Hillam & Monk Fryston Cricket Club History

History

Modern cricket has been played in the two villages for over a hundred years.  Monk Fryston led the way in the nineteenth century when enthusiastic support was given by the owners of Monk Fryston Hall and Hillam Hall.

At first a field off Monk Fryston Common Lane was provided by a local landowner; later the team moved to the grounds of Monk Fryston Hall. Cricket was played against about half a dozen local sides such as Church Fenton, Knottingley and Selby St James. The Rev Benjamin Hemsworth of Monk Fryston Hall and Henry Close of Hillam Hall were both patrons. The Rev Hemsworth encouraged his staff to participate, and his butler Tom Foster and his gardener John Foster were part of the club for many years. John went on to be the longest serving club secretary in Yorkshire, retiring in the 1970s after setting a record of seventy years’ dedication to cricket.

Twentieth century cricket was introduced to Hillam by Harry Lyon soon after he bought Hillam Hall. He created the present cricket field in the grounds of the Hall down Stocking Lane. Mr Lyon had the charming old pavilion built, and in 1911 he formed his own team, Hillam Hall Cricket Club. Many a farm labourer was called from his work to represent the village. A fixture against Yorkshire Gentlemen was regular in the 1920s.

World War II brought a halt to the game in both villages when the grounds were turned over to growing food. In 1945 Monk Fryston’s ground was no longer available, and the two clubs discussed a merger which produced the current Hillam and Monk Fryston CC. The restored ground at Stocking Lane became the home. A decision on the order of the villages’ names was needed, and following heated but friendly argument Hillam came out first. In 1975 the Lyon family sold the ground to the club.

Teams from the new club played in the Selby and District League and the West Riding League in the early years, but eventually the club withdrew from the SDL, continuing in the WRL until 1993. Many honours were won bythe first and second teams over those years. A change to the Wetherby and District League came about owing to a wish for more local fixtures and to reduce the amount of travelling in the far-flung WRL.

Since the change the club has continued to play two senior teams and junior teams. Fortunes have ebbed and flowed, but today two senior teams flourish and there is a promising squad of youngsters of both sexes.

In 2016 the cricket club worked with Monk Fryston & Hillam Junior Football to create a not-for-profit community interest company, named Hillam & Monk Fryston Community Sports Association, to work towards healthy activity in the local area.