YMCA Cricket Club is one of
the Bristol's oldest cricket clubs having been founded over 125 years ago in
1878 by the YMCA Christian
club’s original name was YMCA Rangers and played its matches on Bristol’s Durdham Downs before relocating to a cricket field connected to Gloucestershire
County Cricket Club’s famous County Ground thus beginning a long history between
the two cricket teams.
Cricket Club finally moved to its current home at Golden Hill in North-West
Bristol in 1905. At its peak, in the late forties, the ground boasted no less
than five cricket pitches that were used to support the five Saturday teams that
the Club ran each week and a long wooden hut that provided the changing and tea
rooms. The open surroundings provided ample space for a line of mature trees
that divided the two existing squares and even a duck pond that was situated
near to the current score box. Many former players can recall the site of
squirrels and ducks walking onto the square on matchdays!
View of Golden Hill Cricket Ground in 1929
picture shows the Third/Fourth Eleven square to the far left, with trees
separating the First/Second Eleven square
100 not out at Golden Hill!
For over a century YMCA
Cricket Club has maintained Golden Hill and has constantly improved the
facilities including, most notably, a cricket pavilion, the foundations for
which were laid in 1934 but not completed until 30 years later in 1964. Further
improvements included an elaborate score box that was the envy of Bristol
cricket. Such was the expense of the score box, the club held numerous events to
raise money for the ‘mechanical bicycle chain’ system used to operate the
display. Unfortunately, the score box burnt down one bonfire night and was
replaced with the structure that stands there today.
Wally Hammond meets the YMCA team during his
visit in 1946
The YMCA’s historic links
with Gloucestershire County Cricket Club have paid dividends over the decades
and the club is proud that several world famous cricketers have appeared at the
ground including the father of modern cricket, W.G. Grace, Gloucestershire’s
Arthur Milton and in 1946, perhaps most memorable of all visitors, Wally Hammond
one of England’s finest ever batsmen who was greeted by nearly 4000 spectators.
A Cricket Club for all
YMCA has played a large part
in the local community for nearly a century and many charity events have been
held at Golden Hill over the years. As well as the cricket club, many other
local amateur sports clubs have taken advantage of the facilities in order to
raise vital funds for good causes. Occasionally the ground has played host to
professional teams, the most memorable of which were the YMCA benefit matches
against a Gloucestershire County Cricket Club Eleven and a Bristol Rovers
Football Club Eleven.
It is estimated that,
during the clubs 125-year existence, over 6,000 senior and youth cricketers have
represented the YMCA in over thousands of cricket games and many former members
still live in the area to this day. Indeed, one of the cricket club’s most well
respected former players was the first team captain from the mid fifties, Rev.
David Johnson who, at 87, still takes an interest in the teams progress on
Bristol’s top club
It was under the guidance of
Johnson that YMCA enjoyed, perhaps, its most successful years on the field and,
during the years shortly after WW2, the club was regarded as Bristol’s top
cricket team. Such was the high standard set by David and his players in those
days that David and, arguably the Club’s greatest ever player, Roy Davies both
appeared for Gloucestershire County Cricket Club.
David Johnson and Oliver Sutcliffe, the
Oldest and Youngest of YMCA
YMCA in the Future
YMCA Cricket Club remains the
city’s biggest cricket club and is the only team to field four league teams on
Saturdays. The club also has one of the best youth development projects in local
cricket so the future looks positive for everyone connected to the famous old
2003, the YMCA Cricket Club celebrated its 125th anniversary with a series of
events designed to commemorate the good times from the years gone by and look
forward to the exciting times ahead. This included a celebratory Dinner Dance at
the BAWA club, which was attended by over 150 people.
know of any interesting stories connected YMCA Cricket Club? Or perhaps you know a former
player who would enjoy contacting old team mates or looking at the averages and
records. If so, please e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org as we would love to hear from you.