A Brief History of Brodsworth Main Cricket Club
Like so many other "Pit Teams" the story starts with the development of the South Yorkshire coalfield and the sinking of the first shaft of Brodsworth Main Colliery in 1906. Many miners migrated from the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire mines to seek employment in the newly developing coalfield. Brodsworth Main Colliery Co. was independent until 1937 when Doncaster Amalgamated Colliery Co. was formed, subsequently passing into the ownership of the National Coal Board in 1947. 4500 worked at the colliery in the mid '50's to '64 and then reduced down to 3000 by '70 when the full effects of mechanisation had its full effect. The Colliery closed in 1990.
A "Model Village" (now referred to locally as the old estate) was created to house the influx of miners and their families. It was designed and built by Percy Bond Houfton as tied cottages for the miners. In an era of model villages such as Saltaire, Port Sunlight and Bournville, the estate at Woodlands, with it's extensive open spaces, many different designs of houses and overall living conditions superb for their time, possibly represents the height of the model village movement. In conjunction with the development of the Colliery, and the Model Village, land was donated by the Thelluson Family of Brodsworth Hall to provide recreational facilities for the miners and their families. The Brodsworth Miners' Welfare Scheme began in 1923, incorporating the former Brodsworth Main Colliery Sports and Pastimes Club which existed 1909-1923. The initial Sports and Pastimes Club and the subsequent Welfare Scheme were funded by a levy from each miner at the colliery, which financed the building development and the provision of equipment. In the 1950s this levy was one shilling per week (remember there were 4,000 people working at the colliery) and the cricket section got £100 per year until 1974 , it then was increased to £200, which helped , but the club had to raise 80-90% of the annual funds themselves.. This money had to pay for all the costs of the teams, there was very little personal equipment, everyone used the contents of the Team Bag, and Kildare Buses provided the away game transport. The "Tote Double" which was run by the welfare trustees and supported by the sections was the main fund raiser. The Presentation Evening at the Broadhighway was the main social event of the year and was always well supported.
The land provided was sufficient in size to enable soccer pitches, a cricket field and two bowling greens to be constructed, together with their associated changing and dining facilities. In keeping with the innovative mature appertaining at the time the pavilion for the cricket was constructed between the football and the cricket field and served both sports. There were two sets of doors, one giving access to the cricket field by a series of wide concrete steps, and the other giving access to the football field by a set of wooden steps. Inside the pavilion were two changing rooms with communal baths, umpires/referee changing room, scoreboard, and solid fuel heating system. A toilet block was constructed adjacent to the pavilion. On the boundary of the cricket field, a red shale cycle track was laid, which provide quality entertainment over the years with the likes of Reg Harris and Beryl Burton competing in the August Bank Holiday meeting.
Everyone who has ever played at Broddy must be eternally grateful to Mr John Cridall who was instrumental in founding the club in 1910 as part of the Sports and Pastimes Club at the Colliery. Mr Cridall was a keen cricketer and held a senior managerial position at Brodsworth Colliery. There had been unsuccessful attempts to form a cricket league around Doncaster, but in the autumn of 1912 John managed to reform it. The league was called "The Doncaster and District Cricket League" and was made up of teams from Collieries and large industrial companies. In recognition of his efforts Mr Cridall was ellected League President, a position he held for many years. Over the years the league expanded and flourished and by the late 1950s could claim to be the largest cricket league in the world.
The first matches in the new league were played in 1913 and on the first day Brodsworth played Hatfield Main. (It is sad to record that The Doncaster and District Cricket League went out of existence in 2010 and on the last day Brodsworth played Hatfield Main)
Initially the club ran two teams in the D&DCL for many years but the First Team left and played in the Freelance Section of The Yorkshire Council. In1957 the South Riding Cricket League was formed and the First Team transferred to the new league. The main reason for the progression from the D&DCL to the SRCL was that winners of the SRCL completed in the "Council Playoffs", a very prestigious knockout competition at the end of the season. The leagues represented in the playoffs were SYCL, Central Yorkshire Cricket League, the Heavy Woolen Cricket League and the Yorkshire League itself.
After Bramall lane closed for cricket, BMCC was earmarked to become YCCC South Yorkshire base, the club staged 6 YCCC 2nd.XI games , and in addition we staged several benefit games , for Brian Close, Nicholson, Geoff Boycott, Richard Lumb, Chris Old, Geoff Cope , Barry Leadbetter and Yorkshire's finest Jimmy Binks.
Three memories from those games are worth recording :-
Yorkshire Second v Essex Seconds opening bats for Yorkshire Dickie Bird and Brian Bolus, Essex team Manager Trevor Bailey ( who sadly died in a fire in February 2011)
Brian Close hitting successive sixs onto the bowling green adjacent to the Welfare Hall
Jackie Hampshire hitting a square cut six which never went more than 3 feet high and made a hole through the chain link fencing in front of the Pavilion
The period 1962 to 1976 could be referred to as the first Golden Age, The club had a successful team made up of local amateur lads who were successful in reaching the council play-offs 7 times. In 1967 they managed to reach the final when they played Wakefield, who were the Yorkshire League qualifier. Wakefield were captained by Vic Wilson (who had been captain of Yorkshire the previous season) and included in their team the legendry Sonny Valentine. Brodsworth lost by 16 runs, an unfortunate decision by an umpire who gave John Lumb out LBW was the difference. ,
Interest in cricket waned in the 1980s and the club had only sufficient players for one team, unfortunately the committee at the time decided to leave the South Riding League and continue one team in the Doncaster and District Cricket league. This decision removed the opportunity for players to play in higher level cricket for the next 20 years and resulted in the better players leaving to play elswhere.
Great efforts were put into the junior side of the club and following the Ashes win in 2004 over 70 under 9s turned up to the special Saturday night coaching sessions. Players from these sessions have progressed through under 9s, under 13 and under 15 and have been successful in both the Doncaster and Pontefract junior leagues.
An influx of young players of potential and experienced enthusiastic senior players regenerated the club, these exiting times resulted in a successful application for Club Mark status within the ECB, admittance to the Pontefract and District Cricket league, a third Saturday team was formed which continued to play in the D&DCL and a Sunday Team entered the Barnsley Sunday League