History of Steeton C.C.
In 1868, while the near-legendary W.G. Grace was in his pomp, and just four years after the introduction of over-arm bowling, Steeton Cricket Club was founded. The national events of the time included the discovery that Dr Livingstone still was alive in Africa, the American Civil War had recently finished, and Gladstone replacing Disraeli as British prime minister. The canal and railways had both been built, and, although motor cars were yet to be made (by Benz in 1885), the local road network was well established.
The Club was involved at the inception of the Craven League, being the very first champions of the Craven Cricket Union’s senior league in 1895. The Club’s First XI also competed in that league for the last time in 1897, and narrowly lost in the final of the Craven League’s Challenge cup (the predecessor of the Wynn Cup) in 1898, although not competing in the league during that year. The Club’s Second XI competed in various Craven Cricket Union leagues at various times between 1899 and 1924, and finally from
1950 until finishing as champions of their particular division in 1953.
The Club had played at three grounds before the outbreak of the Second World War; the first of the grounds being the Shroggs Field (where the Shroggs house was later to stand, before being demolished in 1994); in 1877 it moved to a ground on the Harewood estate (nearer to Eastburn); and the second move in 1895 being to the Elm Field ground (below Pott Lane) which was used until 1943. The Club built a pavilion in 1904 at a cost of £180, and bought the Elm Field ground for £330 in 1925. The location of the Elm Field ground was where the present Currer Rise estate is now.
From 1921 until the outbreak of the WWII, Steeton C.C. 1st XI played with success in the Wharfedale Section of the Yorkshire Cricket Council.
The early years of the 1930s was a glorious time for Steeton CC with the 1st XI being champions of the Wharfedale Section of the Yorkshire Cricket Council in both 1931 and 1932, and being runners-up in 1933. In 1933 Steeton also formed a short-lived Ladies cricket team!
The Second World War adversely interrupted cricket at Steeton as the Club was forced to vacate the ground in 1943 to make way for an extension to the Munitions factory testing station, and the pavilion at the Elm Field ground was gutted by fire in 1946.
So the immediate post-war years saw Steeton without a cricket ground (playing away games only), until the purchase of the present ground on Summerhill Lane from the Dixon family in 1948. The first matches played were in 1950 following the official opening by former Yorkshire captain Brian Sellers and ex-Yorkshire and England player Maurice Leyland.
From 1950 the 1st XI played in the Yorkshire Cricket Council (Bradford Section), and the 2nd XI competed in the Craven League, until the Club was elected to the Airedale-Wharfedale League in November 1953 – the first season being 1954.
Alterations to the original pavilion include the addition of a small bar in the June of 1976; which was then greatly improved in 1993, with a interest-free loan from the Mitchell Inns bar suppliers. In 1985 an extension to the side of the pavilion became the home team’s changing rooms, and the space where the old changing room had been, was used to increase the available floor space within the Club house, when the wall was removed. When the bar was improved in 1993 the floor space of
the Club house was further increased by incorporating the away team’s dressing room – the away team then moved to the home team’s dressing room and a new home team dressing room (along with a separate umpires’ room & shower area) was
added alongside it. The Club first bought a motorised roller in 1991, previously the large roller was made of stone cut from the quarry at Eastburn and needed to be pushed by the whole team. A concrete practice strip on the football field side of the square was laid in 1977, and lasted twenty years, with occasional changes of matting. It was removed in 1997 when a newer practice area, largely financed by a grant from the Millennium committee, was planned. This new practice area was completed in 1998 and consists of two lanes with a fixed frame netting. In 2005 the pavilion had a further extension to the front.
The 1987 season saw the Club’s first overseas player, Australian Keith Gillespie, and for each recent season Steeton has had an overseas player from Australia playing for the Club. A list of the overseas player are; Keith Gillespie (1987), Andrew B. Eime (1991 & 1994), Simon Williamson (1992), Brian A. McFadyen (1993), Ben J. Hook (1995), Warren P. Mitchell (1996), Timothy L. Anderson (1997), Matthew S. Pinniger (1998, 1999 & 2000), Grant P. Lindsay (2001 & 2002), Andrew K. Dalby (2003 & 2004), Nicholas M. Carroll (2005), Nathan N. Geisler (2006), Hagan W. Shakespeare (2007) & South African Ian Page (2008)
Since 1998 Steeton Cricket Club have gone from strength to strength, with an appearance in the Waddilove Cup in 1998, being bettered the following year when the 1st XI did ‘the double’ – A Division League Champions and Waddilove Cup winners. Steeton 1st XI were also runner-up in the League in 2000, 2005 & 2006. The 2nd XI have been League Champions in 1999, 2004, 2005 & 2006, as well as also runners-up in 2002, and have appeared in the Birtwhistle Cup final in both 2004 & 2006. In 2003 Steeton fielded a 3rd XI for the first time, and they have reached the Chappell Cup final in 2004 & 2006, and were runners-up in the League in 2005.
Other local families have been connected with the Club for many generations. Worthy of note are the Emmotts, the Smiths, the Tunneys and the Shackletons – in fact during one period the Steeton team was built around six members of the Shackleton family (five brothers and a cousin) and three Battersby brothers, which no doubt made for an interesting score book on occasions! Another ex-player worth a mention is sports commentator (“The Alderman” of Test Match Special) and author Don Mosey (1925-1999), who collected 61 first team league wickets in 1959.
Notable highlights on the cricketing front are:
- The First XI being champions of the Wharfedale Section of the Yorkshire Cricket Council in both 1931 and 1932, and being runners-up in 1933.
- The First XI reaching the final of the Waddilove Cup in 1969, 1998 & 1999, and the Second XI reaching the final of the Birtwhistle Cup in 1996 & 2004.
- Winning the Airedale & Wharfedale Burmah Oil Club trophy, for most collective points, in 1992, 1999 & 2005.
- The First XI doing the “Double” in 1999 – winning the Waddilove Cup and being ‘A’ Division league champions with 5 games still to play.