The Meltonby Connection (Part 1)

Yapham is part of the parish of Yapham cum Meltonby. Meltonby is a tiny settlement about a mile from Yapham, which has nevertheless been home in the past to at least two cricket grounds and a thriving club.

The fixture booklets for 1929 and 1930 provide a tantalising glimpse into cricket in our area half way between the two world wars.


The first thing that jumps out of this small document is the name Pearson. Of the ten committee members, six bear that name, including the president, the treasurer, and the vice-captain. (The captain is a Mr. G. Terry.) Indeed, so dominant was the family that two of the 29 fixtures in the summer of 1929, on 8 May and 3 July, are listed as Pearsons v Rest. There are still Pearsons hereabouts of course. Indeed father and son Barry and Martin have been mainstays of the Yapham first team in recent years.

Meltonby played against ten other clubs that year. At the time Yapham had two sides, Yapham and Yapham Common. There were four local derbies against the latter, and two against the former. The other opponents were Kirby Underdale, Bugthorpe, Bishop Wilton, Full Sutton, Millington, Kilnwick Percy, Burnby, and Barmby Moor.

On 18 May and 6 July, when presumably there were gaps in the fixture list but the players were keen to play, there were matches between Married and Single. There’s a tip for fixture secretaries in 2017!

The owner of this card, presumably a batsman, made pencil notes next to the fixtures of his scores. He started his season badly with a duck against Kirby Underdale, then the following week scored 21 not out against Bugthorpe, which would be the best it got for him in 1929.

It’s interesting to note that Hewitt’s of Goodramgate had a range of cricket bats for sale; the cheapest was 10 shillings and the most expensive a whopping 30 shillings (£1.50 in new money). A set of bails would knock back Mr. W. Pearson, the Meltonby treasurer, to the tune of 1 shilling. And how highly did Mr Pearson rate his wicketkeeper? Did he go for the cheapest gloves at 10/6, or treat him to the deluxe 17/11 pair?


There were changes the following year, 1930. The committee was trimmed to eight members, but the Pearsons retained their vice-like grip on power, holding five of the  posts. The aforementioned W. Pearson continued to be treasurer, but was also now the team captain (assuming, which it isn’t safe to do, that the two W. Pearsons are the same person.)

While the committee shrank, the range of opposition increased from ten in 1929 to twelve. The clubs which appeared on the list in 1930 were Great Givendale, Allerthorpe and Hayton, while Full Sutton, who played against Meltonby twice the previous summer, disappear. I wonder whether there was a falling out between the clubs, cricket bats wielded in a field somewhere around Fangfoss or Bolton? I like the image, but more likely Full Sutton had a player shortage, as small clubs often do even today. The Pearsons played the Rest twice again, while the Married men had two opportunities to pay back the singletons for the defeats inflicted on them a year earlier.

Our anonymous batsman had a poor year, except for his glory day at home against Yapham Common on 14 June when he scored 46, albeit in a losing cause.

There is much more to learn and share about Meltonby cricket, and its links with Yapham, which is why this post is headed The Meltonby Connection (Part 1). If you have any information which could throw more light on the matter, please get in touch.

(c) Les Smith (July 2017)

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