History of the Club....

 Players from Left to Right
Back Row: UMPIRE, George Meikle, Ray Kay, Colin Colthurst, Norman Beadows, William Beardsmore, Geoff Williams
Front Row: Norman Barry, Ernest Robertson, Chris Thornton, Dennis Atherton, Tommy Worthington, UMPIRE


New Astley Bridge Cricket Ground

The work of laying out the new ground of Astley Bridge Cricket Club at Sharples Park has begun in earnest, and many difficulties, which have confronted the officials, have already been smoothed over by the help extended by friends. Even some of the allotment holders, who were doubtless disappointed that they had to move, have done what they could to facilitate progress. The field having been cleared a motor plough got to work in turning over the ground. Many of the best sods from the ground in Cobden Street which was originated 30 years ago this month will be used in laying out the new ground, and here the club professional, Len Tobutt, will have charge. I scarcely need to point out that as a groundsman he has a reputation second to none. A new pavilion will be required, the old one being left at Cobden, which will be used I understand, as a welfare ground, but the spacious tea-room erected a year or two ago will be pulled down and moved across to the new ground. It is a big task to lay out an entirely new ground, but the club officials are tackling the job with a big heart, and they have already been encouraged by the way they have been met in fixing up the preliminary arrangements.

Bolton Journal 15th October 1926

Astley Bridge and the Ground Question.

When the Astley Bridge club commenced work on their new ground at Sharples Park it was hoped that it would be fit for play at the beginning of, or early in the season. However, it is now certain that the ground will not be ready for some considerable time, if at all this season. At a recent meeting of the Bolton and District League, provisional permission was given Astley Bridge to play their first few games on Sir George Holden's private ground, and after hearing the report of Mr. J. W. Massey, who inspected the ground, the League Committee, on Friday gave definite permission. The Astley Bridge representative informed the meeting that Sir George had kindly promised the loan of his ground for the whole of the season if necessary, with the of one Saturday not yet decided upon.

Cricket Gossip, The Buff, April 9th 1927

Astley Bridge Enterprise A Fine Ground.

A crisis arose in the history of the Astley Bridge Cricket Club when the Cobden Street ground was taken from them, and many people thought it would mean the end of the club. But a stout-hearted band of officials set about the task of finding a suitable site for a new ground, and obtaining the wherewithal for its purchase and transition into playable condition, and I am convinced their enterprise will receive its reward. The ground is situated near Thorns Road, Astley Bridge, and is over looked on the south by Eden's Orphanage, and the north by Thornleigh School. Eighteen months ago it was allotments; now it is looking "something like." and will be ready for the clubs first home match a fortnight hence. Undoubtedly it is a splendid ground. The actual playing area measures 124 yards by 106 yards, and is laid turf for 60 yard square in the middle. Surrounding the ground is a quarter mile cinder track, and there will be practice pitches apart from the actual playing field. A pavilion purchased from the Lancashire County Council after a recent Royal Lancashire Show in Bolton is a handsome structure, and will include a tea-room for players and enclosure patrons, as well as two dressing rooms.

Cricket Gossip The Buff April 14th 1928



"It has always been my ambition". Said Mr Howarth, JP. "In opening the new ground at Astley Bridge Cricket Club this afternoon. That we train the young professionals and the lads who ought to come on. So they follow in the footsteps of the men who are carrying the honour of Lancashire so bravely." Mr Howarth was also of the opinion that cricket was the best game of the "Britisher". Because it expressed better than any other game the sporting instinct of the race. Sir Edwin Stockton, chairman of the Lancashire Cricket Club, in a rousing speech moved a vote of thanks to the opener. He believed that it was impossible to exaggerate the value of sport to the character of the people.


This was the big day in the annuals of the Astley Bridge Cricket Club. It was the occasion of the opening of their new ground by Mr William Howarth J.P. Supported by Sir Edwin Stockton. Chairman of Lancashire Cricket Club. These gentlemen along with the club president Mr Roocroft and Mr Grant president of the Bolton and District Association played the first two overs on the ground and Sir Edwin Stockton had the distinction of being the first to register a boundary hit. The attendance at the commencement was approximately 1000.

In the match with Radcliffe who batted first, Crabtree bowled the Rev. H Wearden, T Edge and Llewellyn with the third, fourth and sixth balls of his fourth over preventing the hat-trick.

Evening News Buff. April 28th 1928

Details of The First Match Played on Sharples Park

Match Played 28th April 1928


Rev H Wearden___________b Crabtree______________02

F Cowburn_______________c Dickinson b Crabtree ___  12

T Edge__________________b Crabtree_____________  00

Llewellyn________________b Crabtree_____________   00

W Knight________________b Sutcliffe______________   00

W Hough________________b Dickinson____________   19

P Pickstone______________c H Mitchell b Sutcliffe____    00

H Pearson_______________c Mitchell b Rogerson____    08

E Emerson_______________b Entwistle____________   15

A Pickstone______________lbw b Crabtree___________11

W Spencer_______________not out_________________01

Extras 06

Total. 84








N C Mitchell_______________b Hough_____________  44

H Mitchell_________________c Llewellyn b Edge_____  09

Crabtree__________________b Hough_____________ 02

R Sutcliffe_________________c Cowburn b Edge_____  07

G Pilling___________________c Emerson b Edge____  08

J Entwistle_________________c Llewellyn b Edge_____00

S Jobson__________________not out______________ 09

H Fell____________________b Hough_____________  01

R Nelson__________________c Knight b Hough______ 00

J Rogerson_________________run out_____________  00

H Dickinson________________c Pearson b Hough____  00

Extas 05

Total 85



Hough.............17.1 ..........6............23............5


Courtesy of :- Bolton archives, Civic centre, Bolton

Evening News Buff April 28th 1928

Bolton Evening News 30th April 1928


Over 60 years ago Halliwell Cricket Club had its headquarters at Bennetts, Halliwell, but eventually building development thereabouts compelled the club to seek another ground. Shortly after the turn of the century a ground was acquired in the Cobden Street area of Astley Bridge. In reply to "Curious". tradition dies hard, and it was not until 1921 that a change of name from Halliwell Cricket Club to that of its present place of residence. Astley Bridge, was made. Several years late, land development again compelled the club to seek new headquarters. This time the cause of the upheaval was the construction of Crompton Way, which cut right through the ground. A move was then made to a pitch alongside Belmont Road but this was very short lived, and by 1930 the club had moved to its present ground at Sharples Park. Here again a large slice of land had to be sacrificed for the construction of Moss Bank Way. And in 1948 when the club's landlord, the Bleachers' Association, decided to put the land up for sale, members and local businessmen rallied round to help raise the £3,200 and keep the club's headquarters.

Bolton Evening News. July 11th, 1963.

Astley Bridge in the beginning?

Halliwell were one of the founder members of the Bolton and District Cricket Association in 1889 and performed with some distinction, being Cross Cup winners in 1897. For some reason they did not appear in the league after 1899 when they finished mid-table. Halliwell Road Wesleyians promoted from section A to the first division for the 1900 season were a different team, and became Halliwell in their own right in 1905, and became Astley Bridge in 1921. Barry Taylor.

The Cobden Connection

All league cricket in Bolton at that time was under the auspices of the Bolton and District Cricket Association, which was formed in 1989, and Halliwell Cricket Club was in the top division. The cricket drew very big crowds, and young boys used to crawl between the feet of about three rows of spectators and sit on the grass in front. To get to the ground we used to go through the fields and use a little gate ; the main gate was at the other side of the ground, and spectators used to crowd to the ground down a short street called Cobden Street. This ran between two gable ends of houses in Holland Street and then some hen pens on the left hand side, and Ashworth's spinning mill and lodge on the right.

From Cricket in My Life. Arthur L Hargreaves.


1925 was a great year for Astley Bridge Cricket Club, winning the championship of the East Section of the Bolton & District League, also the winning of the cup and the flag. They had seven batters on the League averages. N J Mitchell and G Rogerson holding the two top League positions. J Entwistle and Len Tobutt (Pro) having the two top positions in the League bowling averages. The batters scored 3658 runs for the loss of only 153 wickets. They beat Eagley in the Cross Cup Final at Heaton 182 - 184 for 8. As the champions of East Section played the Champions of the West Section they met and defeated Horwich RMI at Bridgeman Park on Sept. 12th. Astley Bridge 177 - Horwich 66 to win the flag. Little wonder Mr Aspinall at the club general meeting on Friday Dec. 4th 1925 said as Secretary how proud he was of the team's achievements and although £144 was needed for the Pro's services the gate receipts had been £258. 2s 11p


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