Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Village side updates book that chronicles ups and downs

KIDMORE END Cricket Club is 150 years old this year, writes John Bailey.

KIDMORE END Cricket Club is 150 years old this year, writes John Bailey.

The members of a club that exists because of the dedication of others over such a formidably long period have a duty not only to ensure the club is kept going through good times and bad but also to pay homage to those who have gone before.

The club has long made a point of doing just that. WE Townsend first brought out a history of the club in 1956. It was updated in both 1968 and 2003, and now it has been brought up to date again by Keith Atkinson.

That is right and proper, for the present body, with its excellent facilities and enormous number of players from first team level right down to the under nines, would not be there at all had not a small band got together in 1863, playing just three matches in their first season, only the schoolroom as a pavilion and a mere four bats, two balls and a few stumps to their name.

Despite the fact that it is short enough to be read at one sitting, this booklet is not just a few nostalgic memories strung together, but a proper history told largely in chronological order and with almost as much on the club’s early years as on more recent ones. Importantly, the foundation date of the club is fully authenticated, rather than being just the subject of a vague club legend as is too often the case.

Neither does this little book deal simply with the club’s triumphs and disasters on the field of play. There is a great deal about its financial affairs over the years and how it obtained and developed its various grounds. Such matters are dealt with in sufficient detail to suggest that many perhaps all of the club’s minute books still exist.

On top of all this, the text is always literate something that one cannot take for granted nowadays. The booklet also contains a records section and a few illustrations.

One of these is particularly interesting, reproducing the front page of the Reading and District League’s leaflet issued prior to the 1905 season: so much for all those people who tell you, quite wrongly, that league cricket did not exist in the South East prior to the Seventies!

Many readers will already be aware of Kidmore End’s links with Somerset County Cricket Club, but it would appear that they are also well known at Lord’s. Ten years ago, Sir Tim Rice, then President of MCC, contributed a foreword to the 140th anniversary booklet. That is reproduced now, but a further foreword from the current MCC president, Mike Griffith, has been added, while Kidmore End’s own president, Fred Curzon, also contributes a new introduction.

This booklet is a worthy successor to Kidmore End Cricket Club’s previous histories and can proudly take its place alongside those of other local village teams such as Greys Green and Nettlebed.

lOne Hundred And Fifty Not Out: Kidmore End Cricket Club 1863-2013 may be obtained from David New, 41 Holyrood Close, Caversham Park Village, Reading, RG4 6PZ. It is suggested that, in order to defray the costs of publication, a donation to the club’s funds be sent with any request for the booklet.

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