August 27 2012


Middleham Cricket Club

Another ground where cricket is played under the eyes of history. Middleham CC play their cricket a stone’s throw from the castle. The castle was home to Richard III who was King of England from 1483 to 1485, meeting his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field.

Middleham run two teams in Division 3 and 8 of the Nidderdale league along with an under 13 side. As well as the castle there are fine views over Wensleydale towards Leyburn.

Always helps to have a fine day when playing here.


Bamburgh Castle Cricket Club  - As Anne Walsh says “what could be more English - Cricket and Castles”

June 05 2012

Is this actually a ground?

I first saw this during the winter. From the road it looks like a square that has been fenced off from the cattle. It lies a few miles west of Scotch Corner just off the A66 on the road between Gilling West and Hartforth. The area in the fence has been cut and from the road it looks like a cricket pitch. Close up though I am not so sure. It looks quite rough and as for the out field and the old tree stump - least said the better. There is no evidence of any pavillion or ground’s man hut or car parking. Gilling West has a ground just up the road so it doesn’t belong to that village.  Perhaps this was the ground for the Hartforth Estate. The house is still there and is used as the Hartforth Hotel so perhaps it is a relic from the past. Judge for yourselves.

May 30 2012

Studley Royal CC - The Deer Park.

Cricket has been played in the deer park since the early 1900s but is now the second home for Studley Royal. The main ground is about a mile away on the road to Ripon. The club run five Saturday league teams, evening league and oldies teams and seven junior sides from under 11 to under 17s. On the first really warm day of the season we were 0 for 3 after two overs chasing 179. We ended up with 125 all out. An interesting location but a tricky place to be a keeper due to the low slow pitch as the bruises will testify. Well worth a look in on a Saturday afternoon

October 23 2010

Widmer End St Margarets Cricket Club play in the village of Widmer End in Buckinghamshire. They field two teams in the Mid Bucks League on a Saturday and play some friendlies on Sundays. 

The team play on the village sports ground and retire to the pub across the road after the game. At some point there must have been some dispute with the neighbours. The boundary between the two white posts runs along a row of houses. For this part of the boundary there is little point in hitting a six as you will only score four. This is to discourage people hitting into the houses and gardens - I think the neighbours were a tad fed up up with cricket balls hitting their homes. I believe the ground was there before the houses. Seems sad to have to amend the rules of cricket  - if you buy a house by a long standing cricket ground is this not a risk you run?

However, Widmer End make it on to the blog for this local rule.

September 19 2010

Lofthouse & Middlesmoor CC have just finished the 2010 season as Champions of division 5 in the Nidderdale League - congratulations. The game shown is against rivals in the table - Pannel Ash. The home team winning by 95 runs.

The ground  is at the top end of Nidderdale and makes it on to the blog as it is one of the smallest grounds I have ever seen. The square consists of two pitches and the longest boundary is around 45 yards. And that is uphill as well! The ground is in a wonderful location and well worth a visit especially on six a side day in August.

Only one villager is currently playing for the club but with a combined population of both villages at below 150 the continuing support for the club allows it to field teams regularly. The local pub - The Crown -  has a collection box on the bar for contributions to the cost of cricket balls.

The ground was host to matches in the 2010 Golden Oldies festival with overseas teams enjoying the location and hospitality up t’dale.

September 07 2010

Cuxwold Cricket Club

Cuxwold is a very small village in the largely unknown Lincolnshire Wolds. The village has had a cricket club for over 50 years. They play Sunday friendlies and in the Grimsby and District midweek league - currently in division 3.

The ground is located on the edge of the village. Age must be playing tricks on me - as a youngster I used to go to this ground with my father and thinking the hills at each end of the ground were massive. I remember having a picnic with my cousin on top of the hill as my father and uncle played on the ground. 

Today the hills don’t seem quite as steep but it is still a good hit up the hill to the pavilion for a four. The ground today looks like the local game keeper needs to do a bit of work on the number of moles and rabbits - there are a few holes that need tidying up.

This is a lovely curious local village cricket ground in a lovely part of the world and well worth a visit and a place on this blog

September 02 2010

Bolton Abbey Cricket Club’s ground can be seen from the A59 as you drive from Harrogate to Skipton. Founded in 1870, the club today play in the Nidderdale League with teams in the 2nd and 6th divisions. Situated on the Duke of Devonshire’s estate you can see the Devonshire Arms Hotel in the background. The Duke is currently the club President.

The ground and facilities show no curious characteristics to warrant a place on the blog but for the English cricket support a short trip up the road to the  Abbey itself presents the grave of Sir Fred Trueman -Fiery Fred. And to be honest a finer resting place you will hard to find.

Fred’s test record shows 67 tests played between 1952 and 1965. He took 307 wickets at an average of 21.57, taking five wickets on 17 occasions and ten on a further 3. 307 test wickets was a record at the time which lasted 11 years.

I suspect Bolton Abbey wish they had a bowler of Fred’s talent this weekend as they fight for survival - relegation this year looks a distinct possibility with 3 games to go. Good luck

August 29 2010

Chorleywood Cricket Club

Chorleywood are a very active club fielding 4 teams in the Saracens Herts league in divisions 1,6,10 and 13. A further two teams in the Chess Valley Cricket league on a Sunday and no less than 10 colts team ranging from under 9s upwards. Many thousands of people will have seen the ground as the A404 borders one end of the ground. Chorleywood have been playing on the common for over 200 years and for many of those years I suspect the large tree at backward sqaure will have seen many runs scored and wickets taken. If the ball hits the tree anywhere it is four runs

The club have several insurance claims every year from balls hitting the passing traffic as the straight boundary is only about 50 yards from the non strikers end.  Plans are in place though to move the square further away from the road. These  include a new club house but may well mean the end for the tree.

Recently discussions had taken place with a neighbouring club to merge the teams but these came to nothing.

December 27 2009

Newton Le Willows Cricket Club are founder members of the Wensleydale Evening league, and have a Saturday team playing in the Nidderdale league.

To get to the ground you have to cross the relatively new Wensleydale Railway line. History suggests cricket has been played at the ground as far back as 1879, making the club over 130 years old. 

The ground shows the ridge and furrow pattern on the outfield of medieval farming methods and the day I visited a suckler cow was grazing peacefully at about mid off - perhaps the original home of “cow corner”.

There is a small changing room, score box and groundsman shed. No running water or electricity and the toilet facilities are definitely not 21st Century.

Thanks to Ellie Jackson form Pateley Bridge for the suggestion of this ground. Another fine example of village cricket.

October 21 2009

I very much doubt there are many grounds are like Thornton Watlass.

The square lies on the Village Green, right in the centre of the village of Thornton Watlass. There are six trees within the playing area, a good few white road markers, and road signs – and this is all within the field of play, which means if you hit any of them you simply carry on. The road is also part of the ground, and crosses, perhaps inconveniently, right behind the bowler’s arm. The boundary is denoted by the hedge and the wall of the The Buck Inn.

The local rule is that the game just carries on if the ball hits any of these items in the field of play.

A tip to those driving there to watch a game (as stated on the club website): “Please do not park in front of the pub as your car will be in the field of play”.

This summer teams form across the world played in the Golden Oldies Festival and Thornton Watlass was one of the grounds to hold matches. From all accounts the visitors all enjoyed their visit to this unique ground.

October 09 2009

Kirkby Malzeard play in Division 2 of the Nidderdale League. Their ground is situated in the middle of the village, and doubles up a vast playing area. Here, it is not the ground that is curious, but the pavilion.

As you can see, the building has seen better days, but was part funded by Bing Crosby - yes, actor and crooner and one of the first true media legends.

Apparently, he used to shoot on the moors nearby the village, and once played cricket on the field back in 1976. He later agreed to help fund construction of the new pavilion. Here’s a full write-up on his history with the village.



Cricket is the greatest game - played on all sorts of grounds. This blog is about those grounds that are a little bit different from the norm, those that add to the variety of the game. I currently play my cricket at Pateley Bridge CC in the Nidderdale League in the Yorkshire Dales. I have previously played in the Lincs League for East Halton CC and Grimsby Town CC, the Devon League for South Devon CC and for Malmesbury CC in the Western League. If you have a ground with unusual features, locals rules or facts that make it curious please let me know and it can be added to the great variety that is the world of cricket. If you have any interesting stories or photos of cricket grounds, then email me at curiouscricket@gmail .com I look forward to hearing from you. Mick