Kirkcaldy's industrial association with the evocative whiff of linseed oil is well-documented.
But the oil has another use that will be familiar to all cricketers, young, old, amateur, professional.
David Potter, a huge authority on the summer game, brings us the story of the town's cricket club - and the industrial and social context in which the run-stealers would flicker to and fro.
In depth written study
Kirkcaldy Cricket Club
its History and Origins
The Team are delighted that David Potter has made a welcome return to the project by contributing to the story of Kirkcaldy Cricket Club. David needs little introduction being a well kent face in the Town. He has many accomplishments to his name; as an actor, a speaker, a singer and an author being just some of these. He has written a number of books, many having a local flavour with sport being the subject of many.
David has a lifetime’s interest in the game and the Team acknowledge it would have been nigh on impossible to find anyone better qualified to produce this story – so over to David:-
“One could argue that both Kirkcaldy and Dunnikier Cricket Clubs were founded in 1856 when some young men, just back from the Crimean War approached James Townsend Oswald of Dunnikier Policies for permission to play cricket on his ground. Permission was immediately granted, and later in the summer of 1856 “Kirkcaldy” played their first game at Burntisland Links. By 1857, there were quite clearly two local cricket teams, one playing on the Dunnikier Policies and the other playing its home games at Newton Park, where Asquith Street and Ava Street are now. Both called themselves “Kirkcaldy” but Kirkcaldy Cricket Club was formally constituted or re-constituted in 1871.
They played at Newton Park until the ground was needed for housing, but round the same time Beveridge Park opened in 1892 and from about 1893 onwards until 1958, the club played at the Beveridge Park slightly further up from where Kirkcaldy Rugby Club are now.
A nice pavilion was built, and during the decade before and the decade after the Great War, the team prospered being able to afford a professional and often attracting crowds in excess of 1,000, benefitting from being in the Beveridge Park, for children could play on swings and mothers could push a pram around the perimeter while fathers could watch the cricket.
By the 1920s Kirkcaldy were reckoned to be one of the better teams on the circuit with one player in particular, Walter Venters, unlucky in the opinion of many people, not to earn a cap for Scotland. Games were played against Arbroath, Cupar, Freuchie and many of the Edinburgh sides, but there was never an organised competition until they joined the Edinburgh and District League in the mid-1950s. They almost won the League in 1955 but lost their last game of the season to Stenhousemuir.
In 1957 they moved to Bennochy which was officially opened in 1958, and they would play there until the early 1990s. They had some fine players like Alan Ormrod who went on to play for Worcestershire, and in 1983 they produced their first ever Scotland cap in professional Ray Joseph. Their best season by far was 1984 when they won the East of Scotland League winning it, ironically, on a day when they were beaten by Leith Franklin. It was a great triumph for the team which contained many fine players such as professional Bob Carter and players like Ian Gavin and Steve Rowley. In 1985 and 1989 they also won the Masterton Trophy, an Edinburgh based competition played on midweek evenings over 25 overs per side.
But then in the early 1990s, everything began to go wrong when they lost their ground and had to return to the Beveridge Park at the same time as the steady trickle of youngsters from the local schools began to dry up. The second XI folded, successive relegations followed, and 1997 proved to be the last season for Kirkcaldy. It was a sad ending for a club that had reached such heights so recently”.
We hope readers have enjoyed this short history and will be tempted to obtain further information by visiting the longer narrative which can be found on this page. This fuller story is supplemented by many photographs and snippets which add to the rich story of the Club.
David has certainly shone a spotlight on the Club highlighting just how attractive and important a summer pastime cricket was for both players and spectators alike.
Our sincere thanks go to David for producing this interesting and valuable contribution to our project.