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Zeb-Web

 

Bersham Cricket Club was formed in 1902 by Alfred Shaw, who was the colliery manager at that time and J. R. Williams a member of the local football team. They played on a rough pitch for a couple of years until a request was made to Mr. Fitzhugh of Plaspower Hall for use of a field closer to the village. This request was granted; Godfrey Fitzhugh joined the club and became President, thus beginning the family tradition which still continues today with his grandson Lloyd being the current President.

The club received its first honour in 1911 when John Jones was awarded his County cap for Denbighshire- this was the first of many accolades the club has achieved over the course of many years. The club had its first changing rooms, an old butcher's shop which was bought from Brymbo - our archrivals!!

The club became part of village life for Rhostyllen. Dances, drives and concerts were all held to raise money; the 'goodies' were collected in a handcart and taken to the Infants' School where the parties would be held. A happy and successful club was brought to a halt in 1914, when practically all the members volunteered for service. These included the President, Godfrey Fitzhugh who was sadly killed on active service. 1919 saw the return of most of the members and these were soon increased by a new group of players.

Names to remember of this era are, Sid Thornton, Jack Edwards, Jack Ed Griffiths, Tubby Swainson, Dick Bate and a young man called Harry Gittens- The first 'Mr Bersham' Harry said at that time the club had two strokes of good luck. The first being the decision of the members in 1923 to build a new pavilion, this building lasted until 2000, when sadly it was vandalised and has to be demolished.

The second piece of luck was another Lancastrian joining the club, an accountant called W.R. (Billy) Cross, who in Harry's words was responsible for turning the club from playing 'village green' cricket, in to playing 'club cricket.' 1930 saw the club buy its first motor mower, this to cope with the extension of the ground by eight yards all around, this being allowed by our President Lt-Col G. Fitzhugh, eldest son of our first President.

The extension involved the removal of over 100 yards of hedgerow, replacing this with a fence. All this was done by the members with no mechanical aids at all- what a feat! These alterations led to the first County game being held on the ground in 1932, the first of many to be held at Bersham. War again caused the club to close in 1940 and it was 1946 when members gathered again to talk about playing cricket once more. Harry Gittens called the meeting; the chairman was the original secretary J. R. Williams. Treasurer who was to serve for 52 years, was Fred Pritchard, the club is rightly proud of the loyalty of members, these two are outstanding examples. Lt-Col G Fitzhugh was once again President. The ground tidied up, the club was back in action, becoming stronger than ever.

In 1958 we won our first major trophy, the Senior McAlpine Cup, in those days a very keenly contested completion, raising lots of money for the War Memorial Hospital. When the North Wales cricket league was formed the club joined with some reluctance, having enjoyed 70 years of wonderful friendly matches.

Loyalty has been mentioned; a few more names should be brought up, two of them umpires. Tom Meredith, who served for 37 years and Ken Charles, 21 years! For the last 50 years the club had had just three chairmen, Harry Gittens, George Lloyd and Les Tunnah the second Mr Bersham, himself a member for over 50 years. Sadly Les passed away at the beginning of this year leaving our fourth chairman Joe Evans a local lad, originating from Rhostyllen.

Our ground, just outside Rhostyllen, is a real cricket ground, a character in itself. It took until 1960 before we had water connected another 40 years- 2000, before we saw the light and had electricity connected. We now have excellent practice areas and an artificial wicket. Now we look forward to the youngsters of the area coming along to enjoy playing cricket. We still have our annual link with Rhostyllen as we organise the summer fun day, this year will be our sixth consecutive year of holding this event. We hope that long may this continue and look forward to the next 100 years of Bersham Cricket Club.


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