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The E D Hitchen Cricket Competition

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The E. D. Hitchen Under-15s Six-a-Side Annual Cricket Competition

The Memorial CupThe following article was written and submitted by history group member Jean Noble, sister of the late Derek Hitchen in whose memory the competition is held.

TREETON CRICKET CLUB has hosted the prestigious E. D. Hitchen Under-15s Six-a-Side competition annually at Washfield Lane since the tournament's inception in 1971.

The competition is held in memory of Edmund Derek Hitchen, a former stalwart of Treeton Cricket Club who died in 1970, aged 39. At the time of his death, Derek (as he was better known) was also Chairman of the Sheffield and District Junior Cricket League.

Shortly afterwards, his mother and sister donated a commemorative silver cup to Treeton Cricket Club and the committee thought it fitting that the trophy should be competed for in a new competition which would encompass the whole of the Sheffield and District Junior Cricket League. The League officials agreed and so the six-a-side tournament was conceived.

Derek's sister, Jean Noble, is the competition’s sponsor and has presented the cup and individual trophies to the winners and runners-up every year since 1971, except on the four occasions that the competition had to be cancelled due to either inclement weather or the ground was cup-tied. In the main, the weather has been favourable for each event.

The competition is run under the auspices of the Ben Jessop Sheffield and District Junior Cricket League and all the clubs in the league are invited to take part. Fixture Secretary Andy Leiper collates those teams wishing to participate and, if necessary, holds a ballot to reduce the numbers to eight, and then draws the teams out for the playing order. There are two guaranteed slots in that draw, one for Treeton as hosts and the other for the holders. Treeton club officials are always on hand to help coordinate the itinerary and ensure that the ground and facilities are all in order.

The event is usually held in July on a Sunday and the five-over matches are played on a group basis, starting at approximately 10 a.m. and culminating in the final at around 7 p.m., depending on how many teams take part.

The inaugural rules for the competition were drawn up by the late Ivan Priestley, who was secretary and treasurer of the League for many years and son-in-law of the late Ben Jessop. Mr Jessop was the founder of the Sheffield and District Junior Cricket League and the league was re-named in honour of his commitment to junior cricket. The current rules, which have only altered marginally since they were set up in tandem with Treeton Cricket Club in 1971, were drawn up by Graham Ellis and Andy Leiper.


The current league President, Jack Bland, and its Chairman, John Housley, are both very enthusiastic about the competition, saying that it gives the youngsters the opportunity to experience competitive

The E. D. Hitchen Under-15s Six-a-Side Annual Cricket Competition

cricket played in the true spirit of the game at an early age. It is also very highly regarded by officials of junior cricket teams throughout the district, as there are very few competitions of its kind in the area. They feel that it helps to maintain the youngsters’ interest in the game especially in this day and age when there are so many distractions, such as iPads, Xboxes and smart phones etc.

Over the years, many of the youngsters taking part have maintained their interest in the game and have gone on to play senior cricket for their respective clubs. Some have even gone on to play at a much higher level – such as Michael Vaughan (Sheffield Collegiate) who went on to play for Yorkshire and to captain England; Joe Root (Sheffield Collegiate), currently with Yorkshire and a member of the England test squad and Tom Knight (Sheffield United) who is currently with Derbyshire. It is thought that former England batsman and Yorkshire captain Martyn Moxon, now Yorkshire's Director of Cricket, once lifted the E.D. Hitchen trophy, but this has yet to be verified.

Despite their own many match commitments, Treeton Cricket Club has always ensured that the ground and its excellent facilities are available for the event. Visiting teams, their officials and supporters are made welcome at Washfield Lane and Derek's family are appreciative of this and of all the hard work that is put in by the club's dedicated band of volunteers to make the tournament possible.

Treeton have won the E.D. Hitchen Under-15s Six-a-Side trophy six times. See the table below for the full list of winners:

Table of Results


Sheffield Collegiate


More Facts about Derek

BEFORE HIS UNTIMELY DEATH IN 1970, Derek had always led a very full and active life. As a boy, he spent a lot of time watching matches at the old cricket ground next to Treeton Colliery and it wasn't long before he became a scorer. His enthusiasm for the game impressed his 'elders' and they soon saw his potential with both bat and ball. In later years, bowling became his speciality and there is a trophy in the clubhouse cabinet which was awarded to him for taking a hat-trick (see photo below, Derek is seated centre in the front row). His 6'4" frame helped him send down a good mix of deliveries which proved daunting to many a batsman. In the late 1960s, he often played in Sunday matches for Bradfield C.C. as there was no cricket played at Treeton on Sundays in those days.

Trophy Winners


Derek’s Other Interests

CRICKET WASN’T DEREK’S ONLY INTEREST. When he left Treeton Council School in 1945, he started work at Davy United Engineering in Darnall but left to become an apprentice joiner at Treeton Colliery and, despite working eight-hour day shifts and attending night school, he still managed to fit in a very busy social life. He was very proficient at tennis and played in tournaments on the tennis courts which were situated at the bottom of Pit Lane, near the colliery (opposite the Bowling Green). In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he played football for Treeton Methodist F. C. until a cartilage injury ended his playing days. He was also a keen cyclist and in his teens and early 20s often spent his holidays cycling around parts of Britain. A staunch member of the Methodist Church, Derek sang tenor in the choir and was a member of the church’s much-acclaimed Social Club Concert Party. He was also a member of the Kilnhurst Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society.

Treeton Methodist F.C.1950/51


Treeton Methodist Social Club Concert Party


Washfield Lane Sports Ground Development

When the old cricket ground off Wood Lane was taken over by the NCB in 1955, the village recreation ground at Washfield Lane was developed into a sports ground by the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO) for use by the whole village. At that time Derek's father, Ernest Hitchen, was Manager's Clerk at Treeton Colliery and also secretary of Treeton Miners' Welfare Institute and Ernest was given the responsibility of overseeing the £6,000 development, which involved the grading and laying of the cricket pitch and football pitches, plus the provision of a pavilion. Ernest was involved in the setting up of the Management Trust of the Treeton Playing Fields, Community Centre and Memorial Scheme of which he was secretary. The old recreation ground had been under the management of Treeton Parish Council prior to the development by CISWO and, to this day, they remain holding trustees of the Playing Fields Scheme. In 1958, the new sports ground became the Cricket Club's new home and they were renamed Treeton Welfare Cricket Club. They shared the facilities with Treeton Welfare Football Club, of which Derek was secretary.

Up to Ernest’s death (also in 1970 – three months prior to Derek’s death), he ensured that the ground and outbuildings were always in good order. He regularly inspected the boundary fencing and kept a close eye on the growing row of poplar trees on the western boundary, which he watched being planted as saplings.

Treeton juniors (Circa 1960)


Jean Noble, May 2015


Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 08:47  

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