THE charm and quirkiness of a North Yorkshire cricket club has for a second time seen it feature in a book of extraordinary cricket grounds. Bilsdale's Spout House, based in the beautiful valley of that name, found fame as one of just 78 grounds across the world selected to appear in author and cricket enthusiast Brian Levison’s book Remarkable Cricket Grounds.

The one-in-seven gradient rough pasture field that doubles up as a cricket pitch, sat alongside clubs, including the monumental 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground, jaw-dropping Newlands in Cape Town, South Africa with the backdrop of Table Mountain and Padang Field in Singapore, nestling in the shadow of the towering high rise business district.

Now the ground, based at a working farm at Bilsdale’s Sun Inn, is again picked out in Levison’s new hardback Remarkable Village Cricket Grounds.

The field - where Prince Harry has played on more than one occasion as the guest of a local landowner - commands four pages in the book, which features 94 grounds across England, Scotland and Wales.

Spout CC’s recently retired secretary and former wicket keeper Harry Mead says: “It’s marvellous for our small club to appear again. Though our players don’t make anything of it, what makes Spout special is the ground’s steep slope, with the wicket invisible from the foot, the unmown, sheep-grazed outfield and the club’s location away from any village but closely linked to a pub, the Sun Inn, locally known as Spout House, which has always been its headquarters.

“Playing at Spout is as close as you can get to cricket’s origins in the English countryside. That is why it is the ambition of every cricketer from far around to play at Spout at least once in their careers.”

He adds: “While the club today faces the common difficulty of regularly turning out a full team it is fortunate that its new secretary, Tom Garbutt, is also a young player very conscious of the club’s history and character and keenly committed to keeping the club going.

“The pub plays its part, often providing pies and peas after the evening games. The club really embodies the spirit of the small rural league in which it plays. Recently a report has come to light of a game played in 1843 - on January 7. You can’t beat that for a passion for cricket.”

Until only a few years ago, the Sun was run by the Ainsley family, Levison explains, principally grandfather William and grandson William George.

Running Spout House, founded in the mid-19th century, was their passion. Grandfather and grandson ran the club for an amazing unbroken joint span of 138 years, which ended in 2012 when William George died. The dry-stone wall surrounding the field - where a 100-strong flock of sheep regularly graze - bears a plaque in his memory.

Other North Yorkshire grounds appearing in the lavishly-produced book include Hovingham, where the game is played beside historic Hovingham Hall, the seat of the Worsley family.

“Games have certainly been played here since the 1820s, and a photograph exists of a match in 1858, the year a 22-strong Hovingham side took on an All-England Xl and lost,” writes Levison. Sir William Worsley (1890 -1973), a good amateur, played first-class cricket for two years, captaining Yorkshire.

Groundsman since 1990 Dave Skilbeck won Best Groundsman in the Yorkshire League in 2016. His equipment would be a far cry from the horse-drawn, water-filled roller used in days gone by, pulled by a horse wearing boots.

There were also three-feet-high iron railings around the boundary that presented a danger to fielders.

A number of cricketing greats have played there, including Geoff Boycott, Fred Trueman and Herbert Sutcliffe.

Chairman Stuart Prest says: “It is a big honour for Hovingham to appear in the book. We are fortunate to play on a beautiful ground with a history and traditions. Some ex-Yorkshire players have played here and had a really good game. It is a great ground.” He adds: “We are always looking for new players, scorers and umpires. If anyone is interested they would be most welcome.”

The village of Kildale, in the North York Moors, supports a cricket club supported by ‘a strong spine of local families’, writes Levison, with players often facing relatives on the crease. But whoever is playing, out means out, “family or no family,” says umpire Dave Cook.

Castleton, another scenic ground, within the national park, is also included, its location within a six hit of the River Esk.

  • Remarkable Village Cricket Grounds by Brian Levison is published by Pavilion Books and priced £25.