The earliest record of cricket at Atherton was in 1872 when, rather significantly, the club was known as Atherton Cricket Club - just as it is now. However, in the early 1900's its name changed to Howe Bridge Cricket Club. The Club's benefactors at the time were the pit-owning Fletcher family. Following nationalization of the collieries, the club became part of the Atherton Collieries Joint Welfare Association (A.C.J.W.A.) and took the name Atherton Collieries. The wheel of history, however, turned a full circle in 1965 when "Collieries" was dropped from the title and the club returned to its original name.
The club's first ground was off Lovers Lane on land known as "The Old Chain", and the first century for the club was scored by former president , Tom Boardman, against Whittlebrook in 1926. Following the end of the First World War in 1919, an old army hut was acquired and converted into a pavilion , used until the present pavilion was opened in 1974 by Farokh Engineer.
Originally, only friendly matches were played, (a match against Westhoughton was reported in the Sporting Life in 1886 for example), before the club joined the South Lancashire League in 1920. A year later it joined the Bolton Association and "Carbon", the magazine of A.C.J.W., records that the club had joined the Association in the hope that the players would inspire the cricket loving members of A.C.J.W. more than they had in the past. A professional was first employed in 1921, Harry Tyldesley of Lancashire, a listing of all overseas and professional players can be found under that heading on the website.
Atherton are proud to have many long-serving players in the Bolton and District Association from Bill Higham, Tom Boardman, Jimmy Greenhalgh, Charlie Carr, Harry Gilman, Ernie Webster, Philip Griffiths, Sammy Collier, Terry Halliwell, Ray Clough, Derek Bannister, Harry Berry, Roy Evans , and more recently Steve Walsh, Stephen Grimshaw, Phil West and current Lancashire batsman Karl Brown.
As with players, Atherton boasts long serving committee members including current secretary John Charlson, who has in excess of 50 years service in this position as well as currently holding the Presidency of the Bolton & District Cricket Association following a long period as Chairman. Our current Chairman and Groundsman, Philip Tomlinson is closing in on 50 years at the club, whilst President Geoff Swift completes 40 years association in 2013. Ex-President Reg Sidlow , who sadly passed away last year (2012), contributed over 40 years to the club and Chris "my mate" Keegan has served as scorer, player, committee man and groundsman totalling the best part of 40 years.
This year, 2013, has seen an excellent addition to the club with the large patio area being laid during May and with the addition of raised flower beds and several continental style tables and chairs an extremely pleasant seating area which has enhanced the outside of the club. Fine weather is eagerly awaited to allow the members to make full use of this facility. This year has also provided the club with its first Cross Cup and League Championship double, a season which also saw the seconds reach their third successive Isherwood Cup final and retake the trophy. Fine all round performances from overseas players Jamar Griffith and James Damjanovski backed up by solid performances from the local boys ended with Paul Walsh's side lifting the Championship trophy for only the third time in the club's history.
Yhe 2014 season saw the arrival of an 18 year old Barbadian, Rashon Primus, to join his fellow countryman Jamar Griffith. Despite league rule changes placing restritions on bowlers total oners a creditable second place was achieved in the league and a win in the inaugural Readers 4040 competition was a reasonable return from the season.
2015 saw a grant from Viridor funding the purchase of roll on roll off covers, an electronic scoreboard and a bowling machine. All of these will enhance the facilities at the club alomg with the building of a new scoring position to house equipment and an umpires room. Once again rule changes retricting overseas players being restricted to one per club may well have an influence on the outcome of yhe season, and the retention of Jamar for a further season may prove vital. All of this is continuing against an uncertain future with a Greater Manchester Pyramid League in the offing and much in-fighting to establish the format and make up that this entails. With deep regret the B&DCA will not exist after this season resulting in Atherton joining a new amalgamated Bolton league with all its inherent issues to overcome but hopefully common sense will prevail.