Rochdale - Belfield Cricket Club

Belfield : OL16 2UB
The Rochdale Athletic Club was formed in 1870 and had their ground at Belfield, which was formerly Belfield cricket ground. Bicycle races were included in their sports meetings from 1874. The first bicycle race at Belfield was on May 23rd 1874, the event was a 2 miles handicap race which had four competitors.

The Athletic Club organised their Annual Festival on August 22nd 1874, but a different venue was used. This meeting was on "the grounds of Mr CM Royds of Greenhill, Falinge, which was reported as the Agricultural Ground and "many thousands of persons patronised the sports." Mr Royds was one of the officials of Rochdale AC. The bicycle event was a 2 miles handicap race. The Rochdale Observer noted that "The course was rather trying for bicycles", this was because there were two sharp ascents on the course, which reduced some riders to walking up the hills.

Rochdale Athletic Club sports were held at Belfield on Sept 19th 1874 and included a bicycle handicap race, for ‘handsome prizes'. By the following year, the Athletic Club sports on May 15th 1875 included two bicycle events which were 1 and 2 miles handicap races. The following year, the event was held again, with bicycle races..

Rochdale Bicycle Club was formed in 1876 and the club secured the ground at Belfield in 1879, which the Rochdale Observer described as "a very good piece of grass land. The ring is the fifth part of a mile in circumference, and was accurately marked out with flags and pegs."

The Rochdale BC's first amateur athletics festival at the club ground was on August 9th 1879. The bicycle events were 1 mile handicap for club members, 1 and 2 miles open handicap and a 3 miles scratch race. Admission was sixpence with the enclosure sixpence extra, club members were admitted on showing their book of rules. The meeting attracted riders from Manchester, Merseyside and Yorkshire and there were 2,000 spectators.

This seemed to be the last bicycle racing at Belfield, as the grounds at Milnrow and Dane Street became popular.


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