Hill Top and Valley-Bottom
S.B.C.I Cricket Club
Replicated with kind permission of D Normanton – 6th April 2021- co-author of 100 years of Hilltop and Valley-Bottom Cricket (published in 2014),from where the following extract is taken.
“As its full name suggests, Sowerby Bridge Church Institute Cricket Club owes its existence to the young men of Christ Church, Sowerby Bridge during the 1880’s.
The Young Men’s Class formed a team to play in the Sowerby Division League, voting against a proposal to pay umpires in 1894, such tradition underpinning many of it’s current attitudes!
The team was known as Christ Church CC until 1909 when it became SBCI, presumably following the establishment of the Christ Church Institute, a Church organisation providing social and recreational activity for its congregation. The cricket club is the last remaining arm, as witnessed through the selection of ground trustees from the congregation of the Church.
The Club has played at the Astleys since its purchase in 1921, a ground with superb panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys with a gentle breeze always available to offset the heat of the summer.
Each generation made their own considerable contribution to the development of the club ranging from its first pavilion in 1921 costing £500, through ground levelling in 1959 and mains water in 1984. However, the award of grand funding in the late 90’s allowed the transformational change to the facilities enjoyed today.
The new build was part of the development plan started some years earlier which had its foundation in the promotion of junior cricket, resulting in the club currently being recognised as one of the leading lights within the Halifax Cricket League.
It is perhaps appropriate that as we celebrate such a unique event in the League’s centenary, SBCI were, in 2012 the proud holders of both the Premiership and the Parish Cup trophies for the first time in the club’s history within the Halifax Cricket League, a legacy of the last century perhaps, with 90% of the squad having come through the junior ranks.