TALKING CRICKET with Ray Taylor: Egerton have come a long way in their 150-year history

Egerton captain Paul Stafford with the Bolton Senior Indoor Cricket Cup

Egerton captain Paul Stafford with the Bolton Senior Indoor Cricket Cup

First published in Sport

ACCORDING to a brochure loaned to me by Bolton League chairman and Egerton secretary Mike Hall, the idea of forming a cricket club in Egerton originated in July 1863.

The team, mainly comprised of players from Eagley, Egerton and Firwood, played their first match against Darwen the following summer, with the Egerton team travelling to the ground at Lower Darwen by milk cart.

Darwen won the match by 120 to Egerton’s 45. An odd score today because Egerton batted first, but not an uncommon occurrence back then.

In the early days the Egerton players had to travel much further than they do now, with matches against teams including Rishton, Hulme, Chorley and Blackpool.

In 1882, the club secured the services of their first professional, who received £42, 12 shillings and threepence halfpenny for the season.

This was more than covered by an income of around £67 from subscriptions, but still represented over half the club’s expenditure.

The following season they employed two professionals and would sometimes have more for the important matches.

In 1933, Egerton were informed by the landowner that they would have to purchase the ground if they wanted to continue playing cricket there.

The 1,647 inhabitants of the village raised the £1,100 necessary by means of subscriptions and a bazaar. By now, a top professional could be receiving up to £10 a match.

In 1967, the club began to resemble the one we all know today with the opening of their new clubhouse and pavilion at the top end of the ground – made from Norwegian Spruce if anyone was wondering.

Ten years later Egerton won arguably the biggest game in their history, beating Lancaster at Old Trafford to claim the Lancashire Knockout title.

Batting first, Egerton scored 189-5, with Parvez Mir hitting 75 and Keith Hornby an invaluable 45 from 20 deliveries. Mir followed this by taking 4-12 as Egerton won by 32 runs.

They became one of the few clubs in the county to reach a second final, but were defeated by Bootle in 2009.

After winning this year’s indoor cricket title, Egerton could have a busy summer ahead of them.

Despite their early exit from the Hamer Cup, they face potential Lancashire KO matches and the Dixon Air Conditioning T20 Bolton final, which will be contested between Horwich and themselves on a date to be arranged.

The two teams defeated Bradshaw and Westhoughton respectively in the semi-finals on Bank Holiday Monday.

The successful team will go on to play teams from the Liverpool Competition, Central Lancashire League and Northern League in the area final at Westhoughton on Saturday, August 10.

The winners will be just one more match away from an appearance on Sky TV in the national semi-finals.

* As a footnote to Nick Chamberlain’s column last week, Bradshaw and Little Lever have been involved in the Cross Cup since 1921 and the Hamer Cup since 1930.

But, on June 15, Bradshaw will travel to Little Lever for a Hamer Cup tie for the first time in more than 90 years. This contrasts with 11 trips to Farnworth and 15 just down the road to Tonge.

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