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A Brief History

The early 1890’s saw a radical change in the area of Altofts. From being a small hamlet, the village grew with the sinking of the local mine (Pope & Pearson). This led to a significant influx of workers and large areas of housing were built, including the longest unbroken row of terraced houses in Europe (Silkstone Row). Sport became a major pastime.

The club was formed in the late 1890's and the pavilion erected during 1922 by miners in the local area. The ground was owned by the local colliery owners Pope and Pearson. The ground was maintained by the colliery owners until 1947 when the coal mines were nationalised. CISW took control of the ground and workers at the local colliery paid 5p into the welfare scheme, which helped with the running and maintenance costs.

In 1926 the Lock Lane ground underwent a major change. The football pitch was turned 180º, a bowling green and ash tennis courts were added, surrounded by rose trees and shrubs. The main attraction however was a brand new pavilion, with state of the art hot and cold showers and baths (Most miners houses still had tin baths!).

It had a tearoom, overlooking the cricket pitch with a small veranda at each side facing the football and tennis. Freshly painted in green and cream, the grand building glistened as the famous Yorkshire and England cricketer, Herbert Sutcliffe had the honour of declaring it open.

A cycle and running track (ash) was built around the cricket pitch and most of the village events took place at the idyllic Welfare Ground. Meanwhile, just under a mile away, millions of tons of coal continued to
be dug out of the ground.

The cricket club was initially playing the Yorkshire league then transferred to the Yorkshire council where the club was a member of the free lance section for many seasons.

In 1961, the colliery was shut down and funding was then withdrawn in 1964 and the ground handed over to the Normanton Urban District Council (later the Wakefield district Council)for the sum of £2,000. If the future looked uncertain,

In 1965 the cricket section folded due to lack of finance and interest when the local colliery closed.

The local council continued to cut the outfield but the cricket square's condition declined. By 1968 Whitwood colliery was closed and Whitwood cc was having financial problems.

Normanton Town Council was approached by Whitwood cc asking for permission to play their games at Altofts.

The 1969 season saw Whitwood Colliery CC. playing at the Altofts Lock Lane ground.

The Yorkshire Council Management Committee asked Whitwood C.C. to change their name to Altofts for the 1970 season.

In the season of 1970 Altofts Cricket Club was reborn.

The club was still a member of the Yorkshire Council Pontefract section until 1976 when it was decided to enter the Central Yorkshire Cricket League. Many successful seasons were had in the Pontefract section winning the league several times.

The club set up a junior section in the early 70's organising under 13's,15's and 17's sides under the new head coach Clive Jackson. Clive has been involved from the outset in an unpaid capacity and the junior section has thrived yielding success at all age groups.

The welfare ground in the late seventies saw the tennis courts fall into disrepair. A sports committee was formed and fund raising saw the building of the Jack Beddows Football stand in 1979. A major revamp of the pavilion was undertaken and the old tennis courts were floodlit to provide a football training area.

Games are played on Sunday mornings, Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. Over the years it is estimated over 2000 boys have benefited from the coaching.

From 1998 the club started under 9's and under l l's sides, playing in a competitive league.

The Local Authority has passed on some responsibility for ground maintenance to the club. The cricket square is maintained by the club members on an honorary basis.

As members of the central Yorkshire League it is compulsory to have junior teams. All our coaching staff, managers and grounds people work for no pay.

Where next?

Whitwood Colliery - Past & Present Pre 1900. Owned by Henry Briggs, Son & Company Ltd. Briggs was the first mineowner to employ a pro


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