as professional and sacked secretary David Marshall after 30 years with the club. Groundsman Malcolm Grainger resigned in protest. The pro with 618 runs at 36.35 was outscored by 17 year old Will Driver who with 1,023 runs at 51.15 broke the club’s amateur record.

Read’s 2nd XI was more successful, winning the Lawrenson Cup, with Sam Marshall scoring a magnificent 144 including nineteen 4’s and five 6’s.

After 12 years very successful cricketing years as chairman, Wilf Woodhouse resigned and was replaced by Steve Lowes.

Thomas Odoyo was re-signed for 2007, but was again unable to complete a full season, being recalled by both Kenya and Africa. The season was completed with a succession of sub pros and the team finished 5th from bottom. A strong junior presence was starting to take place, with Kyle O’Connor and Chris Holt adding valuable runs alongside Will Driver.

Jon Harvey was persuaded by the chairman to sign as professional in 2008. The experienced all-rounder thought to be the ideal selection to bring through the increasing number of promising juniors. This was Read’s 130th year and was celebrated in style with the Summer Fayre, occurring on the one fine day in a period of awful weather – as promised by chief organiser Frank Newby. Read finished in 4th place with Harvey scoring 775 and taking 63 wickets.

One of the highlights of the 2008 season was the Ramsbottom cup quarterfinal at Baxenden. With 30 runs needed to win the match in last over, Andrew Rushton hit 5 consecutive 6’s to win the game finishing 57n.o.

Harvey, now a Read resident, continued as professional in 2009, scoring 645 runs and taking 55 wickets as Read improved to 3rd place. Harvey was backed up with 543 runs from Joe Marshall and 42 wickets from Andrew Rushton and 47 from warren Eastham. A significant purchase was negotiated by Frank Newby with mobile covers acquired from Great Harwood, leading to year on year improvement in pitch hardness.

2010 saw Jon Harvey, in his final year as a professional, and Chris Holt as skipper, lead Read to the league runners up spot. Chris having returned from a winter in Australia showed how much he had developed and scored 739 runs. The feature performance of the season came from Andrew Rushton, who took 9 for 29 in 14.4 overs against Oswaldtwistle. Other notable performances that year were from Chris Holt with bowling figures of 8 for 18 and batting of 108 not out in 64 balls. Plus he scored 22 off one over from ex Lancs and England player Ian Austin.

The 2nd XI went one better, winning the Division 1 title, 20 points ahead of local rivals Padiham.

In 2011, Read again just fell short, this time finishing runners up to Baxenden by just 6 points. Will Driver returned to the club and played as an amateur alongside former pro Jon Harvey, with Stuart Hornby as the paid man. Will scored 702 runs @43.88. Jon took 50 wickets. In his second season at Read, Mohammed Jamal scored an amazing 157 not out off 83 balls (11 x 4’s and 13 x 6’s) v Baxenden in the T20 competition. Somehow we lost that group game, but still went on to be runners up in the competition.

The 2012 season saw Jamal really hit new levels with his batting, scoring 939 runs at 52.17, including a top score of 141 v Gt Harwood on 12th May. Oliver Newby played a few games at the start of the season as an amateur, with fellow Lancs player Jordan Clarke contracted as our professional for the season. Joe Marshall was denied his maiden century when he could only hit a 4 off the last ball to reach 99 not out. Needless to say he was fined for ‘jibbing’ on his 100 by not hitting a 6!

The 2nd XI under Andrew Turner’s captaincy won the First Division title again going through the league season unbeaten to finish 33 points clear of Brinscall 1st XI. Unfortunately the only game the team lost was the Lawrenson Cup final at Clitheroe.

In 2013, the cricket and bowling club saw the culmination of 4 years of effort when the new building incorporating modern changing rooms, machine workshop and a superb pavilion for the bowlers was opened by former Read professional and Lancashire Cricket Board Director Andy Hayhurst. With the help of funding from the ECB, Sport England, the RDPE and Ribble Valley Borough Council the £320,000 project was completed in time for the new season. The club had to contribute £45,000, which was through a long period of fundraising using the club’s reserves which had been built up over many years.

On the cricket field, it was a mixed season. Mohammed Jamal stepped up to professional and finished as the league’s top run scorer with over 1,100 runs. Unlike the majority of team’s in the league,  Read’s 1st XI regularly featured eight players who came through the club’s junior set up, ao perhaps we should have been pleased with 4th place. However, opportunities to win a number of games were let slip during the middle of the season.

Individually there were excellent statistics and several former Read juniors had their best ever seasons, including Joe Marshall with over 900 runs, Kyle O’Connor with over 700, Elliott Artingstoll over 500 and Conor Lowes over 350 at typically rapid rate. With the ball, Elliot Lowes reached 50 wickets for the first time and Andrew Rushton had his highest return with 49 wickets. 15 year old Kieren Grimshaw was rewarded for some exceptional performances for the district and league junior sides with the League’s Young Player of the Year award.


Updated from Alan West's One Hundred Years of the Ribblesdale Cricket League, with contributions from David Marshall and Steve Lowes.