Anniversaries for Jesmond Ground and St George’s Church
Two of Jesmond’s most popular locations will be celebrating their quasquicentennial (that’s 125th) anniversary on Saturday at the Jesmond Ground in Osbourne Avenue. St George’s Church was founded 125 years ago in 1888, and the Jesmond Ground – the site of the Newcastle Cricket Club – hosted its first match in July of the same year.
Alan Morgan, local historian and author of ‘Jesmond: From Mines to Mountains’, was invited to the double anniversary event to present a talk about Jesmond in 1888.
Despite their popularity, times have been tough for both sites. The historic Jesmond Ground was threatened with closure in 2004. The Newcastle Cricket Club (NCC) launched a Saving Cricket at Jesmond Campaign to raise £30,000 to cover the costs of the ground, helped by Australian fast bowler Dennis Lille and former Newcastle United manager, the late Sir Bobby Robson, helped to raise money for the campaign.
Newcastle CC, founder member of the North East Premier League, would have been left homeless if it weren’t for the intervention of the Royal Grammar School (RGS). The school took on the lease and sublet the ground to the cricket club.
Since then the Jesmond Ground had bounced back and won the ground of the year two years running for the NEPL, and the national club of the year at the 2012 Club Awards.
Speaking to JesmondLocal two days before the double anniversary, Newcastle CC secretary Olwyn Hocking said: “Like many parents, probably my fondest memory is simply seeing my children away from the computers, enjoying running around in the fresh air on the grass, right from being toddlers.
“It helped encourage them to enjoy a wide range of sports, and they both became cricket coaches to help pass this on to others.”
Newcastle CC will once again be taking part in the English Heritage days, a year after it had more than 200 visitors for a previous Heritage weekend.
From May 18th, the cricket club will also invite nominations for the first members of the Jesmond Ground Roll of Honour.
“It’s thanks to all the efforts and inspiration of people over the last 125 years that we do have the pleasures of the Jesmond Ground, which is why we are keen to celebrate them with our heritage projects,” said Hocking.
The Friends of Newcastle CC and St George Church are jointly sponsoring the double anniversary event.
The Jesmond Ground will host three Twenty20 matches from May 24-26th. The entry is free and there will be a barbecue, real ales and special fruit cider on the final day of the Pimms Weekend.