Dunfermline Cricket Club

Dunfermline Cricket Club as 1857

Sources date the foundation of Dunfermline Cricket Club as 1857. The club has, for most of its existence, played at its current ground to the south of the town. This was originally known as Ladysmill Park but was later renamed McKane Park after a wealthy benefactor, John McKane.

The club has played the majority of its first eleven league cricket in the former Scottish Counties Championship as Fifeshire.

The most successful phase in the history of the club was immediately prior to the Second World War when the County Championship was won six times out of seven seasons. The club was also founder members of the Scottish Cricket League in the 1990s and of the fully fledged Scottish National Cricket League.

The Club acquired the services of a number of fine professionals over the years including the Indian Test players Anshuman Gaekwad in 1982 and Ashok Malhotra in the 1990s.

More recently, 2001-07, Pakistani quick bowler and pinch hitter Waqas Ahmed; Aussie all-rounder player/coach Steven Fryer; South African one day and 20/20 player Colin Ingram in 2008; and South African all-rounder Alistair Gray was the Club’s professional in 2009 and 2010. Alistair made history by being the first player to score over 1000 in one season in the SNCL.

In 2009 the club won the SNCL Division 1 and in 2010 competed in the SNCL Premier League. In 2009 and 2011 the club reached the final of the Scottish Cup and were in the finals day of the National 20/20 at a very good period for the club.

In recent years the club was a little less successful and lost a number of players and this has led to it competing in the East of Scotland League from season 2012 onwards.

The second XI has also achieved some degree of success in recent times in both the Forth Cricket Union and the East of Scotland League.

The club also runs a colts section which has produced a lot of players who have played first team cricket over the past 40 years.

JOHN McKANE 1862 – 1911

John McKane, born at Kingskettle, Fife in 1862, was brought to Dunfermline as a child when his father was appointed police constable at Oakley, Fife. He finished his education at the High School and on leaving became an apprentice clerk at the Royal Bank, Dunfermline under Dr Rose.

On completion of his apprenticeship at the age of 22, John McKane made his first trip abroad when he applied for and was successful in obtaining a banking post in Canada. Being of an adventurous disposition, he was soon caught up in the gold and silver fever of the 1890’s and in 1896 decided to go prospecting for silver at Rossland in Canada. There he staked his claim and believing it to be successful, returned to Dunfermline in an effort to raise sufficient capital to finance the development.

He secured loans from various friends and associates in Dunfermline, floated a company and returned to Rossland to pursue his silver strike. Unfortunately, the venture failed and all the money was lost.

He then heard of the gold discoveries in Nevada and there joined the many prospectors, becoming owner of the first claim in the famous “Death Valley”. He obtained money to develop it from a Mr Schwabb, who was associated with Andrew Carnegie in the steel industry and was lucky to find gold ore on his claim. Within months John McKane became a very wealthy man and eventually became one of the “Gold Millionaires” of Nevada.

He returned to Dunfermline, repaid all his friends with interest and made various gifts to his home town.

On returning to Canada he acquired an interest in a timber track in British Columbia and was also an unsuccessful candidate for the Federal Parliament of Canada.

In 1906 he again visited Dunfermline, during which time he bought Ladysmill Park from Colonel John Hunt for £2,500 and presented it to Dunfermline Cricket Club. The ground was renamed McKane Park in his honour. The gift of the ground coincided with Dunfermline’s acceptance of the invitation to participate in the Scottish Counties Championship as Fifeshire. By chance the first County Match was against old rivals Perthshire on 19th May 1906.

His other gifts at this time included £500 to a University extension scheme, £250 towards the restoration of Culross Abbey and a sum of money to assist with renovations to Dunfermline Abbey.

John McKane became engaged to a wealthy American lady, but it was characteristic of him in that he made a vow not to marry until he was as wealthy as she, which was some months later. There were no children of the marriage. John McKane died in Oakland, California on Thursday, 22nd June 1911. News of his death was sent by Mrs McKane to his sister, Mrs Aitken, who resided at North Queensferry at that time. This coincided with the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary.