The older inhabitants have memories of there being two cricket pitches in the village. The first one was located in Deanhouse in a field behind a beer house. In the 1848 Directory, there were three un-named beer houses in Deanhouse and one of them had to have been the house now occupied by the Cricketers Arms. No public house was shown there in the 1855 Ordnance Survey map but one did appear for the first time in the 1932 OS map, and it must have been known as the Cricketers Arms before that date. The Express in November 1921 referred to the Local Hunt meeting at the Cricketers’ Arms which raises the question as to when it officially became the Cricketers. Just to confuse the picture, the Cricketers Arms is clearly identified in the November 1881 issue of the Huddersfield Weekly Examiner !!
Information about a local cricket club has been very difficult to find but then, in the Huddersfield Weekly Examiner 1881, I came across three articles from that year in the space of several months. The first in September was very sad. Arthur Woodhead, a tailor aged 21, died suddenly on a Saturday afternoon at Deanhouse Cricket Ground. He was playing at cricket and batting when he fell down and died immediately. Mr. C.Trotter, surgeon of Holmfirth, had on several occasions attended the deceased for attacks of rheumatic fever, which had greatly damaged his heart. Mr.Trotter saw the deceased after his death and stated that death was due to the result of heart disease, and he deemed it unnecessary to report the incident to the coroner. Several months later the members of the club concluded their cricket season for 1881 by partaking of a supper provided by Mr. Stanfield of the Cricketers Arms. A meeting was held presided over by Mr.Jackson, president of the Club. Mr.G.Senior, secretary, read the report which showed out of 21 matches played, 14 had been won, three lost and four drawn. After the report had been adopted , the officers for the ensuing season were elected and then songs and recitations were given by members of the club. A new bat was presented to J.H.Dearnley and James Dyson for being the highest scorers during the year ; a new cricket ball to Sam Woodhead ( any relation to the Arthur Woodhead who died in September ?) and a new silk hat to Henry Easthead were given to them for their excellent bowling. In December a concert was given in the National School in aid of funds for the Cricket Club. The room was crowded and everyone enjoyed a varied programme of glees, songs, duets and instrumental music. Among the artistes were the Misses Beaumont, Messrs. Eastwood, Beaumont, Walker, Roberts and Deanley, a comic singer, Mr.Howard, instrumentalists masters, J. and E. Hollingworth, and members of the Philharmonic Band.
The following year, the Club held their annual dinner in October, at the Cricketer’s Arms and 40 people sat down to a first class meal. The following members were elected for the next season – Mr.J.T.Jackson, chairman, five VPs ( not named ), Mr.E.Stanfield, treasurer, G.Senior, Secretary and a committee of 12 members. James Lancaster was re-elected captain of the First 11 and J.Charlesworth the captain of the second team. The club had played 27 matches – 18 by the 1st. team which won 12, lost three and drew two. The second team played 9 matches winning seven and drawing the other two. A bat was presented to Mr.Dyson for the highest batting average of 18 runs per innings. T.Woodhead and C.Eastwood were presented with a ball each for their valuable services. In 1883 the Club gave their annual concert in the National School which was packed. Rev.J.Prowde was in the chair. The artistes were Mrs.H.Hirst ( soprano ), the Orpheus Quartet Party and Mr.G.Nicholson, the great Yorkshire chorale. Miss Dickenson accompanied the singing on the pianoforte. The total number of matches played by the club teams during the season were 28 winning 10, drawing 13 and losing five. The first eleven plated 16 and the second eleven 12.
There is no real information about the other cricket pitch but it was thought to have been in a field off what is now New Road and, in all probability, was where the tennis courts and pavilion were erected in the 1920s.
The articles in the Huddersfield Weekly Examiner for 1881,1882 and 1883 show clearly that cricket was thriving in the village with matches regularly being played against other clubs in the local villages. These were the first reports I have come across but it’s a fair assumption that the club would have been formed a number of years earlier. In 1882 the minutes of the Local Board stated “ the road roller be lent to Deanhouse cricket club for the year for 5/-. In November 1894 their annual concert was held in the National School. The artistes included the Arlon Prize Quartet, Miss Shaw of Meltham, Mr. Nicholson of Leeds, who was a comic, and Mr. C. Ansty, a solo cornet.
In February 1890 the cricket club held a concert in the National School . It was filled to capacity – 600 people, and the artists included Miss Marshall, Miss Helena Sykes, Huddersfield Orpheus Quartette, Miss G.Craven ( solo violin ) and Harold Sykes ( solo cornet ), and in the same year they ran another successful concert in the Church schoolroom which included a mirth- provoking and grotesque ventriloquial entertainment by J.Whelen of Halifax. He caused quite a furore with his two dolls, Joseph and Sarah, who sang songs, duets and comical dialogue.
1891 The Cricket Club held a tea party and concert for 340 at the National School
The Express reported the AGM of the Cricket Club held at the Queen’s Arms on December 18th. 1897. Prizes were given to Ben Gill, Ben Shore, Albert Bray and Thomas Buchanan. There was no report for 1898 but the AGM was held on November 11th. and showed the club was in a sound financial position. Mr.Woodhead was re-elected as president with C.A.Hoyle as treasurer and J.Mosley as secretary.
There was also an earlier report on April 20 1889 that the Deanhouse Cricket Club had been recently revived and the old field had been reformed. This had obviously been successful and, for the first time, the results of matches played by Netherthong cricket team were reported in The Holmfirth Express from April 26 1890. The paper gave the results until the end of season in September but omitted to give a final league table.
The following season Netherthong did not feature in the match reports so the only conclusion is that the cricket club must have been dissolved during the close season, but the event had not been recorded. Many of the better Netherhong players would have gone off to play with other teams in the local leagues.
It is interesting to note from the results below that batting was not a strength of any of the teams perhaps due to the quality of the pitches.
Apr 26 1890. Netherthong v Primrose Hill Baptists played at home. The team was B.Shore, A.Ricketts, C.Hoyle, J.Senior, A.Hoyle, J.Woodhead, H.Roberts, B.Gill,C.Ricketts, G.Beevers and R.Hobson. Netherthong batted first and scored 53 runs and then bowled Primrose out for only 9 runs with Shore taking 5 wickets and Ricketts 3 wickets.
May 3 v Wooldale. Netherthong 77 runs beat Wooldale 24 runs.
May 24 v Holmfirth 2nds. Netherthong scored 62 runs ( Sykes 20 ) and beat Holmfirth who could only muster 28 runs.
May 31 v Bradley Mill played at home. Netherthong 77 runs ( Hoyle 23 ) beat Bradley 54 runs with Gill taking 7 wickets and Beavers 3 wickets.
Jun 7 v Holmbridge – 2nd. teams. Netherthong 44 runs lost to Holmbridge 143 runs.
Jun 14 v Helme away. Holme 59 runs Netherthong 73 runs.
The 2nd. teams also played at Helme. Helme 80 runs Netherthong achieved 157 runs for the loss of 7 wickets.
Jun 28. The cricket feast match between Netherthong and Mr.Storey’s team was played at Netherthong. Netherthong batted first and scored 111 runs . Mr. Storey’s team fell 10 runs short of that total.
The Netherthong team were : G.Heap,D.Kaye, J.Littlewood, A.Ricketts,J.Heap, A.Woodhead, T.Woodhead, A.Sykes, B.Shore, B.Gill, C.Ricketts.
July 12 v Hepworth. Netherthong 40 runs lost to Hepworth 106 runs.
July 19 v Clayton West . Netherthong scored 93 runs and Clayton West were bowled out for 25 runs.
Aug 2 v Holmfirth 2nds. Netherthong scored a very creditable 108 but still lost to Holmfirth who scored 127 runs.
Aug 9 v Primrose Hill Baptists. Netherthong 38 runs lost to Primrose Hill 56 runs.
Aug 17 v Wooldale Free Church played at home. In a low scoring game Netherthong scored 31 runs and lost to Wooldale who scored 40 runs with Gill taking 5 of their wickets . Team was : A.Sykes, A.Ricketts, A.Woodhead, C.Weed, F.Kenyon, J. Charlesworth, J. Seddon, J.Woodhead, C.Hoyle, C.Ricketts, B.Gill
Aug 23 v Hepworth. Netherthong 58 runs beat Hepworth 44 runs.
Aug 30 v Holmbridge . Netherthong 41 runs lost by 2 runs to Holmbridge.
Sep 13 v Bradley Mills. Netherthong 61 runs beat Bradley 30 runs.
Sep 20 v Thurstonland . Netherthong 77 runs beat Thurstonland 31 runs.
The favoured venue for the cricket club’s meetings and social activities was the Queen’s Arms in Townsgate as it could accommodate 60 people for meals,
The Netherthong Cricket Club held a meeting in February 1902, where it was resolved to dissolve the club and wind up its affairs.
In 1913 there was no reference to a Nethertherthong team in the league tables for the Huddersfield League, the Council First Competition or the Association First Elevens but there appeared to be a team in the Holmfirth Cricket Club’s workshop competition. There was mention of one match between Boar Lodge, Holmfirth against the Netherthong WMC. Boar Lodge scored 239 runs in their hour and the WMC made 78 runs in 45 minutes.
In May 1906 a challenge cricket match was played at Deanhouse in the old cricket ground adjoining the Cricketer’s Arms. Two teams of employees from Deanhouse Mills decide to test their powers. The teams were named ” The Sporting Fraternity ” and ” The All Round Brigade “. It was an entertaining game and the ARB won by four wickets. Everyone adjourned to the Cricketer’s Arms where Mr.& Mrs. James Taylor, the landlord and landlady, provided a splendid dinner.
The SF were made up of the Low Shed Weavers and were – T.Brook,W.Bray,M.Bailey, G.Rickets,T.Hobson,W.Coldwell,H.Que, C.Brierley,D.Bray, T.Tinker and F.Bray. They scored 49 all out.
The ARB were from the Top Shed Weavers and were – H.Mallinson,C.Hoyle,F.Kenyon,J.Kenyon,B.Sanderson,S.Hollingsworth,F.Bower and A.Ricketts who scored 52 for the loss of 6 wickets.
A benefit cricket match was played at Thongs Bridge cricket ground in July 1926 in aid of Mr.Jackie Mallinson who had been sick for two years. The match was between employees of Messr. John Woodhead Ltd., Albion Mills, and a Deanhouse eleven. Albion Mills batted first and scored 108 but Deanhouse hit 110 for the loss of 8 wickets, H.Preston scored 35 and T.Littlewood 17.
The only reference I have found to Deanhouse ladies Cricket Club was when the Express reported on the death of Edna Smith in June 1930 aged 19 and said she had been a member of the Club. In 1934,
C.A.Hoyle died in 1934 at his residence in Giles Street aged 62. He was a cricketing enthusiast, played for Netherthong Cricket Club and later on became an umpire.
In April 1937, the Express reported that Deanhouse Mills had formed a cricket team which had been entered into a workshop competition promoted by Holmfirth C.& A. Club. 14 teams had entered but in typical Express style there were no further reports.
There was a one-line comment in the Express in June 1978 that a team of cricketers from Netherthong had played a match against Upperthong at Upperthong gala.
I have never come across any photographs of local cricketers but, in May 2020, Sheila Whittam ( nee Roebuck ) sent me the attached photograph of a youth cricket team. She identified Frank Roebuck, her uncle, as the furthest right in the middle row. All the boys’ socks are identical with a patterned top, there is no writing on the shield which appears to be a relief of a sports team. School team ? Junior team ? Cubs team?
Edward Dyson, aged 75, who died in July1938, was a cricketer, footballer and a member of Netherthong Rugby Club.
William Lancaster who died in July 1939 aged 65 years, played cricket for Thongsbridge as well as playing 10 times for Yorkshire. His service was held at All Saints and three former England and Yorkshire cricketers , Wilfred Rhodes, Percy Holmes and George Hirst, were among the pall bearers.