History (Source: The North’s Cricket Century by Patrick W. Scott)
Northern Counties Cricket Club was established in 1865 – a year after a group called “The Northern Meeting” had built the park – and has survived the many years due to its ability to adapt to the changing environment.
Although organised cricket is reported as having been played in Inverness as early as the 1840s, the first club in the Highland capital, Northern Counties Cricket Club did not form until 26 August 1864. The club began at a meeting at the Inverness Town House presided over by the episcopal Bishop of Moray and Ross, the Rt. Rev. Robert Eden. The club’s first ever match took place the following summer against Nairn.
Northern Counties were founder members of the North of Scotland Cricket Association in 1893 and promptly won the league for the first three years before claiming it for a fourth time in 1897. The league title won in 2004 was Counties’ 20th (including three joint titles). Only Huntly Cricket Club has won the title on more occasions. Northern Counties have also won the Knock Out cup 15 times, including a run of five trophies from 1947-51. In 1950 Counties completed a unique clean sweep, winning the senior league, the reserve league, the Knock Out cup and the reserve Knock Out cup.
The club plays its home matches at the Northern Meeting Park in Inverness. The ground is situated in the heart of the city’s cultural quarter, flanked by St. Andrew’s Cathedral, the Eden Court Theatre and the Highland Council’s Glenurquhart Road headquarters building. The Meeting Park has played host to a number of touring sides over the years including Dr W G Grace’s XI, an all Indian XI (which included three maharajas), Leicestershire, Kent, Learie Constantine’s XI and an Australian Forces XI.
The ground has a perimeter wall on all sides, painted white at one end to act as a sight screen. A variety of tall trees punctuate the boundary and, although in need of refurbishment, the grandstand at the Ardross Street end can still hold up to 800 spectators. Indeed, a 1911 league decider between Elgin and Nairn at the ‘neutral’ Meeting Park attracted well over 3,000 spectators and a special train was laid on to bring supporters along the coast to attend the match. Elgin scored 227-8 to win by 59 runs.
Arguably Northern Counties’ most celebrated player is John R. Braid who, whilst playing for a North of Scotland XI against the touring Australians in 1934, took the wicket of the legendary Don Bradman for only 2 runs. Although they won the match comfortably, Australia were bowled out for 134 runs, their second lowest total of their British tour – the lowest score being 118 in the second test against England.
Sir Donald Bradman
The most successful batsman in the history of the club is W.J.Dishington who won the NoSCA batting averages 8 times between 1977 and 1989. His 1989 batting average of 113.75 remains a record for the Association. The club’s highest ever score is 170 by Angus Gunn in 1990.
The outfield is kept by the Highland Council, but the wicket is prepared by James ‘Mr Northern Counties’ Lean and Mike Evans (2nd XI captain), who put endless hours into preparing the track.
Today, “Counties” is a warm. friendly club who welcome new members of all shapes, sizes and abilities.
Our diversity is our strength and is what unites us on and off the pitch. The club competes in the North of Scotland Cricket Association competitions.
Situated in the shadow of Inverness Cathedral and a cricket balls throw from the River Ness’ West bank, “Counties” home ground – The Northern Meeting Park – is an historic gem within an easy stroll, along the river, of the city centre. It’s a great place for a picnic (weather permitting) or just a sit and relax in the 800 seater stand.
We love where we play and think you will too.