Oldham - Whitworth Football and Cricket Club

Tong Lane : OL12 8BA Oldham - Whitworth Football and Cricket Club : Map credit National Library of Scotland
The cricket field was in use from at least 1872 for field sports. Whitworth Rangers FC was formed in 1875 and changed their name to Whitworth Football and Cricket Club in 1877 and played at the Bridge Mills ground in Whitworth. In 1877 the club advertised for tenders for sheep to graze on the ground. The Bridge Mills ground was later referred to as Tong Lane. The ground had a cinder track 500 yards around.

The club started to run sports meetings in 1877 and on Sept 29th, a bicycle race was included in the sports. The club's 3rd annual athletics meeting on April 13th 1878 featured a 2 mile bicycle handicap race. The Field reported that the 440 yards cinder track was in good condition, but the meeting was abandoned because of the ‘wretched weather.' Further sports meetings were held in 1877, the September 9th & 10th meeting included a 2 miles open handicap race and a 2 miles local race confined to Rochdale, Rossendale and Bury bicycle clubs.

The sports meetings were held for a few years, but stopped in the 1880's. After many years, the athletic sports were resumed on August 8th 1891 with one and two miles bicycle races. The sports were held through the 1890's and into the early 1900's.

The last bicycle racing at Whitworth was probably the club annual sports on September 3rd 1910, which included half and one mile bicycle races. Unfortunately, loose cinders had been tipped on one of the corners and as there was a strong wind blowing across the track, some riders came to grief.


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