Flintshire

Cricket at Hawarden Park. Photo credit – Hawarden Park CC

Creating a county team

A county team was created in Flintshire during the 1880s. Developments began in 1880 with games taking place from 1880 between a North Flintshire side, comprising players from the clubs at Bagillt, Flint, Hawarden Park and Sandycroft, against an eleven representing the south of the county, comprising representatives from Mold, Northop and Pontblyddyn.

In January 1885 a meeting was held in the Assembly Rooms in Mold where, on the proposal of Dr. Archer of Connah’s Quay CC, Flintshire County Cricket Club came into being. The meeting had been convened by John Scott Bankes, a magistrate, JP and former High Sheriff for Flintshire, who lived at Soughton Hall. The Old Etonian was also instrumental in organizing a trial match at Mold during May and from 1885 the Flintshire club played matches against leading clubs from across the border, including the Sefton club from Liverpool, Chester Wanderers and Birkenhead Park.

John Scott Bankes was also a leading figure with the Northop club. Founded in 1869, the club played close to St. Peter’s Church on land belonging to the Bankes family, with the highlight of their calendar in the Victorian era being a game on Whit Monday between an eleven chosen by John Bankes (and later his son) and the town club.

William Ewart Gladstone – the British Prime Minister and club cricketer in Flintshire. Picture Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.

Hawarden

Hawarden is one of the leading clubs in Flintshire – since the 1850s the club have played in the grounds of Hawarden Park, the country retreat of the Gladstone family, whose number included William Ewart Gladstone, the politician famous for having had four spells as Britain’s Prime Minister between 1868 and 1894.

In 1839 the Old Etonian had married Catherine Glynne, the eldest daughter of Sir Stephen Glynne of Hawarden Castle who, besides being the Lord Lieutenant of Flintshire, was also the MP for Flint between 1832 and 1847. William subsequently lived at Hawarden Park – a grand property, situated eight miles to the west of Chester, and during the summer months, became closely involved with the local cricket club. Indeed, in September 1857 the man who was poised to become Chancellor of the Exchequer, was recorded by the local newspaper as being with a party of local grandees who watched the game between Hawarden and Wrexham to a game in the grounds of the Castle

Click here to find out more about how the future Prime Minister also played cricket for the Hawarden club.