Mansfield - Lees Lane Sports Ground
Alfreton : DE55 2AD
Mansfield - Lees Lane Sports Ground : Map credit National Library of Scotland South Normanton Cricket Club held annual sports on the cricket ground from 1899 which included bicycle races and hosted NCU championship events. After 1910, the joint cricket and football club sports were held on the football ground. The early sports were well attended, with up to 4,000 spectators, but attendance dwindled and the 1910 sports lost money.

The South Normanton Miners Welfare annual sports were held on the Welfare Ground from the late 1920s and cycle racing featured prominently, the Wyld brothers were regular competitors and attendance was typically 2,000. The 1929 meeting had 393 entries and three of the Wyld brothers competed. The Welfare sports continued through the 1930s but the track (presumably grass) was criticised as being poor, which made the sports unattractive to competitors.

A new Miner's Welfare* sports ground and cycle track were built on land attached to the South Normanton Miners Welfare hall, and the ground was opened on July 11th 1936. The track was the first to be surfaced with ‘Knittmatt' which was a low temperature, fine graded asphalt compound with granite particles, patented by the coal mining company, Clay Cross Co.

The Miners Welfare Committee held the first cycle racing meeting at the ground on July 31st 1937. The cycle races were a ½ mile open handicap race, ½ and 1 mile open scratch races and the 5 miles NCU (Notts and Derby area) championship event. The Nottingham Evening Post reported that the ambulance men were kept busy at the meeting when F Watkins dislocated his shoulder and Percy Wyld, one of the four famous Wyld brothers, burst a tyre in the half mile scratch race and "was thrown violently on the asphalt track and was badly cut and bruised, about the knees, arms and face."

The ground still exists and is the home of South Normanton Athletic FC.

* The National Miner's Welfare scheme was set up in 1926 to finance sports and leisure facilities for coal miners. The scheme was finance by a levy on coal production and in the 1930s, the levy was producing around £1,000,000 annually. The scheme was wound up after coal production was nationalised.

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