A Brief History 1855 – 2014
The earliest records of Kinross Cricket Club can be found in the “Annals of Kinross-shire 406-1871”. It is recorded that on “13th December 1855 the members of Kinross Cricket Club presented William Briggs Constable with an elegant and handsome silver tobacco pipe and case.” WB Constable was named as the club captain and originator of the club. As there is no mention of the club before this date it is reasonable to assume that the club was formed at some time during 1855. By 1861 Kinross Cricket Club was listed in the Fife & Kinross Parochial Directory with WG Constable named as Club Captain and George Bogie as Secretary. Further references appear in 1871 when Kinross played Dollar and again in 1875 when Kinross played Blairadam. The club had a strong link with Dollar Academy as William Briggs Constable’s children attended the school and played cricket for both the school and Kinross teams. One of his sons, Andrew, was a keen cricketer and captained the 1st XI team towards the end of the 1800’s before building a successful legal career, becoming Solicitor General and a judge of the Court of Session with the courtesy title Lord Constable.
By the early 1900’s the club was based in the heart of Kinross on ground which now houses the Montgomery golf course clubhouse. In 1910 the club fielded two senior XI’s. The 1st XI was captained by Jim Stevenson from Glenfarg and the 2nd XI by local resident Tom Walker. Players include brothers Dave & Dod Telfer, Jim McGregor, who was undermanager at the linen factory, Billy Miller who also worked in the linen factory and Jack Imrie who would later become the Chamberlain of the City of Edinburgh and receive a knighthood for his services to the community.
Between the wars the club changed its name to Kinross-shire Cricket Club and continued to play local village fixtures across North Fife and around Loch Leven. It was during the 1930’s that the club produced its first International player. Alistair Dowell was a teenager when he first played for Kinross-shire as a fast bowler. Work and family commitments meant Alistair moved away from Kinross in the mid-1940’s. He continued to play cricket and was selected for Scotland between 1951 & 1955.
During the 1930’s father and son Robert & Andrew Downie made regular appearances for the club until the start of the war. Sadly Andrew was killed in action in 1942 when we was just 21. It appears that the club saw many of its players fail to return from action between 1939 and 1945 and few records appear of the club until the early 1970’s when a number of friendly matches are reported in the local press.
In the early 1980’s the club had been relocated and shared its home with the local rugby club at the King George V playing fields. When high-level floodlights were installed at the KGV fields in 1991 the cricket club was again moved to another location at the Myre Park. As this is a public park it was decided by the local council to install an artificial wicket between the existing football pitches.
During the 1990’s through to 2004 the club continued to play regular friendly fixtures under the guidance of John Stewart, Richard Oldham and Julian Foster. In 2004 a new management team was elected and the decision was taken to establish a junior section for primary and secondary school children. The decision proved to be one of the most important decisions ever made. During the winter of 2004/05 three of the 1st XI players underwent coach-training programmes with Cricket Scotland. By the start of the 2005 season the club had three fully qualified coaches and through the kindness of the Lords Taverner’s charity the first bag of junior coaching equipment.
By working closely with the cricket development officer employed by Perth & Kinross Council and visiting local primary schools within 12 months junior membership had grown to over 90 children. The club was able to compete at U10, U11, U12, U13 and U15 levels. At the end of the 2005 season the growth in member numbers and the successes on the field gave the management committee the confidence to start looking for a new long-term home. In early 2006 the club approached the Kinross House Estate with a view to building a wicket within the grounds of the House. By April 2006 an agreement was reached between for the construction of a grass wicket on the front lawn.
In 2006 the club won its first National Championship title when the U13s lifted the MCC “Spirit of Cricket” Scottish Championship. The enthusiasm for junior cricket helped grow senior numbers and in the same season the 1st XI competed for the first time in the “Dukes” Strathmore & Perthshire Division 3 League with the team eventually coming runner’s up.
Over the winter period between 2006/07 the club successfully applied for a grant from sportscotland to build a pavilion and artificial wicket within the grounds of Kinross House. The artificial wicket was installed in May 2007 and the pavilion followed quickly in April. The pavilion was officially opened by Sir David Montgomery on 7th July 2007. The U13 team was named Perth & Kinross Sports Council Team of the Year and the club tasted further playing success as both the U13’s and U15’s won their respective Scottish National titles. At the end of the year club head coach, John Ross was named Perth & Kinross Coach of the Year and the club was named Cricket Scotland Junior Club of the Year.
In 2008, The 1st XI won their first title claiming the Strathmore & Perthshire Union Division 3 champion’s trophy and the club embarked on a three year period of unprecedented achievement both on and off the field. The continued interest in the game saw the formation of the Kinross Ladies & Girls section of the club. Coaching levels had grown to 25 ECB qualified coaches and over 120 juniors regularly attended weekly training.
At the start of the 2009 season, the club was approached to host an International Cricket Council European Junior fixture when Guernsey played Denmark in July. The match brought the club international recognition and press interest.
The story of a small rural cricket club run by parents achieving so much in such a short time saw the club named as the 2009 Wisden Cricketer “Club of the Year”. The club was then caught up in a whirlwind of press coverage which saw Kinross feature on the leading pages of all the major National newspapers, Scottish TV and international sports magazines. The club was contacted by Kinross Joondaloop Cricket Club in Western Australia and a twinning agreement was put in place. The U13 and U15 teams again made Scottish Cup finals day and the 1st XI won the Division 2 title with an unbeaten season.
The Women’s & Girls teams worked at their game during the winter and in April 2010 they were asked to play in the Scottish Universities Women’s tournament when one of the teams pulled out the day before the start. The ladies team had never played in a fully competitive match and some trepidation they travelled down to Galashiels for the tournament. Any fears that they were not up the event were soon dismissed as they won their first game and quickly progressed to the final against Edinburgh University, the tournament favourites. In a close run match Kinross came out on top and much to the surprise of Cricket Scotland were named 2010 Universities Champions. Two weeks later the Kinross Ladies played in the Scottish Women’s Championships in Perth and again lifted the Silverware as undisputed Scottish Women’s Champions. Not to be outdone, the senior men also won their third consecutive league title winning the Division 1 title.
As the club moved towards 2011 they received the unsettling news that Kinross House was for sale and that there may be changes in the access to the ground. By April it was confirmed that the 2011 season would be the clubs last at Kinross House. The news seemed to have a major impact on all levels of the club as the junior sides failed to progress in their Scottish cup campaigns, the women’s teams only managed a small number of games and the 1st XI suffered their worst ever season in failing to win a single game in the premier division and being relegated back to division 1. The search for a new home suffered a massive setback when the club had to withdraw its application to convert a vacant field in Milnathort to a new cricket ground after resident’s objections. Club finances were being stretched and there was a real chance that the club would face closure over the winter.
The club committee took the decision to fight on and the 2012 season saw the club homeless with all fixtures having to be played away and all training taking place on the playing fields at the local Community Campus. The clubs’ plight came to the attention of local farmer, Rob Niven and he made contact with the offer of converting his barley field behind Loch Leven’s Larder into a cricket ground. The club immediately took up the offer and work started to plant grass and prepare the field for the 2013 season. The new hope brought the focus back to the club and the juniors again made Scottish Cup finals day and the 1st XI finished a very respectable 4th on the Division 1 table.
March 2013 saw the first activity at the new ground as the club installed a converted catering van which was to be used as the club storage facility, pavilion and scorers hut. The volunteer groundsmen started the rolling process to create a wicket for the season. The decision was taken to rename the club Kinross-shire Cricket Club to reflect the wide appeal of the club and its extended membership across the area.
At the end of April the club hosted its first match at the Loch Leven’s Larder cricket ground when a Kinross-shire XI played and beat the Scotland Wildcats Women’s International Team. With few facilities but huge enthusiasm the club started to rebuild and were lifted when the juniors made their 7th appearance in the Scottish Cup finals in 8 years. The 1st XI finished 3rd in Division 1 and juniors numbers continued to climb back to their previous levels.
2014 brought the purchase of a “Portacabin” changing room building and the start of a process to build enhanced facilities including the introduction of two artificial pitches. During the season both U13’s and U15’s teams made the trip to the Scottish cup finals, only losing to the eventual winners in both events. The club was honoured to be selected to host a touring Australian School from Brisbane when they played a P&K U16 select side which boasted 5 Kinross-shire players. The match was dominated by the Aussie’s until the Kinross-shire bowlers effected the most dramatic upset of the Aussies tour as they bowled out the last 6 wickets for only 11 runs and won the game by 6 runs. The senior team again finished in the top three of division one and Kinross-shire were crowned P&K Indoor League champions over the winter.
As the club moves into its 160th Anniversary year it can reflect on its many achievements over the past 10 years
2005 Launch of the junior section
2006 U13 Scottish Champions
2006 Perth & Kinross Sports Council “Team of the Year”
2007 Opening of Kinross House Ground & Pavilion
2007 U13 & U15 Scottish Champions
2007 Cricket Scotland “Junior Club of the Year
2007 Sport Tayside & Fife “Coach of the Year” – J Ross
2008 Strathmore & Perthshire Union Division 3 Champions
2008 Sport Tayside & Fife “Coach of the Year” – K Ross
2009 Wisden Cricketer “Club of the Year”
2009 Perth & Kinross Sports Council “Club of the Year”
2009 Strathmore & Perthshire Union Division 2 Champions
2010 Scottish Universities Ladies Champions
2010 Cricket Scotland Ladies Indoor Champions
2012 sportscotland “Young Coach of the Year” – JJ Ross
2012 Sport Tayside & Fife “Coach of the Year” – JJ Ross
2013 Opening of Loch Leven’s Larder Ground
2014 Opening of New Pavilion
2014 Perth & Kinross Winter Indoor League Champions