A history lesson on one of the longest-running Rounders leagues in the country, St Helens! Read on to find out how Rounders was put on hold in order to grow vegetables for the war effort, how the league was inaugurated by a gentleman from British Rail and how the 2018 season is gearing up.
By Fred Crawford, Pilkington Rounders Club
In 1847, the Pilkington Recreation Club was established with St. Helens Recs Cricket Club, to provide the glass company employees with something to do on the weekends. The recreation club supported numerous sporting activities from non-field sports/leisure activities such as model engineering, snooker and chess to field sports such as soccer, rugby, netball and of course Rounders!
In 1902, the club moved to the extensive sports grounds at Ruskin Drive. There’s report of Rounders activities and results in the 1920’s Pilkington Cullet News (the monthly employees’ magazine) which suggest that there was also a local league. It is presumed that activities carried on into the 1930’s but as World War II came about, it is recorded that much of the extensive sports grounds at Ruskin Drive were used to grow vegetables for the war effort.
Skip forward a few decades to 1954 and a Pilkington Team had won the St Helens League! I started playing Rounders in 1976 when I was asked to join a newly formed team in the Rounders Club. At some time along the line, I learned that the league had been inaugurated in 1953 when a gentleman at British Rail had rung around businesses in St. Helens to assess the interest in forming a Rounders league. This took off and the rest they say, is history.
Since 1953 there have been 45+ teams! As one of the longest-running Rounders leagues in the country, St Helens have a proud tradition of playing Rounders, even boasting three generations of females playing together at one time. The league is now gearing up for an exciting 2018 season. The ladies league play outdoors on a weekly basis.
If you would like to get involved or want to find out more please email Fred Crawford at [email protected].