Leagues played in: ECB Premier League
Contact details: Martin Fowler, firstname.lastname@example.org
By Martin Fowler
Grimsby Town Cricket Club was formed in 1899 after calls for a representative side for the Town. It was decided to create such a side with players from 4 established clubs in the town, namely: St. James’ C.C., St. John’s C. C., Healing C.C. and Worsley C.C. (The latter club was the venue for a 3 day game in 1876, a Grimsby XXII against United Players of the South XI. Over 2 days W.G. Grace scored his highest individual total of 400* – the game was a draw.)
The first game for the new team was arranged for June 14th 1899 against Lindum at Lincoln. Other games arranged that season were against Beverley, Worksop and Newark. A return match against Lindum was played in front of a large crowd at People’s Park on 19th July. As part of our centenary celebration in 1999 a Lindum side kindly came to Grimsby to play a return friendly.
The new team was thought to be such a success that a Town representative side should be officially formed and a meeting at the Town Hall on September 29th 1899 was called. It was advertised in the press under the heading “ A Town C.C. for Grimsby – Important Meeting of Cricketers.” It was resolved unanimously “That a representative club to be called The Grimsby Town Cricket Club be formed by the amalgamation of the clubs of the district.” It was passed that the ground used should be that of St. James’ C.C. and the St. John’s ground used for reserve matches.
Representative XI matches continued in 1900 and were played at People’s Park. The club colours would be navy blue and gold and the club badge would be the Borough coat of arms.
The new Grimsby Town C.C. first played games around the town in 1900 but found its first official home later that year in a field off Littlefield Lane. It boasted a fine wooden pavilion and running water – 3 Gifford brothers managing the fundraising required. (The site is now covered by the houses around Compton Drive.)
The club played at the ground for 30 odd years. Great names of the era to play here were Herbert Sutcliffe, Percy Holmes and Wilfred Rhodes. Dark clouds were gathering however: in 1921 an adverse balance was reported at the AGM and the Church who owned the land were looking to sell. The coup de grace came when the Church commissioners sold the ground to Sir Alec Black who required the Club to vacate in 1935.
A saviour appeared: Capt. Oscar Dixon agreed to rent the Club 2 fields at the back of his Paper Mills ground. The work to transform these water meadows into a cricket ground was undertaken by Ernest Blackburn who within 2 or 3 years had got the ground up such a standard that Lincolnshire began playing minor counties games here. This is of course our current ground.
By the late 1950s it was clear that the old pavilion and other facilities were not suitable for modern cricket and plans were drawn up to make improvements. The Committee backed by a strong Ladies Committee began fund raising; work began in 1960 and the new pavilion opened in 1961. There have been a number of changes at the ground since then but the fabric is now 55 years old!
In the early days when car ownership was for the well-off and limited by a poor road network, the Club relied on the railway. Lincoln, Boston, Scunthorpe and Hull clubs were often visited. In 1921 Town entered 2 sides in the newly formed Grimsby and District Cricket League. When the Lincolnshire Cricket League was formed in 1963 Grimsby were founder members, as we were when the LCB Premier League began in 2000.