top of page

The History of Knaresborough Cricket Club


Although KCC was not formally constituted as a cricket club until 1815 and was not specifically referred to as " the Town Club " until 1843, matches had been played in the previous century. In 1796, " gentlemen " of Knaresborough took on Burton Leonard at Rigg Moor, in a match for a stake of £20. Further fixtures followed in the new century and it was probably the fact that five were played in 1814 that persuaded the locals to establish a cricket club on an official basis.


Many of these early matches were played for stakes, often against 15, 20 or 22 opponents, while single wicket fixtures were a regular part of the cricketing calendar. Thus, for example, the stake against Bradford in 1840 was £50, while in 1845 the celebrated cricketer Tom Hunt took on and defeated the entire Knaresborough X1!


After a nomadic existence, using various grounds, the Club finally settled, in 1863, at Crag Top which was to be its home for the next hundred years. Sizeable crowds attended the games but, in an era of extremely poor wickets, match scores were inevitably low. It was not until 1845, against Dalton, that KCC made its first three figure total ( 146 ), although this was hugely superseded four years later when the team amassed 346, believed to be a record in Yorkshire at that time, against Leeds Clarence, which included the first century by a KCC player, Dawson making 101.


The most prominent KCC players of the mid 19th century were Jonathan Joy and George Freeman ( the latter described by WG Grace as " the finest fast bowler I ever played against " ) while in later years Charles Penrose and JA Duthoit made major contributions to the team with both bat and ball.


In 1906 the Club was temporarily wound up, but had been regenerated within three years. On either side of the First World War, the Club had brief spells in the Thirsk League and the Nidderdale League before, in 1923, joining the 100 or so clubs which comprised the Yorkshire Council. During these inter-war years, the most noted KCC player was Frank Prentice, who made his debut for the Club aged 16 in 1930, before going on to have a very successful county career with Leicestershire from 1934 to 1951. One further meritorious achievement was the undefeated 172 made by S. Crowther in 1934 which was to remain the highest individual score by a KCC player for nearly seventy years.


Post war, the 1950s and 1960s were still largely bowler dominated, amongst the most impressive performances being those of Dick Simpson with 9-61 in 1957 and Don Holdsworth who took 9-17 in 1959. It may also be worth noting that, aged 14, Geoffrey Boycott made his senior cricket league debut in 1954 playing against KCC for Ackworth! 


KCC joined the Airedale-Wharfedale League in 1959 and this marked the beginning of the finest period in the Club's history, tied in, as it was, with the move to the new ground further down Aspin Lane in 1965. The 1970s witnessed a run of success unparalleled in the League's history; starting, as a " B " division team in 1970, by winning the Waddilove Cup - Stuart Speak becoming the first player to score a century in a Waddilove final - and promotion in the same season, they retained the trophy the following year and won it again in successive seasons from 1977 to 1980 with further successes in 1986 and 1998. In the league, in 1973, the team bowled out Horsforth for just seven, which remains a record low score in A-W history. The League title was won successively from 1975 to 1980 inclusive and then again in 1983 and 1984. The 2nd XI enjoyed similar success during this period, winning the League from 1976 to 1979 inclusive and the Birtwhistle Cup from 1976 to 1978 inclusive and again in 1982.


Subsequent seasons were less successful, although several excellent individual performances were recorded, particularly Mike Baxandall's figures of 10-16 against Calverley in 2004, the second best figures in League history and Jonathan Corcoran's unbeaten 181 in an Evening League fixture versus Follifoot in 2001, including 18 sixes and 10 fours, the highest individual score recorded by a KCC player in any competition. Overseas players, too, have made significant contributions with Rhys Adams notching 175 against Calverley in 2007, the highest Saturday league total by an individual and, the following year, Australian Dale Tormey scored 1,210 league runs. Juniors, too, have come through the ranks to achieve considerable success at county level, notably Eddie Barnes with Leicestershire and Jonathan Tattersall who is wicket keeper and captain at Yorkshire.


After 58 seasons, the Club made the decision to leave the A-W League in order to further its ambitions to progress as far as possible in cricketing terms through the Yorkshire Pyramid system thus, in 2017, joining the Yorkshire Premier Cricket League North where it currently plays in the Championship West division. With a raft of talented cricketers and promising juniors in the Club, there is cause for much optimism for the future. 

bottom of page