Celebration time at Billing Road as Old Northamptonians brings up the century

Old Northamptonians is celebrating its centenary on Friday
Old Northamptonians is celebrating its centenary on Friday

This weekend is a huge one in the history of the Old Northamptonians sports association as the club celebrates its centenary.

This Friday marks, to the day, the very special 100th anniversary of the formation of the ONs by the then headmaster of the Northampton Town and County School on Billing Road, which is now Northampton School for Boys, Edward Reynolds.

The ONs clubhouse on Billing Road

The ONs clubhouse on Billing Road

On July 12, 1919, Reynolds established the ONs Association in memory of the 94 members of staff, sixth formers and leavers who had lost their lives in the First World War.

Reynolds wanted former pupils to maintain friendships and to continue playing sport, and he set up the club after a cricket match between recent leavers and the school first XI was played.

Reynolds was a keen cricketer.

To mark the centenary occasion, the ONs have a series of celebrations, with a special lunch on Friday at the ONs clubhouse on Billing Road.

Then, in the evening, there is a black tie gala ball, where 560 people will attend at a specially constructed marquee on the club’s Billing Road grounds. That event is being hosted BBC

Radio 5 Live presenter Colin Murray, and there is also a set from comedian Rod Woodward and music from popular Northampton group Superfly.

During the day there is cricket match at the school, with the NSB first team taking on an MCC XI in the school grounds. One of the umpires will be former Test official and former Northants and England all-rounder Peter Willey.

There are going to be some very special guests at the celebrations, as the grandchildren and great grandchildren of Edward Reynolds have been tracked down and invited as guests of honour.

The grandchildren are Mrs Anastasia Russell, Mr Robert Monroe, professor Alice Rogers OBE and Dr Polly Taylor, while the great grandchildren are Mr Alex Russell, Mrs Ruth Haywood and Dr Eleanor Peacock.

They will be present at the unveiling of special commemorative plaques in the school’s main hall and also the ONs clubhouse.

“We are delighted that family members of Edward Reynolds will be able join us for this very proud day,” said Eddie Slinn, who is the chief executive of the ONs.

“Now, 100 years on from its formation, the ONs is a flourishing sports club that is now fully inclusive and open to all.

“More than 2,000 regular users now enjoy the wonderful facilities at the club, and the the sports of rugby, football and cricket run teams from under six right through to senior sides.

“There is also a burgeoning ladies section and the club is in fine health.”