Saturday, February 16, 2019
WHEN BRIGG TOWN CRICKET CLUB PLAYED 26 LEAGUE GAMES A SEASON
Brigg Town Cricket Club only had 14 league games last season and will be playing 16 during the forthcoming 2019 season between early May and mid-September.
However, back in 1983 the Town first team had TWENTY-SIX league fixtures.
Brigg finished fifth out of 14 teams that competed in the South Humberside Alliance 36 years ago, Broughton finishing third and South Kelsey sixth.
These statistics, and many others, were recorded in that year's Alliance Handbook, a copy of which Brigg Blog has just uncovered in our sporting archives.
The Alliance became so popular that the following season, 1984, it had to split into two divisions.
Brigg Town 2nds joined the new second section, along with fellow applicants Waltham.
The Alliance enjoyed many good seasons but team numbers began to drop and eventually it was absorbed into the Lincolnshire County Cricket League, forming a fifth division.
That operated for a few seasons before being discontinued, with the remaining sides found places elsewhere within the Lincs League.
Back in 1983, South Kelsey Cricket Club was still being managed by the legendary Walt Blackburn, who would go on to complete half-a-century as its secretary.
Brigg's 26 games saw 10 victories, seven draws and only five defeats, with four other matches being affected by rain and deemed 'no results'.
Tony Bailey (ex-Brigg Sugar Factory and Broughton) was Brigg Town's leading batsman with 425 runs at an average of 32.7 (highest score 86 not out).
One of the younger players, Alan Brock, who lived on Grammar School Road, spearheaded the bowling with 33 wickets at an average of 10.5, while Andy 'Tom' Willey, of Churchill Avenue, took 39 wickets at 15.7 apiece.
Among that season's league umpires was Ray Atton, of Scawby Brook, who, despite advancing years, went to The Rec to watch a number of Brigg Town home games last season (2018).
For much of the 1980s and 1990s Brigg Town had two Saturday teams, one or two midweek sides playing evening matches, and a Sunday XI, playing league games or friendlies.
There were also junior teams for various age groups.
So the keenest players in the club would enjoy three or four games a week.
It kept us fit and also helped generate useful income for local pubs like the Queen's Arms and the Black Bull after matches!
The period from 1983 to 1990 was perhaps the golden era of club cricket in the north of the county, in terms of matches played and teams taking part.
Saturdays & Bank Holiday Mondays: Lincolnshire County League, South Humberside Alliance (later Humberside Alliance), Grimsby & District League.
Sundays: North Lindsey League (with a few games still being played on Saturdays).
Midweek: Broughton & District League, Scunthorpe Midweek Friendly League, Isle of Axholme Evening League, Grimsby Midweek League, West Wold League.
Junior: Various age group leagues based in Scunthorpe and Grimsby (Under-11 to Under-19).
Humberside Alliance teams in 1983, in order of places achieved were: Norsk Hydro, (Immingham), Belton, Broughton, Haxey, Brigg Town, South Kelsey, Nuform (Scunthorpe), Winteringham, Alkborough, Scunthorpe Town, Normanby Park Works (Scunthorpe), East Halton, Caistor, Grimsby BRSA. Most of these were 2nd or 3rd X1s, although Brigg Town's first team took part.