Spye Park Cricket Club is unique. We are fortunate to play our cricket in a fabulous setting, set deep in proper Wiltshire country. Following the recent completion of an incredible new pavilion, we now have a fantastic place to eat, drink and shelter from the rain.
We are incredibly lucky to have the support of the Enthoven family and all of the staff at the Estate. For those of you that have visited in years gone by, you will recall the humble (albeit built by the hands of members of the Club) shack that was previously our Club’s home (!). The new pavilion (thatched by David Beal - Master Thatcher) truly is a luxury and we constantly have to pinch ourselves to remember that we do play our cricket in the real world. The support of the Estate goes far beyond the construction of the pavilion though - whether it's Laurie Vines helping out with the ground or the time and preparation that goes into the annual Presidents fixture - and we take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Enthoven family and Estate staff. We hope they are willing to put up with us for more many years to come.
Whilst all donations are welcome and we're certainly not ones to look a gift horse in the mouth, the heart and soul of the Club lies in its members, players and life-long supporters alike. We field two Saturday league teams (WCCL league), a Sunday team (sometimes two teams), a mid-week team and have a thriving junior section - all of this would not be possible without huge amounts of time and energy given by many stalwarts of the Club, both past and present. We shan't name names, well let's drop a few in - the Paget's, the Beal's, Lionel Perrett, Andy Ellis, the Dolmans, Chris Beaven, Kevin Clarke, Adrian Mercer and many others - thank you all for making Spye Park CC the club that it is today.
As with all Clubs, there are a wide range of characters who contribute in different ways and as we continue to develop the website over the coming months we'll introduce a few of them to you. In the meantime we hope you enjoy the (not always) witty banter and would welcome you to the Club at any time whether you are looking for a game or just want to take five minutes to remember what a sunny summers afternoon is all about. Keeping with tradition, see below for a seasoned account of the Club's history:
Centenary Club History 1882 - 1982
by R. Paget
Spye Park Cricket Club was formed initially to accommodate the workers on the Spye Park estate. The Rev. H.H. Mogg later Canon Mogg, who was the vicar at Chittoe, is known to have formed the club in 1882, and was for many years the Hon. Secretary and Treasurer.
In the early days of the club, a marquee was erected for each home match, until the first pavilion was built on the present site around 1930. It was a single roomed, thatched building, constructed by the late Mr. William Butler, secretary for many years, and later the club's first life member.
In 1964 with the help of a £50 grant from Wiltshire County Cricket Association, the present pavilion was erected. This was a former RAF building fitted onto a concrete base. Initially it provided two changing rooms, a kitchen, a store and club room.
In 1974 electricity was installed into the building by club members and through their labours in 1976 another store shed was bought and the old store room turned into toilets. Recently a new flush toilet was installed. In 1979 a shower room was also constructed out of the old store.
The owner of the Spye Park Estate has always been President of the club, and so therefore the name of the Spicer family has been with the club since the very beginning. At present Mr. Simon Spicer is President of the club, and it is through his continued kind generosity in allowing us to use the ground that the players and supporters of Spye Park Cricket Club can enjoy the beautiful setting and grounds of Spye Park whilst playing and enjoying the glorious game of cricket.
Tragically in 1974 a fire at the great house of Spye Park destroyed a great deal of the records of the club. However, other records of the club's history can still be found and in the book "The History of Bromham" a report of the A.G.M. of the club held on April 26th 1889 makes good reading and is as follows:-
"The secretary's report showed that of the 16 matches played the previous year:
Eight were won, namely: Compton, Bromham, Rowde, Keevil, Yew Tree, Seend, Eddington and Lacock, Seven were lost: Lacock, Compton, Rowde, Keevil, Yew Tree, Bromham and Lord Landsdown's' steam,
One game against Seend was drawn.
The treasurers report showed a deficit of some £12 but this was to some extent accounted for by the fact that all the new bats required for 1889 season were bought the previous year, and the unusual expense of buying a cricket tent.
Captain Spicer was cordially thanked for again providing a cricket ground and Mrs. and the Misses Spicer for so often entertaining the elevens at lunch, and for giving cricket caps.
It was settled only to play 12 matches this year. The practice nights to be on Mondays, Wednesday and Saturdays from 6 till dusk.
Only members of the club to be allowed to use the cricket things. Practice to commence on 4th May.
Subscriptions to the club: 2s. over 15, and 1s under, to be paid on entering.
Our village cricket club commenced its foreign matches on. June 1st, by playing an eleven from Lacock, and, we are glad to say, by giving our visitors a good beating.
Play commenced at 2.30 on a good wicket on the club ground in the park, by Lacock handling the willow to the bowling of Rowlett and Witts, who along with Mr. Hartopp, bowled during the first innings with the good result that all were out for 44; Mr. Hartopp bowling three wickets in succession.
Spye Park then commenced by sending the vicar and Mr. Hartopp to defend the sticks, which the latter did so well that before he was out he had made 63 including a 6, a 5 and 5 threes. It will be seen by the following that Rowlett and J. Harmsworth were in good form, adding two useful scores to the total of 98. Lacock again went out and were disposed of for 53, the ball being trundled by Mr. Hartopp, Witts, Myles, and Horne.
So the match ended by 5pye Park winning in one innings and run.
The next match will be played on 19th June, against: Seend commencing at 1 p.m.
We hope to see a goodly company of our friends looking on and taking interest in the game, and we also hope by next match our eleven will not miss so many catches, their fielding was not up to the old form of last season, but we must remember it is the commencement of the season."
One of the first ever matches played by Spye Park took place on August 2nd, 1882 against Rowde. The result of this match was recorded in the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald and is as follows:
"The match was played at Rowde on Tuesday and resulted in a victory for the home team by 43 runs. Rowde in the first innings scored 56, second innings 38.
Spye Park's reply was 17 in the first innings and 34 in the second.
A crushing defeat for the newly formed side but one that was rectified in the following week with the return match against Rowde up at the park. The report of this game was as follows:
August 9th, 1882
"This match was played at Spye Park on Tuesday, and resulted in an easy win for the home team who made 54 in their first innings against 18 made by Rowde. In the 2nd innings Spye Park made 29 and Rowde 12 for two wickets." In the A.G.H. of 1891 the previous season's averages were recorded, these were rather dismal and a selection of them are as follows:-
Runs Innings Times Not Out Number of Matches Average A. Ridge 37 14 2 10 3 A. Davis 19 8 1 7 2 J. Hamsworth 17 9 1 7 2
The bat for the highest average overall average was awarded to H.H. Myles who results were:
Runs Innings Times Not Out Number of Matches Average 142 21 1 14 7
As a result of these poor averages it was decided that a professional player be employed for the 1891 season at a cost of £1.2s 6d. The Rev. H.H.Mogg gave 10s. towards the cost of the professional and Mr. Holloway and Mr. Deacon contributed the rest.
In the minutes of the July 1892 meeting a note was made by the secretary concerning the games already played:
"Five matches have already been played, two of which have been won, namely against Chippenham by 110 runs, and against Hartham by 104 runs, and three have been lost, namely against Bromham by 34 runs, against Neston by 2 runs and against Yew Tree by 71 runs.
The matches during July have been against Bromham, Chippenham and Hilmarton, which were in our favour, and against Yew Tree which we lost. It seems a pity that more of our young men do not join the club. The benefits arising from taking part in the fine old English game are great. Some think that their ordinary occupation gives them quite enough exercise without playing games which require the use of the1r limbs. Granted that such may be the case, yet the great pleasure of learning and playing skilful such a splendid manly game quite does away with all thought of the exertion of a little running about being labour.
Many are the lessons learned on the cricket field: discipline and ready obedience to orders, control of temper, unselfishness and perseverance.
The old saying that England's greatest battles were really won on the playing fields of public schools is not far from the truth. It means that our officers have learned in the playing of England's games, the plucky qualities which go up to make up the fearless soldier and sailor.
Employers of labour should be the first to encourage these games. Which is more likely to produce a good workman, the young man who spends his spare time in healthy recreation, than one in idleness, maybe, down at the public house?"
stirring words indeed but ones that still may hold true as they did back in 1892. Perhaps the honourable secretary of the time was more of an Orson Wells visionary than of a dedicated cricket lover who was worried about the future of the glorious game.
With the outbreak of the First World War (1914-1918) Spye Park Cricket Club was dissolved, until in 1929 under the initiative of Captain Frank Spicer it was re-formed. It was the also that the first players from Bromham village were allowed to play up at the park, Bromham Cricket Club having been wound up in 1920.
Present day Spye Park (1982) boasts a membership of nearly 40 playing members coming to the park from many different towns and villages around Bromham.
It is with the support of the President, Vice-President, life members, players, friends and relations of Spye Park Cricket Club that we have reached 100 years of cricket up at the park, and it is with their continued support that we look forward with as much hope, anticipation and dedication to the next 100 years of Spye Park Cricket Club.