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Nether Whitacre Cricket Club

 Cow Pats and Cricket Bats by Maurice Barnett ©.

Chapter Five

Chapters: [Introduction] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [Appendix]

Personal Involvement

In 1930 Mr McLoughlin resigned the chair, having undertaken to ensure the Club would have priority use of the ground whilst he remained landlord. Mr Freshwater was elected to the vacant office.

A new Pavilion 16ft. x 10ft. was erected, costing £130 and was to remain until the advent of the present one, obtained thirty four years later.

I played my first game in whites for the Club in 1930 (when 15), although I did field at long stop (after some persuasion by the skipper, Arthur Bayliss), a year or two before, when at harvest time, the occasional call for overtime caused one or two farmer players to turn up late.

The outfield as often applied to village grounds was not always mowed short, as previously mentioned and we relied mainly upon Mr Bayliss's cattle (still) to ensure the grass did not get completely out of control. It was therefore a regular chore to remove the protection posts and wires from their iron sockets around the square and haul them to the boundary before the game and reverse the process afterwards. That was not so irksome, however, as having to retrieve the ball from the middle of a strategically deposited (and fresh) cow-pat, whilst the batsmen were running up the score and the less unfortunate fieldsman yelled 'Come on don't mess about', or words to that effect. There are no doubt, better ways of keeping a shine on the ball!

Regretfully, Arthur Bayliss resigned the Captaincy in 1931 owing to ill health, but that other Club stalwart Harry Spare, took his place. Fortunately, other newcomers, who were to become prominent joined us at this time - the Humperstone brothers, George Freeman and Ralph Neale - two good batsmen, George an all rounder and Ralph, one of the 'fastest bowlers in the district' (tried by the County ) in spite of only a five pace run up. Another fast bowler from the village was Cyril Bill, later to be joined as an opener by Tubby Arnold (when Ralph left to play for Coleshill).

We must have been limited for experienced players in the mid thirties, because I was elected Captain in 1936. However the Club soon learned its lesson and appointed a more mature chap the following year - Bill Pinfold a brilliant slip fielder, steady bowler and a great worker. Jack Upton joined in 1937 - one of a family, who after the second war played a significant part in the Club's continued progress.

A new landlord occupied the Swan now, Mr Bill Hughan and the following minute appears in our records, dated 1933:-

Mr Hughan was approached with regards to the use of the field and he very kindly consented to let the Cricket Club have use of the field free of charge on condition that he did the catering.

The condition prevailed throughout Mr Hughan's occupation of the Swan and although it was a kind and magnanimous gesture, which we all appreciated, it did from time to time put the Club under tight strictures in terms of the use of the ground. In addition to which always remained the 'Spectre' of the Football Club coming back - and it did! (but more of that later).

Mr Hughan's son Bill was a keen addition to our ranks and very efficiently carried out the duties of Secretary from 1934 - 1938.

An example of our playing strength at this stage is given by the following extract from the 1937 Annual General Meeting Minutes:-

The season proved to be the most successful for several years.
Played 21, Won 13, Lost 5, Drawn 1, Abandoned 2.

>The individual averages were headed by the following players:-

 Batting   M Barnett   15.5 
   G Freeman   12.91 
   F Houghton   10.83 
 Bowling   L Arnold   83 at 4.23 
   G Freeman   45 at 4.4 
 Catches   W Pinfold   18 

During the thirties our groundsman was Mr Sid Bill (Cyril's brother) and important additions to our playing strength not mentioned previously included:-

Jack Affleck (Wicketkeeper) - whose father and uncle are mentioned in Chapter 1 - Jack Ball, Bill Marsh
(not a bad bat, but an even better joker), Bill Harris, Jack Baylis, Tom Harrison, George Hill and Albert Bibb.

At the end of this decade a long and devastating interval was imminent. We remember Jack Bayliss and George Hill who did not return.


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