The History Of Outcasts Cricket Club

Beginnings

Outcasts cricket club was formed in 1945 by local farmer Ben Thompson. When the war was over the Isle of Axholme evening cricket league restarted and was on the lookout for new teams to join. Thompson turned up to the meeting and decided he was going to enter his own side into the league as he had no affiliation to any of the other teams. When asked what he was going to call his side he responded “We will be The Outcasts” and the team was formed.

The team originally started as a nomad side playing all games away from home and featured players from all around the isle of axholme that could not get a game. The original rules of the club stated that to become a member of Outcasts you had to not sign any forms to play for another club, you could guest for teams but you had to be a literal cricketing outcast!

In a newspaper interview in 1953 then president Thomas Johnson said that to play for Outcasts he only asked players to follow 2 simple rules

“To play the game for the sport and to remember that this club is as much a social club as a cricketing Organisation”

Outcasts continued to play in the Isle of Axholme evening league from 1946 until the league folded in 1998.

Friendly Years

In the early 1950s the club was growing in members with over 30 players signed on and with the help of a number of local farmers including W.G Halkon and D.J. Horberry the club decided to start playing friendlies on a Sunday. The aim of the friendlies was to play teams from further afield that you wouldn’t normally play in league cricket in the area and to have a social gathering after the game with both parties.

The club tried to play the same teams each season to keep a rapport with the clubs and welcomed teams close by such as Whitley bridge, Brocklesby Park and Normanby Park but also teams further afield such as York Nondescripts, Sheffield Collegiate and Woodhall Spa, with Woodhall Spa playing Outcasts every season for nearly 40 years!

With still no home ground to call their own Outcasts used the Sun Engineering ground on Potts lane in Crowle to play their home games while sometimes renting other local pitches.


Close to folding and finding our home

The 1970s saw a transition with the team. The club lost its access to the Sun Engineers ground in Crowle and arrangements were made to share the school pitch at North Axholme School that opened in 1967. Unfortunately, the ground was not up to the standard of the Sun Engineers pitch and the club started to lose their friendlies or clubs insisted Outcasts came to them instead.

In a bid to get the club more matches a Presidents XI game was created and the club also started to arrange friendlies again select XIs locally, Scholeys XI and Arthur Barkers XI being 2 of the fixtures.

Unfortunately, this didn’t help the club and with the Isle league ordering the club to play all their fixtures away from home between 1971 and 1975 the club was starting to lose players to teams who were playing weekly cricket in the Lincolnshire Leagues and the North Lindsey Leagues and the future looked bleak.

In 1976 a savour by the name of Richard Stubley was found and along with his mother Heather they made available a piece of land at Hirst Priory to lease, securing the future of the club. The club still has a copy of the lease singed by the trusties and honouree vice presidents Robert Brown, Arthur Barker, John Brooke and Dick Moore. The club had become Outcasts by name and Outcasts by location!

In 1977 the bulldozers moved in and John Brooke rolled prepared and seeded the square ready for the first season at the new ground. The first season came and the ground was very basic compared to how It was today, no changing rooms meant the players got changed in the stables left from when it was a field and teas were done on tables outside under the trees.


Pavilion and Admission to the Lincolnshire league

In 1978 British Steel was demolishing the anchor village and the club had drawings made up for a pavilion using materials from the Village. The pavilion went through several design changes, the first being a second floor with a scorebox on the roof! before settling on the final design.

With the designs set, work began late 1978 but with money tight and the club rejected for almost all the grants they applied for the work was mainly done by members and volunteers. John Brooke did the concrete for the base of the pavilion and when he ran out of concrete before the work was finished, he dug the road up to the ground and used that for the last part.

By 1979 the work was nearing completion and with the help of money raised by the club the pavilion was able to be finished. The last of the work to be done was to move the electricity pole and lines that went straight across the pitch to a safer place and with the help of donations from Yorkshire electricity the work was finally finished and the Pavilion was able to be opened officially for the 1980 season

To celebrate the opening Yorkshire Cricket club came and played a game at the ground and with cricket thriving at the ground the club applied to the Lincolnshire County Cricket league to join the league and play Saturday cricket for the first time. The first 2 times the club applied it was rejected but finally in 1980 the club was accepted for the 1981 season.

Lincs League Early Success and Geoffrey Boycott Testimonial

In their first season in the Lincs league local teams didn’t give Outcasts much of a chance of completing the season let alone it being a successful one but the club exceeded all expectations by winning Division 3. The team was made up of 6 or 7 older players including Geoff Bramhill and Ralf Smith and 5 juniors, all of which started at the club as under 13s when the club started junior cricket coaching in the late 70s.

That season Geoff Bramhill had a season to remember with the ball and his records of 64 wickets in a season, 6 5 wicket hauls in a season and best bowling figures of 8-8 still stand as Outcasts records to this very day.

The 1983 seasons saw Outcasts play in the 2nd Division and again exceeded expectation by finishing 4th and narrowly missing out on promotion to the 1st division. Youngsters Mark Coulman and John Bramhill not only played in the men’s side every week but made it into the league averages, with Mark leading the averages for the division but missing out on the award by playing 1 less game than needed to qualify.

In 1984, due to a chance meeting between club secretary and Saturday captain Martin Thompson and a member of the Geoffrey Boycott testimonial committee the club got the prestigious chance to host one of the ex-England Captains testimonial matches he was having that summer. Sir Geoffrey was playing games around the area all summer and brought with him a select 11 that featured 10 county and England players to play against a Lincolnshire select 11. Outcasts was represented that day by both John Bramhill and Mark Coulman.

On the day Boycott only managed to score 8 runs but Yorkshire batsman Kevin Sharp hit a century as his side defeated the Lincolnshire XI by 90 runs. After the game a dinner took place in the pavilion and a charity auction while hundreds from all around the area came to watch the game.

Late 80s Downfall and Merger with Crowle Town

After winning promotion into the 1st division of the Lincolnshire league in 1984 the club had high hopes of being amongst the elite in the county and have a chance to make it into the premier league, the highest level of cricket in the county. Unfortunately, things did not pan out that way and after 1 mid table finish in Division 1 the club lost several of its key players that had got them to that position.

Nearby Belton offered 2 Saturday cricket teams, one of which was in the premier league at that time and Normanby park, who also had close ties with players in the Isle of Axholme, took players from the club and in 1986 the club was relegated from division 1 without winning a single game.

For the next 10 seasons the club stayed around the bottom half of division 2, in some seasons ended up in the relegation positions only for the fate of other teams to save them and was overall struggling as a club on a Saturday.

In 1986 North Axholme school got rid of their Grass wicket in favour of a artificial one that was been fitted in schools around the county at the time and Crowle Town Cricket Club was removed from the Sunday North Lindsey League as artificial wickets were not allowed in the league at the time. Discussions between Crowle Town chairman Pete Mallin and Outcasts captain and coach Preston Wallhead lead to the agreement that the two clubs would merge. The deal for the merger being that Outcasts would put a team in the Sunday North Lindsey League for the first time in 1987 and name the side “Crowle Outcasts”, Outcasts would keep their Sunday friendly games and Crowle Town players would play for Outcasts on a Saturday to help the numbers.

The agreement was not without dispute and almost immediately Outcasts changed the name of the Sunday team to just Outcasts but the extra players helped the club to flourish again. Unfortunately, by the early 90s the club didn’t have the members to continue playing both North Lindsey Cricket and friendly cricket on a Sunday. At the 1991 AGM the club voted on which team they wanted to keep and by a close majority the club decided on continuing in the North Lindsey League and ending the tradition of Sunday friendlies that was started back in the 50s.

2nd XI and the fall of local teams

In the early 90s the club decided to start a second XI team to accommodate the players from Crowle town and the new emergence of younger players that had been coached by Martin Thompson.  At the time the Lincolnshire league didn’t like 2nd XI teams playing in the Lincolnshire league unless they were competitive teams with a first XI in the top division and with Outcasts still in division 2 there would be no chance of the second team joining the Lincolnshire league.

The club decided to look further afield and joined the Humberside Alliance league. The league was a more friendly secondary league on a Saturday that followed the Humberside county lines instead of the Lincolnshire borders. The league was perfect in bringing on players that were just coming out of the youth ranks and allowed the club to bring on more younger players.

In 1996 the Lincolnshire league had a restructuring where they would start a 2nd XI division and allow all clubs to enter a second XI team if they wish. Outcasts took up that opportunity and their team was placed in Division 2 of the 2nd XI league. The new players emerging helped outcasts to have their best season in a decade in 1997 with the second XI winning promotion out of the 2nd XI division 2 and the first XI winning division 2 of the main Lincolnshire league with young Richard Wroot winning the league Wicket Keeping award that season.

The end of the century also coincided with the loss of several clubs in the area. Local rivals Belton went from being premier league champions in 1996 to folding in 1998,  Normanby park went from being a premier league side to only being a junior cricket club in the early 2000s and Normanby Park Works folding around the same time lead to Outcasts gaining players from all of these clubs and looking the most healthy it had been in years.

Preston Wallhead taking over and the emergence of youth

At the turn of the century Martin Thompson, who had been involved in the club since the early 50s, decided to retire from all forms of cricket and the club had its biggest change up top since it began, with nobody left in the management committee from the original founders. Preston Wallhead, captain and coach for many years, took over as chairman, his wife Shirley was brought in a secretary and other people such as scorer Glen Sands were brought on to the committee.

With the club back in division 1 and the seconds in the division 3 (the 2nd XI championship was dissolved in 2000 and all clubs entered the full cricket pyramid) Preston made the decision to put his trust in the youth structure that had been very successful for the club in the past. Older players such as Dave Singleton and Aidy Chafer retired and several youth players were brought into team such as the Fletcher brothers, the McAnaney brothers and the Clark brothers, all of which have gone on to captain various sides for the club.

The club was able to stabilise its first team into division 1 with the club only going back into division 2 once since the turn of the century and with the first team getting stronger the 2nd XI team was able become stronger finishing the decade champions of division 3 for the first time, copying what the first team did nearly 30 years earlier. That season also saw records tumble with youngster Jamie Belton winning the division 3 batting award with a season average of 98.17 and 3 centuries in once season.

The club also had success during this time by winning the Bob Welton Cup, the cup competition for 2nd XI teams on a Saturday, twice and also making the final twice and also decided to return to midweek cricket for the first time in 10 years by placing at team in the Snaith and District league.

Premier League Cricket and the new pavilion

By the early 2010s Preston and his wife decided to retire from all forms of cricket which lead to another big change at the club. Mark Coulman briefly took over as charman of the club and Glen Sands was brought into the secretary role before younger people were brought into the management group. James Glew took over as Charman in 2017 and Glen stood down as secretary in 2019 leaving Brett Smith to take over.

In 2015 the club had the chance to apply for funding through the SSE fund and was able to secure enough funding to replace the old pavilion with a brand new £50,000 pavilion with full changing facilities and a bar and function room. Since then the club has had grants for other things that has led the club to go from strength to strength with 2 all weather nets added to the ground and several pieces of groundman equipment.

On the pitch the club went from strength to strength with the 2nd team consolidating themselves in the 2nd division for several years before going down to the 3rd division in 2019. The first team managed to win the division 1 title in 2015 which meant for the first time in the history of the club it was able to play premier league cricket. Unfortunately for the club the next season proved too much and Outcasts were relegated straight back to division 1 after 1 season.

The 2017 season proved that the club did belong in the premier league though as they went straight back up to the premier league by winning the division 1 title again. This time Deol Aman winning the division 1 bowling title and also breaking a league record for taking 4-0 in a game. The club yo-yoed again however and came straight back down in 2018 after finishing bottom of the premier league.

2019 was a case of so close with the club missing out on promotion to the premier league a third time on the last game of the season meaning they will have another season in division 1.

Present

In 2020 the club was unable to play any league cricket due to the coronavirus pandemic and for the first time since 1991 the club was back playing friendly cricket to get some games later in the season.

In 2021 the club will field 5 men’s side.

  • The first XI will play in the Lincs League division 1 captained by Liam McAnaney

  • The second Xi will play in the Lincs League division 3 captained by Brett Smith

  • The third XI will play in the North Lindsey League division 2 captained by William Scott

  • There will also be 2 midweek sides playing in the Snaith and district league.

  • The club will also have 2 Under 11 sides and 2 Under 13s sides.

Current Committee

  • President - Ian Fletcher

  • Chairman – James Glew

  • Vice Chairman – Jonathon Wroot

  • Secretary – Brett Smith

  • Treasurer – Helen Glew

  • Other Committee members – Russ Fletcher, Jason Whiteley, Charlie Mason

Honory Life Vice Presidents

  • T.D. Johnson,

  • R.H Brown,

  • W. Halkon,

  • J. Coggon,

  • R, Moore,

  • R. Stubley,

  • Mrs H, Stubley,

  • A. Lillee,

  • R. Maw,

  • Ben Thompson -Founder of club

  • S. H. Blackbourn,

  • A. Barker,

  • J. Brook,

  • G. Bramhill,

  • M. Thomspon,

  • N. Graham-Yool