There has been a cricket club in Kirkheaton since 1858 when it was known as Kirkheaton Beaumonts. During its 150 years history it has managed to produce two of the best cricketers ever born in England – Wilfred Rhodes and George Herbert Hirst – at the same time! As to which one was the greatest ….
Cricket historian Roy Genders describes Kirkheaton as a ‘village known, like Pudsey, throughout the English-speaking world’ [!] Hirst and Rhodes were aware of the debt they owed the place. In 1923 Hirst stated: ‘I attribute my ability in later years to the persistent practice which half a dozen of us Kirkheaton lads put in night after night in all departments of the game. We used to take the side nets away and every ball had to be fielded.’ Hirst had actually grown up in one of the village pubs, The Old Brown Cow Inn, and had practised his skills in the backyard of the pub and in the nearby croft. In later life, both men assumed the club presidency.
Another of Kirkheaton’s famous cricketers is Allen Hill who distinguished himself by taking the first wicket at the first ever test match [ against Australia in March 1877] Extract from Wikpaedia
Allen Hill (14 November 1843 Kirkheaton – 28 August 1910,Leyland Lancashire) played in the first-ever Test, taking the first wicket. Hill also went on to umpire in the Test match played at Lord’s in 1890.
Allen Hill was the son of Francis (Frank) Hill, a Hand Loom Fancy Weaver, and Elizabeth Thornton (married 5 Sept. 1825, Kirkheaton). In 1851 Frank and Betty were living at Shaw Cross, Kirkheaton with 6 children. In 1861 they had moved to Cheesbourgh (sic) Fold with only Allen age 17, described as a Fancy Weaver, then living with them.
Allen married Ellen Jessop in 1868 and in 1871 they were living at Common End, Lepton, Yorkshire. Allen’s occupation at this time was described as Fancy Weaver. There was a son Frank born c. 1869 who died in 1876 age 7.
By 1891 Allen had moved to 3 Stanley Street (Goulding Terrace) ,Leyland, Lancs. In that year’s census he was a widower, his wife Ellen having died in 1889, and his occupation was then shown as ‘Professional Cricketer’. There were 4 daughters – Alice (19), Kathleen Mary (12), Gertrude (10) and Mabel (7).
In the 1901 census Allen was living at Fox Lane in Leyland with his 2nd wife Margaret (Whittle), daughter of James Whittle, a coachman, & Ann Mills, whom he had married in 1900. She was some 18 years his junior. He would then be 57, shown in the census as 51, but still described as a Professional Cricketer. Daughters Gertrude (21) and Mabel (17) were still at home along with Allen’s grandson Frank Hill born 1901.
He began his career with Lascelles Hall and Kirkheaton clubs and, in 1863, became professional at Dewsbury and Savile, but it was with Burnley when he first played for the county in 1871. He played 139 matches forYorkshire between 1871 and 1882. His highest score for Yorkshire was 49 versus Middlesex in 1876. His best bowling was 7 for 14 against Surrey at Argyle Street, in Hull in 1879. Hill played for the Gentlemen v Players, from 1874 to 1882. He toured with Lillywhite to Australia in 1876-77.
Hill was a bowler with an approximate roundarm action, which Wisden said was “one of the best of its kind that can be recalled”.
Hill, who described his profession as being that of a woollen weaver in 1881, had a wife, Ellen, who was three years his junior, and at least three daughters Alice, Kathleen and Gertrude. His playing career ended in 1883, when he broke his collar-bone, but he went on to become an umpire.
There are also junior football teams based in the village. These cater for the Under 7s, 8s, 9s and 10s. The Under 7s and 8s play in the Huddersfield Junior League
Click here to visit Kirkheaton Youth FC web site