- CLUBMARK accredited.
- Registered as a Community Amateur Sports Club.
- Registered in Sport England’s Active Sport Programme.
- A GreaterSport Club.
- Oldham Sports Club of the Year 2003.
Please sign our celebrity filled guestbook while you’re here!
The club was formed in the year 1864 when Samuel R Platt instigated a merger of three local clubs. He later purchased and leased to the club the land which is still our present ground. The members of the day laid the turf and improved the ground which remains largely unaltered to this day.
The first professional was George Thorpe from Sheffield, In 1872 a presentation was made to John Duxbury for valuable service, he was able to announce that membership had increased from twenty to two hundred.
It was a year later that Jack Seaton became professional and was to serve Werneth faithfully for many years. In the 1885 season he took 65 wickets for 11 runs each. Another from that era was George Yates 1856-1925 an all rounder who represented the county.
Going back to 1874 in that year Werneth seconds played 22 Oldham policemen and it was written at the time that,”The men in blue did not cut a very good figure”. The Policemen made 98 agaist Werneth’s 204 and the Chronicler of the day commented: “It must be borne in mind, however, that second elevens are sometimes akin to firsts, and on the present occasion, if the gentlemen who scored 114 does really belong to the second team he should really be transferred to a higher sphere. We hope that the 22 of the police force will not be discouraged by their bad luck. No one knows how highly they may distinguish themselves when the force is has been so increased that 44 of them may easily be spared to contend with Werneth’s second. The fact that 22 of the them can be spared at one time for such pursuits speaks well for the force and not very badly for the orderly character of the population of Oldham”.
The century maker was Mr E Taylor, in the same summer a glance at the scorebook shows a fixture agaist “eleven certified teachers”.
The annual meatings were held the Werneth Mechanics Institute, and at one gathering the minutes recorded that Jack Seaton,” has made the creditable average of 34 per innings”. It was also announced that the proceeds of Seaton’s benefit match was £12 ten shillings”.
The bowling Green was opened by John Faulkner, of Hollinwood on May15th 1875. The bowls were made by Mr Tetlow, of Chadderton. There was a big crowd for the oppening which was attended by Councillors Travis, Crompton, Bardsley and Whitehead. Councillor Travis made a presentation of bowls and a jack to Mr. S R Platt, remarking that he knew of no other outdoor exercise of an invigorating character that could have such a social influence on those participating in it and which would tend to soften a great many of their sectarian differences so much! The Lees Prize Band was also in attendance.
In the 1878 the Australians played a combined Werneth – Oldham XVIII who held the distiguished visitors to a draw. This was remarkable in that the two local clubs had been feuding since a match between them had been halted by a crowd invasion- Aug 28th 1969.
A two day affair, Werneth were captained by S R Platt, one of the directors of the local engineering company, said to be one of the wealthiest families in the area, his opposite number was Billy Murdoch who made 153 in the first test match against England. Spofforth lived up to his demon reputation taking 19 of the 34 wickets to fall. Other Australians who were to become well known were Alec Bannerman whose brother Charles would have toured but for illness, Percy McDonnell, wicket keeper Jack Blackham, George Bonnor, “The Australian Hercules”, Harry Boyle and George Palmer a medium paced spinner. An estimated 8000 people paid to watch the game the Australians took £240 two thirds of the gross receipts the best gate they had in England. Many were not prepared to pay the entrance fee of 6d, 1/- or on the pavilion side, 2/-. Some climbed on to buildings and fences and on to adjacent high ground. Scores Australia lost the toss batted first 119. McDonnell top scored with 53 bowled by Seaton. Hay 5 for 34. 2nd inning 63 Werneth 38 and 60. A full report of this fixture appeared in The Club Cricketer 21st July 1984.
The Demon – FR Spofforth 1853 – 1926 and J.McC. Blackham 1853-1932
At the annual dinner served by Mr Woodruff, of the Swan Hotel High Street, on November 27 1891, it was announced that P.N. Dannett, of Yorkshire, had been engaged as professional, and the Mayor (Alderman Emmott) told with pride that he had been a member for fifteen years.
An entry in the scorebook for June 6th 1896 catches the eye, JT Tyldesley c Eaton b Mouch 94. A year later in a match against Huddersfield G Hirst b Armstrong 24. The famous George Hirst claimed six Werneth wickets.
The weather seems to have been much the same as now. One entry in 1897 has a familiar ring, “Preston v Werneth, Wet. No play”In that same year Oldham met Werneth before four thousand spectators. The Watersheddings team scored 176, Werneth replying with 219 for five.
In 1920, the ground was purchased by the club from the estate of Samuel Platt and vested in trustees to remain an open space for recreation for ever.
The late 1880’s saw many improvements, including the provision of tennis courts and, in 1893, the present pavilion was built which has been improved over the years but still retains its Victorian character re-discovered in the recent interior refurbishments.
In 1910, in order to improve fixtures, the club joined the Central Lancashire League, Arthur Sladen was engaged as professional for this new venture,and is still a member of the league today.
In April 2002 the club was offered a membership card from a collector from the 1910 season. The President was C.W. Shimeld and the coach was Arthur Smith. The collector is prepared to sell the card to the club and want £25 as this was the first season in the Central Lancashire is there anyone out there who could help bring back this piece of history is will be placed in the trophy cabinet with a suitable thank you for the sponsor who helps return it and we will scan a picture here and obviously give the sponsor a mention here.
Since then, Werneth has won the league only once but has appeared in 16 Wood Cup finals, winning ten of them.
On Friday, May 15, 1936 Alderman Robert W Bainbridge opened the new tea pavilion and he was presented with a key by the architect Mr Thomas Hill. Alderman Robert W Bainbridge was one of Oldham’s best known politicians in the 1920s, 1930’s and 1940’s.
The key is silver with gold plating and the Oldham coat of arms are enemelled, it has an inscription to Alderman R W Bainbridge opening the tea pavilion May 15th 1936.
A Royton Oldham Chronicle reader discovered the key in a market at Fakenham in Norfolk some years ago.
Clifford Stott, a Werneth amateur from 1924 to 1949, claimed a unique record of having hit a half century on every ground in the league. Over his period of service Stott scored over 8000 runs- What would he have made of Hamilton Road, Whitefield!
Werneth cricket professionals over the years have been many and varied and have included many county and international players, many of our amateurs have gone on to play for county and country. Only two Werneth players have taken over 100 wickets in a season John Hemstalk in the 1970’s and the legendary Badcock in the 1930’s- so good is the pitch!
Lancashire Cup Finalists
A Lees L Reifer A Wild J Hollingworth J Hall D Lees
A Wood B Clarke D Errock A Pegler P Gill
Werneth’s crown green bowlers have represented the club for many years at all levels and our highly regarded green has hosted many top tournament rounds. The bowlers have fielded both ladies and gents teams in several local outdoor and indoor leagues and have enjoyed many successes.
Table Tennis has also enjoyed success over the past few years, having moved into the newly converted room at the club. They also boast many top county and national players especially the younger members who have helped Werneth win several local leagues.
Chamber Road just visible on the right , the nets have since been built to the right of the line of trees, next to the table tennis hut.
The patchy area to the right was a car park area now a development Hiltons Close. The building to the left is Werneth Junior School, the distinctive clock tower just out of view, adjacent is Werneth Infant School opened in 1995 after a £1.6m refurbishment.
Wellington Road runs behind the line of trees on the scoreboard side of the ground.