Early history of the cricket club

from Roger Chapman’s history of the village

The history of cricket in the village dates back well into the 19th century, but records are very scarce until the 1920’s when a very long and successful time with John Betts as captain for 20 years (1910 to 1939) was enjoyed in the Cricket Meadow off Scottalls Lane. The Michaelmas Fairs  were held regularly on this field. The “Big Hit” was always directed at the large walnut tree in Mr. Foy’s garden. The changing room was a well cared for timber and corrugated shed positioned on the north side of the field next to a giant elm tree. Most summers it seemed to split boughs from the main trunk, after a hot July or August, so despite its shade few people ever resided underneath.

                   Mens Cricket 1980          Men's Cricket Team 1890's

                       Ladies Cricket Team 1890's                  Ladies Cricket 1890's


The Betts family’s interest in cricket was considerable and helped to see a second eleven and some inter farm games. Since 1951/52 cricket has been played in the Dean Meadow. The pavilion being under Down Wood with the playing area encircled by posts and two strands of barb wire which proved a considerable handicap to fielders. In July 1988 with the opening of the new hall and all its marvellous facilities, cricket has thrived again.

1934 - Laurie Pennington in May made a century before lunch and with his brother Charlie, both at Newbury Grammar School and Colourmen, were a great asset to the fine sides of 1934-35. Laurie was in the RAF and became a prisoner of war.

1953 - Saw the last truly village teams with such names as J.E.A. Betts, M. Weaving, Rodney and Cyril Jeffery, D. Shanks, P. Hiscock, W. May, Les Burnham and E. Buckle. A very good side – Mervyn Weaving taking 54 wickets for 108 runs.

1959 - A good season for runs. Bruce Ralph opened against Yattendon on July 2nd and made 108 runs. Further good scores from J. Cullum and M. Robinson. Richard Betts took 8 for 29. However, September 13th against Basildon, only 17 runs were scored with 7 ducks.

 1966 - Another low score against Burghclere on May 29th – 13 runs and 7 ducks.

1968 - On April28th D. Shepperd took 8 for 21 against Green Park. What an early start to the season! On September 26th Jim Cullum scored 110 runs against Bembridge, Isle of Wight on August Bank Holiday.

1969 – John Wheeler had proved a considerable all rounder with 360 runs and 32 wickets this season.

1974/5 – Saw the club virtually disbanded. From 1977 Peter Walker, as secretary and groundsman, revived the club.

1980 – Terry Davis hit his sensational 105 not out against East and West Hendred on a very hot summer day in which the opposition included an Australian bowler. He won the Tucker Shield for bowling five consecutive years 79-83.

Some Cricket Club Officers

 President  1956-1973 W.J. Simmons OBE JP

Chairman  1956-1965 J.E.A.Betts

  1966-1970 C. Ralph

   1971-1973 C. Irwin

Hon. Sec.  1956-1960 R. Jeffery

  1961-1966 M. Brown

Hon. Scorer 1960-1972 E. Pocock*

From 1956 to 1971 John Betts and T.C. Dewe were still both Hon Life Members. Exceptional service by all these people to the club.


*Eric Pocock was born at the Wyld (now pulled down) next to The Yew Tree. He was a postman for two years and worked for N.A. Clinch in the shop’s bakery before joining the Rifle Brigade. He fought in a Bren Gun Carrier in the battle of the Ardennes in 1945.