Leadgate Cricket Club History

The club was formed in 1904, and began playing on a field near Bunker Hill Farm. Under the leadership of Mr. Brears, a well-known village schoolmaster, it moved to Leadgate Park near the Church of England School.

The year 1921 saw Mr. J. Bell become secretary and the club acquired its present ground. It was at this ground that the well-known County cricketer, John Carr (who was to represent Durham County for 23 seasons) made his first regular league appearances in a very successful team composed of such stalwarts as Frank (Stonewall) Jackson, Tom Bartle and Jim Boustead.

The pendulum swung and the club passed through a lean period, but thanks to men like Les Westhorp and J. B. Barron (who was known to sit all day at the gate to collect 2s. 6d. entrance money), they carried on to more successful times.

The year 1941 was a turning point when with the signing of Jack Latchford as professional, combined with the talent of Jack Ross, Maurice Elliot, William Brown, Andrew Welch and John Cromarty, they had a number of most successful seasons, and played regularly to packed grounds. Continuing in this vein they next signed Albert Atkinson as professional and built up a team of local youngsters. This team had great success in cup competitions over the following five seasons. In 1951 they won six cups with the help of players like Barry Bromley, John Cranney, Reg Bell, Norman Pearson, Jack Thompson, Eric Topham, John Day and Eric Oxley and the man who has been given his all to the club throughout his life Mr (Leadgate Cricket Club) Gordon Walker.

At this point we must mention the notable contributions to the club of  William Oxley, Kenny Day, and most of all the man who kept it all going Mr Wilf Archer.

The late 70`s proved a fruitful era for the Club, winning numerous North West Durham League Titles. Brian Farley`s team consisted of Professional Ernie Bewick and included many talented players Davey Steadman, Austin Lee, Billy and Ronnie Stokoe, Brian McNally, and Joe McCabe to name a few. All local village lads.

We must also note the invaluable contribution many Club members including John Bone, Norman Henderson Cliffy Willis, Tweet Lee, and the many women members, made to the improvements to the Club.

The Mid 80`s proved a pivotal point in the history of the club. In 1984 Brian Farley`s men brought their first Durham County League Championship back to the village. West Indian Professional Dennis Hewitt duly delivered it at about 90MPH…breaking both Michael and Brian Storey`s (W.K) fingers to boot… Numerous trophies followed and laid down the foundations for the most successful period in the clubs History.

The early 90`s brought in a new generation of players. George Storey took the reigns as Chairman of the club, and his management skills drove the club forward. It was to be the most successful period of the clubs history. Under the Captaincy of Paul Hutchinson and the vision of Jeff Shield, the team brought Silverware in abundance  to the village, including back to back Durham County League titles, Tyneside Charity Bowl, AM Brown Cup, to name but a few. This period was sustained for a good 15 years or so and the village could boast it had one of the best and most feared sides in the North East.

 Professionals in that time included Wasif Butt, Harry Hubber, David Nevin, Sean Ackermann, Rehan Rafiq, New Zealander Neil Broom, and the one and only Bilal Rana.

We can`t forget the local Players who contributed massively, Paul Hutchinson, Jeff Shield, Paul Hockaday, Ian Wray, Alan Reeve, Richard Hawthorrn, Stewart Graham, Paul McCourt, Lee Murray and Carl Peacock

The club has gone through a lean period with rebuilding squads, but to this day the club remains on a sound footing, boasting 5 junior teams, 2 Senior Teams and 1 Ladies Team. John Peacock dedication over the years for his club work and the tireless hours grounds men Brian Farley and Alan Cunninigham have put in over the decades, all need special mention. Gary Dixon has played a huge part in keeping our Juniors progressing over the years and we are now beginning to see his hard work pay off with numerous Juniors representing Leadgate`s 1st X1. And with the current leadership hopefully the club will prosper in the near future……Watch this space…