NORDEN CRICKET CLUB
Some brief notes on the club’s history
THE EARLY YEARS
1875 Greenbooth Cricket Club founded and four matches played at Jenny’s Brow.
1876 The club moved to Tenter Field on a ground owned by Messrs James Butterworth and Sons Ltd of Greenbooth Mills. Members worked all day and then by candle-light to level a pitch.
1880 First club Tea Party held in conjunction with the Greenbooth Rushbearing Festival and held in the Greenbooth schoolroom.
1881 With their pitch needed for corn growing a move was made to the meadow at Pits House Lane.
1882 Another move saw the club take up residency at Woodhouse Lane (the present ground).
1882 It became easier, and cheaper, to reach Norden when the Edenfield toll bars were removed.
1885 The old pavilion was sold and a new wooden one erected. It cost £60 including paint.
1886 The first street gas lamps were lit in Norden. The ceremony was performed by Duc De Ferrari who was a guest of club president RAL Hutchinson at the time.
1887 Greenbooth’s first recorded tied match (33-33) against Westhulme.
1888 George Hammond, of Heywood, was engaged as the club’s first professional. He was paid five shillings per match.
1891 There may have been some before, but the first recorded three-figure scores by Greenbooth were 101 v Ogden and 124 v Todmorden seconds.
1887 A beacon fire was lit on Knowl Hill to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee.
1892 Greenbooth played league cricket for the first time, but it didn’t prove popular, and the club withdrew from the Bury and District League after one season.
1895 The club was in the South Lancashire League with John Redfern of Linthwaite as professional. It was the first year of the Norden Agricultural Show.
1896 Greenbooth were in the Middleton and District competition.
1899 The first silverware came to the club when Greenbooth did the Middleton league and cup double. GE Broadley, a right-arm fast bowler from Accrington, was professional at £2 per week. William Lancaster was captain.
1899 The club was under threat when membership was split over the sale of alcohol on the ground. Some left the club and didn’t return for years.
1900 A season of club records. George Broadley hit 147 not out as he and J Coupe (50 not out) featured in an opening stand of 202 v Whitworth. Broadley also took 8-14 in the match. In a win over Healey he took 8-12 including the club’s first hat-trick.
1901 The last Tea Party under the auspices of the cricket club was held in the Greenbooth schoolroom.
1902 Electric trams reached Norden for the first time.
1902 An entry in the minute book announced “That the bar be left open on Saturdays until all the liquer be consumed.”
1906/07 Two special meetings were held to discuss failing finances and the future of the club. But members decided to carry on.
1913 A tennis section was formed by the club and proved very popular with younger members due to the shortage of cricket fixtures.
THE BIRTH OF NORDEN CC
1919 No organised cricket was played during the Great War, and a meeting was held to discuss the possibility of winding up the club unless great enthusiasm was shown in the village. The vote was to carry on, and at an extraordinary general meeting held on 20 November it was decided to change the name of the club to Norden Cricket and Social Club, which later became Norden Cricket and Recreative Club.
1927 The Norden Town Hall clock was started for the first time by Mrs Emily Lord of Green Mount who had presented it to the district in memory of her late husband.
1930 It was decided to suspend payment of talent money to players due to the club’s financial difficulties.
1931 Small schools in Greenbooth, Bamford, Lanehead and Norden were closed, with children bussed to the new Norden school in Shawfield Lane.
1932 Norden tried to sign Learie Constantine for a match against Elland. The great SF Barnes had played for Norden in a previous clash with Elland.
1935 The Riviera was opened by Old Manor Pastimes Ltd on a site in Norden owned by Whitecroft Holdings. The Riviera closed in 1966.
1939-45 Little cricket was played during the war, but a small band of enthusiasts kept the club going. Committee meetings were frequently interupted by air-raid sirens, and part of the ground – not the playing area – was turned into Dig for Victory allotments
1945 NCC were asked if they wanted to buy the Woodhouse Lane ground, and an appeal was launched to raise the needed £500. It raised £708, and 60 years of tenancy ended on 21 September when the title deeds were handed over during a ceremony in Rochdale Town Hall. The club applied for the ground to be scheduled as an open space for all time.
1950 Eric Silverwood, who had played for Norden, retired after 25 years as a Rochdale CC player. He had led a campaign for knife and fork teas to replace the “Eternal Teacake sandwich” served to players at the tea interval.
1951 The new pavilion, built thanks to donations from members and others, was officially opened.
1953 Norden met a North Western League X1 as part of the Coronation Day celebrations in the village.
1962 Norden CC won 19 of their 20 fixtures in the Rochdale Table Tennis League. The final fixture of the season was also recorded as a win, as their opponents failed to show.
1962 NCC members overturned an 82-year-old rule and voted for Sunday cricket to be allowed at Woodhouse Lane.
1963 Greenbooth Reservoir was completed at a cost of £2m. Flooding for 700m gallons of water had started in 1961. The reservoir was officially opened in August 1965.
1967 A licensed bar was officially opened in the clubhouse. Club president Joe Rigg and chairman Eric Stansfield did the honours.
1968 Bob Horrox claimed a wicket with the fourth delivery of a match against Dukinfield to become the first Norden player to take 100 wickets in a season.
1969 Colin Woodhouse set a new post-war club record with his 132 in a win over Newton Heath.
1972 Steven Thorpe took all 10 wickets as Norden seconds lost to Glossop seconds.
1975 A centenary dinner was held at Whitworth Civic Hall. Among those present was Wilfred J Ellison, aged 86, who had travelled 250 miles to be there. He was captain from 1922 to 1932. A centenary tie was produced in the club colours, along with a booklet on the history of the club.
1975 John Holder smashed the club’s batting record with 190 against Thornham. He hit 14 sixes and 14 fours.
1977 NCC raised a tug of war team to take part in the village Jubilee celebrations. There was also an NCC Golf Society in existence.
1978 The newly formed third team played at Springfield Park, but had to change in bushes due to a shortage of facilities.
GOING UP IN THE WORLD
1980 Norden were elected to the Central Lancashire Cricket League for the 1981 season. On the field it had been a relegation spot in the Lancashire and Cheshire League
1981 First match in the CLL saw a win over Oldham at Woodhouse Lane. Peter Connolly claimed the club’s first CLL wicket as Oldham were dismissed for 86. Mike North hit the club’s first CLL boundary, and first CLL six in the seven-wickets success.
1981 An invasion of gnats caused the home match against Werneth to be abandoned. The scorebook recorded “Match abandoned – plenty midges.”
1982 Norden Bowling Club’s Trinity Street clubhouse was officially opened.
1983 Bar staff wages were £1.60 per hour. Staff were allowed “one drink of any nature which must be recorded in the consumption book.”
1984 Anwar Khan became the first Norden professional to take 100 wickets in a season. He finished with 111.
1987 Norden won the CLL title for the first time. Professional Gus Logie hit four centuries and five half centuries, and Nigel Young achieved 10 five or more wicket hauls. Logie was top run-scorer with 1342.
1988 A sponsorship deal was signed with Holimartine, a local company which specialised in self catering and motoring holidays in the south of France. It was the club’s first sponsorship.
1991 Norden scored 327-5 against Unsworth. This was a new limited overs record in the CLL. Alan Howard set a new club scoring record for an amateur with his 1040 runs in the season. Former England and Manchester United player Brian Greenhoff was with NCC as a player. An “up and coming” player was signed as professional for the 1992 season – a young South African by the name of WJ “Hansie” Cronje. While with Norden, Cronje was named in the first South Africa test squad for 22 years, following the end of their “Apartheid years” in the wilderness.
1993 Norden seconds defeated Werneth seconds in a thrilling Burton Cup final at Woodhouse Lane.
1994 Simon North was chosen to play for England under 15s. Julian Stansfield scored 201 not out in a second team match against Crompton at Woodhouse Lane.
1994 The Woodhouse Lane ground was heaving as the big names of West Indian cricket honoured NCC professional Gus Logie by playing in his benefit match. Richie Richardson blasted a ton. Others involved were Courtney Walsh, Curtley Ambrose, Kenny Benjamin, Eldine Baptiste and Phil Simmons. The big, really big name was that of world record holder Brian Lara who got the reception of a superstar.
1994 Norden thirds won a Halifax Sunday League title in their first season.
1995 Simon North was chosen for England under 17s.
1997 Professional Asif Mujtaba was chosen to play for a Rest of the World team against Yorkshire, in Scarborough.
1999 Norden, and other CLL clubs, were warned against putting admission prices on posters advertising Sunday matches following complaints from the Lord’s Day Observance Society.
2002 Rob Greenwood was chosen for the England team with disabilities for a tour of India, but he was unable to go due to work commitments.
2002 Norden were CLL second team champions for the first time.
Carroll is Cup hero
2002 Norden won the CLL Wood Cup by beating Rochdale in the final on Werneth’s Coppice ground. Paul Carroll was named as man of the match for his unbeaten 42 and a fantastic slips catch.
2003 Norden crashed to 32 all out in a match at Oldham. It was their lowest total in CLL cricket. Oldham knocked off the required runs in 3.2 overs. Norden players were back at Woodhouse Lane by 3.30pm.
2003 Norden played in their first Lancashire Challenge Trophy final. They went down to Rochdale at Redbrook.
2004 The CLL title was clinched with a win over Rochdale at Redbrook. Stu Fern was captain, and Shannon Mascarenhas was overseas amateur.
2006 Norden featured in the first CLL Twenty20 final and beat Rochdale at Woodhouse Lane. In the team was replacement overseas amateur Hameed Hassan who took a wicket with his first delivery. He became the first Afghan to play as an amateur in the CLL.
2007 An indoor smoking ban was imposed, with an outside chalet erected for smokers.
2007 Asif Mujtaba and Simon North featured in a second wicket stand of 299 against Oldham. North scored 173 not out – a record for a Norden amateur. Norden’s total of 354 for 3 was then a CLL limited overs record.
2007 Asif Mujtaba was afforded a guard of honour before his last match for Norden after 11 seasons with the club as professional. Asif moved to the USA. He left with a batting average of 69.09 over those 11 years, and a bowling average of 12.26.
2007 NCC’s first “community” bonfire night was held.
2007 Ian Bird scored 212 not out in a third team match against Rastrick.
2008 Deputy professional Ryan Hinds hit a club record 223, against Middleton at Towncroft. He smashed 17 fours and 14 sixes.
2009 Woodhouse Lane staged the JW Lees Wood Cup final between Rochdale and Monton and Weaste.
2009 Professional Jean Symes claimed a CLL one-match batting record with his 268 not out in a match at Royton. More than 200 of his runs came in boundaries and included 15 sixes.
2009 Dexter Fitton led Norden to the start of one of the most if not the most successful periods in the history of the club. Stags finished second to Monton and Weaste, but only on a fourth countback after a tie on points. In 2010 and 2011 Stags won the title with record points hauls, and in 2012 they were beaten JW Lees Wood Cup finalists. The seconds won a league title.
2013 Norden were awarded Clubmark status.
The Year of the Stag
2014 Stags had signed Australian Daniel Salpietro as professional along with Simon Harman who had “played a bit of cricket” in the south of England. It became an unforgetable season which lived up to its early billing as The Year of the Stag. The first team won the Tom Hardman T20 Trophy, the CLL title and the JW Lees Bitter Wood Cup. They were also finalists in the LCB Knockout, beaten by Ormskirk at St Annes CC. The second team did the league and cup double, and the third team won the Halifax Sunday League title. The CLL Aggregate Cup came to Norden, and the under 18s won the Taylor Cup. The club was named as the NatWest Cricket Force club of the year in Lancashire, and NCC President Brian Butterworth received a Lifetime Achievement award during the LCB presentations at Old Trafford. Simon Harman set a CLL record with his 202 not out in a home match against Radcliffe.
2015 The first team retained the CLL title and Wood Cup. They also reached the T20 finals day which was held at Stag Park, but lost in the semis.
2016 Norden became founder members of the Pennine League, an amalgamation of Central Lancashire and Saddleworth League clubs.
2016 The newly formed Norden Ladies team played its first matches.
2016 Stags became the ECB North West T20 champions by beating Fleetwood in the final played at Fleetwood.
2017 Norden made an application to join the Lancashire League in 2018 and were invited to join the league along with Rochdale, Littleborough, Walsden, Milnrow, Middleton and Crompton.
2017 Stags reached the Tanner Cup final only to lose to Heyside.
2017 The second team recorded the highest one match club total when scoring 387-6 against Monton and Weaste seconds at Stag Park.
2018 Norden played their first season in the Lancashire League.
2018 Norden Ladies won the Lancashire Softball League.
2019 Norden won the Lancashire Cricket Foundation knockout by defeating Darwen in the final played at Heywood CC.
Norden’s nickname is The Stags, and the Woodhouse Lane ground is sometimes known as Stag Park. This comes from the days when deer used to roam down off the hills and graze on the pitch. There is still the occasional visitor.