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History of WECC
Back in the mists of time . . .

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UPDATED March 2004

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We'd like your help! If you have any historical info on WECC, either documentary or photographs, we'd love to hear from you! contact us at:

More about Brentmoor Road....

Brentmoor road, 1904. The "Hare And Hounds is left, our old ground is in front (more)

The club: Early Days

tiniball.gif (953 bytes)  It is known that cricket has been played in the village (although not quite continuously) from the mid-to-late nineteenth century onwards in one form or another. The clubs' original ground, for a long time known as the "Cricket Green" can be found in Brentmoor road (once a main route over West End Common to Frimley) opposite where the Hare and Hounds public house stands today. This area was known locally as "Turner's Plat", Turner being a long-standing local name.

tiniball.gif (953 bytes)  It remains unknown as to when the first proper game of cricket was played there. However, a Surrey Journal report from around 1850 mentions a game on the Green with the inference that cricket may been played there from even earlier times. Players changed and had tea in the pub, then still known under its previous name of the Titch Tavern. Before long, it was re-named the Hare And Hounds - as the local Hunt sometimes met on the Green, this may explain the name change. Either way the building was ideally situated for twenty-two tired and thirsty cricketers to retire to after a game, well illustrated in the photograph above-right.

tiniball.gif (953 bytes)  Moving on to the 1870's, "West End Cricket Club" gets mentioned by name in documented evidence unearthed from local newspaper archives. Then in 1879, a major evolution was forced upon the club - the year when the Military took over West End Common to the west of the village, which excluded the commoners in the process. Immediately following this we find the existence of a "West End & Bisley United" cricket club, and that is exactly as it was printed. Sometime later the club regained its own identity. As a club in a small, evolving but scattered village of relatively little importance in the County-wide scheme of things little reporting appears to have been done (let alone survive) unless a team of note came to West End. What we do know is that early cricket games were low scoring probably due to the condition of ground or players or even both. Anyone finishing a game with a score of four had done well and we suspect in those days, a lot of grounds were that good!

Click the picture for a larger version of this photo.

The "Old Cricket Green", 2002. Click the picture for a larger version

tiniball.gif (953 bytes)  West End Common was only part of a huge swathe of heathland on which the Green and indeed the village was set. Unfortunately the very nature of the earth with its underlayer of clay meant the ground suffered from poor drainage, a problem that still affects the area. Perhaps this goes some way to explain certain gaps in cricket history in the village, natural breaks such as two World Wars notwithstanding. Streets Heath itself was a typical wet heath which had evolved through centuries of mans' use. After the second World War a seven-acre patch south of Holy Trinity church was cleared to create a Recreation Ground. Although nothing of the German fighter that crashed there during the war turned up, tons of rubbish was exhumed and even today people remember the sight of the huge steam-driven machinery used to clear the area. The cricket club set up home on this gently sloping reclaimed land while players used the Working Men's' Club for teas and changing facilities. A rare photograph from the 1950's shows a game in progress on a fairly bare ground area. Respected ex-player Adrian Elson, whose wife Betty was fixture secretary for some time was once moved to remark that his generation of the club "...marked the pitch out wherever it was dry on the day!", indicating the continuing battle with drainage in the area. 

The 2nd artificial strip. Players are beheaded in the original photo

tiniball.gif (953 bytes)  The modern Pavilion, originally opened in 1968 naturally became our adopted clubhouse; it was later enlarged somewhat in the 1990's. By 1974 the remaining trees and scrub that stretched east toward Benner Lane had been cleared, enlarging the Recreation Ground to its current size in the process. The club made its final move to this freshly-cleared area, the football club moving to the area vacated to the west. Adrian Elson and Alan Hull (our 2001 Chairman) dug deep both physically and financially to place drains underneath the square. On this an artificial wicket was laid - the first in Surrey. The southern half of the 'rec' was still prone to sogginess with occasional light flooding especially in the south-east corner where the pond is situated. (Incidentally, this pond feeds a stream which is now underground and follows south along the course of Brentmoor road.) This was tackled when a more comprehensive drainage system was installed that covers the majority of the outfield area. It worked well and still does, except when the weather really had it in for us; one season in the early 1990's actually made it into June before the outfield completely dried out. Then, of course, the record rainfall over autumn & winter 2000/01 completely saturated it once again and delayed laying the new pitch.

tiniball.gif (953 bytes)  The colts team was well established with the occasional player making the senior side which, during the mid to late 1980's, could be chosen from the following squad (although typical availability meant hardly dropping anyone) -

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Batsmen Steve Hardy (captain); Neil Cooper (a fair bowler); Dave Evans; Dave Bolton; Dave Elliot; Howard Turner; Robbie Phillips; Mike Marsden; Andy Thompson
Bowlers Chris Lyons; Adrian Barrett; Duncan Barrett; a young Adie Lamberth
All-rounders Gary Greaver; Jeremy Wing (both good batsmen); Richard Thompson (good spinner)
Wicketkeepers Clive Winter and Neil Fox (both decent batsmen)
Others Richard Scott, Derren Martin, more?

tiniball.gif (953 bytes)  1986 was not the best of years for the senior side, with many games postponed or more usually cancelled due in most cases to unavailability of players. The following year ushered in a a new phase when Howard Turner picked up the reigns and re-organised the fixtures and the players to fulfil them. This initial burst of new energy assisted in attracting more youthful players along the way including a few by way of the colts side, when they came to a natural end in the late 1980's. These included Dominic Lowe (who is our current chairman) and Adie Lamberth, who still makes appearances for the club today. In 1990 the last of the "veterans" in the club, including a few of the more consistent performers had either retired from the game or moved away. The following year saw the younger side play a full season which suffered results-wise, however this was rectified with some good wins in 1991.

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West End is situated in NW Surrey, England, on the A322 Guildford Road just two miles south from the M3, junction 3. The Recreation Ground where we play is behind the famous Gordons' School from the main road and the entrance to the Village Hall & Pavilion is off Benner lane, best accessed from the A319 Woking road.
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A New Beginning

Dominic Lowe

tiniball.gif (953 bytes)  With the new drainage a success we researched the pros and cons of laying grass wickets beside the all-purpose one. 1995 saw the start of the fundraising drive toward a new square and amongst the events planned by Dom Lowe (then the Fundraising Secretary) and Jason Stephens for that year was a unique 24-hour sponsored cycle ride, to take place on a half-mile circuit around the recreation field. Being March it turned cold as the night wore on but just about everybody did their allotted shifts in time. Although tiring it went very well and a significant sum was raised. Other events included sponsored walks along the Basingstoke canal with its handy watering holes just when we need them!

tiniball.gif (953 bytes)  Dom left due to work commitments, but the fundraising drive gathered pace in March 1999 with the club's first Racenight at the Hare & Hounds. Assisted in no small part by retired club members Dave Evans and Steve Hardy, we raised a sum that pleasantly exceeded expectations. Other events followed including the May Bank Holiday, when the pubs on the Basingstoke Canal received yet another pasting from approximately a dozen thirsty, sponsored walkers. On May 18th Bisley Camp Pavilion witnessed a marathon 100-question quiznight, thanks to Peter, Jenny and Diane Lamb for that one. The trend continues: 2002 saw the introduction of what will be an annual Treasure Hunt and Grand Draw, while 2003 sees the third consecutive Racenight (the fifth in all) at Chobham Rugby Club.

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Up to date

tiniball.gif (953 bytes)  As far as the Great Game itself is concerned - which is after all what WECC is all about - the last ten years has seen a steady consolidation of our position with each season building on the previous. Our refined policy to play as many local teams as possible saw the list grow to include Bisley, (Old) Woking, Windlesham, Valley End and Pirbright. If anyone thought 1997 was a cracking year then 1998 was a real corker result-wise. As a result the following year saw the emphasis shift slightly to include more first-team opposition. After much careful planning 1993 saw the club's inaugural tour and this now well-established event has taken on a life of its own. That first outing was to the Isle Of Wight, the first game of which was the only tour game ever lost to the weather. That was until the year 2000 when we re-visited the Isle. As luck would have it, the rain in the week prior to departure put paid to the first game this time around also! Both IOW tours took place on during the May Bank Holiday (as did the '94 Somerset one), whereas we currently schedule this event for late June. The 2003 10th Anniversary Tour was again to Perranporth on the north Cornish coast and the 2004 is likely to follow suit.

Finished, seeded and growing nicely. May the 4th 2003 sees its opening.tiniball.gif (953 bytes)  At last in 2003 the new grass wicket arrived. The contractors, Kestrel, did a quick, tidy and professional job during a long weekend in May 2002. Over the ensuing Autumn and winter with plenty of rain and sunshine, both pitch and outfield started looking very green and lush and the ground's area is plainly visible for all to see. This should on its own give WECC a higher profile amongst those who venture across the 'Rec. In total the amount of money spent by West End Cricket Club and the Parish Council on the ground is over 16,000. Many thanks again to all those of you who have helped us fundraise or attended events over the last few years. It is thanks to you that the club has achieved one of its main goals. The pitch ws be ready to use on May 4th, 2003 and an official opening ceremony and match were played on this special date for which the sun actually shone for us.

tiniball.gif (953 bytes)  Where we are today is due in no small part to the perseverance of many over most of the twentieth century, including (in more recent times): Alan Hull, Adrian & Betty Elson, Dave Elliot, Howard Turner, Dominic Lowe, John Gaisford and Dr. Paul Bates amongst others; a great debt of thanks goes to all. Dominic became the Committee's new chairman and Paul Bates became WECC President in 2002. Paul consequently led the charge of his side on the new pitch opening day in 2003.

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