South Shields cricket club set to mark 40th anniversary

A cricket club created through a chance conversation at a South Tyneside drinking venue is still going strong 40-years on.

Friday, 26th October 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 26th October 2018, 12:43 pm
Whiteleas Cricket Club is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a presentation night.

This year marks four decades of the sport being played by Whiteleas Harton Welfare Cricket Club.

The club has been based at Harton and Westoe Miners Welfare in Low Lane, South Shields for more than 30 years.

Picture from 1990 as Whiteleas Cricket Club get set to mark its 40th anniversary with a presentation night

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But that hasn’t always been the case.

After it was agreed to create a team, the founding members set up home at Chuter Ede, back in 1978, playing on a piece of tarmac and an old piece of green carpet rolled out.

Four years later, by then based at Cleadon School, they began to play in the North East Durham Cricket League, before finally setting up home at the Welfare.

The club became a place where people could escape the stresses and strains of the 1984 miners’ strike, as many of the founding members were also pitmen.

Whiteleas Cricket Club presentation night from 1988

In recent years the club has gained promotion to the Durham Cricket League - currently playing in Division One.

Former player and founder member Ronnie Peterson said: “A group of us who would get into the Whiteleas Social Club all loved watching the cricket.

“We got talking and decided to start a cricket team. We started off at Chuter Ede, on a bit of tarmac that was there - we’d roll out a piece of green carpet to play on!

“We then started to play on a Saturday at Cleadon School and ended up joining the North East Durham Cricket League.

Whiteleas players Ian Wilburn and Robin Wightman in 1995

“We never thought we would end up where we are today, with the facilities we have at the Welfare.”

Now, the club and its current members are preparing for its annual presentation night and are keen to see as many past and present players turn out to celebrate the achievements of the club and to see how far it has come since that night at Whiteleas Club when the idea of creating a cricket team was first thought up.

The club currently boasts seven teams which have been created on the back of its All Stars programme for juniors.

Club chairman Gavin Peterson, who has been involved with the club for more than 30 years, said: “The club has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember.

Picture from 2016 of Whiteleas Cricket Club players

“My dad was one of the founding members and from an early age I was immersed in the club, from a scorer, to a player, then a committee member. I have even had a stint at making the teas.

“The club had humble beginnings, and even now we are a club which has never lost its family ethos, and are still mindful of our roots.

“The ex-players and officials are an integral part of this club. A lot of people have worked hard in getting the club to where it is today, and that includes all people who have represented it.

“There can’t be many clubs playing at our current level who can say that a lot of the founding members are still knocking about.

“Growing up I had some great memories, and I am not alone in saying that it would be great to see as many of the lads who I looked up to, at the event.”

The presentation and celebration night starts at 7pm and will be held at Harton and Westoe Miners Welfare on Friday, November 2.

Picture from 2012 of Whiteleas Cricket Club players
Keeping it in the family... l-r Ronnie Peterson with sons Owen (middle) and Gavin