Our History

At the beginning of the 20th century, cricket was a popular pastime in Dunfermline.

The Dunfermline Cricket Club was well established, taking on the mantle of Fifeshire for certain games, and they played in front of large crowds at what is now known as McKane Park. Games were also common at local and factory level, with teams such as Pilmuir, St Leonard’s, Albany, Brucefield, YMCA, Ashburn, Victoria Works, Elgin Works and Inglis & Co playing at Grange Park, Baldridge, Ladysmill and the Public Park.

Dunfermline College of Physical Education and Hygiene was founded in 1905 by the Trustees of the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, with the support of Dr Tuke, an esteemed local medic, and Andrew Carnegie himself. It was located in Pilmuir Street, next to what is now the Sports Centre, and for many years was Scotland’s only PE College. Initially it was only for “young ladies”, but a 1908 memo from the Scottish Education Department pointed out that it was not military drill that was required in schools, but “physiological exercise.” This resulted in the admission of gentlemen.

The College expanded rapidly, and interest in games increased greatly when, in July 1909, the Carnegie Trust converted Venturefair Park to playing fields for the use of the College and the people of Dunfermline. The playing fields were further up Pilmuir Street, between Broomfield Drive and Venturefair Avenue, and this was to be home to Dunfermline Carnegie CC until 1950.

Masters of consistency

The Early Years…

The Dunfermline Press of 02/08/09 reports the result of a match played at Venturefair between the college Physical Training Class (104 for 8) and the Woodworkers Class (21 all out) which is probably the first match for what was to become DCCC. In 1910 there were games involving teams described variously as the College/ PT class/ Venturefair XI against some of the established local teams.

 

A report of the spring meeting of Dunfermline Cricket Club in the Press of 15/04/11 states that the chairman “called attention to the new club which is to play this season at Venturefair Park, pointing out that that organisation was not intended to be in opposition to any of the local clubs, but was to be a training ground for the Dunfermline club.”

The following week’s Press featured an article on the new club. It stated that “The team will be mainly composed of players from the former Dunfermline & District League which, owing to a lack of ground facilities, has been non-existent for some time. Having arranged an attractive fixture card, the members are hopeful of having a successful season. They will be coached and assisted by Mr W. R. Gregson, the team playing on the Trust recreation ground at Venturefair. The following team will meet Grangemouth in the opening match at Venturefair Park: AW McKenzie (capt.) JV Marshall, T Niven, D Martin, H Irvine, W Small, G Currie, WR Gregson, GCS Russell, RS Hutchinson, A Callum.” Gregson, who may have been the PT master at the College, was the club professional who was a mainstay of the Carnegie for the next ten years.

The match report the following week was very positive. “The birth of anything new is always welcome, providing it is good for the community in general. No-one could possibly look on the practical start of the new club at Venturefair on Saturday last without a feeling of satisfaction. A fine lot of fellows have been got together, who by practices during the week and matches on Saturday afternoons look to the game to provide them with healthy recreation and good fellowship.” The match ended in a draw, Grangemouth being dismissed for 100, with Carnegie closing on 87 for 8. A McKenzie scored 52.

The remainder of the seasons saw games with clubs from Fife and Edinburgh, including Dunnikier, Brunswick, Leith Franklin, Falkland and Cupar. At the end of the season the following summary was published in the Dunfermline Press-

“The Carnegie Gymnasium CC, who wound up their season by a good victory over Cupar, have every reason to congratulate themselves on this their first season. They have at the same time justified themselves in the best of company. The fixture list, which was rather restricted, did not give the players sufficient match practice, which is most necessary. However this will be rectified another season, and, with a full list, there is no reason why the players who have done so well this season should not greatly enhance their reputation. The team, which boasts no stars, are a good level lot, and almost everybody has at one time and another showed his ability to get runs. Irvine and Callum have shown themselves to be real good bowlers. Martin, behind the wickets, deserves special mention for his good work, which has been consistent all season. If keenness, combined with practice, are the keynote to success the future of the club is assured.”

1912 saw a record of 6 wins, 4 draws and 4 losses, including victories over Leith Franklin, Linlithgow, and Murrayfield and a loss to Carlton. In 1913 a 2nd team played against Kelty, while a holiday tour was organised to Selkirk, St Boswell’s and Gala. The season ended with a convincing win at Kirkcaldy against a team who had themselves beaten Dunfermline’s “premier” team at McKane Park the previous week. At the end of the season the Press said that “Carnegie are to be heartily congratulated on a successful season, and now have surely made good their claim to play in the best of company.” Another newspaper cutting said that “Judging from results, Dunfermline Carnegie are likely to become very formidable rivals to the old Dunfermline club. Perhaps one of these days they will decide to run a Fifeshire team of their own!”

Dark Days

The first scheduled game in 1915 was cancelled as Grange could not raise a team. The remainder of the season was largely made up of games against army and navy selects from units stationed in the area. There was said to be little desire for competitive cricket, but a wish to keep in practice. Several members had enlisted, so players were often drawn from smaller local clubs and school teams. During 1916 several games were played as WR Gregson’s XI, while there are no reports of games in 1917 or 1918.

A trial match was held at Venturefair at the start of the 1919 season. An announcement in the Press claimed it was “the duty of the old members not to desert the club, but to show interest and enthusiasm, and help to bring it back to what it was before the advent of war. Gray, McGregor, Martin, Smith, Marshall, Bremner, Malcolm and Small will take some replacing”. There certainly was enthusiasm for the game, and spectators starved of cricket for four years flocked to games that year. A crowd of “hundreds” watched Carnegie play HMS Crescent at Venturefair.

The Press of 08/05/20 reported on the loss of a close game against Grange at Raeburn Place, and went on that “It may be interesting to state that this will be the last match played by the Carnegie Club, owing to circumstances for which they are not responsible.” No further details are given, but on 22/05 Carnegie are reported to have lost to Stewartonians at Inverleith.

A group of enthusiastic youths played in 1921, but as they were still playing for the High School, they often could not travel to away fixtures. This was further complicated by a coal strike which led to transport problems, and so several ad hoc fixtures with local sides instead of the scheduled list. Ian Blelloch is noted to have moved to Dunfermline CC, for whom he made a significant contribution in later years. There was a momentous occasion at the end of May when “For the purposes of bidding goodbye to Mr WR Gregson, who leaves Dunfermline for a new post in England on Monday, present and former members of the Carnegie Cricket Club met at tea in the pavilion at Venturefair Park on Monday evening. On behalf of the company and other well-wishers Mr George Moultrie, secretary of the club, asked Mr Gregson’s acceptance of a handsome dressing case and fountain pen. Suitable acknowledgement was made of Mr Gregson’s valuable service in the cricket sphere in Dunfermline by Mr Moultrie, Mr RT Russell, Mr A Murray-Watson and Mr Thomas Milne” Gregson played his last game for the club against Kelty, finishing with 9 runs and 3 wickets for 25 in a heavy loss.

By 1924 a 2nd XI had regular fixtures including Rosyth Baptists, Ramage and Ferguson, St Andrew’s & St George (Rosyth) and Central Wesleyans. At this time the 1st XI’s list included Leith Franklin, Dunnikier, Kelty, Burntisland, Kennoway, Leith Albion, Freuchie, St John’s(Alloa), East Stirling and Carlton. 1925 saw the club winning more games than they were losing. DH Hanlon was opening the batting successfully, while W Arnott was picking up wickets. The Stormonth brothers both played for Fifeshire, and things were starting to look up.

The General Strike of 1926 caused problems off the pitch, while on it, Carnegie were dismissed for 24 runs at Kelty, while at Burntisland Shipyard, Carnegie could only muster 19 runs in reply to the host’s total of 22 all out!

Things looking up in the Depression

 1928 saw Hanlon score 129 runs in a total of 178/7 against Murrayfield (the next score was 19) while Jack Baird scored 100no out of 232/6 against Leith Albion who managed just 69 in reply. New fixtures in 1930 were Boroughmuir and Gala Red Triangle, against whom Baird scored another unbeaten ton. The 2nd XI lost at Townhill in May, but dismissed them for 22 later in the season, only to be all out themselves for 14!

Cricket was thriving in Dunfermline in the early 30’s. Dunfermline CC were entering one of the most successful periods in their history and fielding several internationalists, while there were several “junior” clubs playing locally. In 1931 Carnegie 2nd XI took part in the Dunfermline and District Cricket League which included YMCA, Crombie, Royal British Legion, Dunfermline Corporation, Postal, Saline and Carnegie Trust Employees, though they had to withdraw towards the end of the season due to a backlog of fixtures caused by the poor weather. New fixtures included Watsonians, Bridge of Allan and Cartha, while Baird played several times for Fifeshire.

Success continued throughout the 30’s. Baird maintained his position as a strong batsman, with plenty of support, while J Montgomery emerged as a bowling force, as wellas scoring useful runs. In 1935 he took 61 wickets from 200 overs, at an average of 8.55, in 16 matches.This included 9 for 23 against Kinross, and 5 wickets in the final over of the game to force a tie against Burntisland!

The Dunfermline & District League was abandoned in 1934 as there were difficulties in finding pitches for all the games. However 1938 saw the commencement of a Fife League. This involved games of 20 x 8 ball overs for each side, and was divided into two sections – East and West- with the two section winners to play off for the title. A “Carnegie XI” was fielded in this competition, and played against Dunfermline 2nds, Postal, Dunfermline Corporation, Metal Industries (Rosyth), Saline and Caldwells. The club resigned from the league for the following season in order to follow their own fixtures on a wider field. They went unbeaten until mid-July, when they managed to be all out to Freuchie for just 12 runs. This appears to have been the only defeat of the season against clubs from Fife, Edinburgh and Perthshire. Reports dried up at the end of August as the country once more slipped into war.

World War 2

While Dunfermline CC suspended games for the duration of the war, Carnegie continued with a restricted programme, running one team augmented by local enthusiasts and those “passing through” on service, including some Scottish internationalists such as W Anderson, D Brown (both Dunfermline), RS Hodge and AR McLeod, as well as T Preece of Glamorgan.

Fixtures were largely restricted to local teams such as Cowdenbeath, Clacks, MTE Rosyth and Nairn’s (Kirkcaldy) as well as games against various army, navy and RAF XIs. Thanks to the “guests”, Carnegie’s record was good over this period. One notable victory was against Heriot’s at Goldenacre in1943, in a match graced by the presence of Maj. WH Garland-Wells, the “star” Oxford University and Surrey batsman, in the Carnegie line-up. He was out for 0.

Later in 1943 the Press reported that “a burlesque match will take place at Venturefair between a team of nurses from Dunfermline & West Fife Hospital and Carnegie. Spectators will be assured of some funny cricket and fancy dresses.” (Some things never change.)

Cricket returned to something like normality in 1945. Carnegie’s elected captain, NF Donald, returned to play for the Dunfermline club. Over the next few years, Carnegie’s record was strong, but not outstanding. J Craig, a captain of the club, became a regular in the Fifeshire team. JF Montgomery, a stalwart of the club from before the war, topped the Scottish bowling averages in 1949 with an average of 5.00, while the name of D Bain started appearing regularly in the club’s reports.

During the 1950’s

Cricket reports in the Press became rare. 1953 saw Carnegie win 9 of 18 games, only losing 1, and tying with Boroughmuir. Things seemed to be similar for the next few years, with a decent playing record though nothing spectacular. Fixtures were generally stable, with many fixtures against other Fife clubs, including Freuchie and Falkland, and some trips to Perthshire and Edinburgh.

In those days, the club was run by Andrew Watson, a well-known figure in Dunfermline’s sporting history. There are no reports of a celebration for the Club’s half-century in 1959.

The 1960’s saw regular fixtures with local rivals Dunfermline 2ndXI, Crosshill, Townhill, Stratheden, Glenrothes and Dunnikier, further fixtures in Perth as well as London Road, Musselburgh, Holy Cross, Castings (Falkirk) and ICI Grangemouth across the Forth. Allan Glen’s (Glasgow) and Kingsway (Dundee) were also regular fixtures, and they were to reappear much more recently. Success was variable, with difficulties putting out two teams at some times, and too many players at others. There was a steady stream of players coming from the local High Schools, while the demise of Rosyth C.C. also brought some new players. Problems were experienced with the state of the pitch at Pitreavie in the late 60’s, and it took strong representations to Fife County Council to get it brought up to a reasonable standard.

During this decade the Club saw the transition from the older established players such as M/s Blyth ,Oram, Crow and Pain to name but a few to a younger group of players joining as schoolboys. This group of youngsters including M/s Gow, Gray, Drummond, Renny, Stan and Dave Welsh, Scott, McIlree, Douglas, Potter et al supplemented by a core of experience such as M/s Bain, Chapman, Redford, Merrilees, Hempseed and Paton went on to mature and contribute greatly to the success of the club through the 60s , 70s.and 80s. The successful 2nd X1 was captained by Ron Smithard who, in addition to his on field work, made a significant contribution to all aspects of the club, none more so than ensuring that players fingernails and toenails were immaculately groomed. Woe betide any player who failed pre match inspection!.

The advent of Leagues

A Fife League was started once more in the mid-60’s, though Carnegie moved to the Midland League in 1967. This lasted for a couple of years until members felt they would get a better standard of cricket in the proposed Forth Cricket Union, which started in 1970, and was duly won by Carnegie. This marked the beginning of a successful period with the first Fife Knockout Cup being won in 1971, beating a (perhaps over-confident) Dunfermline XI in the final. The enthusiasm led to the club celebrating its “Jubilee”, only a couple of years late, with a dinner at the City Hotel in September 1971.

Success continued in the Forth Union, with Carnegie rarely being outside the top three, and winning for three years in a row in 1979, 80 and 81. By this time the East of Scotland Cricket Association was well established, though many of the fixtures were with well-known clubs. The Carnegie 2nd XI also joined the East “Grades” set up in 1978.

The good results of the late 70’s led on to winning Division 3 in 1983, and a season in the heights of ESCA Division 2. However the loss of a couple of vital players meant this was a step too far, and the club suffered some heavy defeats amongst some memorable experiences.

The 80th anniversary dinner was held in February 1989, again at the City Hotel. By this time Carnegie were in ESCA Division 4, following a reorganisation to increase the number of league teams. The 2nd XI were then to be found bouncing between Grades C and D.

Members were shocked in 1992 by the death of DWD (Dougie) Bain. He had been “Mr Carnegie” for many years, playing for over forty years and taking hundreds of wickets, as well as acting as secretary for many years. Dougie left the club a generous bequest, which has served well as a “Development Fund”.

1994 saw a group of young players come to the fore, supported by several experienced members and a handful of newcomers, and Carnegie won Division 4 convincingly following a sting of excellent results. The 2nds finished in the top half of Grade C, and the club was doing well. However things started to slide again. In 1995 Carnegie suffered the ignominy of providing the 10 wickets to fall to Frank Riddoch of Westquarter in a league match on a good Pitreavie pitch. Division 3 became Division 2 in 1996, following the formation of the SNCL.

By this time the club had lost several experienced players and some of the promising youngsters for a variety of reasons. The scaling down of naval and RAF activities locally had cut off a source of recruits, while the effect of the lack of cricket in local schools was starting to be felt, with few youngsters joining. In 1997 only one win was recorded in Division 2, resulting in relegation, while the 2nds were forced to withdraw from Grade D due to a lack of players. The season ended up with a fighting win in the last game against Trinity, and there was a memorable 130 from Les Harper against Haddington.

The 2nds reformed in Grade F in1998 thanks to a small influx of new members, and the 1st XI started to play some decent cricket. 1999 saw Carnegie win Division 3 following an excellent season, which meant they were “promoted” to the new Division 4 following the re-organisation of the leagues to integrate the Grades. The 2nd XI became part of Division 9.

Andy Brown 8-3 v Meadowbank, not due to the Meadows pitch!

Into the New Millenium

2000 saw the opening of the Carnegie’s new scoreboard, funded from Dougie Bain’s Development Fund, along with grants from the Council and Carnegie Trust. This made Pitreavie feel more like a cricket ground, as well as providing somewhere to dump the kit and shelter from the wind.

On the pitch, the season started in incredible style, with 5 straight league wins and progress in the national Small Clubs Cup. This led to the club being made runners-up to Prestwick for the SCU’s team of the month for May. This run included returns of 7 wickets for 8 runs by Andy Brown v Marchmont 2s, and 85 runs and 5 wickets for 0 runs by Neil Harris v Stirling 2s. Brown went on to take 8 wickets for 3 runs against Meadowbank, and was subsequently selected for Scotland at under 19 level, believed to be the only representative honours for a Carnegie player. Groundsman Jim Robertson was runner-up in the SCU “Groundsman of the Year” competition, reflecting the high standard of the Pitreavie wicket. Victories over opponents from the 60’s Allan Glen’s and Kingsway helped the club to the quarter finals of the Small Clubs Cup where a surprisingly strong Monklands team scored a convincing win (before they were disqualified after the semi-final for fielding ineligible players!). An amazing season petered out with a few disappointing results towards the end meaning that Carnegie finished 2nd to Boroughmuir and were promoted to Division 3.

It was back to normal in 2001, with excellent cricket resulting in the Division 3 title being won, gaining revenge on Boroughmuir who finished 2nd. However as had happened before, several players left the club, so that by 2002 Carnegie struggled in Division 2, and came straight back down to Division 3, and in 2004 finished bottom of this division, so ending back in Division 4. The fledgling 2nd XI had shrivelled due to lack of players, so that it withdrew from the league in 2003.

2006 saw a rejuvenation, and the Division 4 title, but this was short-lived, with relegation in 2007 putting Carnegie back in Division 4, somewhere they have been for much of the 40 years of league cricket!

Written by Alan Timmins (1994-2006)

Additional contributions from Jack Anderson (1948-1958), Allan Potter (1968-1995), Matt Lafferty (1993-present)