Recreating cricketing history at Kirkwood

Travellers through the village of Dalton these last few months may have been bemused by the sight of a field next to the village being mown in a strange shape.

This has been an experiment by Anthony Steel of Kirkwood to (re)create a village cricket pitch.

As the field was growing turnips and barley just a few years ago and is still grazed by sheep, it’s an ambitious and far fetched idea but last Sunday the first “club friendly” took place at the new pitch.

It is over 100 years since cricket was last played at Kirkwood, but in the 1870s and 1880s it was a regular occurrence because the Steel family consisted of seven brothers who all played the game. Four of them played “first class” for Lancashire CCC and one (AG Steel) played for, and captained, England – his name is on the Ashes Urn – and he scored the first Test Century at Lords.

In 1874 when Kirkwood played Lockerbie, three Steel brothers (AJ, AG and EE Steel) played for Kirkwood, although they often played for Lockerbie, for Dumfries, and for Scotland. Exactly 135 years later, in 2009 as in 1874, the game was frequently interrupted by rain showers.

The game last Sunday was between a Kirkwood/Kinmount team (pictured) and a Galloway/St Michaels team. Kirkwood/Kinmount lost the toss and were put into bat, which gave Anthony Steel the opportunity to score the first run(s) on the new pitch which he duly managed to do.

John Whitehouse was out early with the score on five but Cameron Imber and Anthony Steel made solid progress despite some erratic running between the wickets. Steel was finally bowled for 20 by Jack Wilson and Richard Boulter suffered an identical fate for 2, to allow Kevin Bellis to join Imber. These two batted well – both retiring when they reached 30, and aided by Andy Veitch with 7 and Dougie Sloan with 9, the total score achieved was 124 for 6 after the 25 allotted overs.

Jack Steel opened the bowling for the home team but Arsenal Aslam was in no mood to be patient in the increasing rain, knocking Steel and Clark all over the place. He soon reached 32 and retired. John Smith and Mike Lumb found the bowling of Imber, Bellis, Sloan and Boulter harder to get away as the wicket developed into a pudding. When Lumb was finally out – caught off Andy Veitch’s bowling for 18, the scene was set for Chris Brockwell to increase the scoring rate and take Galloway/St Michaels to victory but Veitch’s next ball shot between Brockwell’s bat and pad to rattle the wickets. Sloan finally bowled Smith for 26 and Davie Rae had Anthony Hullett caught well by Imber in the deep and time was running out. Also being run out was Hugh St Joseph for 3 and the asking rate was now too high for Chris Lumb and Chambers so the visitors just came up short scoring 106 in their 25 overs.

Next Sunday, all cricketers in the area are invited to come to Dalton Village on Sunday, September 13, to launch this new “village” cricket pitch.

From 11am onwards there will be a round robin tournament of short (probably 15 overs each) games.

Teams will mostly come from Kinmount, Annan, Castlemilk and Lockerbie but anyone is welcome (and may be put in to a team) if they want to come along.

There will be a barbecue lunch available so no need to bring food. But again please say if you are coming so numbers can be catered for. Starts 11am. Spectators welcome, as well as players, but everyone attends “at their own risk”.

Dumfries and Galloway Standard