Founded in 1837, Richmondshire Cricket Club plays in the North Yorkshire South Durham ECB Premier League
We have no definitive date for the formation of the club but would place its origin in the early part of Queen Victoria's reign. Certainly RSDK Roper who moved to Richmond at that time to run Roper and Priestman's Bank was said by his son George to have " founded the club in a small way." Tom Raper from Gilling was however, the prominent player in the area and he too made a considerable contribution and should be joined with the Roper family as early pioneers.
Earliest records are of a game in September 1848 when the opponents were Darlington Mechanics Club ; the following year Darlington 2nd XI visited . Details survive of the match in 1852 against Richmond Moor Club (probably stable lads) and of an away game at Redcar in 1853 which ended with "the Richmondshire party being obliged to leave by the special train at seven o' clock." The visit of the All England Cricketers XI to play the 'Twenty Two of Richmond ' on the Easby ground in 1857 was marked by William Swain who composed ''The Richmondshire Cricketers Song" .
It is not known when the club moved to its present ground but it was certainly in occupation of some part of it by 1892; subsequently in 1895 when the Friary Estate was purchased by Lord Zetland the club is mentioned as occupying Wilkinsons Field and Yorkes Close (Lot 3) and there it has remained. Initially the ground was leased, then in 1975 Lord Zetland generously agreed to sell the land to the club, subject to certain codecils, and this enabled a loan to be obtained from Camerons' Brewery and Randall Orchard Construction to begin the shell of what has developed into today's fine premises .
Over the seasons between 1895 and the outbreak of war in 1914, the club employed some eight professionals and match results reported in the local press show an attractive list of friend ly fixtures.
The World War Years
The inter-war years were dominated by professional Fred Hammond who had in fact previously been pro in 1907. He held the job between 1923 and 1936, the old scorecard s bearing witness especially to his success as a quick left arm bowler. Once again, with the exception of various cup competitions, matches were on a 'friendly' basis even so a defeat at the hands of local rivals, Barton, in the final game before the outbreak of war in 1939 must have proved galling.
Fred 's son, Derek, who on his debut in 1937 had been run out by his father, became, along with the four members of the Swa inston family and Billy Brown, the dominant players in the seasons immediately following the war. Friendly games resumed on the then east/west facing wicket, before in 1949 with the newly turfed square and the wicket now north/south the club entered The Vale of Mowbray League, here they would remain until the close of the 1963 season . A first "Colts" team appeared in 1947 and in 1949 a second XI entered the Swaledale League while a most attractive
" Friendly" programme continued on Sundays. The 1st XI won The Vale of Mowbray League seven times (twice jointly) then entered the South East Durham League in 1964. Here under the leadership of David Porter and with strong performances from Alan Porter, Derek Hammond and John Osborn
won the Band A Divisions successively in their first two seasons. Their stay ended rather acrimoniously in the September of 1967, the then redoubtable Hon Secretary Edgar Watson's letters reflecting the feelings at the time.
Darlington and District League 1968 - 1980
The Darlington and District League was entered in 1968 and led by Alan Porter the club became champions in their first season; the playing strength was strong at this time and indeed in 1973 under his captaincy the 1st XI won six knock-out trophies over a period of nine evenings in July. Jim
Swift and John Parker were outstanding all-rounders in these years strongly supported by John Osborn and Eddie Lawson and Eddie Hill. Significantly in 1979 the two quick bowlers, Richard Darwin and John Lowes joined the club and both were to play significant roles in the success of the
following years . The thirteen seasons of Darlington and District Cricket had resulted, for the 1st XI , in six championship titles and twenty-two local knock-out trophies, four B Division titles for the 2nd XI and burgeoning success for a 3rd XI.
Since 1964 succes sive application to join the NYSD Division B had met with succinct letters of rejection, these despite many supportive newspaper articles in particular from Bernard Gent and Hugh McDougal. In the seventies the ground had been considerably improved under Geoff Thorpe's stewardship and the previously mentioned locally-built new clubhouse opened by Lord Zetland in
September 1977. Successive visits by the Yorkshire XI for benefit matches to support Chris Old and Geoff Cope underlined the quality of these developments. As the 1981 season approached therefore it came as a pleasant surprise to 1 st XI captain David Crane to learn that finally acceptance
to the NYSD Division B had been granted.
North Yorkshire South Durham Division B 1981 - 1993
A strong showing as runners-up in the first season was followed by the winning of the league title in 1982; this was repeated in 1983 in addition to The Brunton Cup and The Haith Cup which was retained the following season 1984. In a particularly
strong 1 st XI at this time there were outstanding performances, batsman Colin Blackburn , the bowling of Richard Darwin and David Elliot and the all-round ability of Michael Raine . Notably a young Clive Layfield had joined in 1983 and was making an instant impression , then brother Mark joined in 1984. Their contributions were to be record breaking, Clive going on to score more runs and take more wickets than any other player in the club' s history.
1984 saw the inaugural season for The Randall Orchard Cup, sponsored by Randall Orchard Construction Ltd; this with eight invited strong teams and cash prizes was specifically designed to
promote high quality competitive cricket. It was particularly pleasing when Randall, 1st XI captain in 1985, was able to see the club's name on the trophy.
By the close of the 1993 season under the successive leadership periods of Mark Layfield and John Lowes the club' s thirteen year record had been impressive-five B Division titles, and four-time winners of The Haith Cup and The Brunton cup respectively. Prominent new additions to the playing strength had been the bowling of Tony Conway and Dean McGarr together with the battyng of David
O'Kelly and Peter Willey.
Buoyed by this constant success Randall Orchard and David Crane continually pressed for the chance to play A Division cricket. Thus at the league AGM of 1993 they were pleasantly astounded when
despite the move for promotion and relegation being defeated, they found that Richmondshire had obtained the required margin of votes to be elected to A Division at the expense of the unfortunate
North Yorkshire South Durham Division A 1994 - 2009
First XI captain Mark Layfield approached the 1994 season encouraged by the news that helped by the sponsorship of Peacocks Cash and Carry, the established Pakistani Test player ljaz Ahmed would
be the club's professional. An instant "hit" ljaz although being called away from July on international duty totalled 1136 runs and took 38 wickets in his eighteen games. The club finished the season a
respectable 12th and had been beaten finalists in three cup competitions. Clive Layfield ' s aggregate of 1275 with Mark Jobling and Mark Layfield topping 700 each and Dean McGarr, Tony Conway, Tim
Massey and John Lowes taking wickets showed that the club could competee at this new level.
John Lowes resumed the captaincy in 1995, seamer Albert Shutt joined and ljaz returned. After a slow start the year ended on a high note when despite being deprived of ljaz's presence for the final
three games the league championship was achieved by a 76-run defeat of Saltburn on 16 September. Many notable performances were recorded ; Albert Shutt's 7 for 25 from 18 overs against Guisborough, a record opening stand of 303 between ijaz and Clive Layfield, seven centuries from ljaz being examples.
Clive's aggregate of 1259 runs together with his taking of 52 wickets had been remarkable: Tim Massey, Albert Shutt, Dean McGarr and ljaz all exceeded fifty wickets. In his stay at Richmond ljaz had played in 56 matches scoring 3,462 runs and had taken 90 wickets.
The winning of the A Division in 1995 had also proved a fitting end to the magnificent contribution of Bobby Moxon, who had been the club' s scorer since 25th May 1946, he had recorded in that time over 478,000 runs and 27,250 wickets. His immaculate statistics over his fifty years with the club proved invaluable in the writing of 'Not Out! The History of Richmondshire Cricket Club'. We shall
not see his like again .
Wayne Larkins, for whom Peter Marwood provided a new Xantia, succeeded ljaz and although The Matthew Oswald Cup was won in September 1996, league form slumped and Richmondshire finished close to the foot of the table. Worse was to follow. The restructuring of the league the following year finally brought in promotion and relegation ; this had always been strongly supported
by the club. It was ironic therefore that in 1997 we became the first to be relegated into the A Division, the top flight now assuming the title of Premier Division. Wayne Larkins had however been a prolific run-getter over his two seasons, scoring 3,356 runs from 64 innings. The irony continued when in 1998 the club won the A Division, The Haith Cup and became the first to be promoted to The Premier Division, and has remained in the top tier ever since.
A steady league performance in 1999 was eclipsed by a superb victory over Guisborough in The McMillan Cup. Fortunes were beginning to fade however, the 2000 season saw relegation avoided by just one place and the trophy cabinet was empty. Professional David Fitzgerald arrived from Western Australia in 2001, his season's performance along with those of Clive Layfield and Andrew
Mollitt ensured a comfortable 12th place and a steadying of the ship over the next year.
From 2003 Andrew Mollitt's three years of captaincy were aimed at the developments of our younger players. Fortunately in Shani Dissanayake the newly-signed professional from Sri Lanka, the Layfield brothers and wicket keeper Kevin Forbes he found valuable allies. Michael and Andrew Fleming, Christopher and Michael Layfield, Jamie Stead, Michael Cunnachie all began to develop.
Shani continued each year to lead the way with both bat and ball and 2006 again showed a good mid-table finish. James Clarkson arrived in 2007 and with Shani ending the season with 1095 runs
and 55 wickets another good league position was achieved. Also in 2007 Mark Layfield led the 2nd XI to promotion to NYSD Division One.
For the 2009 season, in addition to the valuable return of Shani, the services of 'Zippy' Ashraf were engaged as English Professional and in the July the ten barren years without a major trophy came to
an end with a 7-wicket victory over Stockton in the Captain Ramsden Shield; more success followed in August by the winning of the NYSD Fifteens.
Not Out! The History of Richmondshire Cricket Club
by Randall Orchard and David Crane.
Not Out! is a complete and compelling history of Richmondshire Cricket Club from its beginnings in the early 19th Century to 2009.
Not Out! is on sale in the clubhouse for just £9.99.
North Yorkshire South Durham ECB Premier League 2009 - present day
The 2010 season saw another major trophy being won with victory over Great Ayton in the final of the NYSD Macmillan Cup at Stokesley CC.
The 2012 season saw the arrival of Gary Pratt as English Professional to support Shani and to turn the potential of the young 1st team squad into silverware. The decision paid dividends with the team winning the NYSD Premier Division under the captaincy of Mike Layfield. Additionally the Under 17 team won the NYSD Junior Division (North) further enhancing Richmondshire's reputation as a club who invest's in its Junior Section.
In 2013 the North Yorkshire South Durham League was accredited as a Premier League by the ECB and Richmondshire became the inaugural NYSD ECB Premier League Champions in style, accumulating the highest number of points in league history.
Additionally the 2nd XI, 4th XI and Evening League team won silverware in 2013 proving that the club has strength in depth.
2014 saw the 1st XI finish runners up in the Premier Division however the 2nd team won both the 2nd team salver as well as the Division 1 15's , a great achievement. The 3rd Team won the Arthur Sanders Cup and the Evening League team retained the Wensleydale League championship