In the last of this season’s Thursday features, Gary Heatly chats to Kelso CC’s Chris Grindell…
It was a tough season results-wise for Kelso CC in the highly competitive ESCA Championship, but that should not in any way overshadow the fact that the Borders club marked an amazing milestone this summer.
The Shedden Park club was formed in 1821, meaning it is now 200 years old and was the first ever cricket club to be constituted in Scotland.
In the early years they had a playing connection with one of the biggest names in British high street shopping – Lillywhites – with the sports outfitter being prominent in promoting cricket’s development as well as the retail industry in the 19th century.
Regular opponents in the mid-1800s for Kelso included Grange and local rivals Melrose, Hawick & Wilton, Selkirk, Galashiels and Duns [later to become Manderston] as well as Tynemouth, Middlesbrough and Newcastle from the north of England.
Chris Grindell is the club’s current chairman and after a season which saw them hold their annual sixes tournament and a Bicentennial Sponsor’s Day he said: “Obviously, like everywhere, Covid has had an impact on what we have been able to do, but the sixes competition featuring other Borders clubs – and Berwick who have a long association with Kelso – was a great success and plans are in place to hold a dinner to mark the 200th anniversary of the club in April next year around the time that the 2022 season gets underway.
“In terms of the first XI, positive results were tough to come by in the Championship this year, but what was great to see was that some of our exciting juniors were able to step up to senior cricket regularly under the guidance of a core group of our more experienced players and that experience will certainly stand them in good stead going forward.
“Two or three years ago a lot of guys in their mid-20s moved on from the club for a variety of reasons and that left a bit of a gap in the first XI, but the way in which the 16 and 17-year-olds have stepped up and taken responsibility in the side has been very pleasing to see.
“Next year it will be interesting to see how they get on in ESCA Division One and I know they are all looking forward to it.
“The junior section certainly is our strength at the moment and that is really encouraging for everyone at the club.
“We have around 80 kids who come along and train every week during the summer and to see them all having fun and playing with smiles on their faces is what it is all about really.
“Over the next couple of years we will continue to blood more youngsters in the senior team and put the coaching and other structures in place to make sure that Kelso Cricket Club can thrive going forward as we move on after marking such a special anniversary.”
The Kelso team that played in their final league match of 2021 on the Bicentennial Sponsor’s Day is pictured by Gavin Horsburgh
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the Thursday feature slot this summer