The Club

History of our Club

The first recorded match involving Chester-le-Street Cricket Club was against Durham City, with ten shillings up for grabs for the winners. That match was rained off but later replayed at Plawsworth for a larger cash prize – though, sadly, it is now unknown which side triumphed.

The first cricket field in Chester-le-Street was at Mordue’s Field, Crown Farm, on Ropery Lane. The town’s bypass now runs straight through this field – which, as a cricket ground, was replaced by a new site on what is now Red Rose Terrace. The move to the present location took place in 1866.

This ground’s early history was certainly eventful. One match in 1876 left Durham City all out for 9 runs, and it was in 1892 that Chester-le-Street won the County Challenge Cup. They held off Bishop Auckland in the final and so entered the Durham County Senior League, Northern Division in 1893, there joining Philadelphia, North Durham, South Shields, Sunderland and Whitburn.

Archive photo of cricket team
Archive photo of cricket team

After a spell in the Tyneside Senior League, Chester-le-Street transferred to the Durham Senior in 1903, where they lost their first game to Durham City by 3 runs. In 1920 and 1922, the 1st XI won the league, leading the players to be awarded solid gold medals provided from public funds.

In 1927, Durham County played New Zealand at Ropery Lane, starting a proud history of first-class visitors playing at the ground. Those teams have included Surrey, Yorkshire, Worcestershire, Essex and Nottinghamshire, while Pakistan and South Africa have also arrived from the Test class.

The club purchased the Ropery Lane ground for £1,000 in 1948, with the then president Colonel J Turnbull making up this purchase price by doubling the money collected from members. In 1957, attendees at a general meeting agreed – by a majority of one – to give the club a bar, which amassed £1,058 in takings in 1958, its first full year of operation.

In 1904, a new two-storey pavilion was built to replace the single storey wooden structure. In 1966, the pavilion was largely demolished, though some of its walls remain as part of the current building. A lounge extension was added in 1972.

Over the years, notable professional members of the club have included local talent Jackie Keeler and Russell Inglis, Indian Test cricketer Dilip Doshi and former Pakistani vice-captain and International Test referee Wasim Raja. More recently, Indians Santosh Jedhe and Mandar Sane have also played professionally for the club.

The 1st XI were Senior League champions in 1920, 1922, 1969, 1980, 1981 and 1983 and, since 1962, finished runners-up seven times, the most recent occasion being in 1999. This was also the team’s last season in the Durham Senior League. The 2nd XI have been Senior League champions nine times.

Our Ropery Lane ground is deemed one of the North East’s finest and has hosted many Durham Minor Counties fixtures. From the 1960s to the 1980s, we also hosted all of Durham’s Day One fixtures, leading many first-class counties to play here.

After Durham became a first-class county in 1992, first-class cricket was regularly played here at Ropery Lane until the Riverside Ground was developed. International touring sides have also visited.

The ECB North East Premier League 2000 to 2012

In 1998, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) issued the report ‘Raising the Standards’, which was intended to bridge the gap between first-class and top club cricket. This ushered in the development of ECB Premier Leagues throughout England and Wales.

In response to this initiative, the North East Premier League (NEPL) was formed in 2000. It was developed by the Durham and Northumberland Cricket Boards as an ECB Regional Premier League to serve the needs of both counties. Chester-le-Street Cricket Club became a founder member in 2000.

However, the club first had to go through a rigorous and demanding application process. The club met all of the required criteria through recruiting new players, enabling us to assemble a First Team squad more than capable of performing to this much higher standard.

The First Team

Our First Team’s record in the NEPL has been excellent. We have been champions three times and secured second place on another three occasions. We have never finished lower than the sixth place that we reached in our first year in the NEPL. Our First Team also won the NEPL Banks Salver competition in 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2010.

Other triumphs in our First Team’s history have included winning the new NEPL T20 Cup in 2009, 2011 and 2012 and reaching the National Competition final at Chelmsford in 2011 and Edgbaston in 2012. We have also won the Just Sport Trophy, Austin Trophy and Matthew Oswald Cup.

Banks Cup Winners 2012
Banks Cup Winners 2012

The Second Team

The Second Team have finished at their league’s summit four times, reached second place three times and only once finished below third place. They won the Banks Bowl in 2005, 2006 and 2012.

The Third Team

The Third Team was formed in 2002 and – with a squad of very young players – won the championship in 2010. The Third Team also won the Banks Cup in 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2012, while the midweek Third Team has competed in the Durham Senior League competition. Since 2000, our Third Team has won the league eight times and League Cup on four occasions.

Banks Cup Winners 2012
Chester-le-Street Ladies Team

The Club Today

Today, our club is thriving with four senior league teams, a Ladies team and a Social team. Our Junior Club fields teams at Under 18, U15, U13 and U11 level, while we can have up to 100 young people being coached on the field each Friday evening and Sunday morning.

We are the only club to have become champions of all three NEPL divisions, a feat we achieved in 2010. However, perhaps our greatest achievement came just a year earlier when we won the ECB National Club Cricket Competition. After a thrilling semi-final at Shrewsbury, we defeated London club Spencer at the Derbyshire County Ground in the final.

Players, supporters, officials and members all celebrated the triumph in style upon returning to the club. Much of our club’s success can be attributed to our excellent, well-prepared pitches with a very good outfield which is appreciated both by our own players and clubs that come to play here.

How to Find Us

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By Road

We are a short distance from the A1M Junction 63. On leaving the A1M take the A167 towards Durham. Cross the first roundabout staying on the A167.

At the next roundabout take the right hand turn for town centre. You will pass a church on the right and go over a pelican crossing. We are on the right hand side just before reaching the next pelican crossing. Drive through the blue gate.

By Rail

We are 5 minutes walk from Chester-le-Street station, 15 minutes drive from Durham and 25 minutes drive from Newcastle.

By Air

We are 30 minutes drive from Newcastle International Airport and 50 minutes from Durham Tees Valley.

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