Address: Baxter Field, Cinder Hill Lane, Ecclesfield, Sheffield S35 9WH
General secretary: Joe Webster (0114-2452518)
Welcome to the Whitley Hall Cricket Club website, where, for those who are not already members and regular visitors and thus familiar with this page, we are delighted to have the opportunity to introduce ourselves –and we hope you will enjoy reading about our history and take the opportunity of keeping up with news and information about the club’s fixtures, match results, other events and activities, the players, and various other matters.
We are a small village club with seven teams. Our First XI began playing in the newly-created ECB Yorkshire Premier South in 2016 having previously played with notable success in Premier Division of the South Yorkshire Senior League –a League boasting the top teams and top players at this level of local cricket formed in 1948 as a section of the Yorkshire Cricket Council and known as the South Riding League until the name was changed to its present title in 2002. Our Second XI plays in Division Two of the SYSL; while our third team, known as the Colts, has graduated to Division Four. The 1st XI’s elevation to the Yorjshire Premier League South serves to emphasise how far our club has progressed in recent years.
We are proud of our thriving junior system which features teams in the age groups of under-11s, under-13s, under-15s and under-17s playing in the Ben Jessop Sheffield & District Junior Cricket League. We are keen on giving our youngsters the best in guidance, encouragement and opportunity, and our Thursday evening coaching sessions have always been popular with our juniors, and it speaks volumes for the success of ‘the Whitley Hall way’ that not only did most of the club’s senior players in the first and second teams start out as juniors and progressed through our coaching system, but many are putting something back into the club. During the summer it is not unusual to find up to 50 youngsters (both boys and girls) being coached by first team players, who happily devote time to helping the youngsters improve their cricketing skills, and to ensuring they learn to play the game the right way –the Whitley Hall way.
In this context, it is appropriate to mention that the club has partnerships with 14 local schools and has recently achieved ‘Club Mark’ Status and has a named child protection officer.
From the Pondlarks to the Premier Division!
Whitley Hall Cricket Club started sometime in the late 19th century, and originated as the Whitley Pondlarks. The first ground was on Whitley Lane, with the nearby Norfolk Arms public house at Grenoside used as the club’s headquarters. W.H. “Old Harry” Johnson, the famous Sheffield United and England footballer who played in three FA Cup finals between 1899 and 1902, was club captain at that time.
The club was formally incorporated in 1903 with founder T.H. Bingley, of Whitley Hall, as club President. However, he disbanded it in late 1924 following a storm which destroyed the pavilion, and the members from the Grenoside area went on to form the Grenoside Cricket Club, while those based in the region of The Wheel elected to seek an alternative ground and were determined to continue as Whitley Hall Cricket Club.
George Harry Baxter, who had been associated with the club from around 1911, was the man chiefly responsible for the formation of the ‘modern’ Whitley Hall Cricket Club in 1925. He approached a local farmer, Johnny Cotterill, and was able to rent a field on the other side of The Wheel some 100 yards from the ground we call our home and headquarters today.
Alas, within a year Cotterill gave the club notice to quit, but, happily, when they turned to their old friend Bingley he made Nether Old Field on Cinder Hill Lane available. The first match at the new ground came at the start of the 1926 season, with WorsbroughBridge providing the opposition in a match in Division 2A of the Chapeltown & District League. The ground was formally opened by Mr Bingley a few days later prior to a Sime Memorial League match. This delightfully-situated ground, which is technically in Ecclesfield but really halfway between Ecclesfield and Grenoside, remains our home, and since 2007 has been known as Baxter Field.
That name was chosen because, from the beginning, the Baxter Family was influential in the club’s development, progress and management. George Baxter lived in the detached cottage opposite the ground for the rest of his life after moving to the area three years before the outbreak of World War I, and six of his sons went on to play for the club –from the oldest, Eddie, a brilliant leg-spin bowler, to the youngest, Ike, a fine batsman.
Of course, Ike was the Baxter with whom the local cricket world was most familiar in modern times. He played for 52 years until 1977 (he retired at the age of 69), serving Whitley as secretary for 44 years, and as groundsman for 68 years. Ike, who as a player had spells with Sheffield United, Thorncliffe and Rockingham, was an Elsecar favourite for some years, but nobody ever doubted that Whitley was his first love. He resumed his Whitley playing days in the early 1960s and batted on until 1970. Ike lived to see the club win the Yorkshire Council Championship in 1999 (indeed, at the age of 91 he was asked to collect the trophy at the end of the final), but, sadly, he died in 2002 at the age of 94.
Happily, the tradition of long service synonymous with the Baxter family lives on, and Whitley is blessed with many loyal members who devote much time and effort to the club’s cause. You will find the names of many of them somewhere on this website. Moreover, if any members wish to add information or comment to these pages, they will be encouraged to submit them for display in the appropriate place on here.
Whitley Hall Cricket Club is proud of its tradition as a family club with strong local ties, a welcoming atmosphere, and a keen desire to play cricket in the true spirit of the game as well as fostering good sportsmanship. But, of course, we are an ambitious club in that we like to play winning cricket, and we enjoy our successes. These have included winning the Yorkshire Council Championship in 1999, 2012 and 2013, the South Yorkshire Senior League Championship in 2010 (sealed with a tremendous run of 15 successive victories!), and the Black Sheep Champion of Champions Trophy in 2011 and 2012 (we were the first club in the competition’s history to win the Trophy, regarded as the highest honour in Yorkshire for a non-professional club, two years in succession). We were runners-up in the Yorkshire Council Championship in 2010. We won the Whitworth Cup in 1988, 1989, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and were runners-up in 1993 and 1998. Our Second XI won the President’s Trophy in 2013, while our third team (Colts) won the South Yorkshire Alliance League Division 3 title in 2012 and the Division 2 title in 2013, following this with successive promotions in 2014 and (after the switch to the SYSCL) 2015.
Mention of the Colts’ successes in the South Yorkshire Alliance League, incidentally, lends a nostalgic link to the Whitley Hall story, for that League came into being following the demise in 2010 of the old Sheffield League –where Whitley Hall spent many notable years before becoming a South Riding League club and ultimately establishing themselves as a force in the South Yorkshire Senior Cricket League.
If you have a Saturday free in the summer, come and support our teams, and, should you have a youngster in your family keen to progress in the summer game, do not hesitate to get in touch.
REPORTS FOR WHCC FIRST ELEVEN 2015 Saturday August 29th Whitley Hall 1st XI v Tickhill 1st XI (home), SYCL Championship Whitley won toss and chose to field. Tickhill 1st XI: 233 for 8 (50 overs). Rennison 48, Fiddles 87....