To me girls cricket brings cricket back to its roots...they know the ethics and the ethos of cricket Sarah Fisher - Spondon CC
Project supported by MCC Lord's and University of Glamorgan

Marylebone Cricket Club, Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood, London, NW8 8QN | Project enquiries: Neil Robinson | 020 7616 8559

Astley Bridge is a suburb of Bolton, one of the largest towns in England. Famous for a wide range of people from Samuel Crompton, the inventor of the spinning mule, to comedian Peter Kay; the town has a long history of textiles and mills and this trade helped the population to explode during the industrial revolution. Nowadays a richly mixed ethic community, Bolton is just as famous for its sport: boxer Amir Khan and England Cricket's Sajid Mahmood grew up in the town – Sajid was even a former Astley Bridge CC junior! Bolton also boasts the most cricket pitches of any English town and has three full cricket leagues within the district.
 

Brief club history 

Astley Bridge CC was formed in 1902 and joined the Bolton and District Cricket Association, the oldest of the Lancashire Cricket Leagues. The club moved to their current ground, Sharples Park, in 1928 and this ground has had a difficult history – the club were forced to downsize to make way for a new main road and the pavilion burnt down in the 1950s. The club was a founder member of the Bolton Cricket League, a group of teams who broke away from the Association in 1930, and still play in the BCL today. An extremely competitive league (the 2010 handbook names 127 test cricketers who have played in league fixtures including Mike Atherton, Geoff Marsh, Sir Garfield Sobers and Kapil Dev) Astley Bridge won the competition once in 1970 – a victory still proudly remembered. The club continues to thrive – filling their two league teams and supporting the largest junior section in the league with five junior teams.
 

The club and Taking the Field 

Astley Bridge CC chairman Ron Fallows got in touch with Taking the Field for two main reasons: the club’s Sri Lankan links and its role in the community. The club’s current junior development manager, Amal Dalugoda, and professional, Himesh Silva are both Sri Lankan international players who have represented their country at various levels of the game. The club also has strong community links; as well as being a social club for Astley Bridge locals with comedy nights, a beer festival and the infamous ‘Stars in Your Eyes’ night, it also prides itself on its youth coaching that reaches out to young players in the local area and has produced England players such as Sajid Mahmood.
 

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