Brocklesby Park Cricket Club


We had a mixture of fortunes in dealing with the ground. From long experience, by far the best way is to have a member do it, if one is to be found. We started off on the black outfields with the Hall gardeners. Two of them cut the wicket and outfield with two large mowers of about three feet cut. This went very well, until there was a fall out. Then we had Wrights of Caistor as contractors; this was more expensive, and not very satisfactory, as they often forgot. Soon after this we purchased a set of gang-mowers, trailer and ex-airfield for £45, and we cut the ground in rotation; some of us more than others.

It was as well for us to go to the ground early enough to do what someone else had forgotten to do. So, did we ever play any cricket? The answer is, "yes." But we only played about half the matches we play now.

Firstly, we had no Sunday fixtures, as cricket was not allowed in the Park on Sundays; nor did we have a West Wold League and only ten mid-week fixtures. The first two seasons were a bit humdrum, but the third was disastrous, as we won very few matches after the first month. So we did not have a very happy season. When we started again at Brocklesby in 1949, the average of the team was 8.6 per batsman, which for ten wickets gives a total innings of eighty-six. Not a score that would beat many teams, and obviously we didn't, but to compare to today's batting, shows a much higher average than forty years ago and conversely a much lower bowling average to compensate.

In this period, help arrived in the form of two very experienced players from Brigg: Arthur Marshall and Gordon Bishop. The latter was a first class left arm spinner and both were excellent batsmen. Our evening matches attracted several young players from Brigg Grammar School. The trouble is with students, they don't stay long. We also recruited a very good bowler, Dick Lyth, appropriately, he was the landlord of the Brocklesby Ox at Ulceby. He had played in some sort of league, could shut up an end, and take wickets. The attack we had was not too bad at taking sides out, but when we began to get runs, things looked up. There is nothing that succeeds like success, and in attracting others too.

Besides, the Park is a wonderful place to bring children, providing you can keep them out of the cow extract.

Soon we had the first century opening stand by Kees van den Bos and Bernard Clayton. They are not uncommon now, but are always welcome in any class of cricket. Fifties were not all that common, but began to get more regular when Jim Robinson got back into gear. For such a gentle chap, he was a violent cricketer; the whole family were, a pleasure to bat with.

At that time, Elsham had a strong team, and only condescended to play with us in night matches. They had scored a modest 95 on 20 overs, but we were looking a bit vulnerable at 28 for 3, when Jim came in to join me. The bowler was Johnny Vickers, a medium pacer who took a lot of wickets. The first ball was six, the next a thick edge for four over slips, and so it went on like Wimbledon: 6-4,6-2. After 2 overs, Johnny said to me, "I've never seen this booger before, and I hope I never see him again." He didn't have to wait long as Jim hit 46 which included six sixes. In 1953, after a disastrous 1952, we had a complete change at the top of Brocklesby, most unusually an October meeting, with Kees van den Bos as Captain, M Davey as Vice Captain, J H Davey as Chairman, C Irvine as Treasurer, E W Hoyle as Secretary and S D Wicks as Vice Chairman.

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Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word 'safe' that I wasn't previously aware of - Arthur Dent