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A History of Moorside C&BC

As with many village cricket clubs, the Club's formation was closely connected with local industry: in this case Thomas Mellodew & Sons. The Mellodews of Moorside were textile manufacturers (velvet) and had a number of mills in the Moorside area. The first teams in the mid-19th century were made up of local mill employees.

Moorside Cricket Club was founded in 1862 at the very peak of the depression caused by the cotton famine. It was estimated that over half the population of Oldham and district was in receipt of poor relief at this time and it might well have been the desire to bring some colour into the lives of the workers, besides a love of cricket that prompted Moorside village school-teacher, William Smith, a native of Keighley, to found the Club.

In the first years of its existence the Club was to play on four different grounds on land all belonging to the Mellodews. In 1862 the ground was at Sunfield; seasons 1863 and 1864 saw the team playing at Counthill; and from 1866 – 69 the ground was on Dickens Street. In 1870 the Club moved to its present location known as Heyes’ Farm. The farm buildings converted into residential properties are still located beyond the south wall of the ground. The ground was enclosed by the completion of the existing dry stone wall in 1887.

For the first thirty years, matches were organised on a friendly basis with other recently-established local teams. In 1892, Moorside entered the Middleton & District League. In 1894 the Club stepped up to the East Cheshire League. This period also saw the beginning of the cricketing Mellodews’ service at Moorside in which Thomas and James and a cousin, William, were to play regularly and with great distinction for a combined total of over 70 years.

The first recorded century by a Moorside player was on July 9th 1898 when Thomas Mellodew scored 102 against Saddleworth. In 1899 the East Cheshire League was superseded by the Saddleworth League. For season 1899, Moorside again chose to play friendly matches until in 1900 it was admitted to the Central Lancashire League (CLL) and played the first season in 1901 as the newly-named Moorside Cricket & Bowling Club. On January 5th 1899, the first sod was laid on the prepared bowling square and the Green was opened on 22nd June 1899.

On July 4th 1903 the present club house was opened at a cost of over £600, replacing a plain brick building which had stood to the right of the present main entrance to the ground. In 1907 Moorside won the championship of the CLL. Up to 1911 the Club changed its professional on a regular basis but that year engaged one Edward (Ted) Leyland – from Harrogate, Yorkshire – until 1919 Ted, a well-respected club cricketer in the tough northern leagues, he had become a noted groundsman. Ted’s son Maurice first played for Moorside at the age of 12. Maurice went on to a distinguished county and test career which ended in 1938.

Immediately, following the 2nd world war, Moorside gained admission to the Saddleworth Cricket League.

A history of the Club was published in 2012 by Club President, Ray Entwistle to recognise the 150 years' anniversary of its founding in 1862. It is available for sale in the Club Shop section of the website.

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