Burghley Park Cricket Club
Address: Burghley Park, Barnack Road, Stamford, Lincolnshire, Huntingdonshire, PE9 3JT
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Burghley Park Cricket Club first played cricket in the Park in 1854, having previously played at the old Stamford Racecourse with references of the Marquess of Exeter’s XI playing at the racecourse in the 1820s.
The Club’s greatest era came in the 1870s when its opening pair, Charles Chenery and John Furley regularly played for Northamptonshire with Chenery also playing football for England in their first three international matches.
In 1886, W.G. Grace, then a young man and not yet qualified as a doctor, played against the Park for the Earl of Westmorland’s XI. He did not particularly distinguish himself and his side were outplayed by the Park in a drawn match. The Earl brought a much stronger side the following year including W.G. and his younger brother G.F. Grace as well as W.R. Gilbert and James Southerton, both of whom later that year played in the first ever Test Match against Australia.
The Park were comprehensively beaten with W.G. Grace scoring 110 and taking 9 wickets in the match. The defeat by the Earl of Westmorland was the only loss for the Club that summer. In the same year, the Club achieved the rare feat of beating the MCC Club & Ground both at home in the Park and away at Lords prompting a favourable comment to that effect in Wisden.
By the mid-1890s, the Club was strong enough to warrant the building of a state-of-the-art pavilion, which was opened in 1894 by the Marquess of Exeter and still stands today. This had involved many fund-raising efforts and a generous contribution from the Marquess and the committee meeting minutes below show that Mr John Woolston was awarded the contract to build the pavilion for £287.
Fortunes fluctuated through the 20s, 30s and 40s but the Club retained a strong fixture list, although no cricket was played on the ground from 1940 to 1945. In 1970, the Club was invited into the newly-formed South Lincs and Border League which it promptly won in 1972 and on three subsequent occasions. At the turn of the Millennium it was invited to participate in the new ECB Lincolnshire Premier League, an invitation it declined due to the extensive travelling.
There is plenty of cricket on offer for all ages and abilities. At senior level the club currently fields teams in Huntingdonshire League, Division 1 and 5, with friendly cricket played on Sunday as well as a Midweek XI that enters a variety of local cups. Women’s cricket has also recently been introduced, with training on Tuesday evenings during the season.
The junior section of the club was revived in 2011 and now has a thriving U9 and U11 team with a view to adding an U13 team in 2016. Sunday morning training sessions are very well attended, with all coaches being Level 1 or 2 accredited. Burghley Park is also a Clubmark registered club, and has successfully been re-awarded the accreditation until 2017.
Now well established in the local calendar is Burghley Park Cricket Club Cricket Week, which was first noted in the Minutes from a Committee Meeting in 1894. The addition of a 6s tournament was introduced in 1959 and is still going strong today with well over a thousand people attending on the Friday finals’ night, mainly aided by the recent introduction of a Beer Festival which sees over 20 real ales available every day. This year is set to be bigger and better than before with a Hurricane and Spitfire flypast on the renamed ‘Fancy-dress Friday’. There’s nothing better to do on a balmy summer evening.
Burghley Park Cricket Club is always welcoming of new members and volunteers. If you would like to get involved with a club that is steeped in history and boasts one of the most picturesque grounds in the country then please get in touch.