so it was that May the 4th eventually arrived, a day the club had been
waiting for a decade. From games played with a soggy outfield,
sometimes with huge puddles in the south-east corner emanating from
the pond to today's comparatively lush green outfield and nicely
prepared wicket was a long journey, not without its difficulties.
About 10 years before, a delegation made a presentation to the parish
council, outlining our plans to reintroduce grass strips. We were
turned down. Undeterred, we revised and redeveloped our plans and
persisted with occasional asking the question until eventually, we got
the green light. An area on the East to side of the artificial strip
was marked out and posts and chain were placed around, making a
permanent and obvious sign
of our intentions.
the 1950's and 1960's
(click picture for a larger version)
fund-raising ensued over the years including quiz nights, raffles,
Treasure Hunts and even a madcap 24 hour cycle ride around the Recreation ground itself!
Unforeseen delays from our chosen contractor meant that by the end of
September 2001 the chance had been missed for that year. Contracting
another company, the work started as scheduled in May 2002, and work
proceeded smoothly to schedule. Now, a year later, here
was the first game on grass in West End for over two decades. The
invitations had gone out weeks before for a private day's celebration,
a chance for us to give a little something back to all who had supported us over the years.
Gaisford finally beats the ribbon
(click picture for a larger version)
day started warm and dry, with plenty of sunshine, ant that's the way
it remained for most of the day. The
atmosphere it was one of keen anticipation: about 120 people turned up
including past Presidents, Chairmen, Captains and players: eight club
members from the 1950s were there, a nice sight indeed. Everyone
gathered by the pavilion and was treated to
a glass or two of wine to drink a toast to the day. After
exchanging formalities and greetings we all trooped out to the centre
where the captain, Howard Turner, thanked everyone responsible for making this day
possible before handing over first to Paul Bates who, after a few
words introduced Gail Gaisford. Her husband John, who sadly died a few
years ago, became WECC's first President of recent times in the late 1980s,
a time when Howard had taken the
club by the scruff of the neck and rebuilt it. John was
responsible for introducing vice-Presidents and himself and Gail
hosting President's Day evening do's at their house, which became
legendary. That the club thrives today is thanks in no small way to
John and Gail was the obvious, indeed the right choice for the
committee to ask to perform the opening ceremony. This she
proceeded to do, using a pair of scissors and that ended their life
trying to cut the strong ribbon!
President's XI (click picture for a larger
version) Back Row L-R: A.
Barrett, J. Greathead, Dr. P. Bates (captain), J. Williams, C.
Weston, J. McDonald Front Row -R:
J. Stephens, A. Lamberth, R. Buckmaster, I. Hunt, (inset)
(click picture for a larger
Row L-R: D. Bell, J. Walliker, H. Turner (captain), D.
Perry, B. Pudney, M. Hills Front
Row L-R: A. Horn, N. Howarth, M. Balkwill, T. Lamb, I.
lunch, Howard and Paul walked out to the middle to perform the toss
which Howard, true to recent form, lost. Paul took advantage of the
untried surface by taking to the field. Tim Lamb and Matt Balkwill
opened for the captain's side and made steady if unspectacular
progress in the first few overs. A few deliveries misbehaved, but any
that came right up off half decent length had all the pace knocked off
of them, making them safe. Adie Barrett bowled the first ball and also
took the first wicket, a quicker delivery sneaking through Matt's
defences to strike the stumps. Only Tim and Duncan Perry made double
figures, as wickets regularly fell. The surprise act was Ian Hunt who
spun his way to four wickets including that of Howard for a golden
duck, something that Ian relished reminding Howard about for the rest
of the day, probably something he will continue to do for the rest of
his life. Last-man-in Danny Bell was third-highest scorer with two
confident 2's and a boundary. On top of this he was also not out!
turns to leg with ease
wicket: AdieB bowls Matt
Hills to John Williams
captain's side all-out for 75, it was now the turn of the President's
side, having seen what the pitch could do. John Williams and Richard
Buckmaster scored steadily both making their way to 16 apiece before
Jason Walliker bowled Richard. Indeed, Jason was the star bowler with
three wickets for just six runs off nearly eight overs. John Williams
stayed around while others came and went: John Macdonald scored an
enthusiastic two, then in came Paul himself who hadn't batted for
years, mind you, the golf swing had obviously helped as he went on to
12. Adie Lamberth scored a quick cameo bringing in Jason Stephens who,
in an unsure moment with John, ran the latter out. Paul had been the
last batsman to reach double figures, of the remaining batsmen only
Lou West failed to get off the mark. Ian Hunt had a major scare toward
the end but was given not out before creaming a winning boundary.
chase for Chapster
President strokes it away
almost edges it
pitch, unsurprisingly, took a bit of a hammering with holes being
fairly easily dug by the bowlers boots and batsman's marks respectively,
of which at least part of the blame lay with the an increasing amount of rain fall
during the weeks leading up to the day. Still, no one had been
killed and the game, all 45 overs of it, had been entertaining
enough to retain most of the gathered viewers for its entire duration.
All in all, a great day was had by all, marking the beginning of a new era
of cricket in West End.
boundary for Paul
Stephens straight drives
Hunt run out - almost!
to Adie Lamberth for the great photographs.