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Memories of Cricket in the 1960s by Alan Whitehand

Alan is one of the Presidents of the present cricket club.

In 1956 a small band of cricket enthusiasts called a meeting in the old YMCA building with the idea of starting Feltwell Cricket Club. Harold Maggs, Roy Willett &, Ron Butcher were the driving force behind the new club. We started from scratch as we had no money at the outset so we had raffles, dances & whist drives (40 -50 tables in those days before bingo), and we worked hard for sufficient money for new kit etc.

The YMCA was our base and the 'Star Naked', now the school playing field, was the village sports field. The pavilion was a large shady elm tree on the Munson's Lane side of the field. We were fortunate to have a lovely field to play on and a good wicket could be pitched any-where with a bit of hard work. After one of our early matches Danny Wortley returned home and his wife asked him, "how many runs did you score?" He replied "twelve". She praised him thinking he had done well, however, the team total was twelve and they had won!!

Very few of us had played any cricket and we learned the hard -way, gaining experience despite some good wallopings we soon improved. In another early match Derrick (Curly) Brown was told to keep an eye on the ball whatever you do. After receiving a painful blow in the eye with the ball his friend remarked, "I didn't mean that closely".

Playing at Gooderstone, where they had a cricket square which was top class, but the outfield was a cow field with grass well over ankle deep, one of our batsman hit a stroke about 20 yards from the wicket and a 6 was run despite a frantic search by the fielders. Harry Lawrence, our umpire, then bent down and retrieved the ball. Some of the pitches in those days were just farm stock fields and a shovel & bucket were essential tools. I remember Bob King remarking to an opponent, "you should be able to win on your own muckup!"

Facing the bowling, at Thetford, Ernie (Chubby) Eyres was struck on the thigh and a cloud of smoke emerged and Chubby frantically tearing a box of Swan Vesta matches from his pocket. Lovely memories.

We played friendlies in those days, very competitive and always in good spirit. Sadly after a few years Norfolk County Council bought our sports field and built a school and we transferred to our new playing fields.

After leaving the lovely Star Naked field we assumed the spacious new playing field would be an easy place to set out a good square for cricket, but we encountered many problems. Being a public playing field with gates on two comers the public used the gates as a short cut to the shops and the path ran diagonally across the cricket square which was annoying. We roped the square off, but people took it down. The club sought and received permission to lay a concrete strip and purchased a coconut mat which solved many problems. We also had a pavilion, a disused army hut and outside toilets which were basic but adequate. We organised a six-a-side tournament which proved quite popular and was well supported. Sadly Feltwell never won the George Neville Cup. Mr Neville was a Norfolk County player in his younger days and captained North Runcton in his later days, he brought many good teams and players to Feltwell. Many good players found the pace of our concrete wicket quite a problem but others adapted well. Although very quick, I always found the bounce true and even. The most famous player to visit Feltwell in our ear was Geoffrey Edrich, brother of the test player, Bill Edrich. Tom Hare who gained fame when lie bowled Lindsey, Hasset and another Australian test player at Cambridge in successive deliveries was another well known name. Norwich City Football Club. with some well known names, also visited several times. Ken Nethercott was a lively character and a very good wicket keeper, Ron Ashman was a tidy batsman and Spellman a lively bowler. I cannot recall anyone scoring a century. Michael Staines, 98, was the highest I remember. Malcolm Cock scored 50 at Shippea Hill in 12 scoring strokes made up of 4-6's, 6-4-s and 2 singles. He also struck a huge 6 at Elvedon, which landed in a bath tub full of cups, saucers and plates and none broke.

I was at the bowlers end at Feltwell when Bob Heffer of Lakenheath clean bowled 5 Feltwell batsmen. Robert Schofield, a very keen supporter, parked his brand new Humber car 'safely' behind a belt of tall trees at Rising Lodge, but Frank Edwards dented it with an enormous hit. Sadly after many fruitful years support declined and the club folded in 1968. Good luck to the new regime.

Many thanks to Alan for his memories and we hope to have many more fruitful years. The George Neville Cup is still in the club's possession.

Feltwell Cricket Club reformed in 1994 and are playing cricket most weekends during the summer at the primary school where the 1956 team started.  Photo

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