by John Ball
Cricket was first played in Tintwistle around 1835/6 on a ground which now lies beneath Arnfield Reservoir. In those days the highlight of the season was the annual fixture between Arnfield farmers and Tintwistle CC who then played under the banner of ‘Tintwistle Unicorns’. During the next few years, Arnfield Reservoir was constructed and a new ground had to be found. In 1850 a meeting of members was held at the Waggon and Horses Public House at the corner of Chapel Lane when the club was reconstituted under the new title of ‘Tintwistle Royal Cricket Club’. Cricket was played on several fields including Conduit Street which was then under construction. As a result, more permanent headquarters were needed. One of the original members, a man named John Roberts, agreed to rent a field on Speedwell to the club. In August 1854 the ground was ready. The first match played on the new ground was against Gorton Mechanical Institute and was won by Tintwistle CC.
Matches have been played continuously on this ground from 1854 to the present day, except during the two World Wars. The only things to change are houses and a busy main road now surround the Speedwell ground, which is slightly larger than the original. The ground is now owned by the club having been purchased in the 1980’s.
From 1854 to 1893 the club played friendly matches (the term ‘friendly’ being used loosely). Most games ended controversially. Visits were made to Salford, Penistone, Oldham and Tideswell. When trains couldn’t be used, horse-drawn waggonettes were pressed into use. Some players suffered injury whilst travelling by this method. Abel Harrop, a Tintwistle player, fell out of a waggonette travelling up Mottram Moor and broke his arm. On another occasion, a visiting team from Penistone were returning home after a match against Tintwistle and at one point on the road above Woodhead Tunnel a player fell under the wheels and was tragically killed. The Tintwistle club were quick to react, organising a charity match which raised £12/-/- for the player’s family.
The Club President and Treasurer during the 1870’s was James Sidebottom who owned Waterside Mills. It was due to his generosity that the club was able to pay for the services of professional players when a match merited them. In 1866, cricket had become sufficiently popular for the club to run a Second XI. One fixture in 1873 was reported in the local newspaper, the Tintwistle supporters being described as a ‘drunken, loud mouthed rabble’. In those days it was not uncommon for a crowd of 300/400 spectators to shout the team on, sometimes accompanied by Tintwistle Brass Band playing some lively tunes. The annual expenditure in the 1870’s was between £12/-/- and £13/-/-. In those days, cricket bats cost 2/6d and balls were 6d. Throughout the 1880’s cricket increased in popularity and the club formed its Third XI, engaging a full-time professional named Jimmy Robinson from Hollingworth, a distant ancestor of Mrs Emma Bonser. The club had 153 members at this time, 58 of whom were playing members.
At the start of 1893, Tintwistle, along with Glossop, Mottram, Dinting and All Saints, helped to form the Glossop and District League. It was during the early days of the new league that the club obtained the services of one of its best players, Sam Cadman, who later went on to play for Hadfield CC and Glossop CC before moving to Derbyshire County CC where he enjoyed a first class cricketing career. Tintwistle’s first major success in the Glossop and District League was in the 1903 season when they won the First Division title. Wm Lees Marshall, the school master at the Independent Day School was the Captain. He also became the first player to take 1,000 wickets for the club. Both teams played successfully until the outbreak of World War One when cricket was suspended until 1919.
At the beginning of the 1920’s, Tintwistle enjoyed some of it’s greatest triumphs, winning the 1st Division League title for 5 successive years. The main players were Nichols, Wilson, Platt, Hampshire, Fielding and Roctigan. It was during this era that a young player was to make his mark by re-writing all the club records. He was Bill Senior, one of Tintwistle’s most gifted players. The introduction of the Rhodes Bowl competition saw Tintwistle once more head and shoulders above the rest, winning the trophy in 3 successive years. The League presented them with a special trophy, ‘The Boak Cup’ in 1933 to commemorate this achievement. Whatever happened to that cup? During the period leading up to the second World War, Tintwistle had limited success, mainly due to the retirement of several older players. The club was now relying on new players such as Bert Dawson, Jimmy Wilson and Jimmy Garlick to form a new team but the War put these plans on hold. In 1946 cricket was resumed. Jimmy Wilson had joined Glossop and it was left to Bert Dawson, Bill Challis and Bill Senior to help win the League Championship once again.
In 1949 the Glossop and District League introduced the Junior League. Jim Ralph and Harry Schofield Jnr were the clubs best players during this period. In 1953 the club had one of its finest years, winning the 1st Division title, the Rhodes Bowl and the 2nd Division title – a first for the Glossop and District League. The club was led at this time by first team captain Bill Challis who was one of the clubs best skippers. With players of the calibre of Harry Goddard, Jim Senior, Eddie Tunnicliffe and Bert Dawson at his elbow, success was assured. In 1958/59 the Junior XI were successful in gaining the Junior Division title, led by Norman Barber, the first and only time the club has won this competition.
In 1963, it was decided that the time had come for a new Pavilion to be constructed which would be the third on the clubs present site. The clubs Second XI skipper, Graham Wood, sprang into action and within weeks he had obtained a building from Ferrostatics on Newshaw Lane which had formerly been used by the workmen at the Woodhead tunnel construction site in 1952. He obtained Planning Permission and had the interior fitted out by Ind Coope Brewery. The club members and players supplied the necessary manpower. Who would ever forget the sight of Enus Woodward carrying a section of the pavilion single handed – a task normally requiring eight people! The finished pavilion was officially opened in 1964 by Les Jackson, the Derbyshire and England fast bowler. For his efforts, Graham Wood was elected Life President of the club, which he held until his death in 1996. The following year, 1965/66, saw the First Team winning the League and Rhodes Bowl competitions. The side was led by skipper Billy Thornhill, who had returned to the club in 1964 after a brief spell with Glossop CC. Billy was to take his place as one of Tintwistle’s best captains.
The onset of the 1970’s saw a Junior victory in the League Knock Out Cup for the first and only time, with Neville Senior and the John Dunn as the most successful players. That victory was followed by the charismatic Billy Cropper leading the Second XI to League and Cup victories in the same year – a double achievement for the first time. The following year saw yet another Second XI League Championship. Billy was supported by one of Tintwistles most successful bowlers, Harry Goddard who took 1300 wickets. Going from strength to strength, the First team won every honour time and time again throughout the seventies, including the Cheshire Section of the Haigh Village Knockout Cup. Players such as Norman Harris, Billy Thornhill, Denis Wild, Norman Barber, Mike Lilley and Jim Ralph were equalling the feats of the 1920’s squad. Although the club was successful, it was also a sad time, as they lost the services of players and members who died in that decade: Billy Cropper, Bert Dawson, Bill Barber, Jim Challis, Jack Thorp and the clubs most energetic worker during the previous 15 years, Tom Garlick, their Secretary and Treasurer.
In 1978 the club resigned from the Glossop and District League because of the failure of the League to introduce ‘limited overs’ cricket. This move was not readily accepted by some members and villagers. As a result, the club joined the Derbyshire and Cheshire League for the start of the 1978 season. During the 1979 season, the First XI won the League’s First Division title, turning out a side worthy of comparison with teams of the past. This success was not to be repeated until 2003. Success was limited to a Junior Under 17’s title in 1989 and Under 13’s wins. One major triumph in the 1980s was the First XI victory in the Derbyshire Area Final of the Whitbread Village Knockout Cup at Lillington Park. The team was led by Len Walker who had joined the club from Charlesworth and Glossop in the 1970’s. Len was one of Tintwistles best ever all-rounders.
In the 1990’s Andrew ‘AJ’ Harris left Tintwistle CC for Ashton CC prior to joining Derbyshire County Cricket Club. Andrew won his County Cap and was selected by England A to tour Australia. Andrew moved to Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club in 2000 gaining his county cap in the same year. His first match at Trent Bridge he had match figures of 5-143 and scored 39 runs. He was out hit wicket from a ball bowled by Australian fast bowler Glen McGrath. Andrew is one of several players who played cricket for Tintwistle CC, who went on to play County Cricket. However, he is the only one to win a Division One Championship medal, which he did with Nottinghamshire in 2005. His 6-76 against Kent was described as a devastating performance of reverse swing bowling. In 2008 Andrew was awarded a benefit year which was supported by Tintwistle CC. As part of the celebrations a Twenty20 match was played at Tintwistle between Notts CCC and a Tintwistle XI. In 2009, Andrew moved to Leicestershire County Cricket Club where he finished his County career retiring from First Class cricket in 2010.
The club owes a debt of gratitude to two former players who are sadly no longer with us. It was through their efforts both on and off the field that Tintwistle still has a cricket club. Mike Lilley, First XI Captain, Secretary, Groundsman and a more that useful all round player with a keen cricket brain. Norman Harris, a fantastic Chairman, fundraiser and the greatest bowler to bowl a ball on Tintwistles Speedwell ground.
Changes to Tintwistle CC started within one year of the new Millennium. Firstly, with the installation of the new cricket nets, worked started in October 2001 and where ready for the following season. This project was the dream of our late Chairman Norman Harris. Brought to a successful conclusion by a team of workers; led by Norman Barber, along with Jimmy Dickson, Martin Ingham and Jimmy Blackwell. The double nets cost some £30,000.
The first success of the new Millenium was achieved by the 2nd XI led by captain Martin Ingham. They won the Andrew Marsden Cup in 2000 defeating Haughton Green at Stalybridge. Then in 2002 the 2nd XI won the 4th Division title in the Derbyshire and Cheshire Cricket League, this time led by former 1st XI captain Stuart Dodd. Stuart also led the team to the 4th Division Championship in 2013. The icing on the cake followed in 2003, when the 1st XI, captained by David Thornhill, won the 1st Division championship, our first championship since 1979. The First XI won the Bissenden Cup for the first time in 2010 led by Richard Harris. This was a quickly followed by winning the trophy for a second time in 2013. Who could forget that victory against Hawk Green?
Personal achievements by the clubs players since 2000 saw Jimmy Blackwell take his 1,000 wicket for Tintwistle CC eventually becoming the leading wicket taker. Martin Harris became the leading run scorer in the clubs history. Richard Harris scored a record 995 runs in 2004, with 3 centuries and 7 50’s. He followed that record with yet another, the highest ever individual score of 178 not out against Old Glossop in 2008. Robert Barrow won the League Division One Wicket Keeping Cup 4 years running – a League record. In 2010 Kieran Davies scored 887 runs for the Second XI, a club record. In 2011, Sam Bird scored 171 not out against Hayfield – the highest score in Second XI history.
The club continues to look to the future and maintain it’s position as a community cricket club at the centre of village life.