Cirencester - Cirencester Cricket Ground
Cirencester Park : GL7 1QT
Cirencester - Cirencester Cricket Ground : Image credit Google maps Cirencester cricket ground is situated in Cirencester Park and cricket has been played there since 1853. After bicycle races at Pope's Seat stopped in 1870, an effort was made in 1886 to resuscitate sport in the town and the Cirencester Amateur Athletic Sports meetings were started at the Cricket Ground in Oakley Park (now Cirencester Park) these were held on Whit Mondays. Bicycle races were not included with the sports until 1887, perhaps because Cirencester Cycling Club became very active at this time.

At the 1887 athletic sports, one and two miles bicycle handicap events were held on a marked out quarter mile grass track. In 1888, the first prize for the two miles race was increased to ten guineas (over £1,000 in 2023 prices).

The sports became an annual affair through the 1880s and gained popularity, usually attracting around 3,000 spectators. The races in 1892 illustrate the changing type of machines at that time, solid tyred ordinaries were in evidence as well a pneumatic ordinaries and solid, cushion and pneumatic tyred safeties. By 1893 the number of bicycle races had increased to half, one and three miles open handicap races and one and two miles local handicaps.

There was no sports meeting in 1894 but the following year, a meeting of cyclists and runners, led by Cirencester Jockey Club (a newly formed cycling club) and Corinium Harriers, managed to run the sports in 1895, which were held, not on the Bank Holiday, but with a mid-week meeting. There was an unfortunate accident in the open three miles handicap race, when a rider slipped on the grass and violently collided with a ten year old boy, who received life threatening injuries. This was to be the last bicycle racing to be held at the cricket club and both Cirencester cycling clubs seemed to go into decline after this.

The ground is still the home of Cirencester Cricket Club.

Refs     : [p]
Photos : Google maps