Kilmarnock Cricket Club

Kilmarnock Cricket Club is one of the oldest in Scotland as well as one of the oldest sports clubs in Kilmarnock and can trace its origins back to 1852, when four enthusiasts of the sport came together to promote the formation of a local team. They founded the Kilmarnock Winton Cricket Club, though the Winton part of the name was later dropped.

The team soon settled into their ground at Holmquarry Road, where they had their pitch and clubhouse. They remained there until 1904, when the land was needed for the town’s new power station and tramway depot. At that point the club moved to a new pitch at Kirkstyle which remained the club’s home until the move to Bellsland in 2000. The ground at Kirkstyle had the problem of periodic flooding from the River Irvine. The years 1932, 1961 and 1994 were particularly bad.

The Kilmarnock club has a long list of national trophies and awards. They joined the Western District Cricket Union in 1907 and were League champions on a number of occasions, notably during the ‘golden era’ of 1945-70, when the club was undoubtedly one of the strongest in Scotland. The move to a National League in Scotland came at an unfortunate time for the Club in the late 1990s, when it was weakened both on and off the field, and had no home ground for several seasons. The club continues to play in Division 1 (1st XI) and Division 4 (2nd XI) of the new Western Union, coming agonisingly close to winning the First Division title in 1999 despite playing all games away from home. However, the eventual move to the new ground has seen an upturn in the number of players, both senior and junior, and a new sense of purpose within the club.

Over the years, many illustrious players, both amateur and professional have played for the club, particularly in the highly successful era between 1945 and 1970 The top players over the years have included Rev J Aitchison, who was with the club from 1937 to 1967, scoring an amazing 15,280 runs for the club in that time. One of the top bowlers has been Jim Thomson, the first player to take 1,000 wickets in Western Union games, and taking 2,044 in all games. Both were among a number of Killie players to gain international honours for Scotland. Jim Aitchison scored centuries against the touring Australians and South Africans, while Jim Thomson surely remains one of the best slow bowlers to play for Scotland.

Among the well known professionals to play for the club have been Bob Massie who was part of the Western Union championship winning sides of 1969 and 1970 before bursting dramatically on to the Test match scene for Australia against England at Lords the following year. He took 16 wickets in the match, which still stands as a record for a Test debutant. His debut for Killie was no less dramatic, as he took all ten wickets against Poloc in 1969, including Pakistani Test player Sadiq Mohammed.

Current club stalwards that will surely join this elite list of notable former players will include Mark 'Chippy' Coleman, Zubair 'Old Man' Pasha, Jim 'Jimmer' Hill, Javid 'Young Man' Ashraf, Alan 'Bagpuss' Hill, Scott 'long arm of the law' Weir, Mohammed 'PURSUUUUUUUUUUUUUUE' Aleem, David 'I've only had 2 cans' Nimbley, Les 'I didn't hear that edge' McWatt and young express bowler Duncan 'Deadly' Hamilton with the latter surely destined for bigger and better things.

Like most clubs, Kilmarnock have had their ups and downs. Being an ‘unfashionable’ club is a tag that many sporting teams in the town of Kilmarnock seem to have to bear, whether in football, rugby or cricket. This has not prevented any of them from achieving national success. After the glory days of the 1950s and 60s, the resilience of the club and its members has helped it through more difficult times recently and the club celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2002.

With a move to a new purpose built facility on the cards in 2011/12, two adult teams and a resurgent junior section the future looks bright for the club and hopefully in the future the glory days of the 60s and 70s can be recaptured.For the future is bright, the future is green and gold.

The views expressed within this page are those of the individuals expressing them, and do not necessarily represent those of Kilmarnock Cricket Club.