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16 Sep

Heritage Club of the Week - Rawdon Cricket Club

Founding

Evidence is in place confirming that Rawdon Cricket Club was in existence in 1835, making it one of the oldest clubs in the area. An extract from the Wharfedale Observer in 1897 reads ‘In the Airedale & Wharfedale League Rawdon defeated Baildon Green who scored 93 by three wickets thanks to a fine innings by J A Rawnsley who scored 48 and W Barrett who scored 18 was the only other Rawdon player to reach double figures. J A Hustler and W Thomas each took four wickets’. By 1929 the club was playing in the Aire-Wharfe section of the Yorkshire Council.

1936 is a year that shaped the club’s future. That year the Aire-Wharfe section of the Yorkshire Council resigned en-bloc to form the present Airedale and Wharfedale Senior Cricket League. At a grand ceremony held at the club saw the deeds of the ground handed to the club, on the proviso that cricket continues to be played there for all time. Newspaper cuttings describe how Mr Heaton Naylor, the donor, received the deeds from Captain J H Pardoe, the agent for the Green Emmott Estate, as a Coronation gift to the club and to Rawdon. Mr W A Wood, the Club President, described it as ‘a very proud day indeed for Rawdon Cricket Club’ and thanked Mr. Naylor for his gift, ‘we on our part will try and give you some good cricket’. Hedley Verity Senior stated, ‘this is one of the happiest days we have seen at this ground, and our dreams have at last come true’.

The ground

Off the field the existing dressing rooms, though modernised and extended many times over the years, have been in place over 100 years. The opening ceremony for the original structure was performed by Mr. Walter E Green Emmott in 1908. The dovecot tower above the dressing rooms, which now houses the clock, was formerly the scorebox, with the new scorebox being built in the 1950’s a result of ground improvements carried out from a Hedley Verity memorial fund.

The main Clubhouse has perhaps seen the most changes over the years. The original old wooden pavilion was sited towards the back of what is now the car park running parallel to Larkfield Road in those days it was known as the ‘tea hut’ and accommodated six to eight people the remainder sat on the verandah to enjoy their tea. This was eventually replaced by a bigger new wooden structure built by local joiners, and then in the early 1950’s a new pavilion was obtained from the Army apprentices college at Harrogate and transported to Rawdon by club members.

Famous sons

The most famous sons of the club are former Yorkshire batsman Bryan Stott and the legendary Yorkshire and England Test cricketers Hedley Verity and Brian Close, all whom played their early cricket at Rawdon. Stott and Close met at Rawdon in 1943. A proud moment for Rawdon came in November 2007 when Stott, Close and Doug Verity, son of Hedley, attended an event at the club to mark the unveiling of a picture montage of these three Yorkshire cricketing legends, the ‘Rawdon left handers’.

Verity played his last game of cricket for Rawdon, and what is believed to have been the last game he played in England, on June 28 1941 when Rawdon entertained Earby. Having posted 209-9 with the bat, the home team then witnesses the first 10-wicket haul on the ground with Verity claiming 10-51, dismissing the visitors 73 short of their target. Verity served as a Captain during the Second World War and died at Caserta, Italy, in July 1943 aged 38. In his last days he is reputed to have told a fellow prisoner of war ‘I think I have played my last innings for Yorkshire’. In July 2018 Rawdon Cricket Club unveiled a blue plaque in memory of Hedley Verity on the 75th anniversary of his death.

Rawdon is proud of its rich history and heritage, marking our 175th anniversary in 2010 with a year of celebrations and events, and we look forward to our bicentenary in 2035.

If you have any memories of playing at Rawdon CC, we would love to hear them at our reminiscence sessions held every Thursday from 2pm! Contact chris.chatten@yorkshirecricketfoundation.com for further details.

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