• Keith Gregson

Preparing for 'The Last Stand'

A recent heritage blog featured two magnificent photographs of Sachin Tendulkar, (one of the greatest cricketers of all time), batting at Ashbrooke. In both cases the ‘little master’ is framed against Ashbrooke’s iconic stand. On the 9th November this stand which has overlooked the ground for years will be unveiled in its refurbished form and renamed ‘The Last Stand’ in memory of almost 100 members of the club who gave their lives in the two World Wars of the twentieth century. At the time they were members of the then Sunderland Cricket and Football Club and now perhaps is an apt time to reflect of how our current club – Ashbrooke Sports Club – came about and, to this end, at the close of this blog I have put a piece which supportive club members can use to let others know about us.

Although the stand overlooks the rugby pitch it belongs to all sports played at the Ashbrooke ground and those who gave their lives included cricketers, tennis players and hockey players as well as rugby players. Many of those who survived the wars, including a number of decorated members, later took up bowls too. The squash club was founded by a Second World War hero whose father had a record for bravery in the previous conflict and who, alongside a cousin, excelled at all the Ashbrooke sports.


As yet we have not nailed down when the stand was actually built but it must have been around for at least a hundred years. In 1926 the club raised funds to try and cover it properly and top of the donations was Sunderland AFC. A reporter at the Echo saw this donation as ‘good sportsmanship’;

‘This action on the part of the directors at Roker Park can hardly be beat and furthermore it amply reflects the excellent relationship existing between the leading Rugby and Association Football Clubs in Sunderland.'

As promised here is a useful potted history of our club:

‘Ashbrooke Sports Club is the modern name for Sunderland Cricket and Football Club founded in 1887. In that year Sunderland Cricket Club (founded 1834) and Sunderland Football Club (founded 1873 and playing under the Rugby Rules) unveiled its new ground in the Sunderland suburb of Ashbrooke. By the end of the nineteenth century Sunderland Hockey Club, Sunderland Bowling Club and Sunderland Tennis Club were also under the wider club’s umbrella. By the end of the twentieth century Sunderland Squash Club was part of the organisation and Sunderland Strollers (an athletics club) was making use of the premises. Today all these clubs still operate out of Ashbrooke Sports Club – a successful sports’ club which also encourages lively social activity’.


For information on the club and its activities go to https://www.ashbrookesports.org/


And for a weekly updated blog covering the unique history and heritage of the club and its historically valuable and extensive archives go to https://www.ashbrookesports.org/our-heritage

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