Accrington Cricket Club
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Accrington and District League Days

Accrington first entered a 3rd XI in the North East Lancashire League in 1912. In 1920, the club entered the ADCL for the first time, finishing bottom. Grounds were difficult to come by in the 1920's, as there were no Council owned pitches yet. League Secretary Riley Holding was on the committee at Accrington and at his instigation, Accrington supplied a 3rd XI to take over the playing record of Church Kirk midway through the 1924 season, finishing 4th in the table.

Hospital Cup
Although Accrington entered the Hospital Cup in 1927, they didn't enter the ADCL again until 1934. By now Highams Playing Fields, with a new cricket square laid by Accrington Groundsman Bill Thornton, was available for use, giving the team a pitch to play on. League Chairman Edgar Turner was 3rd XI captain up until the end of the 1939 season. The team enjoyed some success in this period, especially in 1939 when they won the Harry Wood Cup and were also league runners up. Their leading bowlers were Dougie Allen and Jim Birtwistle. Ken Bradshaw won the league batting prize in 1937 as did Fred Ainsworth in 1939.

After the Second World War, Accrington entered the North East Lancs League, winning the Championship in 1947 and 1948. In 1955, they re-entered the ADCL, being B Division runners up. Russ Cuddihy, Eddie Robinson and Brian Rutter were in the side during that season. Accrington won the Entwistle Cup in 1956 as Harry Wood Cup runners up, losing to Hibernians in the final. Alan Worsick, Neville Richardson and Bob Barnes appeared in the team towards the end of the 1950's. 1960 saw David Lloyd make his debut along with Ian Birtwistle.

Disastrous
In 1961, under the captaincy of Peter Westwell, Accrington were B Division runners up, Alan Worsick taking 40 wickets for 107 runs in winning the bowling prize. After a disastrous season in the A Division, Accrington entered the North East Lancs League again from 1963 until 1979. In 1980, the team joined the new Lancashire League 3rd XI, until the end of the 1993 season when they again entered the North East Lancs League.

In the mid 1970's Accrington found themselves with a large playing section, some of whom were not considered potential 1st or 2nd XI players, so in 1976 the club decided to form a 4th XI and enter the ADCL under the captaincy of Duncan Warburton. Players such as Michael Demaine, Andy McCredie, Brian Mason, Nigel Stockley, Steve Sipocz and Peter Clark formed the backbone of the side in the teams first season in the league. In later years players such as Paul Barratt, Martin Whittle, Mark Demaine and Neil Barnes would begin their careers in the side.

Lloyd and Stead
Peter Clark took over as captain in 1978, his 9 - 23 against Haslingden Youth Club Old Boys the following season still being the teams best bowling figures. The 4th XI regularly finished bottom of the league in the 1970's and 1980's but still managed to unearth some young diamonds. In 1981, Accrington professional David Stead's son Gary, who went on to play Test Cricket for New Zealand, played against Rishton Free Gardeners on Highams and the following season, Graham Lloyd made a fleeting appearance against Hargreaves Arms, scoring 15 well struck runs. The captain was now Keith Sowerbutts and the side also included Andy Lee, Mark Saulle, the Rev. Denis Crook, Mark Stevenson and Mark Phillipson. Simon Bray, Paul Schofield and Trevor Caldecott played under Bob Barnes' captaincy in 1983 and in 1985, the team finished as B Division runners up, Manny Hussain winning the B Division batting prize.

Bright spot
The only bright spot in the next few years was in 1989 when Alven Burrows scored a club record 423 runs. By now Ian Ormerod had taken over the reigns. Tom Pendergast joined the club from Cavaliers in 1988 and several young players such as Chris Cunliffe and Ashley Amos were coming through. The addition of Michael Donnelly in 1990 helped the 4th XI to third place but failure soon returned. After being B Division leaders on June 6th 1992, Accrington were relegated at the end of the season. The team ended the 1993 season as C Division runners up, but for the next three years they finished bottom of the league having lost their leading players to the 3rd XI which was now back playing regular cricket in the North East Lancs League. Alven Burrows hit the teams first century, 101 not out against Livesey in 1995.

Change of policy
A change of policy at the club in 1997 lead to a change of fortunes. The 3rd XI had won the North East Lancs League in 1996, but the league was in danger of folding. It was decided to play the more experienced team (3rd XI) in the ADCL and call it the A team. The younger team (4th XI) entered the Lancashire League 3rd XI League under Dave Kennedy. In 1997 Michael Donnelly's A team carried all before them, winning the B Division and Harry Wood Cup. Tom Pendergast won the B Division Player of the Year trophy and also the bowling prizes. Nigel Stockley won the B Division batting average prize. Paul Burrows, Mus Shah and Nadeem Mohammed also had excellent seasons.
Match report
A Team 1997 team photo

Not helped by the wet weather, the team was relegated from the A Division at the end of the 1998 season. It was later discovered that the points for No Result games had been incorrectly allocated as two points instead of one, which meant that the team should not have been relegated. Justice was done however, the A team winning the B Division again in 1999. Needing 6 points from the final match at home to Taverners B, the team produced the goods when it mattered. Mick Donnelly won the B Division batting prize for most runs. Mark Taylor, Mark Croasdale, Paul Walsh, Sajjad Sadiq and Iftikhar Younis were useful additions to the side.

Difficult
The 2000 season was a difficult one with player availability a problem and the team finished bottom of the A Division, the sole victory of the season being against champions Attock at Thorneyholme Road. The team did however win the Veterans Competition, defeating Platts in the final.

Cup success returned in 2001 with the team winning the Harry Wood Cup at Thorneyholme Road, beating Attock B by 5 wickets. Paul Burrows was 'Man of the match' for his unbeaten 53 and Tom Pendergast won the B Division bowling prize for most wickets with 25.
Match report

Early Days (1846 - 1890)
In league with the best (1891 - 1910)
The road to glory (1911 - 1916)
Between the wars(1919 - 1939)
Rockin' and rollin' into the 50s (1940 - 1958)
Champions again (1959 - 1964)
Rising stars (1965 - 1973)
The Worsick Era (1974 - 1983)
The Bumble is back (1984 - 1989)
Put to the Test (1990 - 1999)
The New Millennium (2000 -2009)
Back to Earth (2010- )
Factfile
Junior Success

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