Eppleton Cricket Club
Address: Church Road, Hetton- Le- Hole, Tyne & Wear, Durham, DH5 9AJ
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Eppleton Cricket Club was founded in 1884 when it was called Eppleton Church Cricket club.
It was initially created to serve as a means of recreation for the men of the local mining community who was mad up of its membership, notwithstanding that 1st X11 captain was invariably the local Vicar who was almost selected without reference to his skills and abilities.
The first match was played on 30th May 1884 against Hetton Le Hole 2nd X11, on the Hetton ground. Eppleton scored 43 runs and Hetton scored 80 runs. It is evident that cricket was a very popular past time in the early years and that crowds of several thousand were not uncommon at the ground. Minutes of early Committee Meetings held at the club reveal such gems as:
“two stone of bird droppings were to be purchased for fertiliser”
“that the Reverend Hindle will give a bat to the best average batsman as long as he ( Rev Hindle) can still play in the team”
“that the Reverend Hindle arrange two police for the game against Hetton Lyons” !!!
Regular matches were played during the 1880s and 90`s many involving substantial prizes- twenty five pounds for the winning team was not uncommon, this was coupled with both players and spectators alike laying heavy bets on the outcome of the games.
In 1902, Eppleton Cricket CC were one of the founder members of the Durham Senior League. Records show that the Club employed as a Professional as early as 1896- K Smith form Yorkshire, who was paid 2 guineas as week during the season. Other noticeable club professionals were Stan Ellis, during the 1920`s. Maurice Nichol, a local man who played for Durham and Worcester, also during the 1920`s and early 30s and Harry Gibbon, a local lad who played during the 1930`s. Perhaps the best known and feared character was the Reverend Law who captained the side in the 20s and 30s and was also Hon Secretary to Durham County Cricket Club until his death in 1952.
More recently, however the club has employed several International Test Cricketers as Professional. These include David O`Sullivan (New Zealand) in 1975- 77, Steve Small (Australia) 1979-81, Jimmy Adams (West Indies) 1989-93 and Nehemiah (Jonny) Perry in 1994. Jimmy Adams later became captain of the West Indies, and whilst he was engaged by Eppleton, he was officially recognized as the best batsman in the world by the Deloitte Test Ratings. It is evident that employing these Professionals considerably boosted the Clubs profile, the first X11 being crowned League Champions in 1927, 1976, 1989 and 1993.
More recently, one of our ex junior players, Scott Borthiwick, made his full England debut in the Ashes, down under in Australia.
The club is now flourishing- it has a successful social club and is able to field three senior and four junior teams in the North East Premier League. It has always been and still is a community in every sense!