The History of Morpeth Cricket, Hockey and Tennis Club
By George Robson - Club Trustee and member since 1966
The beginnings of our club can be traced back to the mid-1850’s where it is noted that cricket was played at various venues around Morpeth, but the club as we know it was formed in 1909, when two elderly ladies bought for £10 each ( a large sum in those days) some land in the Stobhill area. The land had been a municipal dump which had been infilled. The two ladies gifted the site to a local cricket team, who converted it into a cricket field. Over the following years the sparse facilities were gradually improved.
In 1922, a group of intrepid Morpethians interested in men's hockey had decided to form a hockey club. A farmer to the north of Morpeth named O.M. McBryde agreed to provide a pitch at his Pegswood Moor Farm. It was a piece of pasture land on the Longhirst Road opposite Pegswood Road End. The first season began in September 1922. Details of these early days are known and recorded in a booklet called THE HISTORY OF MORPETH HOCKEY CLUB written in 1982, which heavily relies on the memories of two surviving founder members and section AGM minute books that are continuous from 1929 to the present. The lack of written records prior to 1929 are more than adequately compensated for by memories of the two surviving founder members.
In the 1938 AGM minutes, the first mention of Ladies hockey being played is made and at the same meeting it was agreed that both the Ladies’ and the Mens’ officials approach the Cricket Club, offering to form a partnership paying 10/- per game for the use of the Stobhill facilities. After negotiations, agreement was reached to amalgamate cricket and hockey into one club based at Stobhill. One major detail noted in the agreement, was the first mention of our club playing colours, green and gold. It was agreed that all three sections would use the colours as their club colours. The name of the club was henceforth to be Morpeth Cricket and Hockey Club. Hockey was planned to commence in the September but, the outbreak of war prevented the hockey season commencing and all three sections had their activities suspended for the duration.
With the end of war, the Stobhill mothballed facilities were brought back to life and with tennis ‘on the rise’ in the Morpeth area, two shale tennis courts were constructed in the north east corner of the site and a Tennis section came into being. Meanwhile negotiations with the hockey clubs continued and, firstly the men’s and later the ladies reached agreement to amalgamate to form Morpeth Cricket, Hockey and Tennis Club, all to be based at Stobhill.
In early 1953 a two-storied wooden house in Rothbury was purchased and transported to Stobhill for use as a clubhouse. The Mayor of Morpeth opened the new clubhouse as part of a day of celebration in July 1953, the month following the coronation. Built onto the clubhouse, were three wooden dressing rooms with showers and a further toilet. In the early 1970s these were demolished and replaced with brick-built facilities.
In 1994, with the old wooden clubhouse in need of some repair, the club were approached by a house builder for the sale of the land at Stobhill. Meanwhile, the newly opened Longhirst Hall Hotel and Conference Centre to the north of the town in Longhirst Village, approached the Club suggesting a partnership which added a sports complex to its University of Northumbria annexe and this led to the Club reinvesting the proceeds of the land sale and relocating to Longhirst Hall. Premier facilities for all three sports were constructed adjacent to the Hall which, was timely with the increasing and eventual requirement for league hockey to be played on artificial turf. Finally, with the eventual closure of the Longhirst Hall Hotel In 2012, the Club bought the freehold to the land and became master of its own destiny.
To assist in its financing the Club, all of the facilities are available to the general public to hire and the Club holds various events such as the annual President’s Day, when all three sports are put on show.
All four sections of the Club have, over the years have achieved notable successes both on and off the field. There are two highlights that stand out in particular however. Firstly, the hockey sections together were crowned England Hockey’s Club of the Season in 2010 at a glitzy ceremony held in Nottingham. The whole of the world of hockey and the local press gave massive publicity to the achievement. Also in 2010, the Club was selected and featured in the official 2012 London Olympics brochure. The brochure listed venues all over the UK and was given to each Olympic squad to use to select their training bases prior to gathering in London for the Olympics itself. The Club was visited for inspection by the organising Olympic Committee squad which, was led by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal.
During the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic and subsequent lockdown, all sporting activity was suspended. The Club members did not rest however and have invested heavily in the facilities, using the downtime to complete those long overdue maintenance tasks and in the refurbishment of the Clubhouse Bar. Now, with light and the end of that particular tunnel, we take the opportunity to reflect, with all four sections thriving at both senior and junior levels. We are justly proud of our magnificent setting, our history and the vitality of our members.
Images of Our Past - Stobhill
Images of Now and our Future