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The History  Page


in Clifton Cricket Club history

The full story of the first 125 years of events at Clifton Cricket Club are told in the club's official history. “Coals and Kingfishers” is available from the club at the reduced price of £2-95 (plus £1-50 postage and packing mainland Britain). A limited number of celebrity signed copies are available on a first come first served basis and contain signatures from sportsmen from football (Tommy Smith), cricket (Dermot Reeve), boxing (John H. Stracey), and rugby union (David Watkins). Send your request stating which celebrity you would prefer to: clifcc@ntlworld.com



& 1867 Pilkington brothers Edward and Alfred arrive in Clifton and become the village's principal employers in their various mining ventures. They were to later develop cricket as a part of their contribution to the local community.


& 1871 Evidence of cricket being played in Clifton found in a local man's diary which has survived in Salford Museum.


& 1874 Official date for foundation of club (and of St Anne's Church), financed by the Pilkington family.


& 1882 Club's earliest surviving photograph thought to be taken.


& 1892 Club enters South Lancashire League - finishes bottom.


& 1893 Club resigns from South Lancashire League after one season.


& 1896 Alfred Pilkington dies aged 56.


& 1900 Clifton "snake" hoax perpetrated when a local youth claims to have killed a snake on the mossland nearby. Despite his later confession that he'd stolen it from a travelling menagerie, it becomes part of Clifton folklore and later appeared on the club's badge.


& 1901 Former Hertfordshire player Frederick Field is appointed as the club's eighth professional.  The skipper promptly runs him out for nought in the first game!


& 1901 A third team was formed.


& 1901 Club record score of 295 for 8 achieved against Alderley Edge.


& 1903 Refreshment hut erected for spectators.


& 1905 Extra seating installed on the ground.


& 1905 Club re-enters South Lancashire League.


& 1912 W. H. (Bill) Barrick is appointed professional and commences a long and eventful relationship with the club.


& 1915 Clifton report twenty players enlisted to fight in the Great War to league's A G M.


& 1916 Cricket suspended - ground falls into disrepair.


& 1920 Resumption of cricket.


& 1921 Fred Balshaw of Little Lever is appointed as club coach.


& 1921 Tennis courts built on Manchester Road side of ground.


& 1922 Edward Pilkington dies and is buried at St Anne's church.


& 1922 Second team win league championship - the club's first honour.


& 1923 Club joins Bolton Association.


& 1924 Club resigns from Bolton Association after two seasons to re-join South Lancashire League.


& 1925 Ron Wallwork appointed, going on to be the club's longest serving professional.


& 1925 Lancashire County Club, including Dick Tyldesley, play at Clifton.


& 1928 First team wins the Pilkington Cup - its first major honour.


& 1935 Arthur Robins invited to play in an invitation game at Old Trafford by Cecil Parkin.


& 1935 Ron Wallwork's record breaking thirteen years as professional come to a close.


& 1936 Cricket ground sold to local council without the knowledge of the club, a decision which still has implications to this day.


& 1936 Road widening scheme means end of tennis courts on Manchester Road side of ground.


& 1937 Club re-enters the Bolton & District Cricket Association.


& 1941 Walter Wadsworth beats the legendary Billy Greenhalgh to the league batting prize.


& 1943 Club registers it's and Bolton Association's lowest ever score - seven all out against Astley & Tyldesley Collieries.


& 1945 Taylor Brothers' wicketkeeper Arthur Sullivan killed on the ground during a match in a freak accident.


& 1947 Club's first Bolton Association honour as second team win the Hardcastle Shield.


& 1950 W. H. Barrick's involvement with the club is ended.


& 1951 Army "Jane" hut erected on the Manchester Road side of the ground, the site for future buildings to the present day.


& 1953 Raymond Wolstenholme commences a twenty two year spell as Secretary.


& 1956 A large annual loss almost closes the club.


& 1961 The Pilkington connection with the club is finally broken after eighty six years as Dorothy and Denis Pilkington's names do not appear on the list of Vice Presidents.


& 1961 Arthur Robins dies prematurely.


& 1963 Possibly the club's longest serving member, Thomas Dewhurst Boardman dies.


& 1963 Junior Third team (for players under eighteen) is formed.


& 1965 Clifton House, former home of the Pilkington family, is demolished.


& 1966 Second team win Hardcastle Shield.


& 1967 Second team win Hardcastle Shield again.


& 1968 Plans are submitted and passed for the club's first brick built pavilion.


& 1969 Grant application confirmed as successful for new pavilion.


& 1969 Chairman Fred Wilkinson dies within days of confirmation of grant monies.


& 1969 Frank Upton takes all ten wickets for twenty five runs in a second XI game against Edgworth.


& 1970 New pavilion in use.


& 1972 New pavilion includes a licensed bar for the first time.


& 1973 First team win Cross Cup for the first time.


& 1973 Under 13 team become National Champions under the stewardship of Jack Wallwork.


& 1974 Club celebrates its centenary with a dinner at the Lancastrian Hall.


& 1974 Raymond Wolstenholme retires after twenty two years as Secretary Tom Fish's nineteen year Presidency ends.


& 1977 New lounge extension opened by Manchester United winger Gordon Hill.


& 1977 Tom Boardman wins second team league batting prize.


& 1979 Under 14s and under 18s are league champions.


& 1979 Alan Thomas, the club professional, passes Billy Greenhalgh's Bolton Association record aggregate runs total of 9,435.


& 1981 Perhaps the club's finest ever amateur bowler, Geoffrey Griffiths dies tragically.


& 1982 Second team are League champions.


& 1983 The first team win the championship of the Bolton Association for the first time and the Second team win the Halliwell Shield.


& 1985 Graham Robins takes all ten wickets for thirty three runs in second XI game against Roe Green.


& 1986 New brick built dressing room with water and electricity built.


& 1987 New extended club with re-sited bar and function room opened.


& 1988 Bolton Association celebrate their centenary year Clifton have another mediocre year.


& 1989 Club is knocked out of all three cup competitions in round one.


& 1990 Mansoor Rana comes as professional and averages over eighty. First team are runners up.


& 1992 Philip Royle and David Critchley break opening partnership record by scoring 188 against Blackrod.


& 1993 Third senior team accepted into North Manchester Cricket League and finish the season runners up.


& 1993 Mark Price wins Bolton Association professional's prize.


& 1994 1st XI are champions of the Bolton Association with a record number of points. Tony Potter wins Bolton Association 1st XI bowling prize and Gary Garner the batting and catching prize. In the second XI Richard Birch wins the B&DCA second XI bowling prize.


& 1995 Gary Garner completes a unique double / double by winning the league batting and catching prizes for a second year as well as completing a second haul of over 1000 runs.


& 1997 David Wild becomes the first ever Clifton player to win the Bolton Association first XI wicketkeeping award as well as captaining the side to a memorable Cross Cup win. Tony Potter wins Bolton Association 1st XI bowling prize again.


& 1998 Under 11s win cup and league double.


& 1998 Competitive Women's cricket played at the club for the first time.


& 1999 Geoff Griffiths eclipses Alan Thomas' aggregate runs record, but so does Edgworth's Mike Davies - both are still frantically searching for old scorebooks!


& 2000 Tony Potter wins Bolton Association 1st XI bowling prize for a third time and also the player of the year award. Gareth Cross becomes most promising young player - the first Clifton winner for sixteen years.


& 2000 Successful bid to the National Lottery, the Foundation for Sport & the Arts plus a massive effort from members and sponsors results in a six figure facelift for the club.


& 2000 Under eighteen side win Harry Johnson Knockout for the first time. Under fifteens and thirteens go one better and win cup and league. Under 11s have to settle for the knockout Standish Trophy.


& 2001 Andrew Griffiths emulates Gareth Cross by becoming most promising young player - the second Clifton winner in succession.


& 2001 Weather and other unfortunate factors lead to the ground being unfit for play for the whole season after drainage project went wrong. Incredible administrative effort by the committee gets all senior and junior games played elsewhere. Despite this the second XI are League Champions.


& 2002 Clifton enters the 21st century as it becomes one of the first local clubs to have its own website.


& 2002 Clifton leads the way in customer care by inaugurating a smoke-free area in the clubhouse.


& 2002 Second XI narrowly fail to complete the double but win the Isherwood Cup. Third XI promoted to North Manchester League division two.


& 2002 Under nines cricket league formed. Clifton amongst the founder members.


& 2003 Two players (David Hamilton and Peter Davis) surpass the magical 1000 for the season. Second XI win cup and league double.


& 2003 Under nines cricketers win cup and league double. Under eleven's win their knockout trophy.


& 2004 Bolton Association senior representative side score 301-5 on the ground, against the Saddleworth League. This was believed to be a record innings score for the ground.


& 2004 Tony Potter wins the vote for North Manchester League Captain of the Year.


& 2005 A momentous day in the club's history as, on April 1st a large contingent gathered in the club bar at around 9-40pm, receives confirmation that the club has been accepted into the Central Lancashire Cricket League for 2006. The new start comes exactly fifty years after the club came close to folding due to financial losses.


& 2005 A record breaking August saw Jack Edwards' highest ever individual score eclipsed by Chinthaka Jayasinghe's 173 against Astley and Tyldesley. He had already scored 165 against them in an earlier cup tie. Also, the second team twice passed the 300 mark in the month. The club record 295 achieved in 1901 is a first XI record however as records of 2nd XI games are hard to find, so although it is more than likely that the 321 achieved against Blackrod is a club record score, the original 295 as a 1st XI record still stands.


& 2005 The first XI finally breaks its Cross Cup hoodoo at the last attempt with a comprehensive victory over Elton in the Final.


& 2005 Stephen Birch emulates his brother by winning the B&DCA second XI bowling prize.


& 2006 The club begins its new adventure in the Central Lancashire League and appoints its first ever overseas amateur in Aaron Vincec from Australia.


& 2006 Club's 1st XI record score which had lasted over 100 years, is eclipsed as first XI score 298-2 against Unsworth.


& 2007 A record breaking season in which the 2006 record score was broken a further twice. In August the 1st XI score 372-2 against Monton and Weaste and in September, a remarkable 415-4 against Royton. Professional Chinthaka Jayasinghe, in his last game for the club, also broke his own individual record by scoring 181 in 80 balls against Royton.


& 2007 In a damp summer in which a number of games were lost to the weather, three 1st XI batsmen, Chinthaka Jayasinghe, Gary Garner and the club’s most successful ever overseas amateur Hiranthe Wijesinghe, all passed 1000 runs for the season.


& 2008 New professional Adil Nisar and opening partner Chris Lord set a new opening partnership record of 234 against Ashton.


& 2009 The second XI win the Burton Knockout Cup - the first senior trophy won in the Central Lancashire Cricket League.


& 2009 Treasurer David Robins steps down from his position after a remarkable thirty five years in office.


& 2010 The club appoints its first South African professional in Hendro Puchert.


& 2011 Seventeen year old Adam Holt scores over 800 runs for 1st XI. However, the season ends trophy-less at both junior and senior level.


& 2012 Sri Lankan pace man Madura Perera becomes the club’s second Sri Lankan professional.


& 2012 The wettest season in living memory ends with a top eight finish for 1st and second XIs. This meant that both sides will play in the new Central Lancashire League’s Premier Division in 2013.


& 2012 After languishing at the bottom of the league all season, the third XI wins the last 6 competition and avoids relegation.


& 2013 New Zealand born Cameron Murray who was raised in Australia from an early age, is appointed as 2013 professional.


& 2013 Steve Cheetham registers an astonishing ten wickets for eighteen runs against Rochdale for the first XI.


& 2013 The third XI’s third place finish is the highest ever in the North Manchester League Division 2 whilst the under 18s win their knockout trophy and the under 13s are league champions.


& 2014 A third Sri Lankan after Chinthaka Jayasinghe and Madura Perera, becomes Clifton’s 2014 professional as batsman Thilina Masmulla agrees to join the club.


& 2014 Discussions get under way around the possibility of a complete shake up of the existing Greater Manchester leagues’ system with the Greater Manchester pyramid set to replace the Bolton Association, Bolton League, Central Lancashire League, Lancashire County League and several others if it goes ahead.


& 2015 After a successful county cricket career which included being an ever-present in Lancashire’s County Championship winning team, former junior player Gareth Cross returns as club professional. He is the club’s first English professional for 11 years.


& 2015 At the club’s May meeting, it was decided that the club should resign from the Central Lancashire League to become founder members of the Greater Manchester Cricket League in 2016.


& 2015 Ian Morris’ 2nd XI sign off from the Central Lancashire League by winning the cup and league double. The side remained unbeaten until August.


& 2016 The club starts life in the new Greater Manchester Cricket League’s Premier Division with Gareth Cross as professional and captain. The first two games end in victory.


& 2016 The club’s T20 side, the Kingfishers, win the first GMCL T20 competition by beating Heywood Monkeys in the final at a soggy Woodbank CC.


& 2017 The club chairman Ian Morris, installs a camera on the scorebox that allows all home games to be seen anywhere in the world via a phone, tablet, PC or similar device. The system includes a live feed and a highlights package.


& 2017 Former Clifton player, captain and then respected umpire Ernie Johnson, passed away following a long battle with cancer.


& 2017 Leah Greenhalgh becomes the first female to play competitive senior cricket at Clifton in a third XI victory at Littleborough Lakeside.