Blantyre Cricket Club

Loveclough Cricket Club 1907 JD-LBlantyre Cricket Club – was a relatively short-lived sports club known to exist in the early 20th Century.

An initial meeting was held in the new Masonic Hall on Glasgow Road to gather local interest about forming the club. This took place on Wednesday 3rd October 1907 and Mr John H Auld of the Commercial Bank took the chair. He opened the meeting the meeting by stating that this had been talked about for a long time and gave reference to bowling being a bit slow, football being a bit fast with cricket a nice ‘in between’ sport.

The motion was passed at that meeting to form “Blantyre Cricket Club” with John H Auld voted as President. Joint Vice Presidents were James Kelly (Justice of Peace)and William Izett. Secretary was Mr Grieg (jnr) and treasurer Alex Russell. A large committee was also appointed to carry out the preliminary work of the club, including finding an area to play on. An AGM was arranged for March 1907.

They may have played at the Blantyre Vics Football Ground at Forrest Street and by the time they commenced, an opening half season 1907

Certainly the club was trying to attract attention and promote looking for new members in winter 1907.

Under the auspices of the Blantyre Cricket Club, a grand concert was held on Tuesday 10th December 1907 in the Masonic Hall at Stonefield. Mr J. J. Auld, the first President of the club, presided, and was supported on the platform by prominent local gentlemen. Mr Auld at the outset referred to the success, which had attended the club, and hoped that they would have still greater prosperity in the future. The programme, one of the best submitted to a Blantyre audience for some time, was given by Miss L Anderson, soprano; ‘Mies Annie Paton, contralto; the Two Mc. Donalds, Highland dancers; Mr Walter Roy, elocutionist; and Mr Harry Saunders, character comedian, with a quartette party from Uddingston Cricket Club. The concert was held with a view to bringing the Cricket Club more prominently before the public. In 1907, Cricket was gaining in Scotland each year so it was unknown why the Blantyre club suddenly lost its popularity.

The 1907/08 season got underway in the first Wednesday in August with a rematch of a game against nearby Hallside, who had won the previous year. Interest and membership that month was noted as being good.

However, interest rapidly fell away and with players leaving by end of the season in 1908, the club folded, ceasing to exist by the end of that year.

As summer months approached in the following year, in April 1909, another body of players was intent on resurrecting the club and did so with better success.

On Friday 9th December 1910, members of the Cricket club met in a social capacity at David Livingstone memorial Church Hall. After tea, which was purveyed by Mr James Steel, the Chairman, Mr Archie Barr made fitting comments that the club has suffered notable loss in the death of Mr Neil Douglas. He also regretted the abscense of Captain Mr. Charles A Thorburn who had been laid aside from the team through illness for a considerable time. Messrs Thomas S Rennie, George S Barr and Charles A Thorburn were each presented with the club “blues” given for the best display in the field during the past season 1909/1910. Mr J Thorburn accepted on behalf of his brother. Mr Thomas Rennie was also presented with the President’s Prizes, he having topped the averages in both batting and bowling. With Him Thornburn presiding the singalong at the piano, a pleasant evening was spent in both story and song. The singing of “Auld Lang Syne” brought the evening to a close.

In 1911, the charge for an open away day game was 6d. Mr C.A Thorburn, who lived at Zambesi, Low Blantyre collected the spectator takings.

In May 1912, when Blantyre played Springfield, the Blantyre team consisted of Mr T Peat, Mr CH Thorburn, Mr DH Martin, Mr WR Thorburn, Mr LM Inglis, Mr D Crombie, Mr DS Barr, Mr J Chambers, Mr EJC Wilson, Mr CS Smith and Mr D Welsh. Reserves were Mr JD Maxwell and Mr. JH Smith.

On Saturday 12th September 1914, the Blantyre Cricket Club arranged a match in aid of the War Relief Fund. The club were matched against 11 others from the Blantyre tennis, bowling and golf club. Fundraising did not stop. The following Saturday 19th September 1914, the club organised a dressed cycle parade, where a large assemble of cycles were decorated, meeting at Auchinraith School and leaving at 2.30pm left through the principal streets of Blantyre to applause from large crowds. Around £30 was collected for the War Relief Fund.

However, as with many sporting organisations, Blantyre Cricket Club suffered the same fate as the golf club and tennis clubs. As the war ‘hotted up’, members were drafted and left to serve their country, sometimes not coming back and as was expected a general disinterest in sports whilst such heavier matters played out prevailed. Priorities shifted and appetite for clubs during WW1 seems to have fallen away fast. The Blantyre Cricket Club is particularly absent in any newspaper report following October 1914.

Cricket as a sport, for whatever reason has never found much favour amongst the youth of Blantyre. There is little about this sport in Blantyres history and indeed contemporary dealings.

The photo is not Blantyre, for illustration only to show the type of attire the men wore at the time.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2019

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