The Early Years
Grappenhall Cricket Club played its first game in 1881 on a ground in Bellhouse Lane. The club moved to its current home of Broad Lane in 1892 with a new clubhouse. There have been several new clubhouses built on the existing site with the most recent developments coming in the late 1980’s with significant improvements to the facilities in 2011.
In the early days the club played a number of friendly matches. Grappers then played regular fixtures up to the 2nd World War. In 1939, before war broke out, Grappers were founder members of the North Cheshire League but the league was stopped at the start of the war and was never resumed.
From the 1960’s onwards GCC were members of the Manchester Association which was the prelude to the clubs most successful period.
The 70’s & 80’s – the golden years
In 1981, after a couple of good seasons following promotion to the top division in the late 70’s, the 1st XI won the top flight for the first time. One of Grappenhall’s best teams, it included some famous Grappers names such as Duncan Martindale, Rick Houghton, Chris Ashton, Neil Titchard, Jim Green, Nick Sharp and a young Neil Fairbrother, only a few years before he headed off for big things with Lancashire and England.
In 1982, the 1st XI went one better, this time winning the league and cup double with the HC Cup Final being one of a number of appearances the club mate at Old Trafford in the 80’s.
The double was repeated in 1987 with another appearance at Old Trafford, this time with the team including another future Lancashire star and future Grappers captain in Steve Titchard. In the same season, the 2nd XI also tasted success by winning the Worthington Cup.
There were a number of other cup successes for the club during this period for the different senior and junior teams, with many a memorable game taking place and the tales still being regaled today.
In 1992, the club were in their last season in Manchester Association before a move to the Cheshire County Cricket League. The 1st XI ended the season in style with a memorable victory over Neston to win the Cheshire Cup for the first and only time, and to also announce their arrival in Cheshire cricket.
Into the Cheshire County Cricket League
1993 marked the start of the clubs CCCL era and the 1st XI found the transition difficult. In 1994 however, the 1st XI had an amazing season with a run to the semi-finals of both the Cheshire Cup and the Abbot Ale National Cup, only 1 game away from a final appearance at Lords. Unfortunately, competition administrators forced the club to play both games on the same day. Unfortunately for Grappers, both games ended in defeat and the season petered out.
Success in the County League has been sparse since then as the club found it hard to maintain previous successes as money was now playing a part in amateur sport and Grappers were falling behind.
From 2010 to present the team have spent a number of years in the Premier Division but have found it tough going and spent time in both the Prem and Division 1 during that period.
Unfortunately though, although there have been some recent near misses in cup competitions, the wait for silverware goes on as the club is still to win its first major trophy in around 20 years.
Grappenhall Cricket Club celebrated its 130th Anniversary in 2011 by holding the biggest and most prestigious event in the clubs 130 year history. On 30th August 2011 the club held a hugely successful Legends Day, with a T20 match between an England Legends XI and a Grappenhall XI including several megastars of world cricket. To see all the information from the day please click here.
The club followed up the success of the 2011 event by going bigger, bolder and better in 2013 with the Betfred Big Bash with the Warrington Wolves playing grappers in T20 action as part of Wolves and England star Ben Westwoods testimonial year. This was followed by an England Legends XI taking on their Australian counterparts as part of the ashes summer. To see the full report of the day click here.
Grappers Famous Names
There have been a number of success stories at Grappers over the years with a number of players going on to play Minor Counties and County Cricket. Those that played county cricket are listed below. To see the players details, click on the players names for their full county stats.
(Lancashire CCC and England)
(Lancashire CCC and Derbyshire CCC)