Montgomery Cricket Club can trace its routes back to the 1840's through
the reports of games in the local press of the time.
The earliest match that any reports can be found for was
played in on 17th September 1847 when the Shrewsbury Chronicle
reported a game between 'eleven gentlemen of Montgomery and eleven of
Newtown'. The same paper published the scorecard from a game in 1849
against Bishops Castle at Bishops Castle. Montgomery won
by 8 wickets on that occassion and according to the article "A handsome
entertainment, provided by the Bishops Castle gentlemen, was partaken
of between the innings by the players and their friends"!
The earliest actual scorecard that exists for Montgomery Cricket Club is probably the oldest existing card that survives in Wales. It relates to a game played at Lymore Park against Llanidloes on 25th July 1851. Fiercely contested, Montgomery won by one run.
The club probably originally owes its existence to the Herbert family, the owners of Lymore Hall in the early 19th Century, who, as was the custom for wealthy landowners in those days, owned a private cricket ground on the present site and from time to time, raised a team from his tenants and occassionally paid professionals, to play against other teams raised by neighbouring landlords. The purpose of such matches was not only to provide entertainement and sport, but also to allow an opportunity for gambling on the outcome.
The Lymore Park ground owes it
location to the fact that it was in the parkland immedietely in front
of Lymore Hall - the impressive timber framed mansion of the Herbert
Family, built in the 1670's. The Hall stood for over 250 years before
being sold for demolition in 1931. Where the Hall once stood, is now an
overgrown wood, over the access road, opposite the southern boundary of the ground.
As the years went by, the team came to represent Montogmery Town and the ground at Lymore Park became permanent. The Montgomery Times reported in 1899 that Lord Powys had given the Club free use of the Ground.
The Powys Estates still own the land today and Montgomery Cricket Club now formally lease the ground. The club are not only grateful to the Powys Estates for the lease of the land over the 150+ years that the club has been in existence, but also for the continued general support that the Estate gives to the club in all its activities - most recently allowing the club extra land for the expansion of the playing area.
The club has always played at Lymore, except for a short period in the 1920's when a serious disagreement broke out amongst members and the team moved, with their pavillion, to a ground at Caerhowel Hall. By 1934 good relations were restored and the team returned - with their pavillion!
There have been two significant changes at the ground over the years: the pavillion has moved onto the ground from it original position opposite the ground, near the old gardens of Lymore Hall; and, in 2006, the club moved the western and northern boundaries of the ground by between 10 and 25 metres, to increase the playing area by some 25% - also moving the square by 10 yards or so to the North, to a more central position for the newly sized ground.
Twenty-two of Montgomery vs a United England XI
In 1882 the Lymore Park Ground hosted what is probably the most
memorable match in the history of the Montgomery Cricket Club - a
United All England XI came to play a Montgomery 22 in an exhibition
match. A newspaper report notes that the game took place over three days between 16th and 18th June
1882. Marquees and stands were erected and in perfect weather a large
crowd watched the game. The All England XI scored 76 and 97, but with
scores of 120 and 115, Montgomery won by 62 runs.
Alfred Eaton, 1870-1902
The most celebrated player to emerge from Montgomery was Alfred Eaton
(1870 - 1902), after whom the Eaton Cup for Batting is awarded each
year at the club. Alfred was born and brought up in Montogmery and his
father was a butcher in the town. He first played for Montgomery in
1883, at the age of 15, scoring his first hundred for Montgomery in
1887 when he was just 17 (a monumental achievement in those days when
entire teams often failed to score 100 runs in an innings!). Alfred
Eaton left Montgomery to play as a professional cricketer for
Warwickshire when he was about 22. However, he had to return almost
immedietley, as business in the family butcher shop had increased to
the extent that his father needed his help. Alfred Eaton continued to
play for Montgomery until his
premature death at aged 32, in 1902, from complications following
bicycle accident. His grave is in the cemetry of the
Montgomery parish church of St. Nicholas and his gravestone has
recently been renovated with funds kindly donated by the club and its
All of the information on this Historical Notes webpage has been gained either
from the excellent book "The Story of Montgomery" by Ann & John
Welton (published in 2003 by Logaston Press) or from Mr John Jones of
Hornbeam House, Garthmyl who has not only been a long standing member
and player of the club, but has also spent much time in the last few
years scouring the archives of all the local newspapers, photographing
articles on sport in general in Mid Wales, but especially relating to
Montgomery Cricket Club.