John Glaister recounts the history of Carnforth Cricket Club, which is about to mark its 150th anniversary

EXACTLY 150 years today (July 27, 1867) Carnforth Cricket Club played its first game against Burton-in-Kendal.

In their side was E. Jackson, believed to be a young Edward Siddall Jackson, destined to become a doctor and ‘Mr Carnforth CC’.

Dr Jackson captained the club an amazing 38 years (1882-1920) and right up to his death in 1939, aged 82, he was at the heart of all the club’s doings. His proudest moment was overseeing the purchase of the ‘Lodge Quarry Ground’ in 1904, where Carnforth CC still plays.

It was Dr Jackson’s friendship with Thomas Atkinson Higson, a Manchester solicitor who played for both Derbyshire CCC and Lancashire CCC between 1899-1923, that saw the Carnforth club further develop.

It was Mr Higson who presented the North Lancashire and District Cricket League with a trophy in 1923 to be played for as a knock-out competition. The ‘Higson Cup’ became a keenly fought for prize. Between 1953-1996 Carnforth CC played in nine Higson Cup finals, winning it five times.

Through the persuasive powers of T.A. Higson, Carnforth abandoned their ‘club cricket’ fixture list (ie friendlies) and joined the North Lancashire and District Cricket League, also in 1923. Tommy, himself, was playing for Kendal CC at the time.

The transition from club to league cricket was tough between 1923-1939 only twice did Carnforth CC finish in the top half.

But in batsman Norman Capstick they had found their first superstar. It was, however, the second eleven playing in the Westmorland Cricket League that brought home the first silverware in 1938 and 1939.

Eddie Miller, of Ulverston, was an outstanding pro for the club from 1954-1958 and 1963-1964 but it was not until 1966 that Carnforth CC first eleven actually won something. Under the captaincy of Jack Edwards and spearheaded by professional Dick Bradley, of Lancaster, that much-feted team did the double.

A new pavilion had been opened in July 1962, costing £4,000.

1979 heralded a golden era for the club. The galaxy of top players post that time was endless. In captains Paul Handley and Andrew Cowperthwaite they boasted two of the very best and in professionals Pervez Shah, Rudra Singh and Kevin Howarth they had three of the very best.

In 1990 a feature unique to the Carnforth ground was removed. On the west side a pronounced slope comprising glacial gravel was removed to level the playing surface.

In 2000 Carnforth found themselves in the premier division of the newly formed ‘North Lancashire and Cumbria Cricket League’, only to be demoted.

A giant leap was made in 2006 into the Northern Cricket League, which heralded a barren patch lasting seven years.

Since admission to the Westmorland Cricket League in 2013 a resurgent spirit has gripped the club and the future looks bright. Their 150th birthday will be well celebrated.

l Supported by John, a 150th anniversary brochure is currently being written by ex-Carnforth CC player Clive Holden, a member of the famous 1966 double team.