Manchester - Heywood Cricket Ground

Pot Hall Wilton Grove : OL10 2AA Manchester - Heywood Cricket Ground : Map credit National Library of Scotland
The first bicycle racing at Heywood was at the Heywood Floral and Agricultural Society in 1869 and the Heywood Temperance gala in 1870.* These events and venues did not seem to have been used again.

Heywood Cricket Club played at Heywood Hall (now Queen's Park) until 1878, after which they moved to Pot Hall. The Club held their first annual sports on June 30th 1883 at the grass track on their ground which was off Schofield Street. Amongst the extensive athletics program was a one mile bicycle handicap race, with about ten riders.

The Club's second annual sports included a two miles bicycle handicap race. The event was affected by the Heywood Phoenix dispute with the AAA and the consequent banning of Heywood racing competitors. It seems that the Cricket Club accepted entries from banned athletes for this event. The attendance at the meeting was poor, with only 500 spectators and there was a disgraceful scene when some of the crowd attempted to stop one of the competitors in the mile running race.

The problems with the Northern Counties Athletic Association in Heywood probably explains why the club did not hold their sports for a few years. They resumed their annual sports on July 13th 1889 and included three bicycle races, including a one mile race for Heywood BC members. By this time there were two annual meetings in May and July with attendances varying from 2,000 to 5,000.

Bicycle racing continued at Pot Hall through the 1900's poor weather affected attendance. The last bicycle racing at Pot Hall was at the Cricket Club annual sports on May 11th 1912. There were 650 entries for the various events but ‘only 2,000 spectators'. The bicycle events were one and two miles handicap races.

At the January 1913 annual general meeting of the club, a loss of £73 was reported for the previous year, which could explain why the sports were not resumed.

The lease for Pot Hall ran out in 1921 and renewal or purchase was not considered economical, so the Cricket Club moved in 1920 to their present ground at Crimble, Aspinall Street (OL10 4JE). The land at Crimble was donated to the club in trust by local man David Healey.

The Pot Hall site is now occupied by the Holy Family Roman Catholic and Church of England College.

* Early bicycle racing at Heywood - the first bicycle race in Heywood was a half mile velocipede contest at the Heywood Floral and Agricultural Society sports on August 10th 1869. There were three entries, all riding locally built velocipedes, two of the machines had 38" wheels and the other 36". The rider of the smaller wheeled machine received 8 yards start. The race was held around a quarter mile track in a rough field at Heywood Moss and the course included a sharp rise on the home straight, where ‘all were compelled to dismount and run for a short distance.'

The Heywood Temperance gala in a field at Hopwood on July 16th 1870 included a velocipede race.


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