Former Yorkshire Second XI venue Elland Cricket Club WILL stage matches this season.

The Hullen Edge club, who resigned from the Huddersfield League in October, have merged with ENCO Halifax League club Warley and will play in the latter league in 2024.

Known as Warley and Elland, the club will field two senior teams, with both the first and second XI playing in their respective Premier Divisions, and four junior teams (under-nines, 11s, 13s and 15s), all of whom will feature in the Bramley Halifax Junior League.

Halifax League chairman Anthony Briggs said: “It’s fantastic news that both senior and junior cricket will continue at Hullen Edge, and the league, following due diligence, was pleased to rubber stamp the merger.

“It would have been a massive blow to recreational cricket in Calderdale to lose such a wonderful cricket ground and playing facilities.

“This pragmatic solution, forged between two well-established local clubs, means that they both can look forward to a new chapter and a bright future joining forces.”

Warley’s Chris Marsh, who has masterminded the protracted negotiations to form the new club, said: “Warley CC has a proud and successful history in the Halifax League.

“It is no secret our ground facilities had fallen behind our competitors over the past decade, and we were somewhat hamstrung in our ability to improve these facilities to ensure the ongoing viability of the club.

“This is very much a long-term decision that will allow us to compete off the field as well as on.

“I am extremely excited (as to) what the future holds for the new entity, and would like to thank all members of Warley CC for supporting me on this journey.”

The new club, who have already merged their club crests, will start life in the Halifax League with second XI fixtures against Bradshaw on April 20 and Bridgeholme on April 27 before a first XI match against Luddendenfoot on May 4.

Elland, one of the largest and oldest cricket clubs in the area, were already struggling to field two teams last season before a mass exodus of players forced them to concede their last three first XI fixtures in the Huddersfield League in 2023 and their last five second XI fixtures.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Elland Cricket Club had one of the toughest seasons in their 161-year history in 2023.Elland Cricket Club had one of the toughest seasons in their 161-year history in 2023. (Image: @EllandCC.)

The former Huddersfield League powerhouse club, who were founded in 1863 by teachers and scholars of Provident Independent Sunday School, were originally a Sunday School team.

As the leading club in Halifax district, they played touring sides in the 1870s and 1880s, including a three-day match against the 1878 Australians, which was watched by hundreds of spectators, with 18 host players forming the opposition.

The Australians scored 90 and 85 and Elland 29 and 66, but they did better against the Indian Parsees in 1886 in a two-day contest, scoring 162 and 125, the Parsees replying with 116.

A 15-man Elland side also faced a team of clowns in what was a rain-hit two-day fixture, with the opposition including jugglers and acrobats.

Elland joined the Huddersfield League in 1926, winning the Sykes Cup 14 times and the Byrom Shield 19 times, but finished bottom of both the Conference Division first XI and Alliance Division Three for second XIs last season.

Their ground is county-sized, hence Yorkshire playing 21 second XI games there from 1978-99, with highlights including David Byas making 125 against Glamorgan in 1987 and Anthony McGrath scoring 218 against Surrey in 1994.

Bradford League expert Reg Nelson says: “The club had a members’ vote to join the Bradford League at one time but it was narrowly defeated.”

The club, known as Elland Cricket, Athletic and Bowling Club, has two football pitches, two crown bowling greens and two asphalt tennis courts.

The bowls club were formed in 1889 and the athletics club in 1893, while the eight-acre site was purchased in 1932 from Lord Savile by public subscription, when Elland Cricket Club’s trustees were founded, being leased from Elland CA&BC at a peppercorn rent.

The club now have Saturday and Sunday men’s football teams, a ladies’ team and junior sides.

Their clubhouse has a 400-capacity function suite, the Baines Hall, where, ironically, the Huddersfield League have their annual dinner; parking space for 150 cars; a large fully-licensed bar with a pool table and  childrens’ play area with TV.