Early cricket in Caernarvonshire
Cricket in Caernarvonshire expanded during the 1850s following the opening of the railway lines across the North Wales coastline and across the Menai Straits to the port of Holyhead on the island of Anglesey. Engineers and builders engaged in the construction work formed their own teams and played matches against teams in the local settlements. The improved accessibility, following the opening of the railway lines, gave a boost to many clubs and a Caernarvonshire side was formed by Sydney Platt, the President of Bangor CC and the owner of Bryn-y-Neuadd Hall. Indeed, Platt was so enthusiastic about cricket that he even had a wicket specially laid out in the grounds of his palatial home at Llanfairfechan, with the ground hosting several of Caernarvonshire’s matches.
The Bryn-y-Neuadd club
During the early 1880s the Bryn-y-neuadd club was established by Sydney Platt, a Caernarvonshire landowner, who financed both the club and the creation of a decent wicket in the grounds of his home at Llanfairfechan. What began as quite relaxed country house cricket metamorphosed into a fledgling county club, with games in 1883 against Herefordshire, South Wales, Somersetshire Rovers and the Gentlemen of Leicestershire. The image below shows the Bryn-y-Neuadd Club plus guests from a Scottish side in 1887 with Sydney Platt sitting in the middle row fifth from the left in a white hat.
Learning the lessons of cricket
Cricket in Caernarvonshire during the second half of the 19th century was also given a boost by the opening of St. Mary’s Training College in Caernarvon where young men trained to be clerics and teachers, and were encouraged – through Muscular Christianity – to take part in healthy and manly games such as cricket. The creation of other educational institutions in the late 19th century, such as Bangor Normal College (seen below) and the University of North Wales had a similar effect on the development of cricket in Caernarvonshire.
County cricket in Caernarvonshire
By 1906, a county team existed in Caernarvonshire, with annual matches against the likes of Denbighshire, Flintshire and the MCC as well as other touring teams from England.