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PORTHILL PARK CC
Porthill Park Cricket Club’s successes are recorded as early as 1895 as champions of the North Staffs League and then a remarkable period between 1906 and 1914 where 6 further championships were won. It’s no coincidence that this successful period commenced when the great Sydney Barnes first played for Porthill Park in 1906. During the 9 year period he played for Porthill he took 893 wickets at an average of 5.28 and also managed to get in 23 test matches for England during his period with the club.
Porthill Park’s Old County Ground in Wolstanton was first used to stage a Minor Counties Championship match in 1920 and it hosted a further 44 such matches up until 1966.
On joining the North Staffs and South Cheshire League in 1963 the club began the policy of working with local schools with the aim of unearthing and nurturing local talent.
By then one of Porthill’s finest players, Dave Hancock, who had made his first team debut at the age of sixteen in 1956, was a regular member of the side. This talented left hander made his first appearance for his county just two years later and remained in the Staffordshire side over three decades. In 348 innings for Porthill Dave scored over 8500 runs, during which time he played some memorable innings. Many still recall his 110 against a Norton side including the great Garfield Sobers in 1965 as one of the best innings ever seen in the league.
During the 60’s other Porthill players went on to represent their county. John Moore was one: a middle order batsman and a brilliant cover field who eventually became one of Staffordshire’s leading coaches.
The 60’s saw the club blessed with a gifted bowling attack: Peter Timmis, the professional, Stan Evans and Mick Ellsmore from the long gone Wolstanton Grammar School. There was a healthy influx of notable players during the late sixties and early seventies, including Peter Swanwick, a fine wicket keeper batsman and Keith Stride, one of the quickest bowlers on the scene at the time.
Peter Timmis’ stint as the club professional came to a close in 1976. He was replaced in turn by Derek Nicholls, an all rounder, and then by Alan Mellor, an ex-Derbyshire left arm spinner.
With the reorganisation of the North Staffs and South Cheshire League Porthill Park found itself in the Second Division although gaining promotion in the following year after a protracted play off. The club languished in the lower tier of North Staffs cricket for many years. Finally the decision was made to increase the level of junior coaching and to form more junior teams. This move soon bore fruit as a group of fine young cricketers began to emerge. A team consisting among others of Neil Ellsmore, Dave Griffiths, Dave Cotton, Rich and Iain Powner, Paul Richards and Chris Howell revived the fortunes of the club by gaining promotion from the Second Division and bringing home the first silverware since 1949 by winning the Staffordshire Cup in 1997 and the Talbot Cup in 2000.
The professionals in this era included Scott Hookey, a big hitting Aussie who by virtue of his performances has become a legend within the club. Not least on account of a partnership of 104 in 10 overs with Andy Wagg. Andy scored one! Gordon Parsons, the Leicester seamer, also joined the club for several seasons as did Matthew Mott, an eighteen year old Australian batsman who broke the league record by scoring over 1100 runs in a season. Not surprisingly he was snapped up by Glamorgan as a club coach.
In more recent times professionals at the club have continued to please the crowds and show their worth, Sukvinder Singh had a 3 year stay at the club from 95-97 taking 192 wickets at 13.8 and averaging 36 with the bat, Staffordshire lad David Boden who played for Gloucestershire , Essex and Middlesex was pro in 98 and took 51 wickets at 13.61 and contributing 300 runs as well a club favourite on the field and in the bar!.Mo Hussain who is well known around the league who proved himself as a prolific bowler over the years with his clever spin bowling was pro in 99 before moving on he took 47 wickets at 17.53 but he also averaged 40 with the bat compiling 816 runs that year he was followed by Jaiswant Rai in 2000 but the year after Porthill secured a top signing in Claude Henderson the South African had 2 great years at the club taking 51 wickets in 2001 at 16.5 and 65 in 2002 at 11.8 he also averaged 57.4 with the bat over the 2 years, a great player.Young Pakistani international Imran Farhat followed in 2003 hitting 618 runs and taking 37 wickets at 24.3. In 2004 the club turned to another South African Pierre "Jiggy" Joubert the all rounder took 41 wickets at 17 and amassed 710 runs averaging 39.4. Joghvinder Sharma was pro in 2005 and averaged 33 with the bat and who could forget Ryan Nurse a fiery West Indian who loved a real battle with many batsmen, often resorting to the well known West Indian tactic of a real good bouncer! Nurse during 2 years (06/07) took 107 wickets at 17.8 and averaged 41 with the bat which would have been aggressive runs if you watched him play! the legend that is Fazl E Akbar (a very skilful Pakistani opening bowler who’s first test victim was Gary Kirsten!) came to the club as professional in 2008 and proceeded to blow batsmen away week after week and is still regarded by many of the top league batsmen as the best bowler they ever faced Akbar's figures are quite remarkable he took a staggering 156 wickets in 2 years at an average of 9.15! with a best return of 8 fer 29, so you can see why he is so fondly remembered he used to say to his skipper Neil Ellsmore "this guy 3 balls" and usually it was with the 3rd ball that the batsman would be making his way back to the pavilion. other professionals have followed including New Zealand International Ian Butler (Butts) a quality player, who brought with him a new professionalism to the club and led by example, a great guy. Others to mention are Saeed Anwar jnr a top batsman who regularly complied big scores, Fahad Masood with 59 wickets at 15.4, and Rao Iftikar Anjum who was with us in 2013/14/15 after impressing as a stand in a few years before, a real nice guy who took 189 wickets during his stay at 17.58 and adding 1807 runs at an average of 29 with a best of 7 fer 47. In 2016 Marcello Piedt joined at was a major factor in galvanising the team and leading the charge to the Premier League title a fiery character on the field who played hard, he finished with 40 wickets at 15.8 and contributed 297 runs at 19.8, Marcello was a top fielder as well taking some memorable catches and his fielding on the square of his own bowling was great to watch.
The club are proud to have seen “one of their own” make it into the first class game with Ben Cotton signing professional terms with Derbyshire CCC, a strapping lad who bowls his heart out whenever he crosses the rope, and not a bad bat either! None more so when he played for the 1st x11 in the season decider at the Old County Ground in the late summer of 2016 to help bring home the first league title since 1949 under the guidance of current captain Danny Hancock, on the last day of the season. Ben progressed through the junior ranks at Porthill Park and also with Staffordshire Cricket Board playing all age groups and is still a massive part of the club, down to earth and a great role model to young cricketers
After the title success of 2016, it was always going to be difficult to defend that title but the 1st team nearly made it back to back titles, falling just short on the final day and finishing as runners up and winning the Barney McArdle trophy in another good senior season. A cup final loss in the Staffs cup with a semi final reached in the T20 and a good run in the Talbot cup showed a big improvement in cup cricket format and bodes well for the up coming season.
Porthill Park have always had strong junior sections and recent years has seen participation in cricket grow with our commitment to quality coaching for all, and it’s great to see the girls section becoming stronger every year. The club provide junior cricket at every available age group from U8 – U17 in league format we also have U19 and U21 cup sides, our Friday night coaching at the club caters for even younger age groups and it’s no surprise to see the youngsters who walked around with a bat and ball aged 4 or 5 now performing well in our junior and senior sections.
The current system continues to bring forward promising young players and a number of which represent Staffordshire and also attend a number of player pathways.
Local cricket is the lifeblood of the game and we at Porthill Park CC are proud of our Senior section, we are proud of our junior section, we are proud of our members, we are proud of OUR club.
S.F. Barnes (England/Staffordshire/Porthill)
A proud part of our history and one of the greatest players ever to take the field, SF Barnes was a master of his craft described by Wisden as the worlds greatest bowler.
S.F (Sydney) Barnes was born in Smethwick, Staffordshire in 1873 and died in Chadsmoor, Staffordshire in 1967.Even though Barnes was an England regular he continued playing for Staffordshire throughout his career. For England he took 189 wickets at an average of 16.43 between 1901 and 1914.
Staffordshire had not had a great deal of success in minor counties cricket until the name of Sydney Barnes became associated with it, his performances with the ball meant Staffordshire started to become a very good side in fact they won the minor counties championship 3 years in succession with Barnes instrumental, he took 1441 wickets for Staffordshire at 8.1 and also scored quite a few centuries, he is quoted as saying “if i was out for records I could have made a lot more runs”. The minor counties played the South African touring side in Stoke on Trent in June 1929 it ended in a draw but Barnes took 8 for 41 in the first innings.
In 1905 the Porthill committee were called together to consider proposals to engage a professional for the 1906 season, that committee considered it advisable to engage S.F. Barnes and he was given a 2 year contract. That contract was to pay Barnes £12 a week (in todays money about £1200!!) Porthills committee at the time was made up of very astute businessmen and with guarantees from the local businesses to cover at least a third of Barnes wages this was truly a great piece of business. The signing of Barnes saw membership increase and gate sizes swell, gates of 2000 to 5000 would flock to see the great man and Porthill were taking £70 a game on admission fee. In some cases when Porthill played away they asked for a share of the gate as to secure Barnes appearing in the game and often sent their own gate men to make sure the opposition did not understate the gate money.
The 1906 season saw Barnes take 103 Wickets at 5.14 and his batting average was 43.46 after scoring 652 runs, against Leek Highfield, Barnes carried his bat for 76 then took all 10 wickets for 12 runs. The game everybody wanted to see was Porthill v Burslem and reports state that a crowd of over 5000 turned up at the “Hill” to watch the encounter, returning a gate league record and amassing around £8,500 !!. Porthill set Burslem 107 but Barnes took Burslem apart taking 8 for 19 eventually bowling them out for 51.
S.F. Barnes took 893 wickets for Porthill at an average of 5.28 between 1906 and 1914.
1906 – 103 wkts @5.14 ,1907- 112 wkts @3.91 , 1908 – 122 firstname.lastname@example.org, 1909 – 100 email@example.com, 1910 -82 wkts @5.80, 1911 – 109 wkts @7.26, 1912 – 66 firstname.lastname@example.org, 1913 – 114 wkts@ 4.66, 1914 – 85 email@example.com.
S.F Barnes took an amazing 6229 wickets in his career ...YES 6229!! At an average of 8.33, he bowled a total of 23,509.3 overs and of those 6784 were maidens.
Test matches 189 wickets, County Cricket 226 wickets, other first class 304 wickets, Staffordshire 1441 wickets, League and Club 4069 wickets .
Barnes finished playing at Stone at the age of 67 he took 28 wkts at 8.28
Barnes opened the bowling in his testimonial aged 80 and when the batsmen enquired why he was bowling “cross seam” he replied “well I didn’t want to get you all out”!!
A truely amazing individual and a proud part of Porthill history.
Porthill Park U21 V3 Shark Trophy Winners 2016
Porthill Park Phoenix League Trophy Winners 2016
Porthill Park 3rd X11 NSSC Division 7 Champions 2016
Porthill Park 1st X11 NSSC Premier League Champions 2016
Porthill Park 2nd X11 NSSC Division 3 Runners Up 2016 (Promoted)