Welcome to Allestree Cricket Club History

18th April 2018

It is with great regret that I recieved the news that Alan "Dillo" Dillingham died last Thursday. I usually write a piece on here quite quickly after recieving such news but such was the shock of his passing I have been trying to find suitable words that will do him justice. I hope these will do.

I first played cricket with Alan in 1971 for Allestree Juniors and it was in 1971 that he made his club debut scoring 0 and running out Peter Watts. Alan said Pete didn't talk to him for the rest of the season! I went on to play many more games of cricket with him until the end of the 2016 season. I also played with him in the Allestree football team. Alan possessed a sweet left foot one of the best in local football, which was more than could be said of his right foot which was reserved for standing on and kicking the occasional opposition player. He had trials with league clubs I am led to believe, but played local league football for Belper Town and Eastwood Town. His father Jack and brother Paul also played for Allestree cricket club and Paul with Alan at Allestree football club.

Alan was every bit a tough Yorkshireman and proud of it, supporting Leeds United which always earnt him some stick. A car accident in 1978 cost him the sight in one eye but this did not keep him from playing cricket for long.

There may be a few people reading this who can remember this incident. Alan at one point thought his eyesight may not be good enough to play local cricket so one junior practice night we got him in the net and a ball was bowled at him. Dillo drove it off the middle of the bat straight towards the bowling green where a match was in progress. As the ball came down a lady appeared carrying drinks and the ball hit her on top of the head and bounced onto the green. Dillo walked out of the net handing me the bat! It is a fact and a mark of the man that his batting average with one eye was considerably better than with two. He scored 1 fifty before and 2 hundreds and 33 fiftes after. After taking a catch he would often pass me saying "that batsman doesn't know how unlucky he is". Alan in his younger days bowled at a lively pace off a short run up. Making it more amazing that he completely lost it during a game at Aston on Trent. A damp pitch meant that the bowlers footsteps could be clearly seen. At one end a row of clearly defined footsteps, at Alan's end 4 footsteps a 2 foot diameter of mud as Alan shuffled and hopped about and the 4 more footsteps to the crease.

Another story this time playing football also shows how tough he was. Playing for Allestree football club 1st team he hurt his knee but carried on playing until being substituted in the 2nd half. Later that night he complained to me that his knee hurt especially when he sat down, I helpfully said " well stand up then"! He went to the DRI next day where he was told he had broken his kneecap.

Always up for a laugh and some banter, given as it was taken in good spirit and a glint in his eye is how I will remember him. RIP Dillo.

Cricket Stat's for Alan Dillingham played 693 games between 1971 & 2016. Scored 8625 runs at an average of 16.44 2 hundreds 34 fifties. Took 181 wickets at 23.18, with 5 wickets in a game 3 times and a best of 6 for 15. Also took 109 catches. Scored 988 runs in the 1984 season.

21st March 2018

It is with great sadness that I have to report that Allestree Cricket Club has been forced to withdraw the first team from Divison 4 North of the Derbyshire County League for the 2018 season. It is the first time in over 100 years that the club has been down to one team only.

This has happened due to a number of players leaving the club in the closed season adding to several that left before or shortly into the 2017 season. The vast majority of these being of first team standard and leaving the club with insufficient numbers to field two teams week in and week out.

Coupled with this has been the major vandalism to various club buildings and the square which has left the club in a worse state than it has been for a good number of years.

The club fully intends to re-build and hopes that they may be in a position next season to put a second team in the lowest league to again have two team representing the club.

Personally, I see a club that despite everyones best efforts is fighting a losing battle at the moment on many fronts. As well as the vandalism, it gauls me to see other clubs in the area winning thousands of pounds of grants to improve their facilities when despite the efforts of the club, and after many hours filling in forms that all of our own grant appilications always get rejected. Whilst it is good that other clubs win grants to improve facilities and cricket at grass roots needs this investment, it leaves us looking like the poor relation. This means that we cannot modernise our facilities to keep up with other clubs in the area and our facilities have now become cramped and outdated.

For many years we had a thriving Junior section but cannot get the Children from the schools in Allestree interested in cricket to the extent that we cannot even get a six a side quick cricket team running. Those who do play, again go to the bigger clubs with the better facilities.

The Recreation Ground has become an almost no-go area with youths causing trouble with anti-social behaviour and the area smelling of weed being smoked on most nights. We have to clear the ground of beer bottles and cans most Saturdays and Sundays before we can play. It was a good job that the bit of money we had was spent on new secure doors and shutters on the pavillion over the past few years otherwise we might not have had a pavilion to use.

It is a really sad sight to see the ground and surrounding area in this state after nearly 160 years of cricket in the village. The good news is that after the publicity of our problems that were broadcast on Radio Derby and mentioned in the Derby Telegraph, several local businesses and individuals have offered us their help and assistance and we thank them for their kind offers.

16th July 2017

Records were broken during the Allestree 2nd XI game on Saturday against Apperknowle 2nds at the Recreation Ground Allestree. Moshan Akhtar blasted a score of 177 in just 21 overs which include 18 sixes and 11 fours. This is the 4th highest score ever made for the club. The holder of the 3 biggest scores Andrew Layton, sat looking slightly worried as it appeared with overs to go his record may be beaten. This score of 177 also beat the record 2nd XI score of 162no by Clive Rex against Tibself at Allestree on the 29th July 2000. Clive was playing in the match and watched Moshan beat his former record.

Also the 3rd wicket stand of 224 with Robert Akers (60no) was a club record beating the 221 made by Steve Hanson and Andrew Layton against Chesterfields 2nds at Chesterfield last season. Also beaten was the 2nd XI record 3rd wicket stand between Ted Aspley and Desmond Clifford of 187 against Quarndon at Allestree on the 2nd August 1958.

Earlier in the month 1st XI Captain Ben Sarton scored his 13th century for the club and in doing so passed 13,000 runs.

18th May 2017

Congratulations to Matt Baker who last Saturday took his 200th senior wicket for the club. Also to Sam Das who recently scored his first club half century and Phil Deane who statisically became the clubs highest run scorer.

20th March 2017

We are back! After a number of months away the website is now able to be updated once again. This will start with Club Records, then the players list and then teams played and the continued updates of the season reports. Whilst offline a vast amount of material has been prepared to add to the site.

It is sad to report the passing of two former players recently. Denis Spencer (known in this website as D. Spencer (Snr) ) passed away in late January. He was one of Allestree's best all rounders and played from 1953 until 1977. The second player only played briefly for the club before making his name at Quarndon Cricket Club. Melvin Clamp passed away suddenly and will be sorely missed by his family and friends, I played in the same junior team as Melvin at Quarndon in 1976 and he went on the Swanage tour with Robincroft Cricket Club a number of times. He was a gentleman of the game.

The new season is now just around the corner and Allestree hope to do as well if not better than last season. The first team just failed in gaining promotion to Divison 3 whilst the second team once again left it until the last game of the season again to avoid relegation.

21st June 2016

With the season almost half-way through, it's time for a update.

The electrics into the score box were installed for the start of the season and so this can now be used on a regular basis.

The first team have had a decent start to the season and stand 5th in Division 4 North after promotion last year. Andrew Layton has kept his form up from last season and has already scored over 650 runs along with 2 centuries which takes his total to 25. In a score of 358-3 dec off 40 overs against Duffield, Andy increased the club's highest ever individual score to 191 and along with Ben Sarton put on a record first team opening stand of 266. This beats the 256 scored by the same pair against Sandiacre 3rds last season.

The second team are third from bottom and are struggling to get out a competitive side out each week and last week struggled to get a side out at all fielding only 8 players. This is supprising as we have signed on a number of players this year and only a few have left. Luck has not been on the seconds side either, against Draycott and Handbury, Allestree had them at 63-9 before they recovered to 151 all out. At 102-4 and going nicely the rains came and the game was abandoned with Draycott currently standing 2nd in the table. A great win at Ockbrook proved what the seconds can do when we put out a competitive side..

19th December 2015

The family of George Deane would like to thank everyone who came to his funeral service and who donated over £350 to the scorebox restoration fund in his memory. This money will see the first phase of the scorebox restoration achieved to make it useable for the 2016 season.

For those who may not know about this box, it was erected in the early 1970's in the memory of long serving player and official Billy Oates who always wanted to see a mechanical scorebox at Allestree. When he died a fund was set up and the scorebox built with the proceeds of this fund. The scorebox became a feature of the ground until the late 1990's when vandals broke in and destroyed most of the workings including the electrics. The club was very fortunate that a fire set did not take hold, but the damage was so great that the club since then has not been able to repair it and bring it back into use.

Over the past few seasons the metal door that had been welded shut since the vandalism has been made to open and the interior cleaned out.

It is hoped that as money is raised the scorebox can be bought back to its former glory in three phases.

Phase one is the restoration of the electrical suppy and repainting of the inside. This will be paid for from George's collection.

Phase Two is the supply of a roller shutter, which due to its size will have to be electrically powered. This is needed to protect the scoreboard from further possible vandalism.

Phase Three will be the purchase of an electronic scoreboard.

The estimated cost for these last two phases is £2400 for phase two and £2300 for phase three on current estimates.

Should anyoneone reading this wants to contribute to this or sponsor the club in some way to help pay for this work, please contact me on the icon at the top right side of the page.

11th October 2015 End of season report and George Deane Vice President and former scorer passes away

Before the season end report, there is once again some sad news of the passing of George Deane Allestree’s former scorer.  George, the father of Phil and former player Andrew and also the grandfather to Tom passed away suddenly but peacefully at the Royal Derby Hospital on the evening of 4th October aged 95.

George joined Allestree as a Vice-President in 1970 and started to score in the late70’s. He went on to be the first Allestree scorer to score using coloured pens for bowlers and ball by ball analysis. This skill was passed on to other scorers notably, Helen Hibbert, Sally Hinds and Alison Ekins. He also went on to score for Derbyshire 2nds for a number of years. George was active to the end attending games last season, still driving himself around. His collection will be sent to Allestree Cricket Club to help finance the restoration of the scorebox in which George spent many happy hours. His funeral will be held at Markeaton Crematorium, Main Chapel on Tuesday 20th October at 1.20pm.

The end of the season saw relief for the 2nd team and belated delight for the firsts.

After winning all their remaining games handsomely with maximum points the first team finished 3rd level on points with Belper Meadows in second but having lost to Belper twice and wining one less game overall. Belper drew the last game taking the 8th wicket needed for the point to draw level late on in the game.

The first finished strongly with Andy Layton scoring his 6th league century of the season. This made him the leading runs scorer in the whole of the Derbyshire County league and also was a club record as only 3 players had ever scored 3 centuries in the season before. His total of 1531 runs also took him to second place in the most number of runs scored in a season. With Jon Taylour finishing strongly with 10 wickets in the last two games, the firsts could do no more.

So Allestree it seemed had missed out on promotion until Aston on Trent folded and amalgamated with Derby Congs and Allestree took the additional promotion spot.

Also for the first time 3 players managed 1000 runs in the season with Ben Sarton and Steve Hanson also passing the mark. Steve and Tom Deane also took over 50 wickets for the club.

The seconds went into the last weekend of the season 2nd from bottom and facing the two teams currently first and second in the division, things really looked bleak for survival, especially having to concede the game before due to lack of players.

The Saturday saw Packington who were in first spot, visiting Allestree for the first time looking for another victory after beating the seconds on home soil by 10 wickets earlier in the season. Allestree kept them quite until one of the Packington players late on scored 100 not out having only scored 72 runs all season! Sadly holding on for a draw was beyond Allestree who went into the Sunday game needing a win to guarantee survival.

The visit to Sutton on the Hill was a tense affair with Sutton, currently second needing 6 points to make sure of promotion. Allestree batted first and made slow progress against some very accurate and tight Sutton bowling, but careful batting by not losing wickets meant the Dave Mason (the oldest player in the team) and Jack Finnegan (the youngest) combined to put on over 70 runs in the last 8 over’s.

This proved enough for Allestree to win when they bowled out Sutton for just over 150. Craig Ritchie took his first 5 wicket haul for Allestree and with Sutton only getting to 150 to give them their 6th point to guarantee promotion before Jack Finnegan took the final wicket, both teams finished with what they needed.

Allestree junior Jack Finnegan also continued to make good progress by taking more wickets than last year and quadrupling his number of runs made from last season. He also took more catches in 2015 than he did in the previous two years. The same progression for next season should see him become one of the leading players in the second team.

A mention must be made of James Windscheffel who has announced that he is to give up the first team captaincy for 2016. James has been one of the major forces running the club for many years, and the club would not be what it is without his dedication and efforts.



Allestree Cricket Club was formed in 1860 and the first match was played on the 28th July that year. The village at this time was very small with most houses centred on the Church and the Red Cow public house leaving a few scattered farms and Allestree Hall to make up the rest of the village. The total inhabitants were some 529 men, women and children according to the census of 1861. The “village” has since grown to the size of a small town with some 20,000 plus inhabitants.

With little to do in those days you can well imagine a group of the men folk deciding (possibly in the Red Cow) to form a village cricket team. Cricket was taking off at this time with many villages, churches (of all dominations) and works teams starting up. Many of the still small villages lost their cricket teams in the 1940’s and 50’s as did most of the church and works teams, leaving only Rolls Royce, Rosehill Methodists and Derby Congregational left in this category. As can be seen in an article written by Mr G. Newton after the first world war (within this site) getting players to play was a great problem in the 1860’s to early 1890’s before the squire of Allestree Hall Mr L.G. Gisbourne took a great interest in the village and the cricket team in particular joining the club in 1892.

It was he and his son Mr W.G. Gisbourne (his initials given to him by L.G. to be the same as the great W.G. Grace) who donated the ground we now play on to the people of Allestree for their sacrifices in the Great War. A few of Allestree’s players gave their life in this conflict.

L.G. Gisbourne started in 1893 the Annual Cricket Club diner, a tradition which still goes onto this day. In the last few years an effort has been made to contact and invite former players and their wives and it is a night well spent listening to their exploits and experiences.

L.G. invited Walter Butterfield to play for the club when he came to the village in 1894 and is in my opinion possibly the best all rounder to ever play for Allestree, he is certainly as far as I can ascertain the only regular Allestree player to play for Derbyshire 1st eleven and to have his own Wikipedia page! Walter Butterfield was “head and shoulders” above most players of his time and was the first Allestree player to score a 50 and a 100, no mean feat on the pitches of the day, where the bowlers reigned supreme. He is also (to research to date) the only Allestree player to take all 10 wickets in a match. Although this year 2010, a “10 for against Allestree was found.

G.B. Barrington also played for Derbyshire and he played the odd guest game for Allestree but was Kirk Langley player and in recognition of his services to this club the Kirk Langley ground is named after as well as a new road to a new housing estate in the village. A few other players have played for Derbyshire 2nd eleven amongst them the classy left handed batsman Guy Oates. Why do good left hander’s look more pleasing to the eye than right handed batsmen?

The Allestree ground remains in the early years a bit of a mystery, some people think that the club played at Allestree Hall, but despite a photograph in the pavilion titled “Cricket at Allestree Hall” very little other written evidence exists. It seems that matches played against other Hall’s such as Longford and Radbourne were played at Allestree Hall at the invite of L.G. Gisbourne or H.H. Raphael, who was the local MP and gave the club £20 towards the new pavilion (the small black one in the pictures) which opened in 1907. I think it is unlikely that a cricket match was played at the Hall before L.G. Gisbourne became interested in 1892. What is known is that Allestree played on Mr Clay’s field, believed to be close to the area occupied by the children’s play area today. As a child I played on “Clay Banks” the bank next to the ground, whether this area was originally owned by Mr Clay or described the Marl which the banks are made out of I do not know, but pictures exist of Allestree playing cricket at “The Marlpit” and on old ordinance survey maps the area is called and drawn as a Marlpit or Clay pit.

In May 1895 it is reported that Allestree moved to a newly laid and enlarged ground, which is where cricket is played today, before this the ground was so small that some boundaries were only given as 2’s and not 4’s!. In fact at the current ground their use to be a “straight 6” only rule which was only removed in the late 1990’s. In the early days of the ground a fence of which the bars were removed before a game was within the boundaries and put back after. The posts supporting the fence stayed, assisting these hazards was Mr Cliffords cart horse used to keep the outfields grass down as the club could not afford a mower.

I started this project in the late 1980’s and re-started it again when I rejoined the club in 2007. The aim is to follow the players, events, successes and failures of the club from 1860 to the present day and also in some small way give a glimpse of the people who played and ran the club in the past and helped kept it going for over 150 years. Over these 150 years a thread can be traced of a few players who became officials and guided Allestree from 1860 until the present day. Starting with the Millwards (W and the two H’s Henry Senior and Junior) from 1860-1904 through Lionel G. Gisbourne 1892-1904, Walter Butterfield 1894 – 1920, William “Billy” Oates 1919 – 1971, Ben Hall 1953-2007 and John Chambers 1953 to the present day.

If anyone from local cricket clubs has any information, scorebooks, photographs etc when their clubs played against Allestree at any time but especially (scorebooks) in the 1960’s and 1980’s & early 2000’s please contact me through this website. A number of clubs have already done so and I thank those for letting me have this information.

If anyone else is thinking of doing something similar for their club can use any of the information on this site. Another good source of information is the old newspapers kept at the local studies library in Irongate Derby, and at Matlock, the staff who I must also thank for their assistance.