First played in Methley in 1863 it is reported that in those days Methley had two cricket teams, Methley Moorhouse and Methley Gentlemen, presumably one team played at Moorhouse and the other team possibly played at the brickyard field, later the club was to adopt the name of Methley Victoria.
The two fields I suspect, were on the flatland adjacent to the river with the grass cropped probably with the use of goats or sheep, the brickworks field was most likely situated on the flat field to the front of Green Lane.
The cricket club relocated to its present Little Church Lane ground about 1874 and has played in the lee of St Oswalds Church in its archetypal village setting to the present time.
In his excellent book’125 NOT OUT !’ Ron Wolfenden a former Chairman of the club has produced a comprehensive and thoroughly researched record of the playing, the characters and the behind the scenes action. Ron charts progress from the formation of the club, through the two wars right up to the clubs tilt at the Rothmans Village Championship final at Lords the HQ of cricket. He has been able to gather some rare photographs and other material enabling him to demonstrate the evolution of the club from a small league village side to a highly competitive outfit in a more challenging league.
My memories of the club start as a teenage spectator in the early 1950s, like many of my friends I found the run rates a bit hard on the patience and the side a tad predictable. However, the midweek Knock Out competitions where each player got two overs and batsmen had to retire at 25 – well that was something else. Wheatleys Rhubarb Slashers, The Junction, Savile Pit top, Castleford RU, The Commercial and others – this was great entertainment both for contestants and spectators alike – plenty of run outs, a good few sixes, a big crowd and 3 pence if you got to carry the blackboard round the field advertising the next game.
Its still pleasing for all to see, after their later visit to Lords, when they came back having won the trophy this time how progressive and successful the club have become. However at the same time I wonder why in the past so many lads who had the talent and the ability at school never went on to play league cricket for Methley after school. Well done to such as Stuart Micklefield, Mick Smart, Steve Bell, Bernard Richardson and others who were at the root of this conversion. Indeed well done to those who have, in developing the grounds and club helped create the right conditions to achieve the playing improvements that have been secured.