The earliest records show the first matches being played by the club were in 1881. Prior to this Newburgh Sunday School had played matches, sometimes two innings affairs (scores being very low). There was no organised League and friendly matches were played against local clubs (Lathom, Wrightington, Parbold, Dalton and Burscough figure amongst the early fixtures).
Friendly matches were played until Season 1896 when Newburgh became founder members of the Wigan and District League together with Norley Hall, Garswood Hall, Highfield, Winstanley Park, Wrightington, Hindley Green and Standish.. The subscription for members for that season was 2/6d and the colours adopted were dark blue and white. The rules also stated that no profane or unseemly language shall be allowed and that no intoxicating liquors shall be allowed on the field! In the first season Newburgh won 6, lost 5 and drew 3 of their matches.
In Season 1912 Newburgh joined the First Division of the Southport and District League which consisted of only eight teams. Other teams were Mawdesley, Burscough, Y.M.C.A., Derby Road, Birkdale, St.Pauls and Trinity Old Boys. Newburgh in the first season won 5, lost 7 and drew 2. 1912 is the first season there is any record of Newburgh fielding a second team, playing friendly matches.
In 1913 Newburgh reached the semi-final of the Sandhurst Shield when a crowd of 250 watched the match against Mawdesley at Burscough. Newburgh lost the match by 23 runs. In the same season Newburgh were champions of the Southport League.
On the outbreak of War in 1914 the Club was disbanded. Until this time matches had been played on a ground at the bottom of ‘The Mount’ in Cobbs Brow Lane (opposite the entrance to Mug House Farm). The wooden pavilion, which was to see good service on three grounds up to 1966, was made by Abram Wells who was a boat builder and joiner. He was a playing member of the Club and had a workshop behind his house in Tabbys Nook.
After the War the Club did not reform and many of the former players joined other local Clubs, notably Mawdesley. It was not until 1926 that the Hesketh family of Woodcock Hall were instrumental in re-forming the Club and a ground was made available at the rear of the Hall. This ground was to be used until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. One team was entered in the Third Division of the Southport League for the 1926 Season. In 1927 a second team was entered in the Fourth Division.
Newburgh were promoted to the Second Division for the 1928 Season and finished second behind Skelmersdale. They were to remain in this Division until the outbreak of War in 1939. The Second team had won the Fourth Division title in both 1935 and 1936. The last match to be played at the rear of Woodcock Hall was that between Newburgh 2nd and Holy Family on 2nd September,1939. The ground was ploughed to assist the war effort and throughout the war the pavilion stood at the top of the field.
The First Annual Meeting after the War was held in the Newburgh School on 20th March,1946. One team was entered in the 2nd Division of the Southport League. Subscriptions were fixed at 5/6d. Arrangements were made with the local authority to use the King George V Playing Fields in Cobbs Brow Lane and the pavilion was moved to serve as changing rooms and for refreshments.
In 1947 Newburgh were champions of the 2nd Division and won promotion. The second team were runners up in the Third Division to Rufford Sports Club. In 1949 Newburgh won an exciting relegation play-off match against Croston at Mawdesley by 2 wickets.
In 1952 Newburgh reached the semi-final of the Sandhurst Shield but lost to Red Triangle at Skelmersdale.
Newburgh was relegated in 1953 winning only three of their matches. Following relegation most of the older playing members either retired or left the Club and a period of team rebuilding had to take place. The team gradually became stronger until they won promotion back to the First Division in 1962. In the same season they again reached the semi-final of the Sandhurst Shield losing to Croston at Rufford before a large crowd.
In1955 an old air raid shelter was converted into changing rooms and toilets and the old wooden pavilion used solely for refreshments
In the early 1960s there was much more interest and enthusiasm being shown. This was thanks mainly to the interest in the Club of Geoff Stein, the landlord of the Red Lion. He became vice-chairman of the Club and provided a trophy and medals for a knock-out competition organised by Newburgh on Sunday afternoons for local teams. This provided good revenue as the matches created a great deal of interest and were watched by large crowds.
In 1964 a concrete building was purchased to replace the wooden pavilion and to reduce maintenance costs. This was used for refreshments and later was to become the bar.
It was usual for Newburgh to enter the Ormskirk and Wigan Knock-out Competitions. It should be noted that on one occasion at Wigan when playing Leyland Motors, their professional, Conrad Hunte, the West Indies test player, was bowled be Dick Crowell.
It was in 1965 that Newburgh Cricket Club and Newburgh United Football Club amalgamated to form Newburgh Sports Club while retaining their own committees and sections.
After a tied Sandhurst Shield final in 1976,, Newburgh decided to move leagues and play limited over cricket in the Chorley & District League and the first team promptly won the first division the following year .
A Challenge Cup victory followed in 1984 whilst the second team won one and lost one of their Trophy finals in the early eighties.
From the mid 1980’s to the turn of the century there was a notable absence of success on the field.. Off the field the Club moved forward with the long overdue building and opening in 1995 of the purpose built
Pavilion / Clubhouse, which considerably improved amenities. The growth and development of junior cricket happened during this era along with the commencement of playing of regular Sunday League games.
Season 2004 saw a welcome return to the first and third divisions of Southport & Dist League with the two
Saturday sides and finally the Sunday X1 reached the Beardsley Cup final in 2006 losing to a strong Leyland Motors side.
There have been many enthusiastic and loyal members of the Club. In the early years the Sharrocks and the Haltons were prominent. In the years before the First World War the schoolmaster Harry Halton was a feared bowler. Before and after the Second World War the three Draper brothers gave good service and Bob Gill was a fast bowler who was recognised as the best in the area representing the League on many occasions. Bert Winnard captained the side in the 1930s and continued until 1953. He also acted as secretary and treasurer. Dick Webster was chairman for more than 40 years until his death in 1969. Tony Dickson took over the captaincy in 1953 and combined this with the job of treasurer until 1963. Another ex- player
having given many years stalwart service to the Club is Ronnie Blackburn. He finally stepped down last year after 15 years stalwart service in the treasurer’s role.
In July 2009 the Club achieved Cricket Authorities Quality Award - “Clubmark Status.” A prestigious accreditation only awarded to clubs meeting strict criteria in all aspects and development of the game and a remarkable achievement considering Newburgh’s size. Plans are now afoot for further improvement of facilities and development, particularly at junior level, to hopefully provide players who will write further chapters in the history of Newburgh Cricket Club.
(For all detail and information up to 1965, I am gratefully indebted to the former player Brian Gill who has researched the topic at great length)
Ken Pridmore - Cricket Secretary