soon became apparent that despite the fact that playing in the SWLCA
was very enjoyable, there was a feeling within the club that they would
like to return "home" and play in one of the two Bolton cricket leagues.
So having established ourselves in the SWLCA, it was inevitable given
the club's history that we would turn to the BDCA first when thoughts of
a return developed.
The first contact with the BDCA was as far back as January 1968 when a
letter was sent saying that should a vacancy arise in the 1st Division
then we would be interested in filling the gap. That same year an under
18 team was entered in the BDCA, and a second letter followed in the
August. It was, however, to be a further six years before the club
finally got the answer it craved from the BDCA when a decision was made
to expand the 1st Division to 14 clubs, and, ourselves and Walshaw were
the successful applicants. It is probably fair to say that the decision
to add 2 teams was probably based on doubts over the future of 2
existing clubs, but these receded and the 14 (later 15) club league
The first game back proved to a bit of a damp squib as it was abandoned
with Farnworth Social Circle handily placed on 57-1 chasing 159, but the
season progressed steadily and we finished 10th with the 2nds finishing
in a creditable 5th place. The following season was also disappointing,
but the appointment of Roy Marland as pro in 1977 saw quite a change in
fortunes. We shot up the table to finish runners up (behind Little
Hulton) and also reached the final of the Cross Cup for the first time
ever. Once again we were bridesmaids, losing out to Clifton by 57 runs
at Walker Institute's now defunct ground. The 2nds too had a good season
finishing 3rd in the league and also narrowly losing to Atherton in the
final of the Halliwell Shield.
1978 saw another first as we entered the Lancashire Knock Out for the
first time, but after defeating Rochdale Catholic Club in the 1st round
St Mary's Old Boys of Crosby knocked us out (they also had replaced us
in the SWLCA ironically). The 2nd XI kept the flag flying though by
finishing runners up in the league.
In 1979 the club's name changed to British Aerospace, but the year
proved traumatic both on and off the field. The 1st XI had to play away
all season because of ground problems (detailed more fully in a separate
article). Roy Marland announced he was leaving at the end of the
season, and long standing member Joe Swarbrick died.
A couple of relatively quiet years followed before finally in 1981 the
first trophy since rejoining the BDCA was secured. The 2nd XI reached
the final of the Halliwell Shield again, and this time, skippered by
Bill Ackers chased down a target of 182 set by St Andrews to win by 5
wickets. This sparked a run of success by the 2nd XI which was to see
the league title collected in three successive years 1985-87, and a
further 3 Halliwell Shield wins in 1982, 1985 and 1988. Unfortunately,
although the Gledhill Cup (for aggregate results in 1st & 2nd XI)
was won on 3 occasions in the 80's, all that the 1st XI had to show for
their efforts was another runners up spot in 1984, another Cross Cup
final defeat - this time at the hands of Little Hulton who emerged
comfortable winners in 1987, and a defeat in the final of the new Vimto
Trophy in 1989 by St Andrews.
1st XI success though was just around the corner, and finally, in 1990
it came in the shape of the Vimto Trophy with an 82 run win over
Blackrod in the final. Even better was to follow in 1991 with our first
and only win in the Cross Cup final. Low scoring games against Golborne
and Walshaw (dismissed for 79 & 88 respectively) saw us through to a
semi final against Atherton where a fine effort chased down the hosts'
total of 174-6 and a 5 wicket win. Once again we faced our neighbours
Blackrod in the final, and again we came out on top - this time by a
margin of 46 runs having made 191 in our alloted overs.
Thereafter, however, the cupboard has remained bare and we have enjoyed
(endured?) many ups and downs as we approached 50 years membership of
the BDCA (2014 will now be our 56th season). Since 1991 when we finished
3rd, the 1st XI has rarely finished in the top half of the table -
indeed if we are truthful, just once in 1995 when we finished 7th, and,
aside from a couple of semi final appearances have rarely threatened to
win the Cross Cup again. The 2nd XI have fared little better with 3 top 5
finishes in the intervening years (all in the late 90's) and just one
semi final to show for their efforts.
the continuing uncertainty over the future of the ground on Lostock
Lane which by now had been sold to developers, and to be fair the very
future of the club, came to a dramatic conclusion in early 2005 with the
decision by the BDCA to suspend the senior sides until the future of
the ground was sorted out. The impact of the sale of the ground and now
this decision was traumatic to say the least, but the committee vowed to
fight on, and fight on we did.