CREWE ALEXANDRA CRICKET CLUB

Our Club Needs You !


To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Crewe Alexandra Cricket Club at the Crewe Vagrants Sports Club on the 30th September at 7:30 prompt.
Telephone 01270 569506.


'Great cricket match at Crewe 10th, 11th and 12th August 1874'
Dr. W.G. Grace captained the United South of England against 22 of Crewe Cricket Club and District
Scores for the 3 day match:

22 of Crewe and District: First innings 81, second innings 117
United South of England: First innings 84, second innings 117 for 5

The United South of England eleven included G.F Grace who scored 2 and 15. In the Crewe Second Innings W.G. Grace scored 2 and 33. In the Crewe second innings W.G. Grace took 15 wickets!

A HISTORY OF THE CLUB BY CHRIS JONES and ERNIE JONES

The CREWE ALEXANDRA CRICKET CLUB or the “ALEX” were formed on the 19th September 1866 by a group of young men at a meeting held in the Crewe Locomotive Works General Offices. Amongst their number was a young Thomas Abraham ,who was responsible for proposing that this new club should be called “Alexandra “, and, who, in 1877, was to be instrumental in the decision to form the Crewe Alexandra Football Club. There has always been a great sporting affinity within the two clubs.

 

We would like to give a special mention to a very loyal servant of both the “ALEX” Cricket and Football clubs, Eric Barnes who passed away recently on 3rd January 2014. “R.I.P.“

Eric Barnes played football for the 'Alex' in 352 league games.  Debut 01/02/58 v Hull.  Last game 15/09/69 v Port Vale, the attendance 12,538.

Played cricket for the 'Alex' 1958 - to 1970. Winning League championships 1961,62, 63.  Talbot Cup 1964, 1970.  Talbot shield 1970.  Demson Shield winners several occasions.  Eric also represented Cheshire County Criket Club.

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction About the authors

A Profile of CHRIS JONES by Ernie Jones.

 

I have known CHRIS JONES for more than half a century. During his working life Chris was employed by the English Football Association in the administration department, starting with Sir ALF RAMSEY at Lancaster Gate 1970-72 before joining Manchester City F.C.1972-75, Crewe Alexandra F.C. 1976-77, Everton F.C. 1977-89 and LEEDS United F.C. 1989. Chris has also written a book called “ My Life in Football without kicking a football”. Chris still takes an interest in local football and cricket. Chris achieved his best bowling figures of 7 for 7 playing for Crewe grammer school first eleven against Nantwich grammer school.  Chris has connections with the railways through his father who worked for the Signal and Telegraph, His grandfather and great grandfather were both engine drivers the latter had the honour of driving the Royal train. During the past few years Chris has spent countless hours in Crewe library researching the archives of the local newspapers the Crewe Chronicle, the Guardian and the Sentinel gathering useful information, It is mainly down to Chris that the history of the Crewe Alexandra Cricket Club has been put together and recorded.

 

 

The Jones Boys! Outside the bricked up entrance to the former British Railways general offices on Chester Bridge Crewe, where the Crewe Alexandra cricket club, and the Crewe Alexandra football club were formed by T.M. Abraham and Co. 1866-1877.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Profile on ERNIE JONES by Chris JONES.

Born in Delamere Street right in the heart of Crewe railway town where the “Top Brass” of the Railway resided, Ernie lived at” t`uther “ end having a tin bath and a outside toilet. Ernie was destined to be a railwayman - Office boy in the General Office of the Works,then Apprentice training school with a Five year apprenticeship in the Works. Being a time served electrical fitter, he was presented with a blue metal tool-box which inside were a hammer and a chisel, This probably helped him shape his future in sport!


Ernie came to the “fore” in his cricket when he joined the ”ALEX” (Crewe L.M.R.Cricket Club )in the early “sixties”. It was the influence of his father ,Ernie senior, who first brought Ernie junior into cricket, his father appearing as an “ all-rounder” for both the “ALEX” and ROLLS-ROYCE-playing for whichever club employed him at the time. Ernie`s younger brother, Ken , also joined the club but it was Ernie who established himself as the opening bowler for the first team in the late “sixties” going on to be selected to play for the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League side. Ernie also represented The British Railways team that beat the M.C.C. which was managed by Len Muncer , the former “Alex” cricket club professional. Ernie was invited to play cricket at another railway town - Horwich, where he had an enjoyable seasons and also represented the Bolton League side. On another one of his adventures Ernie played cricket for Geoff Boycott`s XI. in 1973-74 at Jo`burg. South Africa. In the mid-seventies Ernie joined local rivals ,Nantwich, then in 1978, he decided to go to Southern Ireland for a few days holiday and stayed there for ten-years! Ernie played for the Phoenix C.C. and Leinster C.C.in Dublin. and also played in representative games for various clubs including South Leinster Province, achieving International recognition for his cricket by being selected to play for Ireland.  After Ernie`s father had died, Ernie returned to be with his mother in the North East of England In 1988, Where he played for the local village team Swalwell cricket club in the Tyneside senior league. In 1990, Ernie and his mother, Jean, returned to live in Crewe. Eventually, Jean decided to emigrate to South Africa to be with her daughter Alison. Ernie paid them a visit quite recently and his mother, who is 90 years young, provided him with some very interesting information about his father, Ernie senior, and may be included in a play/musical Ernie is hoping to write, which is about the railway-men of Crewe.  The “Alex” Cricket club and the people of “Alex Town”.

 

 

Reunited after 30 years! Geoff Boycot and Ernie Jones at the Geoff Boycot event at the Civic Hall Nantwich 28 July 2016. Geoff played another good innings in front of a full house completed by a standing ovation!

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

Where the Grand Junction retail park now stands once stood the “The finest sports stadium in the north west of England”. Situated between the Liverpool and Manchester railway lines was the Earle Street Sports Stadium homeof the “Alex” named after the popular princess of the time Princess Alexandra wife to the Prince of Wales, later to become Edward the seventh. Crewe Alexandra cricket club was formed in 1866 by a group of railway men from Crewe locomotive Works. The “Alex” played their first game in 1867 away to Tattenhall , They travelled by horse and cart and were victors by an innings and a few runs. In their former years the “Alex” were more like “nomads” playing most of their games away, although from 1869, they did share a ground with Crewe Cricket Club on Valley Road. In 1872, the “Alex” moved to their own first ground in Alton Street and played there until 1876. Thomas Abraham an office clerk in the “Works” General Offices played a leading role in forming the “Alex” cricket club, Being a very keen all-round sportsman a number of his works colleagues were interested in the game of football which was becoming very popular amongst the working class folk. Thomas Abraham was a highly respected figure amongst his fellow workers especially in the sporting term, In 1876, he met with Mr. Charles Welch a local business entrepreneur who had recently purchased twelve acres of land off Lord Crewe between the railway station and Gresty Road, Charles Welch said he would build a sports stadium with an athletics track and offered to Mr. Thomas Abraham and his fellow sportsmen the chance to make full use of the new sporting facilities. In 1877, the move took place and in that summer the first athletics meeting drew a large crowd to the new sports stadium. Charles Welch was also the owner of the Royal Hotel which was almost opposite the new sports stadium, Good for business I would say – Cheers every one! Also in 1877, Thomas Abraham was most instrumental in the forming of the Crewe Alexandra Football Club, Charles Welch was also involved in it`s formation along with a few others, The name being taken from the Crewe Alexandra Cricket Club. With the expansion of the railways they needed more land which they bought off Charles Welch in 1884. The “Alex” cricketers moved further along the Nantwich Road close to Gresty Road and even closer to the Royal Hotel.


The cricket and athletics were doing quite well, The football club whose ground was close by were also doing well, In 1888 they reached the semi-final of the F.A. Cup which included in the team some of the “Alex” cricketers they lost to Preston North End 5-0. The “Alex” beat Chester 9-0 in the Cheshire Cup in front of a crowd of five thousand, Also, that same year a football international match between England and Wales took place in front of a crowd of almost ten thousand was won by England 5-1. All of these games were played on the “Alex” cricket oval “because the turf was in better condition and a of a superior quality than on the ordinary football square.” Football was becoming even more popular when that “ugly” word “Professionalism” was being muted in certain quarters of the dressing room, Charles Welch was keen to improve the standards of the “beautiful” game encouraging good players to turn professional. Francis Webb the Chief Mechanical Engineer of The London North Western Railway Company and the “Boss” of Crewe Works issued a stern warning , That, if any of his workforce accepted payment for participating in a game of football, It would be considered that their employment in the Works would be terminated!

 

Francis W. Webb, chief mechanical engineer of the L.N.W.R and mayor of Crewe 1886 & 1887. 

Towards the end of F.W.Webb's eningeering apprenticeship in Crewe Works he made a wicket roller cast by his own hand in the Iron Foundry, for Crewe Alexandra Cricket Club with full permission of the Crewe Works manager.

 

 

 

 

 

In 1891, The “Alex” football club split from their parent body over “Professionalism!” In 1892, The “Alex” football club join the newly formed second division of the Football League.
In 1894, The “Alex” Cricket Club Joined the North Staffordshire and District Cricket League, Winning the Championship under captain Edgar Osborn who also played football for the “Alex”.

1896, The “Alex” Football Club having struggled in the Football League were relegated and find themselves without a ground due to the “Big Dig” for the expansion of the Railway Station. The “Alex” Cricket Club continued playing there until the end of the 1897 cricket season, Whereupon the “Alex” Football Club returned and utilised the sports ground area that remained.

 


To the best of our knowledge the details are correct.
Any mistakes or errors are not intentional and will be corrected in due course.
We would both like to mention that the” History of Crewe Alexandra Cricket Club” is a work in progress as in transferring the written documentation onto a computer and putting it all on the web site.

Interesting Facts and Information
“Alex” Batsmen Run Out On 99. At the Earle Street Sports Stadium.
Two Batsmen, E. Jones and G. Hardstaff

Ernie Jones senior batting with George Prophett v Blythe in 1947

Ernie Jones senior born during the First World War lived with his mother in a small terraced house in William Street right next door to the ‘Alex’ sports ground. Times were hard and money was scarce during Ernie’s seniors teenage years. Eventually, he played cricket for the ‘Alex’ touring team where a caption in the local newspaper described him as the ‘Cricketer in Rags’. Ernie senior progressed through the ranks and established himself on the first team then the Second World War intervened. Sadly, Ernie’s elder brother Edward a soldier with the Lancashire Fusiliers was killed in France, Ernie was with the Royal Engineers on manoeuvres somewhere else in France. When the war was over Ernie senior returned to play cricket for the ‘Alex’ where the above mentioned run-out occurred, the following season Ernie recorded the record score of 121 not-out against ‘Stoke M.O.’ 1947,

 

 

Ernie on military manoeuvres somewhere in France.

Yvonne Chevalier - The french connection!

 

Gerry Hardstaff batting with Howard Simpson(capt.) v Burslam in 1959
Run-Out On 99

 

“The Captain Howard Simpson, who had just come in and had not yet faced a ball, called me for a single and then sent me back. He then declared, Still a youngster at the time - knowing ones place I suppose!"

Gerry Harstaff played first game for Cheshire in 1960, scored 56 and 30 v Glamorgan played for a number of years as an all-rounder with best score of 143 not out, and best bowling of 8/28. Selected to play for Minor Counties v Notts taken two wkts.  In the Benson and Hedges trophy competition.  Played for Cheshire v Lanc's in the Natwest trophy taken 4/32.  

 

 

 

 

 

Gerry was born in Crewe in 1940, attended the Valley Road infant school which was not too far from the “Alex” early grounds of 1860’s and 70’s then to Edleston Road Junior School, then Nantwich and Acton grammar School, then trained as a teacher in London, then became a school teacher in Cheshire. Gerry in his early years lived with his mother who ran a corner shop in Oak Street, Crewe. His father and grandfather had both worked for the railways. Gerry’s father died in 1948 two years after being demobbed from the army. Gerry joined the “Alex” (L.M.R.) at the age of 14. Progressing through the ranks he established himself on the first team in the later 1950’s and early 1960’s where he scored his first century for the “Alex” against Leek. After having some successful seasons with the L.M.R.

Gerry joined Newcastle and Hartshill Cricket Club where he teamed up with Cheshire colleague Arthur Sutton, a most prolific run scorer with the county. Gerry was selected to play for the North Staffs and South Cheshire League side for several seasons, twice winning the Presidents Trophy, “It was a great experience to play with the likes of Gary Sobers, Wes Hall and Nasim ul Ghani”.

Picture of Arthur Sutton batting with Gerry Hardstaff, Cheshire v Shropshire

 

Gerry had a very successful career playing for Cheshire in the 1960’s and 70’s and was also selected to play for the Minor Counties. Gerry has had a connection with Cheshire County Cricket for over 50 years as a player, committee member, cricket chairman and selector, Club Chairman and finally Club President. He is now an Honorary Life Vice-President. A very distinguished cricketing career and an excellent ambassador for cricket – well done Gerry Hardstaff.

The reader must excuse me referring to most of the members and players as ‘Alex’ personal, Perhaps this is because of my passion for the Crewe Alexandra Cricket Club or the ‘Alex’, especially the ones that played on the Earl Street Sports ground 1898-1975. The British railways owned the Earl Street ground and certain eras of the sports club came under the L.M.S. abbreviated for London Midland Scottish and L.M.R. that stands for London Midland Region. EJ

There has always been great rivalry between the Crewe and the Nantwich Cricket teams from the late 19th century to the 20th century. 

 

Albert Neilson Hornby was very supportive for the Crewe Alexandra football club to be formed.  He was an excellent all-round sportsman.  He was also very keen to play in the local derby cricket matches for Nantwich against Crewe when available.

A.N.Hornby b. Blackburn Lancashire 10th February 1847.  d.December 17th 1925 aged 78 years was one of the best known sports men in England.  He played football for Blackburn Rovers F.C. He was the first of only two men to captain the country at both rugby and Cricket.  He was the England Cricket captain whose side lost the Test match against the Australians at the Oval in August 1882, which gave rise to the ‘Ashes’.  In response the Sporting Times printed the following ‘obituary’ to English Cricket.  In affectionate remembrance of English Cricket which died at the Oval on the 29th August 1882, Deeply Lamented by a large circle off sorrowing friends and acquaintances R.I.P. NB – the body will be cremated and the ‘Ashes’ taken to Australia.  Thus was born the greatest rivalry in Cricket which to this day is known as THE ASHES.  




 

Discovery of a programme 1879

‘A Jewel in the Crown’ and another important piece of the jig-saw in the history of Crewe Alexandra sports club. A very interesting and fascinating read, takes you right in the heart of the Alexandra sports stadium, which was adjacent to the Crewe railway station.

Distinguished guests and dignitaries where in attendance, sports and athletics were very popular in the late 1800 and 1900’s, drawing large crowds of over 10,000 or more.

 

 

 

 

 

Champion runner Frank Collier with his trophies outside his house in Middlewich Street Crewe, circa 1900. Photograph given by Trever Rowlands former Crewe L.M.R. cricketer (grandson)

 

 

 

 

Click the videos above to see video of the 150th Crewe Alexandra Anniversary!

Click the videos above to see video of Vagrants Cricket Club, first recorded for 'The Big Breakfast'!

Note Book. We would like to have more team or individual photographs please of the Championship winning sides, Athlectic heroes, back room staff and even the Tea-ladies. If possible we would like to have photographs of Thomas Abaham and Charles Welch.

If anyone would want to contact us about the contents of this web-site please email bowlerjones66@hotmail.com.

Ernie recently wrote a song called 'The Railway Man', and this was performed by a local band The Alley Orchestra. To see a video of the performance please click here

                                                                                                            Cilla & Buddy                                                                                                                                         EJ with Sparkle and Izzy




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