Bath Cricket Club – Club History

In 1859, a small group of members from the Bath YMCA decided that they wished to play the relatively new sport of cricket more seriously, and formed a new club, the Bath Association Cricket Club, playing for the next few years on top of Claverton Down, on the southern outskirts of the city

Early Years

During the 1860s the Bath Association CC acquired ownership, from the 4th Duke of Cleveland, of a new ground close to the city centre, known as the Watermeadows. This became “North Parade” and cost the club £200 and saw the 4th Duke of Cleveland become the Club’s first President. Part of the ground was annually used for the grazing of animals as well as fairs, fetes and fun days.

The first newspaper record of a Bath Association game was v Sydney College on May 28th 1864 – “it was decided by the first innings in favour of Sydney College” (Bath Express), whilst on 25th June ” A match was played…between twelve gentlemen on the Lansdown Club and twelve members of the association Cricket Club terminating in favour of Lansdown by 75 runs” (Bath Express).

In 1880, Bath Association played Lansdown at North Parade. Bath were dismissed for 163 at lunch, whilst the visitors could only muster 85 and then, following on were all out for just 49. In the return match later that summer the Lansdown team featured W.G Grace and his brother E.M. Grace, who in the same season opened together for England against Australia in the first match ever played on English soil.

The Bath Association employed their first professional groundsman at 8/- per week in 1886.

The turn of the Century

On 12th July 1902, Bill Hyman scored 359 not out in just 100 minutes against Thornbury at Alveston. The scorecard, which remains on display at North Parade, notes that after Hyman’s fireworks,that “no bowling analysis was kept of the second innings.” Two years later in 1904 the Old Pavilion (now the John Ruddick Pavilion) was built at a cost of £180. The building was designed by City Architect A.J. Taylor, who became Bath CC Chairman from 1919-1938. Stanley Amor joined Bath CC.

The 50th Anniversary of Bath CC in 1909, saw the 1st XI celebrate an unbeaten season (played 17, won 12, drawn 5) and the club hold a “Jubilee Dinner” at Fishers Restaurant, Northgate Street where tributes were paid to “one of the best clubs [which was] capable of competing with any of the greatest local clubs in England.”

Very little cricket was played during the First World War with Stothert and Pitt using the ground, but in 1919 normal fixtures resumed and Bath CC becoming a very strong side and regularly attracting  crowd in excess of 1000 paying spectators at their games. This progress was underlined by beating the touring Littleborough CC, the unbeaten champions of the Central Lancashire League. In1926 the club adopted the club colours of mauve, silver and black although these were subsequently changed in 1938 and again in 1958!  1930 was possibly the high point of Bath CC to date. S.G.U. Consadine scored 1,131 runs in 21 matches, W.S. Whiting took 62 wickets,  Bertie Buse took 67 wickets and John Ruddick made his debut for the club.

The Second World War Years

Bath CC decided to carry on playing, despite the problems brought by WW2, and in 1945 the “Victory” season was a huge success with the London Counties game and Bill Caesar’s 88 wickets being the highlights

1950s and 1960s

Bath CC play Sunday matches for the first time and the “Centenary” season, 1959, saw a Gala Dance and celebration dinner at Fortt’s Restaurant as well as a Centenary Cricket week. However the celebrations were muted as major floods hit the city centre and North Parade in particular as the old Pavilion was swept away by the flood water. Thereafter an EGM decided to build a new pavilion on the opposite side of the ground and launched a fund to find the £6500 needed for the project which was completed in 1963, a year after the Somerset County batsman, Peter Wight had built his cricket school at North Parade.

“Modern” Bath Cricket Club

In 1994 Bath CC finally win the Western League again after 20 years of disappointment, 4 years later under the leadership of Mike Roe, the 1st XI are unbeaten and win the Western League and reach the Lords final of the National Club Knockout – only to lose narrowly to Doncaster Town. The cup run will be long remembered – for the excitement of the cricket but also for the huge and passionate support from the Bath fans to be followed by Bath 1st and 2nd XIs winning the new West of England Premier League titles in 1990 and 2000, the same year in which Bath CC joined forces with Somerset Wanderers (Ladies) Cricket Team. 2005 saw both the 1st XI and 2nd XI become WEPL Champions again, a feat repeated in 2008.

2007 saw North Parade playing host to International Cricket as England Women beat New Zealand in two fantastic days of Twenty20 cricket at the ground. The England Physical Disability v Learning Difficulty game also amazed and inspired a large crowd. International cricket was back again in 2008 – this time England beat India in an ODI at North Parade.

Bath CC’s 150th Anniversary in 2009 saw a huge number of celebratory events – New Years Eve Party, Dinner/Dance, Victorian Day and all manner of special games additionally the 2nd XI win the league, Anya Shrubsole made her debut for England and was part of the Women’s World Cup Winning squad and Pete McGlashan cut short his time at Bath to play for New Zealand in the T20 World Cup.

The complete history of Bath Cricket Club can be found here.