Lydney Cricket Club was formed in 1862 and first played at Lydney Park Estate, which was made available by the Squire of Lydney, Reverend William Hiley Bathurst. The Reverend’s son Charles Bathurst served as the Club’s first President and Captain with Gilbert J. Keeling being the Club’s first Secretary.
In 1875 the Club moved to its second ground, which was still within the Lydney Park Estate. This ground was used up to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Following the war, the Club began playing at Bathurst Park in Lydney and in 1949 moved to our current home at the Lydney Recreation Ground. In 2012, the committee were able to secure the lease at the Rec for a further 25 years; a huge boost, as it allows the club to apply for funding from a variety of sources.
County cricket first came to the Recreation Ground in August 1963 when Gloucestershire played Surrey in a three-day match. More recently the ground has been used by the County 2nd Eleven regularly, and to the best of our knowledge is one of only two cricket grounds to host county cricket with a tree inside the boundary (The other being Canterbury in Kent).
International cricketers with strong links to the club include Stephen James, the former Glamorgan captain, England opening batsman and current The Times sport columnist. His father Peter, a club stalwart for over 50 years, served as Club President. Geraint Jones played as an overseas player in the 90s. He was of course a part of England’s Ashes winning team in 2005. Another former international cricketer, fast bowler Doug Hondo of Zimbabwe, spent two seasons in the early 2000s playing for Lydney.
In 2012, the club celebrated its 150th year. While the season was mostly memorable for the amount of rain and cancelled matches, we were delighted to welcome back some old faces over the summer, and we hope to see them again in the future. While it was great to look back at old times, the celebration coincided with some big plans going forward, including funding for new nets.
In the present day, Lydney’s 1st and 2nd XIs play in the Gloucestershire County Cricket League – Division 1 and 4 respectively, while the 3rd XI play in the K W Bell Forest of Dean League – Division 2 West. The club boasts a thriving youth set-up, with many of the players in the 1st XI having come up through the ranks, and a healthy stream of young cricketers coming up through the 2nd and 3rd XIs at the moment. Another strength of the club is the quality of the pitches; for some years, the club has been producing some excellent cricket wickets, thanks to groundsman Bob Park. This has led to some very exciting, high-scoring matches and has allowed our young players to develop and play cricket properly. As a result of this and his passion and commitment, the club decided to rename the ground after Bob. We now welcome teams to ‘The Bob Park Cricket Ground’.