History of Great Preston Cricket Club

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					History of Great Preston Cricket Club
Cricket at Berry Lane can be traced back to at least 1884. Some confusion
exists as early references can be found to a Great Preston Old Hall Cricket
Club. Research indicates that at no time were there two separate clubs in
existence in any one year, and it is reasonable to assume that at some point
“Old Hall” was dropped from the club’s title.

Great Preston participated in the Sagar-Musgrave Challenge Cup, a local
knockout competition, in 1891 and 1892. However, the call for league cricket
proved irresistible and the club joined the newly formed Woodlesford and
District League and 1893. In the first year Great Preston and Methley shared
top place. In 1899 a welcome move was made to the Barkston Ash league
where the club remained a loyal member for 70 years.

It was the mid 1920’s before Great Preston made its presence felt. The Lane
Fox cup was won in 1923, 1925 and 1926 and the championship followed in
1929. Probably the best performance by a Great Preston bowler occurred in
1943 when Jake McDermott took seven Micklefield wickets without conceding
a run. Many cricketers will remember GPCC stalwarts of those days, such as
Reg and Tom Wigglesworth, Tom Ingle and ‘Budge’ Firth.

With the nationalisation of the mines in 1947, the ground was acquired by the
National Coal Board. A new pavilion was erected and officially opened by Mr
GW Firth, manager of Primrose Colliery. In 1948 a new wicket was laid,
which forced the cricket club to play all their games away from home for a
season. With Norman Kilburn as captain, four more championships and
another Lane Fox Cup were ample proof of the team’s caliber. In a 1964 cup
tie, Whitehall were dismissed for only 23, a youthful Mick Clark taking five
wickets for nine in only 41 balls. Successful captains in post war years were
John Stainsby, J Marshall, Jim Stockwell and Sammy Parker.

With the ground now considered good enough to stage the 1968 Cup Final,
the club was ready for a move. It came in 1970 with admission to the Leeds
League. It took only two seasons for Great Preston to win promotion. The
prospects for First Division cricket looked bright, but there was a setback in
1974 when, owing to subsidence, the ground could not be used. The first
team was forced to play every match away, with the second eleven using
Swillington’s ground for home games.

Great Preston came extremely close to winning the 1979 Championship, and
there was more disappointment in the Wood Cup Final two years later.
Preston’s score stood at 14 for 3, but John Bowden (77) and Mick Clark (57)
set about the Rothwell attack with such ferocity that the total eventually
reached 231 for 7. Even so, Rothwell won by four wickets off the very last

Amends were made in 1987 with a Wood Cup victory over Leeds Police in a
rain ruined final at Carlton. In 1990 the Hepworth Cup was retained for a
second year with a pulsating nine run win over Whitkirk. Though the first
team narrowly failed to win promotion in 1991, a late run by the second eleven
secured the division 2a title. The combined performance of both teams
resulted in the award by the league of the new Walter Cussans Trophy as the
“Club of the Year”. This was immensely gratifying to all the members,
especially those loyal workers, headed by Alan Dickinson, who laboured so
hard to build the new pavilion in 1990.

Further Hepworth Cup Finals were graced by Great Preston in 1993 and
1996. A victory over Carlton followed a defeat by Woodhouse before a move
to the neighbourly Wetherby League followed in 2000. Successful captains
were Mick Galloway and Phil Wilkinson. Russell Milner’s side had to struggle
in the first 2 years. However, success was gained in the Fred Fleetwood
Trophy and the team settled down with a trickle of new recruits coming

The club enjoyed its most successful season for many a year in 2003. Led by
Ian Newton, the first eleven ‘swept the board’ and competed admirably in the
‘champions of champions’ competition, the ‘Black Sheep’ Trophy. The
Huddersfield League Champions Kirkburton, with their professional backing,
were beaten in the quarter final. This was a real thrill and was duly earned.
Yorkshire League Champions Harrogate proved too strong in the semi-final,
but the team were not disgraced.

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Description: About the history of cricket and details about some legendary cricketers