Photo Credit: Cricket Scotland
On the eve of the new domestic competitive cricket season, a famous Fife club kicks off its 40th anniversary celebrations on Friday night.
Members and friends of Largo CC will be present at the Pratis Barns venue for a dinner, dance and night of reminiscing and catching up as well looking ahead to a bright future at the Strathmore & Perthshire Cricket Union club.
A signed Ian Botham shirt is the star prize in the auction during the event, which current Club President Alastair Duncan thinks will be a special occasion.
“My dad was one of the founding members of the club in its current guise back in 1983,” Duncan explained.
“The group started off by having a conversation in the Railway Inn in Lower Largo – a local hostelry that club members still frequent after matches from time to time – about potentially getting cricket going locally and it seemed to go from there.
“There had been a cricket club in Largo post-World War II into the early 1950s before it folded, so the group were keen to resurrect things and Peter Norton stuck notices up around the local area to gauge interest.
“For the first few years the club had a fairly nomadic existence, but then permission was granted by Fife Council to lay a square at East Drive in Upper Largo and, since 1986, the club have played at that venue.
“To officially open the ground back then, Freuchie, who in 1985 had been crowned Village Cup champions at Lord’s, brought a team to East Drive to play against a Largo team.
“This just wasn’t any Largo team – it was one including Mike Denness as a guest player. Having a former Scotland and England player playing for us was quite something and although I was quite young at the time, I remember the day and how special it was for the club.
“Now we are trying to make 2023 special for the club, too, and after the dinner dance this Friday there will be two fixtures to mark the 40th anniversary later in the year, against the Forty Club on May 21 and against the MCC on August 20.
“To be president of the club at this time is a great honour. We are a grassroots, community club with a band of volunteers on the committee and volunteer junior coaches who all do their bit to make sure that we get teams out at senior and junior level.
“It can take a lot of work sometimes, but it is worth it when you see people enjoying themselves and building up relationships.”
The aforementioned Peter Norton was joined by Andrew Duncan, Ian Barnes, John Pettifer, Dave Kinnaird, Andrew Pirie, David Pirie, Robin Storie, Ian Halley, David Lister, Bob Burns and Eldon Zuill in helping to get Largo CC up and running four decades ago.
The club started as a fun/social cricket club, but in the early 1990s they took the decision to start playing league cricket, so Largo’s senior sides joined the East of Scotland Cricket Association leagues, playing there until 2019 when they moved to the Strathmore & Perthshire Cricket Union leagues.
Current Scotland seamer Safyaan Sharif started his cricketing journey in the junior section at Largo – whose memorable club colours are red, blue and yellow – as did Heriot’s spinning all-rounder Ryan Brown who has played representative cricket.
Scotland’s rugby captain Jamie Ritchie also had a spell at the club as a junior, so what is the playing set-up like now at Largo heading into the new season?
“We have two senior teams who now play in the Strathmore & Perthshire Cricket Union leagues, and we play some friendlies midweek in the early part of the season against other local Fife teams,” Duncan continued.
“The junior section, known as the Largo Lions, is thriving; we have kids who play Kwik Cricket, and we have under-12 and under-14 teams.
“We will look going forward at having an under-16 team if the numbers are there while a lot of the juniors get involved in senior fixtures and it is a good way for them to learn alongside older players.
“Everyone at the club is looking forward to this season while, as a legacy of the 40th anniversary, we are starting to look into the feasibility of a pavilion refurbishment in the coming years.
“These are exciting times.”