MOTTRAM make their Covid-19 delayed start to their debut campaign in the Greater Manchester Cricket League on Saturday, July 25.
The ambitious team plays hosts to Werneth, once one of the giants of the Central Lancashire League.
And in a truncated 10-week season Mottram, who ought to have been in the fourth tier of the reorganised GMCL, have been placed in a group with local sides Ashton, Droylsden, Dukinfield, Hadfield St Andrew’s and Werneth, who they will all play home and away.It is a new adventure for the club, one of the oldest in cricket, as it is this year celebrates its 160th anniversary.
Though the sign at the club says it was established in 1878 – it celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2003 – documents have since been found to prove it was founded 16 years earlier in 1860.
Cricket secretary Phil Mellor admitted the club believed the time was right to leave the Derbyshire and Cheshire League for pastures new.
He said: “We were concerned about the standard of local cricket and the number of teams that were packing up.
“Junior cricket was also dwindling in the Derbyshire and Cheshire League and we thought it was time to try something better.”
Phil added the club had previously been asked to become members of the Lancashire and Cheshire League which, too, is no longer in existence.
The GMCL is not exactly new as the third team has played in the league for several years, but this will be the first time they have moved en masse.
Though the club will begin in division one, the fourth tier, it has ambitions to play at a higher level.And thanks to £200,000 in grants being secured in recent years to help upgrade facilities, the ground has already secured a grading to play in the GMCL’s premier division.
This has included £86,000 spent on a new, improved drainage system in 2015-16, two bay practice nets at £43,000 and new scorebox and garage at £16,000.
Mottram fields three senior sides, an Over-40s, and juniors at Under-9, 11, 13, 15 and 18 with many of the youngsters pupils at Stalyhill Juniors and West Hill High School, Stalybridge.
The club’s star player is 21-year-old second-team pace bowler Alice Dyson who plays for Lancashire Thunder and had been named in their squad for The Hundred, a new limited over competition which has been mothballed for 12 months because of coronavirus.
Mottram is lucky to have a loyal band of volunteers, many long serving.
Phil, 70, has been cricket secretary since 1980 having joined the club from Ashton in 1976. He was captain for eight years and played until he was aged 63.
John Marsden retired after about 35 years as groundsman and he was second-team captain for more than two decades.
And Allen Bouchier has been club president for 35 years.
Mottram were founder members of the Glossop and District Cricket League in 1893 and spent 106 happy and successful years until it folded in 1999, winning the league 13 times.
And from 2000 until last year, they played in the Derbyshire and Cheshire League.
The club has played at its Broadbottom Road ground since 1860 apart from between 1901-12 when they moved to Hyde Road because the ground was not secure and spectators could sneak in without paying.
Mottram bought the ground from the Chester Diocese for £11,000 in 1990, since when facilities have been upgraded.
The club Chapman family were patrons of the club in the late 1800s, owning the ground. They were directors of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company.
John Chapman captained Derbyshire for five seasons during the early 1900s but, when not playing for the county, still turned out for Mottram.
John still holds the world record for the ninth wicket stand in first-class cricket as he and A D Warren put on 283 runs for Derbyshire against Warwickshire in 1910 – John making 165.
• MOTTRAM refused to be stumped by lockdown as they waited patiently to make their debut in the GMCL.
Members raised £5,000 to help tide the club over a challenging period financially when its premises were shut for almost four months because of Covid-19.
Fundraising events went virtual with online quizzes, shows and a race night.
“One of our members Stephen Scott has a brass band production company and the shows he put on were really professional,” explained club secretary Michael Beech.
The cricket club, which is at the heart of the village with more than 100 social members.
It is also the hub of the community where groups like the Women’s Institute meets.