The original Stacksteads Cricket Club was formed in 1903 and obtained a lease from the Townsend Family on Waterbarn Recreation Ground adjacent to Waterbarn Baptist Chapel. The first game was friendly match against Bacup CC on Waterbarn in April 1903 attended by 3000 people. Stacksteads were doing well when the game was rained off. The Club had two teams in the Lancashire County League and included player such as Fred Hamer who went on to play for Rawtenstall. His cap and blazer can be seen in Rawtenstall's club house. A major dispute with the Waterbarn Baptst Church when the Club applied for a licence to sell beer. Th application was opposed by the church because of the potential for drunken players and spectators to disturb funerals in the graveyard next to the ground on a Saturday afternoon. The licence was obtained in 1904 and a beer "tent" was built in the south east corner of the ground, as far away as possible from the graveyard. The club erected a pavilion in the Soth West corner of the ground using corrugated sheeting on a wooden frame, with terracing in front of the pavilion. this building survived until 1962.

The club was quite successful in the Lancashire County League but dramatically folded in August 1914 when they could not raise team because a large number of players joined the British Army. A number of them died in the service of Queen and Country.

The Young People of Waterbarn Baptist Church then obtained the approval of the Church Deacons to approach the Townsend family to take over the lease of the ground and acquire the assets of Stacksteads CC including the roller (now at New Hall Hey). They were successful and in 1915 installed tennis courts and a bowling green on the Western side of the ground. Waterbarn Baptist Recreative Association was formed and attracted a large membership after World War 1, providing sporting and social activities for a the Stacksteads Community. WBRA Cricket Club ran two adult teams in the Bacup and District Sunday School League which was made up of over 40 teams between the wars. Waterbarn produced mant Lancashire League players including Dick Howarth who went on to play for Worcestshire and England. The Club thrived producing Lancashire League players mainly for Bacup including Dick and Jack Dunham, Phil Lord and John Beaumont.

The 70ies saw a decline both in the life of the Chapel and Waterbarn CC. The tennis courts and bowling green became derelict and the the club could only raise 8 players in 1977. The momentous decision was taken to leave the Bacup and District Sunday School League and enter the North Manchester League with one team in 1978. Other Sunday School League players such as the 3 Thirdes, Malcolm, Philip and Trevor joined the ex Waterbarners like Ian Read and Norman Peters to form the basis of new thriving Club expanding to two teams in 1980. Recruiting ex Lancashire League players such as Peter Dickinson, Paul Edwards and Steven Howorth who along with young players such Andrew Hornsby, a fast bowler who went on to a long career with Oswaldtwistle Emmanuel, the Club won the League Championship in 1983, pipping Edenfield, runners up in 1984 and Cup Winners in 1993. The tennis court bases were removed and the ground extended in 1985 to return the ground to the 1903 footprint.

The club was doing well but disputation with the Waterbarn Church Trustees returned when in 1990, the Trustees tried to sell the ground for housing. The Club fought a long and public battle and reached an agreement with the Trustees in November 1991. Waterbarn CC decided to revert back to the name of Stacksteads. In 1998 the Club moved to the Ribblesdale League maintaining mid table respectability in Division 1 and the second XI attaining some unbeatable records in Division 2. Controversy returned in 2007 when the Church sold the ground and chapel to a private individual who tried to throw the club off the ground and had to be stopped from ploughing up the square by the Police. Court action followed which resulted in an agreement in 2010. However the Club found the rental payments too high and decided to leave Waterbarn Recreation Ground at the end of the 2011 season. Umpiring the last game on the ground, I had the sad duty of calling time due to rain to end 107 years of cricket on the field.

We moved to New Hall Hey in 2012, with Rossendale Council as landlord. The only vestige of Sunday School cricket being a couple of players and the roller from 1903.


The newly formed Stacksteads Cricket Club played it's inaugural match on Saturday under circumstances which were not of the best.Promoters and supporters alike had been hoping for a favourable day; one of the sort that would tempt a crowd to the new ground at Waterbarn,and give the club a good send off. Unfortunately for the coffers of the club the day was far from ideal,and doubtless remained away who would have otherwise been present had the climatic conditions been more congenial. The Stacksteads Committee worked hard during the week preparing for their opening match against Bacup and by Saturday morning practically everything had been completed. Certainly there is even yet, much room for improvement both on the playing pitch and so far as the accommodation is concerned, but what improvements are still needed will doubtless be attended to as the season advances. A small but yet handsome players pavilion has been erected on the higher cover of the ground near the railway line, and on the opposite corner is the refreshment bar, as yet limited to temperance beverages. On Saturday petitions for a licence to sell intoxicating drinks were being signed on the ground
Prior to the commencement of the game a formalm opening ceremony was performed by Capt R.A.L. Munn of Heath Hill, the President of the club who was accompanied by Miss Munn, and another lady friend. Mr R Taylor presided and was supported by Mr Ballance (sec.), Councillor Worswick a number of committeemen and others.
Capt. Munn, after a few appropiate remarks by the chairman,said that it was the first time he had opened a cricket ground. He sincerely hoped that the new club would be a success and that the people at that end of the borough would give it their hearty support.He trusted the good folks at the other end of the borough would not think it had been got up in opposition to the old Bacup club, because that was an entirely erroneous idea,(Hear Hear).He hoped the members and players of the new Stacksteads Cricket Club would keep up the enthusiasm they had shown at the start and not let it die away in a year or two. If they did that he believed the new club would be as successful as any other club in the neighbourhood.
About 1300 spectators were present.....


A brief history of Stacksteads C.C. by Ron Ashworth