Bishop Auckland - Cricket Club
Victoria Street : DL14 7JU
Bishop Auckland - Cricket Club : Map credit National Library of Scotland Bishop Auckland Cricket Club was formed in 1853 and their first sports were held on August 5th and 12th 1876 with bicycle races that were described ‘the bicycle races were again the great feature of attraction.' There was a 1½ miles open handicap race, which was won by W Waller of Guisborough, off 25 yards and two further bicycle races which were confined to cricket club members. The cricket club seemed to have active racing cyclist in its membership.

George Waller's travelling six day race visited Bishop Auckland in August 1881, the track and large marquee were set up on the cricket field. The Shields Daily Gazette of August 11th 1881 reported that a violent gale had reduced the canvas marquee to shreds whilst the racing was in progress.

The 1884 Cricket Club sports were held on Whit Monday, these featured a cricket match between North Durham and Bishop Auckland and a one mile bicycle handicap race with 20 competitors. There was a very large attendance with a fireworks display in the evening. Whit Monday Gala meetings continued through to 1886, with one or two bicycle races.

The North Star (Darlington) newspaper announced that the cricket club were opening a bicycle track at a sports meeting on September 27th 1884 and subsequent meetings were held on the cinder track. The meeting was held "On the occasion of the newly-laid ash the grounds of the Auckland Cricket Club." There seems to have been some compromise with the new track which utilised part of the old track as a straight 100 yards track, making the bends on the new track tight and unbanked. The new track was six laps to the mile and the three bicycle races at the meet were well supported. The cricket club found itself in debt in 1887 and the sports meetings became simpler affairs with no bicycle races.

Bishop Auckland Star Cycling Club was formed around 1883 and they held their first annual sports in 1894 on the cricket pitch. These annual meetings became one of the most popular bicycle race meets in North Yorkshire and would run for the next 20 years.

The club changed its name to the Bishop Auckland Star Cycling and Touring Club and their 1900 track meet had record entries and gate receipts. By 1903 their sports hosted the NCU local 1 mile Championship and in 1905, the 1 and 10 mile NCU championship. In 1907, Thomas Ingledew from Middlesbrough was fined £2 for bookmaking at the meeting.

There was a tragedy at the Star sports on 26th June 1908 when Thomas Mesean Ipsen of Copenhagen, a members of the Darlington Wednesday Cycling Club, died following a bad crash, whilst competing in the half mile handicap race.

The meetings at the cricket club continued to be very popular in the early 1900's. Darlington Wednesday CC held race meetings there and hosted the 1912 NCU District 10 miles championship. There were 4,000 spectators in 1913 to see the Star's rider JT Armstrong win the one mile invitation scratch race. Armstrong was suspended by the NCU in November 1913.

The following year, on July 15th 1914, the last annual sports promoted by the Star took place with the usual half and one mile handicap races, a novices one mile and a one mile invitation scratch race. After the First World War, there was no further bicycle racing on the cricket pitch and the Bishop Auckland Star cycling club went into decline.

Bishop Auckland Cricket Club still play at the original ground, access is now through South Church Road.

Refs     : [150] [529] [p]
Maps    : National Library of Scotland