Hull Ionians Coal Exporters, or HICE for short, was formed when two local clubs merged in 1996. Whilst we have a detailed history of the Coal Exporters club little is known of the history of Ionians Cricket Club.
Hull Ionians is believed to have been formed in 1965 when the General Committee of Ionians Rugby CLub approved arrangements for the formation of a cricket section. A square was laid that year and the first meeting held in Setember 1966. In 1967 Baz Copeland was appointed the first Chairman and Patrick Wall, MP became the first President. The first matches were friendly matches played in 1967 and the following year the team entered Division 3B of the East Riding Amateur Cricket League. The club took a major step forward in 1971 when they were champions of Division 2B and earned promotion. The club played at the old Ionians ground in Brantingham Road, Elloughton until the sale and redevelopment forced a move to a temporary home in the grounds of Marist College, Cottingham Road. Once the new ground at Brantingham Park was ready the club returned to Elloughton. Unfortunately membership had declined and so a merger with Coalies was agreed.
Coalies, as Coal Exporters Cricket Club was affectionately known, celebrated it’s centenary in 2009. The club having been formed in 1909. The first available minutes are of the 7th AGM held at The Humber Coal Company Offices and then through the years AGMs and other meetings were held at a variety of venues, usually hostelries. These included the Royal Station Hotel, White Hart Hotel, CD Holmes Club etc. A key figure at the time was JH Stevenson who was secretary in 1915 and the president of the club in 1919. JH Stevenson was the Managing Director of the Coal Company and Chairman of Jutland amalgamated Trawlers.
The resumption of playing cricket after the war is reflected in the next AGM of 1919 which began with the singing of the national anthem and it tells that during the war the cricket gear was sent for use by the troops and the pavilion was used by the military. Fixture challenges were issued in the local paper. Subscriptions were 10 shillings and sixpence.
The club played on the Stray at the Circle, now the location of the KC stadium, until 1924 when it moved for a stay of 7 years at it’s new home. From 1931 they played at Costello Playing fields until the war then after the war at Ferens Recreation Ground before moving to the civil service ground at Springhead Lane. The club continued to move grounds up until the merger with Hull Ionians when the introduction of the all weather hockey pitch at the University meant the loss of another pitch. The club joined the East Riding Amateur League in 1925 and then the East Yorkshire Cricket Alliance when it was formed by the merger of local leagues.
Originally the club was formed for members of the coal exporting and allied trades but following the decline of such activity in the early 1930s outside players joined the club. At the time of the 50th anniversary of the club these included Pin McMillan, Hull FC's South African centre, a more than useful wicketkeeper/batsman. Other names belonging to the club over the years included Jimmy Binks who went on to be Yorkshire wicketkeeper; Edgar Ainsworth, head of the firm T W Ainsworth and Son on St Andrews Dock, who made two appearances for Hull City in the 1930s and played for England as an amateur football international; J W Rose who once scored 207 not out and Peter Rose of Glenrose fish merchants and Mike Brown who went on to be physio for Manchester United.
A number of key figures over the years have been Joe Palmer, Ken Pocklington, Arthur Murrow, Peter Chapman, Brian Atkinson, Noel John, Jim Thornton, Dave Shirtliff, Geoff Mawer, John Goodfellow, Alan Thames and Barry Young. A number of teachers and headteachers have been members of the club and well known in local sporting circles including: Arthur Murrow, Dick Sparrow, Gordon Foster, Jack Thomas, Noel John, JimThornton, John Batty, Eric Hill, Peter Ward, Jack Ratheram, Dave Hider (later of Hider Foods) and Barry Young.
Cricket Trophy that united work rivals
For those who took part, it was a sporting contest to rival the battle for the Ashes – even if the standard of cricket failed to bowl anybody over.
In the early years of the 20th century, the desire to take possession of a battered Edwardian cricket ball was all-consuming for the men of the Grimsby and Hull Coal Exporters' cricketing sides.
The North Bank versus South Bank contest became the highlight of the local sporting calendar. In July or August, from 1909 to 1921, teams from the rival ports would cross the River Humber to battle it out.
The winning team was presented with the Edwardian cricket ball that, after each contest, had a solid silver plate affixed, recording the date and result.
The first match took place on when the South Bank team won by 125 runs to 111. With the exception of the 1914-18 war, the matches took place every summer, sometimes with home and away legs, through to 1921.
The sides were clearly pretty evenly matched, although the results could sometimes be rather eccentric. For example in the first match of 1911 the Grimsby side gave Hull a thrashing, winning by 184 runs to 79.
However, in the return game, Hull retaliated, scoring 143 and bowling out Grimsby for just 51, the lowest score of the entire series.
Sadly for the Yorkies, Grimsby edged the series by eight games to six.
The trophy is now in the possession of Hull Ionians Coal Exporters Cricket Club.
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