For over 100 years Stirling County Cricket Club was based at Williamfield, located in the Torbrex area of the city and adjacent to the Stirling High School. In 2005 the club took the monumental step of accepting an offer from Stirling Council to move from the site allowing the new Stirling High School to be built on the old ground.
In exchange for this the club developed a new facility, New Williamfield, in the Sprinkerse area of the city, just behind the Stirling Albion football stadium and near the new St. Modan’s High School. Our current home is adjacent to the river Forth and offers stunning views of the fabulous Ochil Hills and the iconic William Wallace monument.
The ground has two full-size ovals separated by a sloping bank. The lower or ‘main’ ground fit for international matches whilst the upper ground is suitable for first class cricket. The Club is fortunate to have fantastic facilities backed by an active membership determined to keep the facility in tip top condition.
Since acquiring the new facility the club has hosted Women’s World Cup Qualifiers in 2010 and an under 15 international event in 2011. More recently, we had the great honour and privilege to host the National team for both an ODI and a 3-day international match.
A brief and selective history of Stirling County Cricket Club – Robin Lang – 11/08/2002
Some information extracted from “Stirling County Cricket Club – A Diary” researched by the late Ian MacIver
The first report of Stirling clubs playing cricket was on May 19th 1832 at Kings Park.
In 1862 due to increased local population making use of Kings Park and the introduction of round arm bowling which required better wickets, some of the Stirling Club members moved to a park at Wester Livilands (now Stirling Royal Infirmary) The park was levelled and prepared at considerable expense and the club was named Stirling County Cricket Club, the original Stirling club continuing to play at Kings Park.
The sides played that year at Livilands included Edinburgh Academicals, Perth, Paisley Thistle, Glasgow Caledonians and Carlton of Glasgow : Stirling Wanderers, Stirling Rock, Stirling Crag, Burgh United, Stirling Star, Stirling Greenwood and Stirling Thistle.
The club moved to Williamfield in 1877 with a ten year lease being agreed with Col. Murray of Polmaise. The ground was officially opened in May but the first match appears to have been against Aberdeenshire about 22nd June. In July spectator charges of 6d, with artisans and youths 3d, and ladies free were imposed.
At the end of the 1887 season several of the older members left and with no new young blood forth coming, club activities were suspended. There is little information over the next few years but there was a report in the Stirling Journal on 11th March 1892 that “There are rumours of the resuscitation of Stirling County Cricket Club” A committee was appointed on 28th November.
1893- despite the club having 120 members of which 40 were players there were difficulties in raising a team during 1894 and 95. Sometimes they had to travel several players short of a team, 4 or 5 men always being counted on to play, the remaining 6 or 7 varied with almost every match. (many were playing lawn tennis and golf)
1893- Ground leased for grazing of sheep at £19 per year ( the sheep were on the ground all year) This continued for several years.
1900- The club colours had changed several times the latest being green and gold, now adopted by several clubs. It was decided to change to cherry and plum.
1902- On May 17th the present pavilion was opened. It had been the Burmese Pavilion at the 1901 Empire Exhibition and cost £500. An appeal to members to subscribe to the cost raised £520
1908- A telephone was installed in the pavilion
1911“As often was the custom spectators were entertained by an orchestra and a pipe band”
1915-1918no organised cricket – The Great War
1919- reported that the club “have become possessed of a horse, the services of an equine assistant being necessary for pulling the heavy grass cutter and roller.
1923Ground charges stopped and a collection taken instead. A charge still taken for entry to the club enclosure
1925Ground entrance charges resumed at 6d
1926A horse was purchased for £10 with an agreement that the seller would buy it back at the end of the season unless the club received a better offer.
1928lease of Williamfield terminated by the Polmaise Estate. Annual tenancy or purchase of the ground for £4000 was offered. Since the money could not be raised, the tenancy was accepted by the club.
1928Stirling County 2nd X1 dismissed Grangemouth for a total of 1 on July 28th
1932- agreement made to install a telephone in the pavilion for 1 year (what happened to the 1908 one?)
1934 – The increase in size of the wicket included in the official rules of the game in 1927 was introduced to all County and Strathmore games (height 28”, width 9”, two bails 4.5” each)
1938- A very large increase in revenue caused by the introduction of the non-playing membership.
1939- Williamfield became the property of the club.
1944- Approval given to lease the ground to Youth Committee, the Cadet Force, St Modans High School FP Athletic Club and lease the football pitch to Borestone Thistle and Youth House FC. And St Ninians Public School during school time. Not allowed the use of the pavilion. Boys from Stirlng High School and Riverside School were coached by the professional. 18 attended each session.. In 1945, 60 boys attended each session. Club was paid £20 for this.
1946electric lighting installed in pavilion ( from the street lighting circuit). Gas pipes laid from Torbrex Lane to the tea pavilion and a gas cooker installed.
1947 Sunday Cricket- unanimous vote against. 0.22 acres compulsorily purchased by Stirling Council for dining hut at St Ninians School
1950 Sunday Cricket Vote- For 14, against 25
1951- 3rd eleven formed
On the recommendation of the Strathmore Professional the services of Irwin Iffla were obtained
1952 – The Club won the County Championship
Irwin Iffla scored 506 and took 114 wickets at 8.38 apiece during the season.. On July 2nd a crowd of 3000 attended Iffla’s benefit match against Perthshire.
1954 – Sunday Cricket12 for and 13 against
A ball was presented to D. Macgowan, one of the young playing members, in recognition of a “hat trick” against Paton and Baldwins on August 11th 1953.
1956- Iffla topped batting and bowling averages for the season. He took 106 wickets and his total for six seasons had reached over 600.
1957- Membership of the club was in the region of 450 as a result of a drive for non-playing members.
1958 – Williamfield now belongs to Stirling County Cricket Club, free of debt
A small corner of the ground in Torbrex corner was sold to the Education Committee for the construction of a pavilion and rifle range for £40.
1959- Stirling High School granted permission to play evening games between 4pm and 6pm
The club agreed to sell approximately 3 acres for the extension to St Ninians School
Raymond Bond was elected captain of the 3rd eleven.
Irwin Iffla was released from his contract
1960- Sunday Cricket 25 for and 12 against. Several members resigned.
1962- Secretary required to contact Stirling Council concerning the abuse of Williamfield by youths using the new Beechwood Park
Opening of new tea pavilion
The new High School of Stirling opened. A gap in the club fence to permit access had not been repaired.
1963- Improvements in main pavilion including the provision of toilets and showers Considered an asphalt wicket, Bought a “matting wicket” to try on grass in 1964.
1964- New sight screens were received and the bill sent to Stirling County Council ( higher screens had become necessary as a result of new buildings at St Ninians and the new Stirlng High School). Playing members would be asked to provide their own equipment.
1969- Life Membership introduced
1970- In future AGM to be on last Wednesday in October and the half yearly GM on the first Wednesday in March. Vandalism – members were to be on guard at the pavilion on Friday and Saturday nights,
1971- New score box completed. Local headmasters should be contacted to see if young players could be interested in cricket with the club.
1974- Report produced on possible development of the ground for recreational facilities.
1975- Willie Little Trophy presented to the club by the Stirling Observer.
1976– Plans for a possible new pavilion produced. Development plans were well advanced. The Williamfield Xl under the captaincy of R. Bond won the Forth Championship. Irwin Iffla came 2nd in the bowling averages in the Counties Championship.
1977– Centenary brochure produced. Eight Centenary Celebration matches were played in the eight days 16th to 24th July. Innovations in the season included the formation of a Centurian Club, the provision of a new Club Flag, and installation of the Captain’s Board by Mrs. Gemmell
1978- no final decision on new pavilion. Possibility of an Ice Hall constructed by Stirling Curlers raised. Many meetings
1979- Work on construction of the Ice Hall. D. Macgowan scored over 1000 runs in the season. Original entrance to the ground from Weaver Row was closed and the internal road returned to playing surface, the new entrance being from Torbrex Farm Road. New metal site screens ordered. Second cricket square formed.
1980– Ice hall completed and operational
1981– Two framed reproductions of a report on the game in 1864 between Stirling County CC and Ayr County CC were purchased, one being presented to the Ayr club. Construction of all weather practice net on a concrete base planned.
Honorary Life membership to R. Bond and I.F. Maciver the author of the diary.
1982– Posts and netting erected round all weather practice pitch. The second cricket square was re-levelled. W. Morton selected to play for Scotland. Williamfield Xl won Forth Championship for the third time.
1984– New arrangements made with the Ice Rink Company. Gargunnock CC to play 4 games on the second square. Gravel round trees in car park to be replaced by asphalt by the Ice Rink – gravel was being thrown over the outfield by vandals.
1985– Score box destroyed by fire. 1st Xl won the Beneagles County Championship.
1987– Asphalt round the trees. Work started on interior of the old pavilion.
1988– Williamfield XI won the Forth Championship again, The under 15’s won the National Competition and the U16’s team won the Scottish Cup.
1989– unofficial access to the ground from St Ninians School corner closed by the construction of a 6’ brick wall. Much discussion on renovation of the old pavilion. A team took part in an International Cricket tournament in Rome – they won.
1990– work on renovating the old pavilion and bar. The bar opened in at the end of June.
1991– refurbishment of old pavilion continued,
1992– possibility of sale of the ground ( to allow the club to move to a non vandalisable ground) was regularly discussed. A new store for ground equipment was constructed but this was soon a target for vandalism.
1994– The 1st Xl won the Counties Cup.
1995to present time. Old Pavilion still being improved. Future of club and ground still not settled. Vandalism continues
1996– “The Diary” ends
Robin Lang – August 2002