Cow Pats and Cricket Bats by Maurice Barnett ©.
In 1960 Ray Kings was appointed Captain and a new and exciting era had begun. Whereas our determination to meet and beat our week-end friendly opponents remained as keen as ever, there is no doubt that our competitive spirit was honed to a newer sharpness with the advent of evening knock-out cup ties.
We were invited to join four separate limited over competitions - Coleshill, Foseco, Fillongley and Wilnecote, to the officials of these Clubs we express our appreciation for efficiently organizing this exciting aspect of our game.
Fortunately, we were well equipped to meet this challenge, with a fair degree of success - the highlight being our first cup win recorded in the Annual General Meeting Minutes March 10th 1962 as follows:-
'It was proposed and carried that a record should be made of the teams excellent performance in the Final against Coleshill C.C. in their competition. Special mention being made of the batting contribution of 20 not out by A Hutchings in the first innings and Frank Baird's 25 in the second. The bowling performances of R Kings (7-24) and A Luckett (3-16) was recognized by all present as of the highest order. The fielding of the whole team was excellent, one catch taken by F Baird being particularly brilliant'.
1961 was also a fair season on Saturday afternoons:-
Played 19, Won 10, Lost 7, Drawn 2.
|Back||G Yeoward||A Luckett||P Chaplin||A Hutchings||B Dicken||P Bradshaw|
|Front||R Kings (Capt)||M Barnett||J Lewis||F Baird||W Luckett|
A drive was made now to recruit new and younger players in order that our new venture of starting a 2nd XI would not expire. It nearly did! We played seven matches - I was skipper - and lost the lot. However, we hung on and the seeds were sown for better things to come.
The early sixties saw the involvement of two new members in our affairs - Keith Fox - a young local man and Fred Chambers, a business friend of mine. Keith was a keen cricketer and Club Official and for several years ensured the wicket was prepared before the game and then contributed with his left arm medium pacers in the afternoon. His wife Beryl also joined the ladies of the Hutchings family (to whom we were constantly grateful in preparing our teas).
Fred Chambers took over where the Major left off. He also instilled a new urgency and efficiency in running the Club and became our Chairman in 1963. It was in no small measure due to him that our New Pavilion Fund was consolidated by a grant of £300 from the Warwickshire County Cricket Club Supporters and thus enhancing considerably the fulfillment of our objective.
In 1963 we obtained clarification from our landlord, now Messrs W Butler & Co., of our future tenancy - agreed at a rent of £15 per annum, with no objection to a new pavilion provided it was put to the same use as the old one. They also agreed for mains water to be laid on. (All our water to date had been conveyed by hand from the outside tap of the shop over the road).
Our negotiations were strengthened by the understanding and support of Mr Don Brown (The Swan) who introduced us to the appropriate Brewery Officials and spoke on our behalf. Don was a generous Chairman of our Club for five years (1959-63).
Our 'new' pavilion was really 'second-hand' having been used by His Majesty's Forces at Budbrook Barracks, Warwick during the war. Mr P W Walker, a Club Vice President and local builder of repute, was involved in the disposal of this camp and Ray Kings (who was then a plumber and not landlord of The Gate Inn) knew him well through his job and inquired about a hut for us. He did us proud - Mr Walker presented us with one, in very good condition - provided we made arrangements to move it from the site ourselves - No small task.
That is why virtually a full side found itself on an otherwise deserted Army camp on a cold foggy winters day hauling wooden sections onto a lorry and repeating the process in reverse in a soggy field in Coton Road, Whitacre Heath, several hours later. It took several trips to Warwick and back! Thus began six months of very hard graft.
The old pavilion was cleared away by Bernard Wheeler (later to be our groundsman) , we laid the concrete foundations and the actual erection of the building was undertaken by Messrs Chaplin and Co. for a cost of £250. We should mention that prior to all of this activity, the necessary Planning Permission had been obtained, thanks to the guidance of our local councillor Mr Norman Edwards (Vice President) who always gave us his interest and support.
During this high cost period, the Treasurers job was carried out with professional efficiency by Walter Birch. Due to him and his brother John (who was Fixtures Secretary for several seasons), a family association was maintained with the Club, which spanned over 85 years.(1987) <(Note: Wally's son, Phil now plays for the Club (2000), hence the family connection continues, spanning nearly 100 years.
At last in 1965, our long suffering groundsman was relieved of our stubborn, worn out Dennis Mower and a new Atco was purchased for £144. We only had £80 in the kitty, but fortunately six members agreed to lend the Club £10 each, to meet our immediate need. Thanks to a series of raffles and jumble sales we raised enough cash to clear this debt, lay on mains water, build a concrete terrace in front of the pavilion and erect a protective screen at the side of the neighbouring houses. The latter item cost £200.
Our own efforts were augmented by the generous grants from the Midlands Cricket Club Conference (£100) and the Warwickshire Playing Fields Association (£50). Incidentally, we found the former organization a great help in improving our fixtures, maintaining our wicket and making new friends! This flurry of intense activity was encouraged by our Chairman of this period, John Hutchinson, who held this office with enthusiasm from 1965 - 1972. So much for work - now back to the game.
Our record in Knock Out competitions proved to be of the highest order. We won the Coleshill Cup again in 1962 against Marston Green (old friends) and also succeeded in 1969 in beating Meriden in the final of the Fillongley Cup. We also reached the semi - finals of the Foseco and Wilnecote competitions. These later successes featured fine fast bowling by Paul Chaplin and John Webb backed up by the batting of Frank Baird, Les Florey and Glyn Yeoward, plus the skills of a relative newcomer behind the wickets - Jimmy Greaves.
In between these highlights, we were involved in many memorable knockout matches. We lost to Lullington, one misty September Sunday morning in the final of the Foseco Cup and suffered a similar fate at Wilnecote in their final. Another game which is often talked about is the one against Elford. they wanted two runs to win, with three wickets in hand and one over to go! Arnold Hutchings got a hat trick and we won by one run.
The tables were turned however in our game against Kingsbury Collery. we required five runs to win with five wickets in hand and five overs to spare. Jemm Mayer (getting on a bit then!) had an inspired spell of quick bowling, which coupled with panic running between the wickets, resulted in Whitacre running out of overs with the score level. We lost the replay!
I recall two players who experienced this illustration of the glorious uncertainty of cricket - Dave Whitehead and Kenny Baird. Both went on to some outstanding performances with bat and ball and Dave is still shining for us! (1987) (now retired 2000)
Some averages typical of this period are given below:-
|Bowling||P Chaplin||54 wickets||7.8 Av|
|D Hambleton||47 wickets||12.2 Av|
|F Baird||109 not out||v's Parks Social|
|F Baird||101||v's Wilnecote|
|B Dicken||85 not out||v's Hurley|
|R Kings||74||v's Harborne A|
|G Yeoward||52||v's Precinct in the Coleshill Cup in very quick time|
|P Chaplin||7-32||v's Castle Bromwich|
|A Luckett||6-28||v's Water Orton|
|R Kings||5-16||v's Coleshill|
|R Kings||7-3||v's Sandwell|
(It should be emphasized that the foregoing are just a flavour - it being considered that too many statistics can be indigestive - e.g. J Green's 157 in 1961 and J Day's 112 for Water Orton against us in 1961 and 1962 respectively.)
Whilst all the glory (well nearly all) was going to the first team, improved performances were now being attained by the Second XI under the captaincy of John Hutchinson, who reported at the 1966 A.G.M.:-
'The introduction of the younger element from the village had been most encouraging and he looked forward with optimism to the future'. His confidence has since been justified.
Players who shone with bat and ball included T Pinfold, P Bradshaw, C Horne, D Whitehead with occasional support from 'old hands'. Bowlers who did well included Brian Milne, (later our Secretary) Terry Pinfold (later Treasurer) and Keith Fox.
The end of this chapter regretfully reflects some gloom which prevailed as we approached the seventies. The pavilion floor had fallen in, we were £30 in the red, only seven members turned up for the October 1968 A.G.M. It had to be acknowledged that many of our number appeared to be very more interested in playing for the Club, than working for it.
However, that passed and after an Extra-ordinary General Meeting, chaired by John Hutchinson, a new enthusiasm was generated. The pavilion floor was renewed (concreted) and by the end of 1969 our bank balance was once more in a healthy state. Annual subs were now £2-5-0.
The 1969 Player of the Year Award was presented to Frank Baird at our Annual Dinner.
There is an element of our
game which often does not receive the recognition that it deserves
- fielding. Our success on the K.O. scene, was in no small measure
due to all round excellence in this department and special reference
is due to the following:
Jim Greaves (wicketkeeper), Dave Smith, Dave Whitehead, the two Bairds, Frank and Ken, Glyn Yeoward and Derek Hambleton, who incidentally took the best caught and bowled I have ever seen in any class of the game - a full length effort from a fierce off drive, not very high off the ground.
Finally, to close an account of a very interesting and rewarding ten years, the Captains of the Club during that period are to be commended on their leadership: Jack Lewis, Ray Kings and Arnold Hutchings