Holmbridge Cricket Club
Address: Woodhead Road, Holmbridge, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, HD9 2NQ
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A potted history inserted into a Holmbridge CC minute book says that there was a club with a ground in Holme in 1868 but visiting teams felt it was ‘too far out’, so fixtures were presumably a problem.
Following this difficulty, a nucleus of players moved to Holmbridge in the late 1870s to a field opposite the Commercial Inn.
The earliest newspaper reference to a cricket club at Holmbridge comes in 1871, when the Huddersfield Examiner reported on a match between Holme Bridge Britannia and Little Hayfield. The present field has been the club’s home since 1886. It was levelled by members and rented from local mill-owners (W.H. & J. Barber) until purchased from them on the mill’s closure in 1975. A retaining wall was built by the riverside and a spokesperson said that ‘50 runs was regarded as a good score’ in the very early days.
Reports in the Holmfirth Express of the club’s presentation dinner in 1954 refer to remarks about an incredible game in 1888 when Holmbridge were dismissed for 35 - but then bowled out local rivals Scholes for just 13. This prompted a letter from someone signing himself as ‘The Lad from Scholes’.
Some time in the 1900s the club left the Alliance League and joined the Huddersfield and District Cricket Association League. In 1909 Holmbridge 1st XI were crowned champions of the Huddersfield Association League and also lifted the Lumb Cup. The club joined the Huddersfield Central League in 1915, at the same time as Leymoor, Meltham, Scholes and Thongsbridge.
The First World War meant an acute shortage of players. After re-joining the league the previous year, the club enjoyed its first Huddersfield Central League success in 1921. The 2nd XI won the league and cup double, a feat the side was to repeat the following season. In 1933 the club bought a horse for £10. However, by 1937 it was made redundant after the club’s first motor mower was purchased. The horse was then sold for 10/- (50p).
Because Holmbridge leased their ground from a local mill owner, the club was not allowed to play after 6pm on a Sunday - such was the bond that existed between their landlord and St. David's parish church, just a six-hit away from the cricket pitch on the other side of Woodhead Road. When the club came into ownership of the ground (in the 1970s and 'in perpetuity'), it no longer had to take account of the church bells, and no longer had to adjourn Sunday games to Monday.
The Club Improvement Scheme (CIS) was set up in 1952 and existed until 1967. Its aim was to increase the amount of money coming into the club by involving more people. The incentive of a prize draw was offered and, for example, in 1964 there was a first prize of £5 and five others of £1. By its last year, 1967, the prize offered was 50% of total takings but a diminishing number of sellers was the main cause of the demise of a scheme which had been a lifeline for 15 years.
Today Holmbridge can boast 4 junior teams which play in the Huddersfield Junior Cricket League at Under 9, Under 11, Under 13 & Under 15 age groups. The first and second XI both play in the Huddersfield Central Cricket League.