The Club started its life as Darlington North Road at the start of the last century, later changing its name to Darlington N.E.R. It took its current name on admittance to the NYSD League in 1914. It is now locally known as simply ‘The RA’.
In their first season, 1919 because of the Great War, with ex Leicester footballer and cricketer Bob Turner as professional, the club won half of its 20 matches. He scored a century in the club’s very first league game against Bishop Auckland, and went on to play for the club for many years also captaining the side. Also conspicuous at this time were the brothers E.M. and J.H. Hall. The former was a good batsman, whilst Herbert was considered to be one of the best swing bowlers in the area. Herbert went on to be President of the League in the late 1940’s and 50’s.
The RA lifted the league title for the first time in 1929, with Bill Brown as professional. A second title soon followed in 1932, with professional George Higgins. At that time crowds of between 1,000 and 2,000 people were commonplace. The club’s third and final title came in 1944. The highest the club has finished since, is third in 1956 and 1970, when the RA also won the prestigious John Saunders Cup.
In the Second World War years many of the top English cricketers made use of the facilities whilst stationed at Catterick. Players such as Sir Len Hutton, Herbert Sutcliffe, Maurice Tremlett and Hedley Verity, who was lost in action, played and practiced at the ground
The Kerridge Cup has provided many celebrations for the club as well as a few heartaches. After losing the inaugural final to Norton in 1920, the Club won the trophy six times in 1926, 1935, 1940, 1973, 1987 and famously in 1998 when we beat Northallerton by 111 runs with Australian professional Shannon Waters, bowling at express pace, taking 6 wickets for a meagre 29 runs.
The club has employed many professionals over the years, perhaps the most famous being Nobby Clark, the ex-England and Northants left arm quick bowler who played for the club in the late 30’s, and ex-Pakistani Test Player Nasim-Ul-Ghani, who was with us in 1978. Nasim, a left hand bat and spin bowler made his test debut at the tender age of 16. Our last professional, in 2005/6, was Pakistani Asher Zaidi who has since played County Cricket for Sussex and Essex.
Two former RA players who went on to better things are Jonathan Barnes, who has pro’ed in the league for many years, notably a 15 year spell at Northallerton, and Ryan Buckley who played several County games for Durham in 2013/14, taking five wickets on his debut.
Relegation from the Premier League in 2006 saw the Club outside the top division for the first time and recent years have been spent in Divisions 1 and 2. After two further relegations and promotions the Club is now in Division 1 and 2017 saw us in contention for promotion back to the Premier League.
Contact the Club:
170 Brinkburn Road
170 Brinkburn Road