Accrington Cricket Club

Junior Success

Right from the early days Accrington have had a 2nd XI. In the 1850s, opposition such as Haslingden, Baxenden and Clitheroe 1st XI's were played against, and usually defeated by Accrington 2nd XI. In 1876, a bad year for the club, the seconds were dismissed for 9, including 8 ducks, by Fairfield (near Bury). Undaunted they joined the new Junior League in 1893. In the early years the league was usually organised in two sections, with the winners of each section playing off for the title. In 1903 Accrington won Section 1, but were beaten in the play off by Section 2 winners Burnley at Accrington. The visitors made 104 and then bowled Accrington out for 82. Some strange methods were used for awarding points in those days: one point was awarded for a win and one point deducted for a defeat, so in 1922 for example, Accrington won two and lost nine matches so they finished with -7 points, which was then calculated as a percentage!

First success
Edgar Cunliffe
Accrington 2nd XI captain Edgar Cunliffe with the Junior League Trophy
In 1912, Edgar Cunliffe lead the seconds to the Junior League Championship. On the way to the title, they won 11, drew 6 and lost once, late in the season, to Burnley. John Walsh scored 101 not out in the second game of the season, to complete the early double over Bacup. The success of the side was in the main down to the strength of the bowling attack. Alan Walmsley, after claiming 7 wickets in the rout of Burnley, won a permanent place in the 1st XI. W.H. Ormerod took 41 wickets during the season, including several six wicket hauls, and Bert Boothman and H. Fenwick took 33 wickets each.
1912 2nd XI team photo

After breaks for both World Wars, the team spent one season in the North East Lancs League in 1945. The feature of the 1951 season was a club record partnership of 221 between Alan Lund (124) and Roy Dewhurst (91) against Church and in 1973, Lowerhouse were bowled out for 8 with Mick Hatch taking 5-1. Success returned in the late 1970s when Brian Rutter lead the team to second place in the league as well as winning the Matthew Brown Cup in both 1978 and 1979.

Cup wins
The 1978 final was played at Accrington on August 20th. Haslingden batted first and were dismissed for 129 by spin twins Jim Heyburn (6-17) and Mick Donnelly (3-52). The Accrington reply, in the face of tight bowling by the experienced Rod Taylor, was spearheaded by Mark Aspin with a well made 37. Captain Brian Rutter made a useful 19 before a partnership of 20 between Trevor Hatch (19*) and Graham Booth (13*) saw Accrington home.
Match scorecard

The following year, Accrington and Rawtenstall were great rivals for both league and cup. Accrington triumphed in the Matthew Brown Cup Final at Rawtenstall in July, winning by 41 runs with Jim Heyburn destroying the home side with 8-40. In the league both teams finished joint top with the same number of points. The trophy was initially awarded to Rawtenstall because they had more bonus points, but after Accrington protested, the league ruled on a play off which Rawtenstall won at Accrington on September 29th.

The seconds next success was in 2000 when they won the cup again. Match report The team reached the final again in 2002 but lost at home to Ramsbottom in a low scoring match. Match report

The Thirds
In the early 1900s, Accrington introduced a 3rd XI, playing friendlies against other local teams such as Rishton 3rds and Enfield 3rds. From 1912 the 3rd XI spent three seasons in the North East Lancs League, being runners up in their first season. After the First World War they appeared spasmodically in the Accrington and District League in the 1920s and 1930s, winning the Harry Wood Cup in 1939. In 1941, a group of schoolboys ran the 3rd XI, playing friendlies against teams such as Padiham. In 1947, Accrington entered a team in the North East Lancs League and in their first season they emerged as champions, winning the title by beating Darwen 'B', Frank Heys taking 7-39. The following season, they won the league again, outstanding performers being Roy Dewhurst (217 runs), Dougie Whipp (266), A. Lonsdale (247), Jack Riley (25 wickets at 5.9), Derek Day (19 at 6.1), J. Nightingale (22 at 7.9), Jack Eland (36 at 8.0), ably supported by skipper Billy Newhouse, Jack Collier, Alan Lund and Ron Dullenty. Tom Thurman hit the first century on record for the 3rds, his 102 not out against Darwen 'B' in 1951 containing 25 off one over.

Changing leagues
In the mid 1950s, with players like Derek Mark, Eddie Robinson, Russ Cuddihy and Brian Rutter emerging, the 3rds changed leagues, reverting back to the Accrington and District League for seven seasons. Throughout the 1960s the 3rd XI was captained by Peter Westwell, gaining a reputation for their keenness and sportsmanship. In 1961, Alan Worsick won the B Division bowling prize, taking 40 wickets at 20.6 each. Two years later, it was back to the North East Lancs League where the team stayed with some success until 1980. In 1964, the 3rd XI won Section 2 with some fine performances. One of these was against YMCA 'B' at Mellor. Accrington batted first and were dismissed for 27. Barry Lumb and Ian Boswell then claimed 5 wickets each to dismiss YMCA 'B' for a paltry 5! Although the wicket at Mellor has over the years gained something of a reputation for variable bounce, on this occasion the problems were caused by a swinging ball. Two years later, Ian Birtwistle had the amazing figures of 9-8 against Oswaldtwistle Immanuel 'B' to dismiss them for 16. A young Bob Ratcliffe took 47 wickets at 8.4 each and Malcolm Taylor scored 317 runs, also in 1966. A new league bowling record was created in 1968 by Alick Ormerod, whose 93 wickets included 5 in 6 balls in a spell of 8-11 against the unfortunate YMCA 'B'.

Ashwell Trophy
In 1975 Alven Burrows took over as captain and lead the team to four successive victories in the Ashwell Trophy Final. In the first, at Blackburn Northern, YMCA were dismissed for 117. Accrington's reply was in shreds at 37-5 when a gritty innings by 'Man of the match' Nigel Gouldsborough, helped the team to a 2 wicket win. Accrington Casuals were the opponents in 1976. Accrington batted first and made 156-6 in their allotted 30 overs, Alven Burrows scoring an unbeaten 35. Casuals were then bowled out for 110. The following years final was at Brockall on a rain deadened pitch. Accrington batted first and toiled to 95-8, Mark Aspin and Brian Bishop joint top scoring with 21 each. 'Man of the match' Andy Stevenson took 4-9 to dismiss Darwen 4ths for 67. In 1979, at Colne, ROF 2nd were restricted to 50-9, which Accrington passed with 2 wickets down. 'Man of the match' Robert Rigby top scored with 29 not out to go with his two fine catches.

Pastures New
The 3rd XI entered a new league in 1980 which was formed for Lancashire League 3rd teams to play on Lancashire League grounds. Due to 1st XI fixtures being replayed the 3rds were starved of cricket in recent years so the club once again re-entered the North East Lancs League in 1994. In 1996, in a much reduced league consisting of six teams playing each other three times, Accrington won 10 matches, losing only one, to share the league title with Hussainia. The strength of the side was in the bowling attack, led by Tom Pendergast who took 47 wickets at 6.7 each. Tom took five or more wickets on five occasions as Accrington only once failed to gain a bonus bowling point. Captain Mick Donnelly led from the front, scoring 296 runs at 32.9 with Nigel Stockley (160 runs at 32.0), Mus Shah (129 runs at 25.8), Paul Burrows (122 runs at 24.4), Danny Greenwood (117 runs at 29.3) and David Stubbs (113 runs at 22.6) also making major contributions to what was essentially a team effort.
1996 3rd XI team photo

With the North East Lancs League in danger of folding it was decided to play the more experienced team (3rd XI) in the Accrington and District League and call it the A team. The younger team (4th XI) entered the Lancashire League 3rd XI League under Dave Kennedy. After two average seasons, the team came within a whisker of winning the league in both 1999 and 2000 but finished third on both occasions. There were no such slip ups in 2001 when the team won the title for the first time. Ten matches were won with Abbass Sadiq (317 runs), Adam Barnes (321 runs) and Nasser Hussain (246 runs) leading the batting and five bowlers sharing the wickets; Sajjad Sadiq (25), James Hayhurst (21), Graeme Sneddon (17), Kamran Khan (14) and Nasser Hussain (14).

The Fourths
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.

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 direction
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. 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.

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.
Veterans Presentation photo
Accrington 4th team photo

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
A Team 2001 team photo

Junior Cricket
The club has always prided itself on having a thriving and successful junior section. As far back as 1888, records show Accrington Juniors playing against Bells Temperence, and in the early 1900s, Enfield Juniors. In the 1940s they played teams like Bastwell, Great Harwood, Chatburn, Rosegrove and Whitebirk, whom they defeated in the 1942 play off. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Under 18s were regular winners of the Lancashire A League. The early 60s team included Ian Birtwistle, David Lloyd and Alan Worsick. Graeme Fowler, John Swanney and Graham Beech were the backbone of the early 70s teams as were Graham Lloyd, Paul Barratt and Martin Whittle in the early 1980s. The 1960s saw the introduction of the Under 15s, the 1970s saw the Under 13s introduced and in 1992 an Under 11s team was born. The Under 9s came into being in the 2005 season.

Accrington and District League Days

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 - 09)
Back to Earth (2010- )

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