Leven Valley Cricket Club-History

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A Potted History of Leven Valley Cricket Club, -
125th ANNIVERSARY 2007

Messrs: Teasdale, Christopherson, Hill, Benson, Blezard, Wadeson, Hart, Kirkby, Collinson, Postlethwaite & Robinson, got the show on the road. On Saturday 24th June 1882 villagers in Haverthwaite saw their men folk playing at cricket for the first time. The newly re-formed Cartmel Club scored 68, Haverthwaite 25, of which Mr Benson scored over half.
No matter the outcome, all cricket in those days was played on a friendly basis anyway. It was called Club Cricket. Apart from the war years and their aftermath there has been a cricket club in the village ever since; who knows, possibly being played on the same ground. Very few clubs can boast such longevity and continuity.
By the time of the Great War in 1914, Leven Valley had tasted competition with all other junior clubs in the locality. At various times in the period 1882 -1914 there was a brotherhood of the clubs in the immediate vicinity, Cartmel, Crake Valley (Greenodd), Grange, Holker and Leven Valley. As good Lancastrians other opponents were found to the west and north, teams from Ulverston, Barrow, Dalton, Lindal and Broughton. (Note: The Furness area of Lancashire "North of the Sands" did not fall into Cumbrian hands until 1974.) A highlight of this period was a club century by J A Collinson with 106 not out. v Cartmel in July 1912. In the first decade (1882-92) the two valleys of Leven and Crake occasionally joined forces as a combined team and could even put out a 2nd XI. After the Great War cricket was slow to flow back into the lifeblood of the area, no prizes for guessing why. Some clubs were never to appear again.
Leven Valleywas back in 1928 and in 1929 was engaged in league competition for the first time. The Ulverston and District League had been formed in 1925. It catered for rudimentary cricket. Holker and Crake Valley were very keen participants. Come the Second World War the Ulverston & District League floundered and it's last champions in 1939 were Leven Valley Cricket Club.
1949 saw the Westmorland Cricket League embark on expansion. Leven Valley C. C. joined the new third division. Since that time the River Men have been ever present members; entering the fray was 20 year old Jack Croasdale. Many village cricket clubs have strong associations with one or two families. Jack died in 1998 but Leven Valley will be forever Croasdale. In may ways so will Haverthwaite Village. The Playdale complex established in 1980 was Jack's baby. In 1955 he scored what was probably the clubs second century against a short lived team called Ashley Sports Club from Ulverston. Jack celebrated that feat sallying forth into the historic Sun Inn in Ulverston. But as a timber man by trade he was at his happiest on a cricket field behind 'The Timbers'. He was a natural wicket keeper.
Only in the period 1965 -74 has the dizzy height of first division cricket visited the River Ground, and that only by default. A breakaway league removed the areas' major clubs from the equation leaving a rump Westmorland Cricket League. Never the less Leven Valley's championship of 1972 ranks, even today, as the biggest upstage in the history of the Westmorland Cricket League. There are still people walking the planet in shock. Success came on the back of three bowlers, Eric Barker, Wilf Errington and Dave Trotter.
After normal service was resumed in 1975 it was back down for The Valley Boys ;and down;.and down. By 1987 it couldn't be lower, Division 5. Thereafter the only way was up; by 1998 as far as Division 2. This time with names like Noel Flunder, Phil Nicholson and Russell Thompson to the fore, and assuming very much a Croasdale role was one Richard Procter.
Dick has been in the vanguard of all the clubs doings for many a long year, despite the on-going difficulties of running a village cricket club in these modern times with many sedentary alternatives, Leven Valley is determined to add to its longevity. Dick Procter and fellow avids like Martyn Weaver and Peter Yates firmly believe there can be no better way of soaking up summer than a game of cricket in the beautiful Vale of Leven, and who could disagree with that.
Sadly the Club's 125th Anniversary Match in June 2007 against Cartmel CC (the Club's first ever opponents) was rained off but the packed 125th Anniversary Dinner in October 2007 at The Anglers Arms, Haverthwaite was a great occasion and brought together many of the former and present stars of the Club.
Keep the show on the road chaps.

Names in the photo

From left: Arther Baxter, Eric Barker, Rodney Heywood, Joe Errington, Bob Coghlan, Peter Clark, Wilf Errington, Jack Croasdale, Dave Trotter, Alan Milligan, Eddy Allanby, Jean Frankland, Jack Heywood, Jack Parkinson. photo of Leven Valley Cricket Club team members

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