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Bolton Cricket League


More recent history will be put here soon.
An extract taken from the Grand Bazaar newsletter, March 20th 1901.

It will no doubt be a surprise to many to know that the Farnworth Cricket Club will in May next complete its 30th year, Having been formed as far back as the year 1871. That wonderful individual "the oldest inhabitant" can of course remember old cricketers still living who remember the days of the "Farnworth Albion" or the "Farnworth and Kearsley United", but it was with the establishment of the Farnworth Cricket Club that the lovers of the game (both players and spectators) were introduced to its more scientific culture to what was in those days, something of a novelty, viz., professional bowling at practice nets.

It is sometimes profitable to go back to the "beginnings of things" and learn how small matters may often have far-reaching results. The beginning of Farnworth Club was somewhat romantic. In the late summer of 1970, some cricket enthusiastics arranged a friendly game between eleven gentlemen of St. John's Church and eleven gentlemen connected with the Free Churches of the town, or village, as the old inhabitants then called it. This match was played on two consecutive Saturday afternoons and caused a very considerable amount of interest. It was played on what alas! is a field no longer, being an open grass field on the South side of Church Road, Kearsley - then going by the name of Church Lane.

A pleasanter game was never enjoyed by any cricketer, and although the match was won by the gentlemen of dissenting principles there was no dissension from the opinion that there were possibilities for a fuller and larger development of the great National game in Farnworth and District. A noticeable incident from this game was that on the afternoon of the second day's play, news was brought to the ground of a great and decisive battle of Sedan, and for a short time the interest of this event seemed almost to eclipse the interest in the minor battle fought by the more enthusiastic cricketers to form a club for Farnworth on the model of the Bolton Club then enjoying a well deserved popularity on the old playing ground at Back o' th' Bank. Negotiations were entered into with Thomas Barnes Esq. for the renting of the ground still occupied by the club and soon the necessary operations of laying the ground, fencing and pavilion buildings were in full swing under the advice and direction of the well-known professional to the Manchester Club, Fred Reynolds. This  was speedily and successfully carried out, and in May 1871, the new club was in full and active operation. The first professional engaged was a bowler and coach was John Anthony, of Nottingham, and a very successful season was the result. Very many friends came regularly to the Saturday afternoon matches, and before the second season was over the Committee of the club were petitioned by a large number of gentlemen who were either too old or not active enough for cricket playing asking them to arrange for taking a further portion of land and laying it out as a Bowling Green and the result was the provision of the present Bowling Green and the accession of a large number of members. The first President of the new club, was the Right Hon. the Earl of Ellesmere, who in a kind note to the committee signified his interest in the undertaking and his willingness to accept the position. Afterwards the Presidency was occupied by Thomas Barnes Esq., whose interest in everything that affected the pleasure or well-being of his fellow townsmen was manifested in many ways, and he was re-elected until his death in 1897. To mention the names of all the prominent townsmen who took an interest in the club would take up more space than this short sketch will allow, suffice it to say that with varying fortunes both as to finance and efficiency the club has held on its way, supplying the means of healthy exercise and recreation for the youthful members of the community.

The matches for several years were of a somewhat high class, such clubs as Haslingdon, Stand, Werneth, Ashton, Leigh, Gorton, Leyland and others being encountered with creditable successes, as well as the minor ones of Horwich, Eagley, Egerton and others now included in the Bolton and District League.

Many well known cricketers were engaged as "professionals", W.Cuttle, N.Marsden, Thomas Burrows, amongst others taking their places as coach  and the matches in which these exponents of the game took part are yet remembered by the old members with pride and pleasure.

Of course, during a long period, it could not but happen that fortune with cricket clubs must vary and matters of policy produce differences of opinion, and so it was with this club. Irregularities od a section of the members caused uneasiness to some who desired the youth of the town to have unalloyed recreation. Gossips magnified the conduct of the members causing the management of the club to be in disfavour for a time with the public. One friction led to a split and the one section formed a bowling green in the neighbourhood of Darley, which however did not live long.

About the year 1890, it became absolutely necessary to thouroughly overhaul the undertaking and rearrange matters in order to place the club on a new and better basis. With this objective, Mr W.A. Ferguson, formerly of Farnworth but now of Eccles, who was connected with the club from its formation and still retains an affection for it, and to whom the club owes more than the present members are aware of, called a Special Meeting of the members and Patrons inthe Temperance Hall, Farnworth at whick the methods of conducting the place were very materially altered and the management re-constructed. Of-course, this did not suit all the members and many left. The club then passed through the anxious period and it was difficult to "hang together" waiting for better times, but the new and better basis had been discovered and the work proceeded, its most serious and difficult task being to re-establish itself in the public favour. This has been accomplished and it is still growing in popularity.

The formation of the Bolton and District League gave a new impulse to its enthusiasm, and in the struggles of the League clubs for honours "Farnworth" has held its own having been declared the "Champions" in 1892, 1895,1899 and 1900, "Runners up" in 1893 and "Winners" of the District Senior Cup in 1895 and 1899.

To the present Captain of the Club, Mr James Nuttall and several members of the club - Bowlers, Cricketers - belong the credit of having pulled the team and the club together and placed it on its present satisfactory footing.

The checkered history, the present condition and prospects of the club warrant the hope that it may for a long time to come be a pleasure to the youth of the neighbourhood to appreciate its benefits and stimulate them to keep the "ball-a-rolling" free from vices which might degrade the National Game of Cricket.

The necessity of the proposed new pavillion and alternatives on the Ground are obvious to all those who have visited the place.

The Bazaar Committee acknowledge their indebtedness, and desire to record their appreciation of the services of all the ladies who have so nobly taken in hand the promotion of the present Bazaar and to all the helpers and friends who by their subscriptions and labour assisted in the movement.


James Nuttall - Captain for 18 years

1899 League & Cup winning team

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