History of Hesketh Park ground
Hesketh Park has been home to Dartford Cricket Club (DCC) since the start of the 20th century. The current ground occupies land that once formed part of the original Dartford Brent site - ensuring that DCC retains its historical origins.
Until 1876 the whole of the area to the east of Dartford had been known as Dartford Brent, an area of open land the public could freely use. Towards the end of the 19th Century, however, private companies were rapidly laying claim to the land and parts were being sold off for housing.
This eventually led Everard Hesketh, a local businessman, to purchase two and a half acres (one hectare) of the land and donate it to the town in order to preserve it for the use of the local people forever. The town council recommended that the ground be called Hesketh Park as a mark of gratitude, and the grand opening took place in April 1904.
A year after the opening Everard Hesketh provided additional land adjacent to the park to be used as a sports ground and in 1905 he bowled the first over in an inaugural cricket match. Hesketh's donation allowed the tradition of playing cricket on the Dartford Brent – started several centuries before – to continue uninterrupted to this day.
County cricket was once played at Hesketh Park. The first match, Kent v Essex, was played here in 1956, following the building of a new pavilion and an increase in the size of the outfield. A further 32 first class matches were played at Hesketh between 1957 and 1990, the largest attendance at any match being 3,750, when Kent played another local derby against Essex in 1985. The last county match was played in 1990 when Kent met Leicestershire.
Currently, plans are being developed in conjunction with Dartford Borough Council to build a new pavilion and cricket school at the Hesketh Park ground, ensuring that Dartford Cricket Club's long history and association with the area continues well into the future.
Everard Hesketh: read more >