A cricket club will reach a major milestone later this month when it celebrates its 150th anniversary.
Seaham Harbour Cricket Club was established in 1868 and what a history it has had.
An anniversary gala will be held on September 22. In the meantime, Neville Gustard helped us to step back in time and take a look at the history of the club in a three-part series.
George Henry Stewart – the 5th Marquess of Londonderry – played a significant role in the birth of Seaham, and in the conception of Seaham Harbour Cricket Club.
He was approached by his Senior Agent who told him that a group of his employees wanted to set up a Cricket Club within the town. They asked if he would become the Club’s Patron and he accepted.
But George went further and donated £5 which equates to £420 in today’s money.
It rained heavily from 11am until 4pm. However, the plucky determination of the members’ meant a “scratch match” was played between a “Married Man’s XI” and a “Single Man’s XI”. The latter won by 4 runsNeville Gustard
And he chipped in even more by providing a plot of land that was being used as a playground by office staff of the Londonderry Coal Company of Seaham.
Neville told us: “This land, now known as New Drive, was then rented to the Cricket Club, which it still is today.
“In April, 1868 the first Cricket Club committee meeting was held in the Bradyll Arms, in Adolphus Street, Seaham where £10 – about £840 in today’s money – was collected via subscriptions.
The cricket club was on its way and it was celebrated in style with a grand opening which was advertised on posters around the town.
It was scheduled to take place June 2, 1868, but that’s when the great British weather intervened.
Neville said: “It rained heavily from 11am until 4pm. However, the plucky determination of the members’ meant a “scratch match” was played between a “Married Man’s XI” and a “Single Man’s XI”. The latter won by 4 runs.”
Next week – we look at the start of cricket in earnest in Seaham.