Grange Park Cricket Club was founded in November 2005, a few local residents met up during the summer of 05’ and decided to form a cricket club to allow all ages to get together and play cricket in our new community.
The first club committee consisted of Artnell Hammond (Chairman), Steve Cates (Secretary) with other committee members being Jagdish Patel, Ken Birch, Mark Everitt & Julie Harrison. This group was quickly bolstered by Stuart Butler, Giles Mooney, Adam Murby & Tony Robson.
With no ground, no players, no league, no money and no idea how to run a cricket club this ‘band of brothers’ took the challenge that has quickly developed into one of the fastest growing clubs in the area.
Even without a ground we managed to convince the South Northants Cricket League to grant our registration for the 2006 season. Now we had the small matter of finding enough players, we needn’t had worried too much, with a little advertising and cajoling we had 21 budding players quickly express interest and by the start of the season we had 34!
We spoke to local clubs and very nearly shared with Stoke Bruerne CC, in the end we were fortunate to find the closest club possible in Collingtree CC. They kindly agreed to allow our club to use their facilities. We would like to say that without their help and assistance we would never have achieved anything like what we have. Although the ground only had an artificial wicket and two Portakabins as a pavilion it was the perfect place to call home.
As a club that wanted to get as much local involvement as possible so we asked Woodland View School to run a competition for the children to design our club badge. Pictured are the school headmaster Mark Thomas, Mark Everitt with runner up Jamie Wakefield and the winner Grace Hughes.
We arranged for winter net sessions at Caroline Chisholm School to allow those interested to take the plunge see whether their bodies were up to it. There was also the small matter of selecting a leader for our inaugural season; luckily we had an ideal person in Stuart Butler. Now for the hard work of actually playing our first game!
Behind the scenes we managed to secure an Award for All grant for basic equipment and with private sponsorship, Let 2 Invest and Price Waterhouse Coopers (this was in no small thanks to two of our players, Ben Young and Chris Davison who just happened to work for PwC and Jag who knew the L2I boss!) We were at least soluble.
Our first competitive match took us to Preston Bissett. A comfortable 4 wicket win with Craig Holmes taking 4 wickets and Artnell Hammond knocking 61. Everyone could not wait to play our first home match the following week. Sadly a grey Saturday put a dampener on the day, the game abandoned without a ball being bowled! Not the start we had hoped for! We would have played in canoes but our opposition was less than keen.
Halfway through the season you could see it was between us and MK Air to take the Division 5 title. We missed out winning the title in our first season by a few points; both sides only lost one game all season. But we knew now we could compete and even at this early stage there was more interest for the club to see if we could form a 2nd team.
With an ever increasing demand the club took the plunge and entered a 2nd senior team to the Saturday SNCL league. With Steve Cates now managing a junior section we also had two junior sides in the local South Northants junior league, one at under 11 the other at under 13.
The 1st team opener against Helmdon saw Stuart Butler knocking 127 not out, a club record that may take some beating. The clubs 1st team enjoyed continued success in Division 4, facing stiffer competition only lost 4 league games to finish runners up again, this time to Bodicote ‘A’ by 5 points.
Our ‘A’ side, skippered by Mark Everitt found things a little tough in Division 5 finishing 8th and only winning 3 games all season but with many new players joining the club and blooding young talent means that our future looks promising. One low note was the comprehensive drubbing the 2nd xl took at the hands of Gayton. Chasing 177 to win we started badly and finished worse finally being bowled out for 18!! Let’s hope this is a record that doesn’t get beaten for many years to come. On the plus side the club had some other records to celebrate * Stuart Butler scoring 542 league runs averaging 49 * Highest score v Flecknoe 334 for 3 * Highest Partnership 191 Stuart Butler and Lee Roberts * Josh Day picking up the ‘A’ side bowling averages and players player award at the age of 14! * Ashley Day taking a hat trick against Bodicote ‘A’
One other point worth of note is how successful we have been to integrate ourselves with the manager of the local hostelry, The Grange. Thanks to Dave (no Sky Sports?!) Firmin it is safe to say he will not forget us in a hurry. Let’s hope we have many years boozing, getting home late (or early) and not being barred.
As the club celebrated its second consecutive promotion for the 1st team the league’s (in its wisdom) had a vote that all clubs must not play on any type of artificial wicket, this got carried by 28 votes to 27! The only club affected was ours. What turned out to be two excellent years nearly concluded in the club being unable to continue in the league next season. On a positive note we were most grateful to the many clubs who spoke up on our behalf during this turbulent period which concluded in a league EGM overruling its earlier decision and allowed GPCC to continue to play at Collingtree for the 2008 season. It is pleasing to see that in two short years we have made many friends who were not afraid to speak up on our behalf.
Before the summer season even started the club could claim its first piece of silverware, taking the Northampton indoor 6 a side winter league.
After two successive promotions our 1st xl were now the talk of the league, was the plastic pitch the reason? No, it’s just we had a decent team. Stu took the reins for the 3rd season, steering the team to a frustrating 3rd place in the league and runners up in the Division 3 cup competition.
With a few frustrating defeats we finished an agonizing 3 points short of second and another promotion. You can’t win en all. MK Air and Preston Bissett taking the top spots. We also lost out in an exciting cup final to Wroxton, losing out by 6 runs when victory was in our grasp.
The 2nd xl was skippered this season by Rob Kilsby and had a lot more success this time out. Going on a 9 game winning streak they won the Division 5 league, losing only 3 along the way.
Off the field the club has being looking to secure our own permanent home on Foxfield Park in Grange Park. We had been in constant discussions with our Parish Council to see if this could happen. Happily during 2008 due a lot of hard work by our council they secured national funding from the Football Foundation, combining this with other funding sources from GP’s developers and a contribution we made via the West Northants Development Corporation building work began in January 2009 on a Pavilion and 6 cricket wickets. You can see more on this if you go to the link ‘Foxfield Development’.
Other ‘first’s’ for the club were * Stuart Butler being the first player to score 1,000 league runs. * Ish Hussain taking 8 wickets in a match * Our 1st xl scored 402 (the highest score in living memory in the SNCL) against Finmere and in the same game * Rob Pinnington scoring 198 not out. The highest individual score by any player in 60 years of the SNCL.
We will remember this season as the one that only had one game called off all year. Our first team was looking to better the 3rd spot in Div 3 last term and our second side looking to pit their wits in Division 4 for the first time. We continued to play at Collingtree CC whilst our new home is continuing its construction Lee Robert’s took over as skipper the first xl and Rob Kilsby continuing for the ‘stiffs’.
Our first xl started like a house on fire, only losing one of the first 12 league and seemingly on the way to their first silverware. However an end of season wobble meant we needed to win one of the last two games for certain promotion which we duly did against Gawcott & Hillesden on the penultimate weekend. Middleton Cheney won the division in fine style, only losing one league game all season (against us). We now head for the heights of Division 2 for the 2010 season, not bad for a bunch of guys who got together who were not sure they were capable of holding their own in Division 5.
After finishing runners up in the Div 3 cup last season we made our way to the final again, beating Crowns and Warwick University along the way. After two abortive attempts to play the game (both rained off) we eventually played Gawcott in mid Sept, two weeks after the league had finished. Thankfully we didn’t make any mistakes this time and took the title in good style.
The second string consolidated themselves in Division 4, winning 7 of the 18 games and finished half way. A fine effort as we suffered heavily with injuries and unavailability during the campaign. * Craig Holmes becomes the first player to take 100 wickets for the club. 51 this season alone, a club record * Ish Hussain takes 37 wickets for the second xl, beating the previous best (24) * Lee Roberts scores 1,000 league runs. * Rob Pinnington scores 562 league runs in 2009, a new record for the club * Ian Brown scores 108 not out for the seconds, the first ton for the second string * Adam Brown (Ian’s son) is the youngest player to take a league wicket aged 13.
Our nomad lifestyle saw the club decamp to Wotton’s ground for the season. Although for some of the old school a tear or two was shed leaving the bunker at Collingtree, we must thank Collingtree CC for their support allowing GPCC to use their facilities. Special thanks to Dave Sweeting and Rob Flyte for facilitating our stay. During the course of the season we welcomed new recruits Kaush Guha, Ady Faulkner, Matt and Harry Rowe, Chriag and Kanav Sehgal to the ranks whilst saying auvoir to Jason McMenamin, who had the cheek to think of his family and career before his beloved club. They emigrated back to his homeland New Zealand, we all wish the family every success in the move and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Jase at number 5?
Back to the review. Things were going well on and off the pitch. Both the senior sides managed good runs in the league and the new ground was coming on nicely. Have a look at the section on the website for the different stages of development. Lee Roberts and Rob Kilsby continued as skip.
The first xl managed to win the final few games to pip Middleton Cheney to the title of Division 2, 14 x50’s and 2 tons helped the cause with the bat with the new boy Ady pipping Ash Day to take the most wickets in the season. We also managed to finish runners up in the Div 2 cup to a very strong Middleton Cheney side.
The A xl finished mid table after a ‘squeaky bum’ finish to the league winning 6, drawing 5 and losing 7. With Ryan picking up the batting averages and Mark Grundy the bowling award. With the young Bob Khan knocking his first 100. On the ground front the final pieces of the jigsaw were now complete and we gave notice to the league that Grange park Cricket Club were going to playing in Grange Park at their home ground in the 2011 season.
Other notable stats:
• 3 players passed 1000 league runs. Rob Kilsby, Ian Peterson and Rob Pinnington
• 2 players reached 100 league wickets, Ash Day and Mark Everitt
• The 3 J’s won this year’s Giles Mooney duck award, Jake Roberts, Jamie Webb and Jag Patel