Club History 1 of 12

1. Hannay's Legacy

Today, the village of Upton is sandwiched between the existing boundaries of Birkenhead and Greasby, but at the turn of the 20th Century it was one of many rural villages dotted around the Wirral Peninsula and linked together by picturesque narrow winding lanes.

It was to this village that the Hannay family, prosperous cotton brokers, had moved several years earlier from Aigburth, Liverpool.

Mr TS Hannay and family moved into the residence known as "Greenbank", which formerly stood on the site of the 'Horse & Jockey' public house and 'Alex Taylor Funeral Parlour', and employed a large staff. The house had sloping lawns and overlooked the then distant village of Greasby.

Mr TS Hannay who was a JP became a much respected and beloved member of the village community, and had a vigorous church life. The village started it's own amateur dramatic society and organised its own concerts and village shows.

It was William Sinclair Scott Hannay, known affectionately as "Buddy", who decided that the village should have a cricket club, and he chose the closest site available, which was the farmland at the bottom of the hill. It is fair to say that even the great "Buddy" could not have believed that the small village club he began would be celebrated over a hundred years later.

The club was not only inspired by "Buddy", but was organised and run by him for the first twelve years of its existence, he being Club Captain, Secretary, Treasurer and Fixture Secretary.

A little uncertainty exists regarding the Clubs first pavilion, for in a newspaper article published in April 1961 to mark the Clubs Diamond Jubilee, reference was made to Mrs JS Moon, the sister of "Buddy", regarding a rather luxurious hen house which stood in the grounds of her parents house, 'Greenbank'. This was dismantled by her brother and him, his friends, and no doubt his staff in the building of the structure which stood until 1912.

However, this is slightly discounted by the fact that an old photograph taken in 1903 shows a much smaller structure at ground level, in addition a letter was written in 1944 by "Buddy" to Lord Leverhulme, highlighting the fact that the pavilion which had stood since 1906 needed repairing , and requested an extension of the Club lease, to enable the Club to negotiate for a replacement structure.

This was confirmed in a conversation with Mr George Evans, who was scorer for the 1st XI from 1905 to 1925, and was employed by "Buddy" for many years. He clearly remembers that the old structure was moved to the opposite corner of the ground (the south west corner) at the Greasby Road end, to make way for the new pavilion, and was then used as a ladies pavilion.

Mr George Evans lived in those distant days at Rose Cottage which still stands today, and his mother ran the old telephone exchange.

Travelling between remote villages presented problems at the turn of the twentieth century, and visiting teams thought nothing of walking from Upton Station or even from Claughton Village with their cricket gear. The Upton 1st XI had no such problems as "Buddy" used to transport the side, together with scorer and umpire, in his Vulcan car.

n fact the away trip to Eaton Hall, the residence of the the Duke of Westminster, was a more grandiose affair, for the team travelled by steam train to Eccleston Ferry, lunched at the nearby hotel, and were then transported to the ground in "Buddy's" car. The sighting of a car was rare, and villagers used to turn out to greet their arrival.

The constitution of the side in those days was mainly of local men of various backgrounds. A groundsman and useful bowler, A Calvert, was employed as the clubs professional, and during the winter months, he was employed in one of "Buddy's" warehouses in Liverpool.

J Harris, uncle of the aforementioned G Evans, "Jumper" Jones (so called for his unique bowling action), G Alcock, and C Sanders were all gardeners. C Lane was a second Groundsman at the Club. C Lewis was initially a groom at Ivy Farm (opposite Landican Cemetery) and later chauffeur to the Stern family, who resided at the Manor, Upton (AM Stern was later to become Club President from 1918 to 1950). LC Ord was a schoolmaster at Calday Grange Grammar School, the brothers W and WR Owens were butchers and insurance agents respectively, J Hooton was a gun-smith, being a partner in the firm 'Hooton & Jones', and A Wildgoose was a cotton trader.

WN Derryman, a fine wicket-keeper, began life as a trader, selling vegetables from a horse-drawn wagon, but later attained a very good position at Lever Bros.

W Mutch, a gardener, became 1st XI umpire for many years when his playing days were over.

DQ Steel, a retired gentleman and former Lancashire County cricketer, joined the Club in the early 1900's in the twilight of his career. For years he still shone with the bat, amassing 4,950 1st XI runs, and when his playing days were over, served the Club well for many years in various capacities.

"Buddy" was a very useful all-rounder with a 1st XI career record of 482 appearances, 8,149 runs, 338 wickets and 149 catches.

The Club ground was leased from the Leverhulme family, and initially covered an area of 5.331 acres, the land catering for a cricket ground, lawn tennis courts, grazing land, and later a bowling green.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the Club ground was as it is today, on the outskirts of the village, and it was a ry from its neighbouring village at Greasby.

This happy state of affairs continued until the mid 1930's when a building boom in Greasby saw the two villages growing ever closer together.

The Second World War halted the march of progress, but in the years since the termination of hostilities, the village of Greasby has encroached so close, that the cricket ground is virtually the only green belt between them.