Yorkshire League: Barnsley Cricket Club merges with Woolley Miners' Welfare

Action between Barnsley and Rotherham in the Yorkshire League
Action between Barnsley and Rotherham in the Yorkshire League
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Barnsley Cricket Club will change its name for the first time in more than 150 years and move its junior section away from Shaw Lane after joining with Woolley Miners' Welfare.

The club will be known as Barnsley Woolley Miners Cricket Club from next season and the committee hopes it will be become one of the biggest and best in Yorkshire, continuing a reputation of producing players for both the county and England.

First and second team games will remain at Shaw Lane and the fifth senior team which will play on the Holgate School wicket next door. The third and fourth senior teams as well as the majority of the junior section will be based at Woolley CC on Woolley Colliery Road.

Barnsley CC cricket chairman Mark Beardshall, who is also the pathways director at Yorkshire CCC , said: "We are two clubs with a lot of history and tradition who needed each other. A lot of clubs have been struggling financially and going to the wall so we wanted to pre-empt that before we got anywhere near that situation.

"It was a unique opportunity to form a partnership which is stronger than the sum of its parts. Mineworkers in Barnsley still mean a lot to the community and we have reflected that in the name of the club."

Barnsley CC, which has brought through the talents of Darren Gough and Azeem Rafiq in the past, had been based at Shaw Lane since it was formed in 1862 on the site which is now owned by the town's rugby union club.

Barnsley chairman Richard Ledger said: "We have always had a good relationship with the rugby club but we wanted to have our own bar and an opportunity to make the club self-sufficient.

"There are gaps in both clubs and we can fill them for each other. Barnsley had the footfall but did not own the facilities and Woolley have had the facilities but not enough footfall.

"Shaw Lane is a great facility for the first and second teams but not for the third and fourth teams because they have to play on a pitch which is not up to the required standard. By moving them to Woolley we can have our younger players coming into men's cricket on a much better pitch and with senior players from Woolley around them."

Woolley's ground is already busy with football club North Gawber based there while local residents' associations meet there and the two cricket clubs organised a Bonfire Night earlier this month for more than 1,000 people.

Woolley chairman Denis Crowcroft, whose club was formed in the 1960s, said: "We are honoured that Barnsley Cricket Club have come to us and we will do our utmost to make a success of it.

"Last season, four or five of our senior players left so we had to fold the second team. One of our players was talking to Barnsley's Phil Chapman in the pub and the idea just came from there. "We have had five or six meetings and both clubs are very happy with it."

Barnsley Woolley Miners' first team will play their first game under that name against Cleethorpes at Shaw Lane on April 22. They play in the ECB Yorkshire Premier South with the other four senior teams in the South Yorkshire League's Divisions One, Three, Five and Seven.

Phil Chapman, Barnsley's cricket development manager, said: "We want to be one of the biggest clubs in Yorkshire. That is in terms of our success on the pitch, the standard of players we produce and the number of people we have playing cricket from junior level to recreational level to a good standard of competitive cricket."