Ibstock is situated in the North West of Leicestershire, on the extreme edge of the former small Leicestershire coalfield, some 12 miles from Leicester. An ancient village, mentioned in the Doomsday Book - the affix stock suggests a Danish settlement.
The village grew as deep mining expanded in the area in the late 19th Century. At its peak in the 1930's the population reached 6000. Whilst the small colliery at Ibstock closed in 1929, mining remained a key source of employment in the area until the final pit closed in 1991.
As with many mining communities sporting activities were an integral part of community development. Whilst the date of the original formation of Ibstock Town Cricket Club is uncertain, organised cricket within the village was well established in the early years of this century and in 1909 the club won the major local challenge cup and were champions of the district league.
Despite the formation of another cricket club within the village in the 1920's and the harsh economic conditions of the late 20's and early 30's - (the closure of the village colliery in 1929, placed 1000 men out of work) the club survived and became recognised as a strong side within Leicestershire cricket and by 1938 an Ibstock Town player was in the Leicestershire 1st XI.
Throughout this period the club had use of an adequate field - behind a local public house! - but wartime needs for crops caused the field to be ploughed and post war housing requirements made the land desirable as a council estate. Consequently in 1953 the club moved to its present site - initially nothing more than a large paddock- rented from a local businessman.
How appropriate that this move should occur in Coronation year- described nationally at the time as the dawn of the new Elizabethan era. The committee worked hard bringing the ground up to the necessary standard, with much leveling of the square and outfield. Assistance also came from the War Agricultural Committee.
By the late 1950's/early 60's the club had established itself as the No.1 side in North Leicestershire. The first XI winning Division 1 League titles in a number of successive years and also local cup competitions - and a strong 2nd XI making its way up the divisions. This despite the other village club merging with a newly formed club based at the newly developer Miner's Welfare - including a custom built ground.
A Major Step Forward
Alongside this healthy competition the committee took the vital step in 1964 of buying the ground from the landlord, (prompted also by the field having been damaged by the local fun fair). Much needed support was received from the National Playing Fields Association and Lords Taverners.
The formation of an U 18 side in the mid 1960's created a base for progression within the club. This continuity subsequently led to the desire for further improvements and vitally plans formulated and fund raising commenced to enable a new brick pavilion to be constructed and was opened in 1979.
This facility generated a social aspect which could now be extended to a wider part of the community and the facilities progressively increased. The original changing rooms were converted to a second lounge and an upper storey extension constructed to provide new- changing facilities.
During this period numerous junior sides were maintained, however the constantly changing structure of the local / county approach gave little impetus. Despite this the development of locally produced talent remained a high priority. The unfortunate demise of the neighboring Miners Welfare side also made the club the focal point for attracting local youngsters.
The Last Fifteen Years
Having established excellent off the field facilities attentions turned to the playing surfaces. A major programme of improvement took place on the square to produce a wicket of high standard. The outfield was also completely relevelled and resurfaced over the close season in 1988 by professionals. Latterly in 1994 the club was also able to purchase a narrow strip of land from the adjoining school so that a moddest increase in one side of the outfield could be achieved. Another adjacent parcel behind the pavilion had also become available a number of years earlier to enable a much
needed extension to be made to the car park.
Whilst these additions and improvements were being made progress was also being seen in the standard of cricket the club was participating in. The principal league in Leicestershire had certain plaving standards which by 1987 Ibstock Town were able to
comply with and entry was granted into Div.3 for 1st XL and Div.6 for 2nd XL.
Progress was such that the 1st XL were in Div. 1 by 1992 becoming for the first in 1995 League Champions. The 2nd XL also progressed to highest possible level of Div.4 Champions in 1993. Both sides have won the 1st and 2nd Cup competitions twice.
With the Leicestershire County Cricket Club wanting to establish a Premier League within the county in 1997 'to include clubs who currently play some matches outside the county) Ibstock Town have received an invitation to be inaugural members – an offer keenly accepted.
To provide further playing opportunities to the growing number of players we entered a midweek league in 1994. Also importantly the junior structure has taken major strides over the last two years. Joining the new county structure at the outset the
club now run Kwik Cricket and Under 13 sides with the addition of Under 15. Many county representative matches at junior level have taken place at our ground over the last few years.
Ibstock Town Cricket Club has come a long way over the 20th century and is now looking towards to the next exciting phase of its development.