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Club History

Club History

 

2013 will be Methley Cricket Club's 150th season of organized cricket, following it's offical birth in the year 1863. There has been reference in the local press to eleven men of Methley opposing eleven of Castleford, at an earlier date, but no details of that encounter are known.

At its's inception, the club used two grounds one at Moorhouse Farm for the 1st X1 known as the Methley Gentlemen, and another at the Brickyard, which was assigned to the 2nd X1. It was only seven years later, courtesy of the Earl Of Mexborough, that the club moved to it's present ground Little Church Lane (or Churchside as it was then called), and has remained there ever since, it was semi-enclosed with fencing until the late fifties when the latter was removed to provide it's present open aspect.

The Little Church Lane ground has been the venue for many important games over the years, particularly during the immediate post - Second World War period, when the club was host to the famous Jack Appleyard All Star Team, on a number of occasions, in raising funds for various charities, or for benefit matches. It follows, that county, ex-county, and indeed, international cricketers, have batted and bowled on a "Square" believed to be one of the best around.

Large crowds have gathered at Methley on important occasions, the largest, at least in recent times, being estimated at 1,000 plus for a National Village Championship quarter - final game against Colwall from Worcestershire.

A special feature of the Methley ground is the viewing shed with terraced concrete floor, situated on the Pontefract Road side of the ground. Constructed in 1931, it ranks as a listed building by the Department of the Enviroment.

Methley Victoria as it was originally known, engaged largley in friendly matches against local opposition until becoming founder members of the Rothwell and District Cricket League in 1891. No longer in existance of course, it was a strong and leading local league at the time. Subsequently, the club competed in the Wakefield, Osgoldcross (Pontefract) and Yorkshire Central Leagues, whilst there are unconfirmed reports that it spent some time in the Huddersfield and District Cricket League prior to the First World War.

After the war, and a few uneventful seasons in the Yorkshire Central League, and an unsuccessful application to join the reformed Leeds League, the club became members of the West Riding League in 1929, however after improvement to the grounds and facilites, it was duly elected to membership of the Leeds League, where a reasonable measure of success was achieved.

During the early years of the last war, up to and including the 1942 season, Methley succeeded in fielding one team in an emergency Leeds Area League, using mainley older players and locally - based service "guest" players.

On the resumption of normal cricket in 1946, a successful application had been made to join the Yorkshire Cricket Council, as members of the Pontefract Section, of which Methley first became champions in 1950. it was not until the early seventies, however that the club's real success story began. The League Championship was won in 1974 and in the space of a few years, there were two appearances in the Yorkshire Cricket Council's Championship Play - Off's

Success extented into the eighties when Methley became probably the strongest team in the Pontefract Section of the Yorkshire Cricket Coucil, achieving further Championship victories and also lifting the Hepworth Cup.

The club's major opposition, Altofts had already joined the Central Yorkshire Cricket League and an "unoffical" approch indicated the league would welcome an application from Methley. One was duly lodged and the club accepted into the league's then 2nd Division. Promotion was won, and in the first season, since which, every major Trophy, except one open to it, has been won, and in most cases, more than once. The exception is the Champion's Competition, although having advanced to to semi-final on one occasion, the club had to withdraw because of an appearance at Lords on the scheduled date. The successes include the League Champions, The Yorkshire Council Championship, the Jack Hampshire trophy, the Heavy Woollen Cup, and not least the National Village Cricket Championship. Two appearances at Lords in the final, in 1993 and 1998 provided a defeat and a victory. In the 1998 final, Methley's opening partnership of 152 stands as a record for the competiton.