friends of birkenhead park

That which is good should be preserved

Sport in the Park

How many sports have you seen in the Park? Bowls, running, walking, rugby, cricket, tennis, fishing…How many more?


Sport in the Park

The Rugby Club and two cricket clubs had permanent premises in the Park but initially there was also great competition, between smaller clubs, especially cricket clubs, to get permission to play there. Other sports allowed in the Park included archery, angling, bowls, football, putting, quoits and tennis - all of which could involve the local population. Cricket and rugby could on occasion attract crowds as large as ten thousand. In the 19th century both Park Cricket Club and the Rugby Club had genuinely national status. International matches were played on the rugby ground for both rugby (Wales v Ireland in 1887 and Wales v England in 1894) and junior soccer. When celebrating its centenary in 1971, Park Cricket Club was able to attract an international XV of the highest quality to play against it. Park Cricket Club played against Oxford and Cambridge Universities and counties such as Surrey and Middlesex.

In the 1860s Birkenhead Park Cricket Club played against an All England XI and were allowed 18 players – all 18 were allowed to bat but were they all allowed to field. Other local cricket clubs played similar matches. Does anyone know anything more about them?   We would also be pleased to learn something of the unusual team names used such as the Twenty Two of Shropshire or the One Legs!  If you have any information regarding sports in the Park please use the Contact us form to let us know.


Thanks to James Ormandy for sending in the following information about hockey in the Park:

Two hockey teams, Birkenhead Park & Birkenhead Victoria, played regularly in the park in the 1890s/1900s as the Wirral became a hotbed of hockey in this period. Bebington HC was one of the top sides in the country having at one time 3 players in the England team. New Brighton Wanderers had international players. Clubs who were active in the area were Oxton, New Brighton, New Brighton Wanderers, West Kirby and Neston. There were several clubs in Chester. Cecil Cherrington Chaplain at Birkenhead school and first Anglican archbishop in NZ was a regular player for Birkenhead Park. See Wikipedia entry below:

The Rt Rev Cecil Arthur Cherrington (1877–1950) was an eminent  AnglicanBishop in the 20th century. He was born into an ecclesiastical family and educated at London University. Ordained in 1897, his first post was a curacy at St Chad’s, Liverpool. He was then successively Chaplain of Birkenhead School, a Lecturer at Lichfield Theological College, Vicar of Tunstall, Archdeacon of Mauritius and finally in 1926 the first Bishop of Waikato. In 1935, he was awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal. He died in post on 10 August 1950.