The Scarborough cricket league scene has been rocked by the shock announcement that Oriel Cricket Club have folded completely.
Bernard Goulding, who is secretary of the Derwent Valley League and AndyHire Scarborough Evening League, said: “I had a telephone conversation with Kevin White, the secretary of Oriel CC, earlier this week informing me that Oriel were to fold completely and I have now had written confirmation of the resignation from both leagues.
“This is a great shame to see the demise of what was such a great club who played on what was one of the best grounds in the area with some of the best facilities at Oriel Crescent in Scarborough. The club were formed in the 1940s being named Oriel CC after their ground which was built by its owners Rowntree’s Stores (on York Place) and was used by their sports and social club for cricket and other sports - the sports club eventually becoming Oriel CC and attracting other players from outside Rowntrees. The cricket ground was shared with Scarborough CC Reserves (3rd team) for many years.”
Oriel CC were a very strong team in the Scarborough area in the 1950s and 1960s, winning the Beckett League division A (now Premier League) in 1959 and the Cayley Cup division A in 1958, 1959, and 1961. They also won the Scarborough Evening Cricket League division A Shield in 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, and 1959, and the Harburn Cup in 1950, 1951, 1952, 1958, 1959, 1961, and 1962, having a number of Scarborough CC players playing for the club in evening cricket.
Goulding added: “As a young player I remember in the 1960s and 1970s looking forward to playing at Oriel as it was a lovely ground with seats on the terraced grass bank overlooking the ground and flower and rose beds between the seats, all immaculately maintained, and what was a wonderful pavilion with great views of the pitch and field - the field being oval and outfield immaculately cut and well drained, and a wonderful pitch to play cricket on.
“Unfortunately over the years the ground could not be maintained as well as earlier when Rowntrees closed down and Scarborough Reserves folded, and it became hard for Oriel CC to maintain - other clubs shared the ground with them over more recent years such as Civil Service, Scarborough News, and Commercial CC, but vandals caused problems by stealing equipment and eventually set the pavilion on fire and it has been a struggle for Oriel CC for many years to keep on top of the ground maintainence.
“They have shared the ground on a Saturday for the past two years with Valley Bar Nomads CC, however Valley Bar Nomads CC are now to play all their home games in the Derwent Valley and Evening Leagues at Scalby CC’s Burniston ground.”
This will be the first time since the ground was built in the 1930s there will be no cricket team using it - there was always a problem over ownership of the ground when Rowntree’s closed down with it being in the ownership of Rowntree’s Trustees, few of whom, if any. now survive.
Goulding said: “I do hope the field can come back into sporting use as soon as possible as indeed I am sure the Oriel tenants and residents do.”
Oriel CC have just one team on a Saturday in the Derwent Valley League who were in division A which now means that the teams due to play them will now have two free Saturdays this coming season and clubs due to play them in the cups will now have byes.
In the Andy Hire Evening League Oriel CC had two sides - their A team won division C last season and were due to play in division B this season but now each team in division B will have two free evenings when due to play them making just 12 fixtures for each team in this division.
Their B team which play in division C this season where each team plays each other just once will now each have one free night and now play 12 fixtures instead of 13 in this division. Clubs due to play Oriel in the cups now receive byes.
* This news comes only a few days after The Scarborough News revealed that Hunmanby CC, who play in division C of the Derwent Valley League, are also on the brink of folding.