Manchester Cricket Club

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Manchester Cricket Club was founded in 1816 and was a direct forerunner of Lancashire County Cricket Club, founded in 1864. Manchester are recognised as a first-class team in most of the matches they played against clubs from other counties. Their matches against Sheffield Cricket Club were sometimes styled Lancashire v Yorkshire and the one in July 1849 is generally considered the inaugural Roses Match. From 1857, Manchester played at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, which became the county club's ground from 1865. Manchester's most frequent opponent was Liverpool Cricket Club but the matches between them were invariably amateurs only or restricted to one professional a side, so they were not first-class matches. Unlike the Sheffield/Yorkshire and Nottingham/Nottinghamshire relationships, Manchester was not the equivalent of Lancashire because of the Liverpool element and the existence of several other well-established town clubs around the county. When the county club was founded, a total of thirteen local clubs were involved in the process.


Cricket may not have reached Lancashire until the 18th century. As advised by the Association of Cricket Statisticians (ACS), the earliest known reference to the sport being played in the county has been found in the Manchester Journal dated Saturday, 1 September 1781. It concerned an eleven-a-side match played the previous Monday, 27 August, at Brinnington Moor between a team of printers and one representing the villages of Haughton and Bredbury, who were the winners. As Bredbury was then in Cheshire, the match is the earliest reference for that county too.[1][2]

In 1816, Manchester Cricket Club was founded. Although it was generally regarded as the most significant club in Lancashire, it was one of several around the county and did not have the same strength of club/county relationship as those of Sheffield Cricket Club and Nottingham Cricket Club with their respective counties.[3][4]

Manchester played mostly against opponents from the north of England and some of its matches from July 1844 until 1864 (including some in which the team was styled Lancashire) are considered first-class. Ten of these were against Sheffield, who in three of them were called Yorkshire. Other opponents included Surrey, Sussex and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). On 23, 24 & 25 July 1849, the Sheffield and Manchester clubs played each other at the Hyde Park Ground in Sheffield and the fixture was called Yorkshire versus Lancashire. As such, it was the first match to involve a Lancashire county team and also, therefore, the first Roses Match. Yorkshire won by five wickets.

A noted Manchester player was John Sherman. On 27 July 1852, he made his final top-class appearance for Manchester against Sheffield at the Hyde Park Ground. His career had spanned 44 seasons from his debut at Lord's Old Ground on 20 September 1809 when he played for Beauclerk's XI against Ladbroke's XI. His was the longest career span, equalled only by W. G. Grace.

In their early years, the club played its cricket on land adjacent to the Manchester Botanical Garden and leased from the Trafford family. In 1856, Sir Humphrey de Trafford identified this land as being an ideal location for the planned Manchester Art and Treasures Exhibition. Sir Humphrey was a member of the Executive Committee planning the exhibition who offered Manchester Cricket Club £500 in compensation for the remainder of their lease. The club, however, insisted on a figure of £1,000 and agreed to vacate the site ahead of the 1857 season, moving to the inferior location (as it was further from transport links and only accessible via a long rough track) that subsequently became Old Trafford Cricket Ground, the home of Lancashire cricket ever since.

Lancashire County Cricket Club was formally constituted on 12 January 1864 at a meeting of thirteen Lancashire cricket clubs in Manchester. In 1865, the new club joined the County Championship and played its inaugural first-class match against Middlesex at Old Trafford on 20, 21 and 22 July. The Manchester club was superseded by the county club and ceased to have first-class status in its own right.

First-class matches

The following is a list of first-class matches played by Manchester, sometimes styled Lancashire:[5][6]

date match title venue
4 July 1844 Manchester v Yorkshire Moss Lane, Manchester
3 July 1845 Manchester v Yorkshire Moss Lane, Manchester
28 August 1845 Manchester v Yorkshire Moss Lane, Manchester
29 June 1846 Sheffield v Manchester Hyde Park Ground, Sheffield
29 July 1846 Manchester v Sheffield Moss Lane, Manchester
8 June 1848 Manchester v Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Manchester
10 July 1848 Sheffield v Manchester Hyde Park Ground, Sheffield
23 July 1849 Yorkshire v Lancashire Hyde Park Ground, Sheffield
2 August 1849 Lancashire v Yorkshire Botanical Gardens, Manchester
28 July 1851 Yorkshire v Lancashire Hyde Park Ground, Sheffield
21 August 1851 Lancashire v Yorkshire Botanical Gardens, Manchester
24 May 1852 MCC v Manchester Lord's, St John's Wood, London
16 July 1852 Manchester v Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Manchester
26 July 1852 Sheffield v Manchester Hyde Park Ground, Sheffield
20 July 1854 Manchester v Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Manchester
3 September 1857 Manchester v Surrey G. P. Codie's Ground, Eccles
2 September 1858 Manchester v Sussex G. P. Codie's Ground, Eccles

Records (first-class matches only)


  1. ^ Rowland Bowen, Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development, page 266.
  2. ^ G. B. Buckley, Fresh Light on Pre-Victorian Cricket, page 10.
  3. ^ ACS (1981). A Guide to Important Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles 1709 – 1863. Nottingham: ACS.
  4. ^ ACS (1982). A Guide to First-Class Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles. Nottingham: ACS.
  5. ^ "First-class matches played by Lancashire". CricketArchive. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  6. ^ "First-class matches played by Manchester". CricketArchive. Retrieved 13 October 2012.


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