Whiston Sign Whiston Heritage Society
Rotherham, South Yorkshire

Sport in Whiston

Information about Sport

Like many towns and villages sport in Whiston has mainly concentrated upon team games – especially football and cricket – and this love of these games continues among young and old to this very day.

Football has been played in Whiston for many years. A report in the Advertiser mentions a game in 1889 when the North End played the South End – all the players were over 45 years old; some of them were up to 80 years young; plus the crowd watching was one of the largest ever seen at Whiston. The South End won 2-0. Another mention comes in c.1900 when a grand match between the Millers and Sweeps was held for a number of years. This is mentioned by Mrs. Kimber in her book about the village. This was played over a large area with countless numbers on each side – all suitably blackened or whitened and accompanied by musicians. Another early match took place in 1894 when the teams were named Oxford and Cambridge! Again the team members were at least 46 and fancy costumes were worn – there were twelve players on each side and the match was drawn. “Proper” teams emerged in C.20 and in 1915 it was reported that Whiston Monsters FC won the Treeton League without losing a game! Whiston Football Club is a much more recent founding – starting in 1956. They played on a field at the Top of Guiltlhwaite Hill. In 1957 it competed in the second division of the Rotherham Association League. It gained promotion to the first division in its first season and a second team was entered in the second division. When the Motorway was constructed their playing field was lost. A fairly recent addition has been the Whiston Wildcats – who run junior teams all ages in the local junior leagues with some success.

Cricket was also played from the late Victorian times. In 1882 the village cricket club laid down a pitch on the lower Church field. There is a report of an 1883 match between Rawmarsh and Whiston – Rawmarsh scored 88, while Whiston replied with just 48 – J.Armitage top scored with 13 n.o. Included in the team was Rev. T.Atkinson who scored nine. Whiston’s best bowler in this match was J.Wright who took eight wickets. There is report of another match when Whiston beat Catcliffe – scoring 64 to their 26. J. Wright was again the top bowler taking five wickets. In 1904 the Whiston Parish Institute Cricket Club was formed under the leadership of the Rev. J. Whitehead. Facilities were improved by the Rev. J.Allton and it was his enthusiasm that led to the building of a club room in 1929. The grand opening was attended by the Bishop of Sheffield and the Mayor, P.Bancroft Coward, J.P. The club continues to flourish to this day and in recent times has introduced junior teams as well. The Methodist Church Cricket Club also still exists – founded in the 1920s.

From time to time other sports too have featured in the life of the village:

Cycling – the Whiston Wheelers were founded in 1949 by PC Caswell and Fred Willis. Trips took place all over the place. Sadly the club did not last too long and on its closure a cup (The Whiston Cup) was purchased with the remaining money and this is held by the Rotherham Wheelers.
Tennis – at one time there were tennis courts near to the Methodist’s cricket pitch and at the top end of Damstead. It does not appear that there was a club in the village though some of the players are known – the Hardwicks and Bassindales and also Oliver Evans, the local schoolmaster.
Golf – a golf course was planned in 1914 but the war intervened and the Golf Club at Sitwell was to opened in October 1931. It is of course still going strong.
Country Sports – in the 30s and 40s it was not unknown for hunting to take place – often based at the Whiston Hall Farm when a local hunt would assemble to chase the foxes round the village area. When the hunt was not present then Mr.Clay and friends would go out and shoot the foxes. An existing photograph show the group with 5 foxes they had bagged.
Sailing – this takes place on Ulley reservoir. Once this had been downgraded (to a country park from a reservoir), a move was made to set up a sailing club and this was achieved when it was opened in 1973 by Lord Riverdale. It was feared all would come to an end when the future of the dam was threatened by the flooding, but with repairs completed sailing still takes place there. Perhaps the most famous sailor at the club was Paul Goodison a Brinsworth lad (but a Whiston scout) who went on to win top honours in both Olympic and World competitions.
Athletics – these featured in the early years with the establishment of the Whiston Feast Sports. The sports started in 1891 on the Ings Field – in the first running there were 35 events and over 400 entries – no wonder it took 6 hours to finish. Most of the running events were for boys or girls. They included the 100 yards, the quarter mile, the sack race, the obstacle race, the tug of war and a mile bicycle race. By 1894 new events were added – bowling at the wicket, kicking the football and wheelbarrow. These events certainly went on to the early C.20 but now sports days are limited to what the local schools might put on. Would-be athletes no doubt join the Rotherham harriers.