Last Updated on Thursday, 04 April 2013 14:48
Believed (he's a bit coy about his age) to be the oldest living ex-player for Spye Park and an early Life Member, Reg Goddard was a stalwart for many years. He first played, in short trousers, in 1911 against Bromham at Nonsuch Park when the renowned local benefactor Meredith Meredith-Brown owned that lovely estate.
Reg recalls, too, that it was at Nonsuch playing against Bromham that he made his first substantial score. The Bromham captain and wicket keeper Eddie Gee was so exasperated by his bowlers failure to dislodge Reg that he took off his pads and went on to bowl himself dismissing Reg when he was one short of what would have been his maiden fifty.
Around this period prior to the first World War he was fortunate to be coached by the professional engaged for that purpose. The coaching fees were paid by the 'gentry' of the estate. Reg's coaching was from a Mr. Newman of Melksham (and Wiltshire?) whose fees were paid by the late Lady Margaret Spicer. It was, no doubt, from this coaching that his sound batting technique developed. His block hole was always some 10 inches behind the batting crease. From this position he felt better able to drive and to cut his favourite stroke.
His shots were rarely lofted although there was a notable exception to this on one occasion against Lowden St. Michael. This was too, one of the very few occasions when Reg was ever known to have lost his cool. Lowden had a quick bowler with quite a reputation but he met his match that day and was taking quite a thrashing. Reg was cutting the short ball, driving the over-pitched even over the bowler's head. The bowler resorted to the very short ball what we now call the bouncer. Reg was hit around the upper arm, shoulder and chest and several deliveries missed his head narrowly. Eventually after another ball around the heart he advanced down the pitch brandishing his bat, accused the bowler of poor sportsmanship in not beating able to take a beating and threatening that if he bowled another bumper then Reg would wrap the bat around his head. The bowler did not bowl another ball at all, not even finishing the over.
Frequently, the Spye team included some of the Spicer family and Reg remembers playing with Capt. Frank, Capt. Julien and Mr. Ralph Spicer. Also a prominent member at that time was Capt. Brassey then the owner of Battle House, Bromham. Sometimes too one of the Reverend Mogg's clerical students would be included in the team.
During the 1920's, the Goddards left Spye to live at Seend but Reg would return each Saturday on his Royal Enfield motor cycle. Charlie Oakford who with Capt. Brassey had revived the Club in 1929 left the tenancy of The Gardens on the edge of the estate in 1935 and Reg with his wife and family moved back to Chittoe to take over at that beautiful holding. He was, by now, already a veteran having over 20 years, on and off with the Club. He was the backbone of the batting, the stability that is so vital in the early middle order. Whilst his team mates thrashed quick runs he continued his orthodox and stylish batting. In the field he never needed instruction or placing, his was the cover point position even into the 1950's. He has been known to bowl but as far as anyone can remember with little notable success.
Not only did Reg contribute to the playing strength of the Club he took his share of the administrative work. For many years he was Treasurer, always attending the AGM, then held in Chittoe School, with all the Club's wealth in a cash box. When it came to the Treasurer's report he would read out the accounts, empty the contents of the cash box on to the table for all to see and insist that the Chairman count it and ensure that it tallied with the accounts. He has explained the necessity of this as being that not all the previous treasurers had been found to be so accountable.
Unfortunately, we do not know when Reg packed his bat and pads for the last time. He was certainly playing in the mid fifties and so must have been a player with the Club for almost half the years of its existence and since then his continued membership brings his association up to over 70 years..
Today (at the Centenary), he still lives in Chittoe, on the edge of "The Park", few yards below the pavilion ''as the ball flies". A great character, quiet and helpful and a very loyal member of the Club he still loves.