Kiveton & Wales Heritage

Kiveton & Wales Heritage

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Also see Kiveton Park Colliery Cricket Club's Website, Waleswood Cricket Club's website and Kiveton Park Football Club's website.

Current publications about sport in this area include a biography of Arthur Dennis and the stats of KPCCC, which can be downloaded free of charge here.

This page can only be a short overview of the history of sport in Kiveton Park and Wales. If there are omissions or only bare mentions of individuals who should be included then we apologise, and ask that you contact us so we can continue to build this part of the site.

As local people will know, there are several football and cricket pitches in this area. It's no coincidence that the cricket fields were eventually situated so close to where Kiveton Park and Waleswood Collieries once stood, quite literally within throwing distance.

These clubs were triggered by the arrival of deep mining, the growth of the local population but also a distinct shift in the nineteenth century that saw both football and cricket become mass participation sports. There was another cricket field too, which is now long gone. This was at Wales, adjacent to the village, positioned right in the middle of where the M1 cutting now lies. The end of the field meant the end of Wales Church Club, its players moved to either Waleswood or Kiveton Park Colliery Club - both of which prosper.

Local footballing and cricketing legends, no small number of whom played professionally, are well remembered in the village. Sometimes this was for their sporting ability and prowess. Several went far afield, footballing greats such as Chapman and Ashton, who, in the first decades of the century, played for Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and Wolves, amongst other clubs. The managerial achievements of Herbert Chapman were immense and can be read about here. In cricket too, there have been many who have excelled: Mike Smedley stands out, as does Harold Fenton from an earlier age. Other players stand out because of the immense contributions they made after their playing days - Arthur Dennis is an excellent case in point, his biography by Roger Heath, republished on this site, is a fitting tribute to someone who typified this community's passion for sport.

Local sports clubs haven't just been about sport on a Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday, they've been much more and continue to be. Travelling far and wide with local teams has been a popular pastime and in his interview Roger Wigmore recounts sunny summer days spent travelling by car, charabanc and bus to the coast to watch Kiveton Park take on Bridlington and other clubs. The grounds themselves have been centres of the village's social life and Kiveton's vibrant folk club still meets regularly at the Cricket pavilion on Station Road, across from where Kiveton pit once stood.

Tommy Tye, shown here both in playing days and more recently, is holding a drawing done for him underground by George Bennett on some brown paper bag - it captures ‘the cat' in action perfectly (Tommy was goalkeeper for many years for the football club).

Great names and long-standing players deserve to be triumphed but we should acknowledge what role sport has played in local people's everyday lives too. Cricket and football were played on the streets, on the meadows, even on the pit top and particularly on the Reccer. Lads would kick a ball about the Reccer every night and men from the pit often joined them on the way home from a shift. They were also at the centre of festivities in the village and some of the photographs here show football teams, both men and women's, from fete days in inter-war Kiveton: you can spot coal trucks behind them if you look closely.

The History Society look forward to the forthcoming work and publications by representatives of Kiveton Park Colliery Cricket Club, Football Club and Waleswood Colliery Cricket Club that will be added to this site. In particular, the near future will see the publication of Roger Heath's much anticipated history of the cricket club.

Football and cricket are two of the biggest sports locally, but other sports and pastimes have been very popular too. There is immense pride in our world champion, James Toseland, who is going from strength to strength. It's real credit to him that despite his tremendous responsibilities and world famous status that his success has brought him, he has still found time to come back to Kiveton to turn on the Christmas lights this year.

There are strong local traditions of pigeon racing, Janet Godfrey remembers being really keen, as was her family, although she thinks she was the only girl in Kiveton who was involved! Bowling has always been a popular pastime, both at the club on Station Road but on well-kept lawns elsewhere too, as this picture shows. Swimming has also always been popular, with miners from yesteryear swimming in the Rezzer at the pit, where the water was warm, as if it had come bubbling up from a natural spring. Locals have excelled at athletics too, whether in organised competitions or dashing laying a trail for the hunt in years gone by. The hunt was a regular occasion in Wales, drawing both supporters but also bitter opponents, even back in the 1920s. Hunting still takes place locally, although perhaps not on such an organised (or legal) basis. Edna Fenton fondly remembers being taught to play tennis in First World War Kiveton, where the courts were already where they are now.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club Pretenders

The year 1935/36. The occasion the Kiveton Park and Wales Annual Carnival, held on the recreation ground.

It was in those years that Yorkshire CCC could do no wrong. They had so many great players, and we as young lads all had our favourites. I have titled this article Yorkshire County Cricket Club Pretenders, because that is exactly what we were, pretenders.One day you would be Bill Bowes or Headley Verity, Len Hutton and so on. Then next time someone else.

We all liked our cricket and whenever possible we would congregate on the Old Rows football field for a game. Two teams would be picked from the twenty or so lads there. We would find an old bucket or a tin for the stumps. If not we had to manage with coats and jumpers piled on top of one another. As for the bat well? We had a wonderful local joiner by the name of Harry Cousins whose workshop was near Hard Lane crossroads, he would make us a bat for about a tanner, that's two and a half pence today.

"That was alright, but the tanner had to be found to pay Mr. Cousins. What we did was each and every one of us would put half an old penny into a tin, the contents of which would then buy the bat and also pay for the ball, which we got from Prestidges'.

Regarding the clothes the lads are wearing in the photograph, I don't know to this day how our parents managed to dress us so well.

On one occasion someone came to watch us play and asked, "seeing as you are all so interestd in cricket, why not enter the fancy dress at the local carnival as the Yorkshire County Cricket Team", this we did. I remember when we were being judged by two sisters from Anston, their names I have forgotten. One of the sisters said to the other, "Oh aren't they sweet, but unfortunately there are too many of them to give a prize".

There are two missing from the photo, for what reason I don't know, one is Eric Aldous, and the other John Pinder. As John Pinder went dressed as the umpire this would give us a total of 12 members in our group.

After a while, for whatever reason, I don't know, we decided to leave the football field and pitched the stumps on a bit of waste land next to the existing cricket field. This land is now the junior football pitch. We played there every Sunday afternoon, with a following of up to 40 lads. They came from all parts of the village. We kept the same suppliers for the bats and balls and the same payment method. Unfortunately with new area being smaller and the grass longer we lost more balls.

If you are reading this and saying to yourself "I remember this, I was part of it", then let's hear from you and allow us to share your memories.

Finally I must make comment on the bat in the photograph, this is not one of Mr Cousins tanner bats, but a bat we had borrowed for the occasion.

Stan Roberts.




These are just a few of the sports and pastimes that the people of Kiveton Park and Wales have enjoyed in the past and many still do. We would like to build on this part of the site in the future so please let us know your memories or let us have your photographs.

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