The history of Harrogate Cricket Club
The first reference to a cricket club in Harrogate is to be found in the Harrogate Advertiser Newspaper of 27th June 1846, which reported a game between Harrogate and Knaresborough. Knaresborough had a very strong team at this time, and they won both this match and the return game. Early records indicate that a cricket team was formed in York in 1784. Ripon was reputed to have one of the strongest clubs in Yorkshire in the early nineteenth century and there was a club in Knaresborough in 1827.
Following several attempts over the years the present club was finally formed at a meeting in the Somerset Hotel, Harrogate on 9th June 1877. The land at St. George's Road was leased at an annual rent of £24 and the first match was played on 7th July 1877. Harrogate's oldest opponents are Scarborough, whom they first played in 1878 and continue to play in the Yorkshire League.
In September 1885 W.G.Grace played at St. George's Road for an England XI against an Australian touring side. Several England games were played at St. George's Road from 1880 to 1902.
Women's cricket was first played at St. George's Road in 1890. "Their skirts were long and the edge is weighted down with lead shots so that they do not lift in the wind."
The present pavilion was opened in August 1896 at a cost of £900 and a grandstand holding 2000 people was erected.
The first Yorkshire County match was allocated to Harrogate in 1894.
In the depression of the 1930's the club came close to bankruptcy, but was saved by the Town Council that purchased the land at St. George's Road, and Harrogate Cricket Club became tenants of the Town Council that paid off the club's debts.It was at this time that Maurice Leyland was developing a reputation as a fine cricketer. Many famous players have been seen at St. George's Road including Verity, Hutton, Rhodes and many more.
In 1931 New Zealand played at Harrogate.
In 1932 India played at Harrogate.
In 1933 the West Indies played at Harrogate.
Groundsman's bungalow constructed.
New Tavern built.
Second storey added to the Tavern to accommodate a restaurant.
The Junior pitch behind the pavilion, formerly the Clifton House School field, was leased to accommodate the thriving Junior Section of Harrogate Cricket Club.
Cricket festivals have long been a feature at St. George's Road from the early part of the twentieth century and the period from 1974 to 1996 saw an annual festival alongside a Yorkshire County match with Yorkshire winning on a regular basis.
Harrogate reached the final of the National Knockout Competition which is played at Lord's Cricket ground.
125th Anniversary Year.
New Pavilion opened by Tim Bresnan