When cricket came to Seaham Harbour

Some of the 1935 line-up for 'The Harbour'.
Some of the 1935 line-up for 'The Harbour'.
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It’s a big year for Seaham Harbour Cricket Club which is 150 years old.

Last week, we began looking at the history of the club with the help of Neville Gustard.

The Seaham Harbour team in 1910.

The Seaham Harbour team in 1910.

This week, the focus turns on the start of competitive cricket for the club.

Travel in the early 1900s was a very different affair from today.

Seaham Harbour Cricket Club played its first competitive match in 1902 after joining the 19-club Durham County Senior League.

But that meant travelling to the likes of Consett and West Stanley. It wasn’t easy at the turn of the 20th century. In 1903, Seaham Harbour, along with Sunderland, Philadelphia, Durham, Hendon, North Durham, Burnmoor, South Shields, Whitburn, Eppleton and Wearmouth set up the Durham Senior League (Eastern Division).

In 1902, Seaham Harbour Cricket Club played its first competitive match after having joined the Durham County Senior League, which was made up of 19 clubs.

Neville Gustard

“The Harbour” remained in the Durham Senior Cricket League for 107 years.

Success came in 1946 and 1953, when the first 11 won the League. There were other highlights too such as the overseas professionals to play for the team, none more formidable than George Nathaniel Francis in 1929 and Dickie Fuller in the early 1950s.

Both represented their beloved West Indies at Test Match level.

Neville told us: “The Cricket Club has continued to receive support from the Londonderry family. In 2009 the Cricket Club was relegated to the Coast League, where it remained for three years before joining the North East Premier League Division 2. Unfortunately, in April, 2018 the Cricket Club ran into difficulties in what was its 150th year.”

A crowd of 4,000 fans watched a benefit match for Dickie Fuller.

A crowd of 4,000 fans watched a benefit match for Dickie Fuller.

We are indebted to Neville for his help, and also to Alan HW Smith whose book The History of Seaham Harbour Cricket Club was the source of the material. It is available at £9.99 from Waterstones.

Next week – driving the club forward.

Bradyll Arms where the cricket club was based for decades.

Bradyll Arms where the cricket club was based for decades.