A Brief History of Newton CC

In The beginning

In March 1912 a meeting was held at Alfred Rushton’s house in Oak Street, Newton to discuss the formation of a new cricket club. The outcome of that meeting was that Newton Cricket Club was formed, with immediate effect. The original members were messrs Alfred Rushton, Arthur Marsland, Joshua Holland, Samuel Hudson, Herbert Beard, Charles Garlick, Fred Oldham, Fred Beeson, Thomas Kershaw, James Robinson, George Brady, Alfred Hitchcock, James Bottomley, Fred Wild, Jesse Robinson, Bill Robinson and Joseph Bradshaw. From these 17 men good and true, Alfred Rushton was appointed president, a position he was to hold for over 40 years, Arthur Marsland was appointed secretary, Joshua Holland, treasurer and Fred Beeson our first Chairman.

Their first act was to secure a ground on which to play and a deal was struck with a local farmer at the princely rate of £2.00 per year to rent a field that was opposite the gates of Hyde County Grammar School on Clarendon Road, Hyde. The wicket at that time followed the natural slope of Clarendon Road with two parts of the outfield having an approximate one in ten incline. A brand new, complete pavilion was also purchased using the money that the Rushton family were saving for their daughter’s new piano and was positioned at the Oak Street end of the ground. 

Home sweet home

1934 and Newton Cricket Club was back with a bang. The leasehold to our current ground on Barmhouse Lane was purchased from the previous tenants Hyde Wesleyans along with a pavilion and much of their equipment. Arthur Bent was instrumental in the capture of this prime site as he was playing for the Wesleyans when they disbanded and happened to know of a club who was in need of a home.

With a new home finally secured, Newton Cricket Club re-joined the Hyde and District League but this time in the 2nd Division. Within a month of the season starting we had made our mark when Bill Pearson and Fred Stafford put on a 4th wicket stand of 164 against Hyde Lads Club leading to a total score of 241, the stand and score were both club and league records. In fact, this was the 1st time Newton had ever scored over 200 and we were to do so again against Clayton Analine just 2 weeks later.

It was therefore no surprise that Newton went on to record their first senior club honour that year by winning the Hyde and District Division 2 Championship. The usual team that year was: H Higginbottom (Capt.), A Bent, T Martin, F Stafford, A Kay, W Pearson, A Dixon, A Ratcliffe, J Massey, A Rushton, S Gregson.

This was out of a playing strength of around 40 – 45 players, so obviously places were at a premium. The winter of 1934/5 was spent furnishing and painting the inherited pavilion. The second team captain of many years was Bill Davies who was a poster artist and any outstanding achievement was portrayed on the club notice board, but woe betides any unfortunate player who did something awful.

Unfortunately on the field we found the 1st division of the Hyde and District League a little tougher. The team promoted with us, Hyde Lads Club, didn’t struggle as they paid their players expenses and therefore had players falling over themselves to sign on for them, indeed a dozen or so signed on from Newton and Hyde Lads Club then went on to win the 1st division that year.

The teams in the League at that time were Newton, Crossley Brothers, Openshaw, Mossley Brow, Newton Bank, Stalybridge Units, Abbey Hey St Georges, St Thomas’s and St Stephens. Our second team of that time was famous for being a team of teetotallers, oh how things change.Tragedy struck in May 1936 when the pavilion was burnt to the ground with all the club equipment and club records going up in flames also. This happened on a Sunday evening and amazingly by Monday evening a new pavilion had been sourced, bought and delivered. Pavilion is however a very loose term for the hencoat shed bought from Watt’s farm for £18. Both teams played the following Saturday away from home and astonishingly the 1st team played at home the following Saturday after 2 weeks of non-stop work from all the members. An amazing £38 was raised in a single week which enabled the club to continue.

Jubilee celebrations

In 1937 Newton Cricket Club celebrated its Silver Jubilee and the local press dubbed our President Alfred Rushton, the ‘Lord Hawke of Newton CC’ and went on to describe him as the best defensive batsmen in the league and his worthiness and reputation in the local cricket leagues is perhaps best explained by an incident at Buxworth C.C. when an umpire gave a dubious decision against Alfred and was promptly encouraged to alter his decision by the home crowd or he may well be mauled. A presentation was made by chairman Fred Beeson and vice chairman Jack Heaton who spoke of the sterling service that Alfred had given to local cricket in general and Newton in particular during the last 25 years.

Newton were still in The Hyde and District League in 1937,1938 and 1939 and were still awaiting their second senior trophy, but some rather significant names started to appear on the team sheets, names like Harry Littler, Eric Howarth, Eddie Pearson and Bill Critchlow. 

The war years

The club finished 4th after leading the league for most of 1939 and then of course in September war was declared.Although initially all outdoor sports were suspended and many men and women were called up by the services, life in Hyde gradually got back to normal and so on 1 May 1940 Newton played their first game of the season as restrictions were gradually lifted. On the back of a formidable opening partnership of Harry Littler and Eddie Pearson, Newton secured the Hyde and District 1st Division Championship, that being our second senior honour.

In 1941 the war was beginning to bite hard and only 7 clubs, Newton, Higher Openshaw Methodists, Mossley Brow Church, St Gabriels, Crossley Motors, St Clements and Patca were able to raise a team for that season as more and more  players were called up to the war. The average age of most sides was over 40 but a provision was always made that men on home leave would always be guaranteed a game if they wanted one. As there were precious few league games played, friendlies were arranged against local scratch sides and Newton played under the name of Godley Cricket Club to avoid any confusion. It is sad to note that 2 of our playing members, Jack Taylor and Tommy Baxter both lost their lives in the World War II.

From 1942-1945 the league continued with anything from 6 to 9 clubs competing, with matches being played sporadically for obvious reasons.  To counter this Alfred Rushton introduced the Rees Cup to help fill the void, unfortunately Newton, much to his annoyance, were always knocked out in the 1st round. The members were determined not to let ‘Jerry’ deprive us of our cricket and the club motto of the time was ‘like Whitehall Theatre, we never close’. The records show that in 1944 only Newton, Higher Openshaw Methodists, Crossley Motors, Daniel Adamsons, Ashton Trafalgar and Ferguson Pailin were able to field sides. There was a very low scoring encounter this year where Newton finished their innings on 61-6 and then bowled Crossley Motors out for 55 thanks to H. Plevin taking 6 for 26.

A change is coming

With the war coming to an end the 1946 season saw the extension of the Hyde and District League to 2 divisions both containing 10 sides and Newton, captained by Eric Howarth recorded its third senior honour by winning the 1st division of the Hyde and District League. This was also the year Hyde Cricket Club moved to their current ground at the top of Werneth Low.

In 1947 the members of Newton Cricket Club decided that a new challenge was required and so it was decided to field a team in the 1st Division of the Hyde and District League and also field a team in the higher standard of the Denton and District League. This was not a decision taken lightly seeing as the Hyde and District League was formed and run by Newton’s Club President Alfred Rushton, and particularly as the Denton League was a breakaway from the original Hyde League.

So in April 1947 the following team played in the Denton and District League: Joe Chapman (Capt.), Harry Littler, Eddie Pearson, Eric Howarth, Bill Pearson, Bill Critchlow, Bill Crossland, Harold Higginbottom, Harry Wilde, Tom Day, Bill Sidebottom

And the following team played in the Hyde and District League: Eric Higginbottom (Capt.), Fred Whyatt, Tommy Baker, Johns Morris, Walter Simpson,, Colin Caine, Arthur Bates, Alf Sutcliffe, Eric Brady, Charlie Platt, Alf Morris

Joe Chapman was a stalwart of the club in every sense and besides being a good captain and wicket keeper he was also responsible for a lot of the hard work on the pavilion and ground. Joe was also a magician and a member of the magic circle.

On the 14 July a benefit match for Eric Howarth was played at Flowery Field as Eric was unable to work after having his jaw smashed in a game v Newton Bank. All the local clubs were involved and an astonishing amount of £98 was raised in total, a huge amount in 1947. Newton finished 3rd in the Denton League that year and 5th in the Hyde League. Having one team in each league continued until 1950 with a modicum of success as the Denton and District 1st Division title was secured in 1948, although success was a little more difficult to come by in the Hyde league where we often finished bottom of the pile.

Around this time Joe Pickett was a prominent member of the ground staff, and when he eventually became Councillor Joe Pickett he successfully led an application for our playing field to be allocated as greenbelt, therefore safeguarding the future of Newton Cricket Club

1949 saw an end to building permits and general restrictions and the Co-op in Denton built a new brick built shop in the Saint Annes area of the town, the significance to Newton being that we purchased their old timber framed war-time building which included a large plate glass window and a counter, This was transported on block to Barmhouse Lane and remained the club’s pavilion until 1972. This new facility enabled spectators to watch the cricket in the warm as the wind blew as ferociously down the valley as it does today. The old pavilion remained intact and was used as changing rooms and a storage area.

For many years Newton’s near neighbours and fiercest rivals were Newton Bank Cricket Club.Their ground was at Glenwood but in 1949 they lost their ground to developers and St. Paul’s Hill Road now runs across the site of their old ground. Following the demise of Newton Bank a number of their members made the short journey to join Newton. Two of the people who made the move were S. F. (Sam) Gregson and Hiram Tagg, they were near neighbours, living on Sheffield Road, and both worked in the insurance industry.

Sam was a fine batsman whose favourite shot was the square cut and from being first team captain at Newton Bank he soon took on the same role at Newton, a position which he held for a number of years.  He did a lot of work in attracting promising young players to the Club and ran the junior team for many years as well as being Club Treasurer for many years. When Sam died in February 1993 a glance round the people attending his funeral revealed that if all were in their prime Newton C. C. could turn out a pretty good team that day. Hiram wasn’t a player like Sam but he was to become a most valuable asset to the club and would eventually become our Chairman. Hiram and his wife Edith gave sterling service, working tirelessly to improve the club on and off the field.

1957 saw an exciting end to the season, despite Mottram winning the 1st division at a canter, Newton came out of the pack to secure joint second place with ICI. The second team again finished half way. In 1958 Newton Cricket Club were invited to join the High Peak League, which was the premier league in the area at that time and our opponents that year included Hawk Green, Cheadle Heath, East Droylsden, High Lane, Mirlees, Parkside, Hope Congos, Norbury, British Railways, Offerton, Buxworth, Trinity Methodists, Haughton Dale and Hyde, our teams finished 3rd and 5th respectively.

From 1959 to 1961 Newton again consolidated their position in the new league, with the first team ably led by Norman Lee and Alan Munnerley finishing 4th, 7th and then 2nd in a league of 18 clubs with players such as Roy and Dave Farrington, Ken Gee and Dave Townend coming to the fore and contributing nearly every week. The stand out match saw Newton crash 194-4 declared with Alan Munnerley scoring 84 not out, Norman Lee 64, and Fred Whyatt 16 before bowling Hope Congos out for 51.

Unfortunately 1961 was also the year we lost our founder and President of 49 years, Alfred Rushton.

Alfred was the driving force behind our beloved Club and without his enthusiasm, steadfastness, vision and commitment Newton Cricket Club would simply not exist.

It’s all golden

1962 was a year to remember for many reasons, not only was it the Club’s Golden Jubilee, celebrating 50 years of existence but our first team became champions of the High Peak League for the first time. The team was ably led by master batsmen Alan Munnerley with excellent contributions coming from throughout the team, suffering only two defeats all season, this really was a year to remember. The team included a number of senior players including Harry Askham, a fine all-rounder who had played in the Yorkshire Council League and who didn’t suffer fools gladly.  Other senior members were Norman Lee and Harold Marshall, both of whom were highly competitive in their approach, and wicket-keeper Joe Chapman.  Alan was in his early 20’s at the time and took the responsibility of leading the team very seriously.  Nerves sometimes got the better of him and occasionally he would disappear behind the pavilion to be sick.

It was a special season in that the League of 20 clubs were to play each other only once either home or away, with the top 10 teams forming the 1st Division for the following season. After a slow start including two draws and a loss, Newton finally hit form defeating Heaviley at home thanks to 52 from Alan Munnerley and 25 from Dave Townend. That was followed up with what would turn out to be vital wins over Norbury and the eventual runners up Cheadle Heath. At Cheadle Munnerley again performed well scoring 56 not out as Newton declared on 130-6 and then went on to dismiss the home side for 87 with Norman Lee taking 6-16. 

In July Newton defeated Hyde in a rain affected game. The first two hours were lost to the weather leaving Hyde two options, to either bat out the remaining time for a point or try to amass in a short time sufficient runs for a declaration. The latter course was taken but Hyde found themselves all out for 53 with Harold Marshall taking 5-16.  The runs were knocked off in ample time; the men in at the end were Fred Whyatt with 36 not out and Dave Townend 18 not out.

The title charge continued in August at Offerton, batting first and scoring 175-7 before declaring. It was a good total after being 33-3 early on in the innings, but the fighting spirit came to the fore as Harold Marshall 63, and Norman Lee 43, dug the team out of trouble. Offerton were dismissed for 70, John Connelly 3-17, Harold Marshall 3-3, and Norman Lee 2-10 doing the damage.

1962John Connolly, Joe Chapman, Harry Askham, Roy Farrington, Peter Jepson, Harold Marshall.Norman Lee, Fred Whyatt, Alan Munnerley (Capt.), Roy Gregory, Dave Townend


In 1970 for the first time in its long history, Newton had the ignominy of relegation despite good batting performances from Alan Munnerley and Mike Bent, while Harold Marshall had a good year with the ball taking 42 wickets. The High Peak League had many years previously introduced a four division league with promotion and relegation and unfortunately we succumbed along with our close neighbours Newton Mill. The downward spiral continued into 1971 as Newton finished 7th in the 2nd Division mustering just 7 wins all season. Alan Munnerley and John Martin were the first team top performers with the bat and Harold Marshall and Ken Stringer with the ball. The seconds used a whopping 35 batsmen throughout the season with Ken Gee top scoring, and also taking 35 wickets.

Off the field in 1971 the Club negotiated a 30 year lease for the ground from Manchester Corporation (previously it had only been a yearly tenancy) but it was a condition of the lease, much to the Clubs annoyance, that it would include the rough land to the then stream at the bottom of the valley (this being prior to the motorway construction) together with the liability to construct, within six months, a wooden stock proof fence from Barmhouse Lane down to the stream. This fence was erected by members at Saturday morning working parties – what a task.

There was more encouraging news too as the club made preparations for a brand new concrete pavilion. The driving force behind the development of the Club was John Martin.  John set about organizing a replacement for the old wooden pavilion with a more suitable and robust structure.  This was achieved in 1971 following the purchase of two disused pre-fabricated bungalows located in Haughton Green.  The old pavilion was demolished, while the prefabs at Haughton Green were dismantled into their constituent parts and brought to Newton on the back of a lorry; the parts were then reassembled to create the structure of a new pavilion.  Unfortunately, at this time John suffered a serious leg injury whilst playing squash and had his leg in plaster. This restricted his movements during the building work but he directed operations from a seat in the middle of the site.

There was a great deal of groundwork done by the members including erecting fencing and having had a machine level the ground before a concrete base was laid as the foundations for the new pavilion. A letter written by John Martin on 5 January 1971 asked all members to re-commence work after the Christmas break and was also a thank you for work done. In it he suggested “if any member should require any concrete laid messrs Bent and Simpson can be highly recommended”. John Martin was instrumental in rallying the troops by sending letters and organising working parties to progress the work.

The pavilion was completed in 1972 thanks to the hard work of many members all of whom put in a tremendous amount of effort. The new pavilion was a great improvement on the old one, and particularly impressive was the scoreboard which included rotating fibreglass cylinders to show the team total and the individual scores of the two batsmen. 

Back to the future

Concern amongst the members that standards were declining on and off the field in the High Peak League was increasing and eventually led to an extraordinary general meeting on the 11 August 1974 at Barmhouse Lane when the club voted by 26 votes to 3 to resign from the league and apply to re-join the Glossop and District League. This was a huge blow to then Chairman Eric Howarth as he was also secretary of the High Peak League but democracy rules and thankfully the Glossop League looked favourably on the application.

So for the 1975 season we joined Dinting, Broadbottom, Tintwistle, Hadfield, Old Glossop, Shaw St Pauls, Hollingworth, Haughton Green, Mottram, Charlesworth and Mellor. This began a long association with the Glossop League which was to culminate in the most successful era in the club’s history. The first team finished in a very respectable 4th place with Alan Munnerley top scoring with 412 runs backed up by Alan Littler with 359 while Ken Stringer captured 49 victims. Of note for the seconds was that Peter Jepson top scored with 359 runs and Bob Ashton took 52 wickets as they also finished 4th.

A sad footnote was that in November 1975 a decision was made to suspend the High Peak League. The league held an open management committee meeting that was ‘sparsely attended’ and the inevitable decision was made to suspend the league for a period of 12 months. So many member clubs had resigned that only Haughton Dale out of the 12 clubs had not been fixed up for the next season. League secretary, our own Eric Howarth commented in The Reporter “it is sad when a decision like this is necessary” but added “I want to make it perfectly clear, the junior league will definitely be continuing” In addition  the Bardsley Trophy would still be played for many years to come. The High peak league never resumed however.

Also in 1975 following the grant of the lease, and the building of the new pavilion the water authority constructed the large underground reservoir to the north west of the ground and the Club managed to negotiate a deal with the contractors whereby they would dump their surplus soil from the reservoir excavation into the big dip at the bottom end of the outfield (and if you were fielding there you could not see the bottom half of the stumps). In return they agreed to grade, level and reseed the entire outfield. The League allowed the Club to play its last four home fixtures away on Sundays so that the work could be commenced in August and so give the grass seed time to germinate before winter. The next season we started with a great level playing surface.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, this is Newton Cricket Club Ground at Barmhouse lane, Godley, Hyde.
It looks more like a paddy than an outfield because a bulldozer has been at work. It’s all part of a costly plan to level the outfield

Newton Cricket Club, Mount Pleasant, Hyde SK14 3BX

0161 368 3062