As was seen with the three Leeds grounds and Wakefield, recently looked at in this series, Halifax hosted Yorkshire CCC on only a very few occasions. Paul Dyson looks at the history of the ground.
It was in the 1820s when the earliest recordings of cricket in Halifax appear to have been written. Over the next thirty years several clubs were formed, none on a permanent basis and most played on Skircoat Moor which was to the south-east of the town. The first major club to be formed was Halifax Trinity CC and they played on their own ground on King Cross Road, which they shared with Halifax RUFC. The All-England XI came in 1863 for the first of three visits and the Australian Aboriginals included Halifax in their 1868 tour. The famous Lascelles Hall came in 1875 and this appears to have been part of the last season on the ground, a housing development being built on it.
The two clubs then had to look for a combined site, which would not have been easy, but acquired enough space on Hanson Lane in the following year and in 1878 formed Halifax Cricket, Football and Athletic Club. Unfortunately the lease was not long enough to justify much expense on the site and so they were on the move again for the 1886 season after purchasing what had been Thrum Hall Farm for £3,000 from a Major Dyson (no relation), The new ground was on the corner of Hanson Lane and Thrum Hall Lane and was L-shaped but large enough for separate cricket and rugby pitches as well as a bowling green. A large and impressive pavilion, to serve both main sports was completed during the succeeding winter.
The first game on Thrum Hall Ground, as it became known, was in early May 1886 and was between 18 of Halifax and Yorkshirw United. Two years later the full Yorkshire side visited to play the first of four first-class matches which took place from then on until 1897. The ground was very exposed, it being 800 feet above sea level and Yorkshire CCC used this as the reason for it no longer returning with the first team although it was obviously not cold enough for the 2nd XI who played 14 matches on the ground from 1902 to 1936.
Halifax RUFC became Halifax RLFC when the famous breakaway occurred in 1895 and in the early part of the 20th century the ground was occasionally used for prestigious matches. These included the Challenge Cup final in 1914, three Championship deciders and an England v France international in 1937.
A flexible approach to the ground’s usage appears to have been a continuing policy. The provision for the ‘Athletic’ name in the Club came in the shape of a running track around the cricket outfield and this was used for speedway from 1928 to 1930 and then greyhound racing. Twice in the early part of the 20th century rugby took place on the cricket ground due to the frozen state of the rugby pitch.
Halifax CC played in the West Riding League in the final decade of the 19th century and from 1900 it was a member of the Yorkshire Council before it joined the prestigious Yorkshire League in 1936 – one year after its formation.