Greetland Private Day Nursery
Greetland's headquarters, on Saddleworth Road, plays host to cricket, bowling…and pigeon-racing.
Perched high on the old scoreboard side of the ground are half a dozen sizeable pigeon coops. Members of Stainland and District Homing Society use Greetland Cricket and Bowling Club (as it is formally known) as their base, and the pavilion noticeboard is full of race details and times. (One local pigeon-fancier drives a vehicle with the number-plate: PIGON).
As you sit in the pavilion, you can actually see the pigeons looking out of their wire cages - a rare and possibly unique sight at a Calderdale cricket venue. Sometimes a Greetland cricket fixture coincides with a race day, so on such occasions there are two attractions for the price of one.
'Holme' is an ancient Scandinavian word denoting 'a flat piece of ground near a river' - hence the name of Greetland's pleasant, well enclosed ground. The cricket club has never played anywhere else.
In the 1930s a local blanket manufacturer, John Horsfalls (based on Stainland Road), donated the ground to Greetland as a gift. The club was charged just a pepper-corn rent - sixpence a year.
During the early years of the twentieth century, Greetland had its fair share of colourful characters: for instance, Jack Hayes, who started at the club as a junior, and Percy Smith, the village cobbler and a man who emerged as one of the club's most important patrons.
It was Smith who also helped flood the bottom of the ground in winter so that locals could play ice hockey and go skating! There is also evidence to suggest that a Greetland Ladies team existed in the early part of the last century.
Nothing much has changed at Greetland's ground over time. Billy Betts, club chairman, explains: 'Things are pretty much the same as they ever were. A few decades ago, the pavilion was half-demolished - the clock came off and the scoreboard came down - but I can't give you a date for when that happened. To be honest, the ground is a little run down at the moment. The main problem we've got is money. Every year it costs us £1,000-plus just to maintain the square, so we're always going to be up against it. So if anyone's got any spare brass, we'll gladly have it.
Greetland is located two and a half miles south of Halifax and a mile or so west of Elland. Indeed, in days gone by, it was part of a township called Elland-cum-Greetland.
The small village is home to three noteworthy buildings: Clay House, Sunny Bank and Toll-Bar House, from where, centuries ago, a turnpike official used to monitor all users of the main road that passed through Greetland. And a bit of modern-day trivia: the Calderdale Way, no less, begins in the village.
The village is only small, but until recently it boasted two cricket teams. In addition to Greetland CC there was Greetland Village CC, formed in the 1980s by three or four former Greetland CC players. Greetland Village were members of the Halifax Association and played at the Goldfields complex on Rochdale Road.
The Holme may have seen better days, but it still has its charm as a local league cricket venue: the distinguished-looking scorebox set back from the playing area, the trickling stream that runs nearby (the Black Beck, which eventually joins the Calder), not forgetting the quaint (and slightly narrow) mini-bridge that the scorers must navigate to get to and from the scorebox.
Then there's the unusual white corrugated boundary board on the same side of the ground, and the huge, elaborate, almost spherical clock that sits in the backyard of Andy Thornton, architectural antiques merchant, whose premises back onto the cricket field on the opposite side. And for the record, none of the clock's faces tell the right time!
That a cricket ground is wedged between Rochdale Road and Saddleworth Road is not obvious to the first-time visitor. It is enclosed on one side by large buildings and on the other by a dense wooded area - and hidden from view behind the Co-Op & Andy Thorntons - but it has been Greetland CC's home patch for more than a century. Today, some visiting players reckon it's one of the flattest grounds in the area.