The Bilton Cricket Club is one of Harrogate’s longest standing sports clubs, but since it was formed in the 1890s, many people have passed through its doors.
In its early years, the club played near Knox Lane before moving over to a field behind St John’s Church in the early 1920’s.
Now the cricketers of Bilton play on Bilton Lane, where they have been since 1952 when the club fundraised to purchase their present grounds.
But despite several moves in location, it is the people at the club that have made so many memories and given it such a vast history.
In the 1960’s, Bilton-born Charles Dodsworth played in the first team for the club and even had a stint at being team captain.
But perhaps more importantly, in his time at the club, Charles met his wife, Christine, who volunteered with her friend to score for the teams.
Christine said: “We were both born and brought up in Harrogate. My husband lived on King Edwards Drive and he played cricket since he was a little boy.
“I moved into a bungalow opposite Bilton Cricket club’s ground.
“As we grew up we used to go and help make the teas and help them score.
“I used to do the scoring and my friend used to turn the numbers and count the rounds.
“My friend and I used to go to the cricket club and we went out with one or two of the boys.
“At first it was because it was close to home but it was a nice thing to do on a weekend, I used to go away with the team on the away matches on a Saturday.”
A dedicated cricket player since he was a young boy, Charles spent most of his days at the Bilton Lane grounds. He said: “I started at the club as a very young man, I can remember
Bilton Cricket Club before it was in the present ground.
“If you weren’t playing cricket there wasn’t much to do, it was quite nice, I enjoyed the responsibility and I was willing to put the time in.
Christine added: “If I wanted to see him I had to be interested in cricket.”
Towards the end of the 60’s the team had a momentous win, when they went up against their rivals, Beckwithshaw, and took home the trophy with a winning hit in the final stages of the game.
Charles said: “In 1968 we played Beckwithshaw and won the Addison cup. We needed quite a lot of runs and the Beckwithshaw lot were starting to get the champagne in.”
Just as the Bilton team thought the cup was slipping from their fingers, one of their players gave a tremendous performance.
Charles said: “He hit it out the park and we won the cup. It was fantastic because Beckwithshaw used to be quite a rival.”
The couple married in 1971 and moved away from Harrogate. Today they live in Barkshire but recently came back to visit the club.
Charles said: “I miss having cricket to go to but it’s a young man’s game.”
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