While the first recorded match played by Clackmannan County Cricket Club was against Stirling County in 1868, the Alloa Cricket Club, from which it originated, had been in existence for at least five years previously. The Alloa Club’s fixture list contained friendly matches against Oriental Club of Stirling (the Club’s first recorded match), Dollar, Tulliallan and Falkirk; and they played their matches in the Claremont area of the town.
Finding a suitable location for aspiring cricketers at that time was a major problem but this was eased when the Earl of Mar and Kellie gave the Club permission to play on the lawn in front of Alloa House (now demolished) and to use part of the Alloa Tower as a clubhouse. The acquisition of this ground proved to be the stimulus for local clubs to get together and to form the Clackmannan County Cricket Club and the Clackmannan County Xl, made up of the best players from all the clubs in the County, played their first game, a “local derby”, against Stirling County at Livilands, Stirling, on 22 July 1868. By 1872, the Club had two XIs, the County Xl and the Alloa Xl, and the years until 1879 saw a steady development of the Club and an expansion of its fixture list to include matches against such as Aberdeenshire, Arbroath, Carlton and West of Scotland. Apparently spectators turned up in force for matches played at Alloa House in the Earl’s estate.
However, the Club, for reasons which are not clear, went into abeyance in 1879 although cricket in Clackmannanshire continued to flourish around this time and a number of new clubs were formed - at least two in Alloa, two in Tullibody, and one each in Tillicoultry and Alva. The Alloa West End Public Park was opened in 1878 and the Alloa Advertiser reported in the Summer of 1878: “To give an example of the way in which our Public Park is taken advantage of, we may mention that about a dozen and a half cricket clubs were engaged in their favourite pastime on Saturday afternoon last. This may be very enjoyable for the young people, but, with a dozen and a half cricket balls flying about, a walk around the green sward may not be altogether agreeable, not to say dangerous, to a pedestrian." A dozen and a half cricket clubs, changed days indeed!
The County club was reconstituted in 1887 and, after a short spell occupying a ground at Bellevue (near the site of the former Harland’s/ Weir Pumps factory, a move was made to the Club’s present ground at The Arns. The pavilion, which was refurbished and incorporated into a new enlarged pavilion in 1962 (and is the more attractive part of the current building), was brought from Laurel Hill in Stirling.
In 1902, the Scottish Counties Championship was established and Clackmannan County was admitted to membership in 1905 The Counties Championship was arguably the strongest league in Scotland until its demise at the end of 1995 when a new structure in Scottish Cricket, which led to the formation of the Scottish National Cricket League (SNCL) and its associated Feeder Leagues, was set up. Unfortunately, a poor season in 1997, when clubs were playing for places in the SNCL resulted in Clackmannan County being placed in Division 1 of the East of Scotland League where they remain at present. Clackmannan County won the Scottish Counties, Championship in 1924 and 1960 and were runners-up in 1922, 1925 and 1961. The Club has produced a number of outstanding cricketers, nine having gone on to play for Scotland at Full International level.
Thanks to Alex Ritchie for the potted history and thanks to Bob Ramsay for the written guide to Clackmannan County's history.