Bill Butler

A contemporary of Reg Goddard , Bill was captain for several seasons and club secretary for years. He lived at Chittoe Heath and worked with his brothers as builders. They built the lovely little thatched pavilion in 1935 after Bill had worked hard to enable the club to raise the necessary money. The Butler brothers were the building contractors to the Spye estate, and this enabled Bill to spend time maintaining the pitch. At one time Bill opened both batting and bowling. Despite what must have been arthritis, Bill continued playing into into his 50's, often having to bat from the start with a runner. He was a good coach, and many were the aspiring fast bowlers taken on one side by Bill and told first of all to pitch a length. Another stalwart we do well to remember.

Photograph provided by Bill Butler's nephew David Sleightholme. Bill Butler is 1st left on the middle row. Charles Oakford, David's grandfather, is right of middle row.

Reg Goddard

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.

Cecil Bailey

Known also as Skip, Dick or just Bailey, Cecil played for over 30 years and was captain for either 1st or 2nd XIs for 20 of those years. This was a tremendous achievement when one considers that for most of those years he had a game leg following a motor cycle accident. Skip, as he is probably best known, was a useful middle order batsman and occasional bowler.
He too, was local to Spye Park and so spent a lot of time working on the pitch. He and his great friend Ben Amor were largely responsible for keeping the club going through the early years of the second World War. Skip married Reg Goddard's daughter, Marion, who with all the other wives spent many years doing teas, first 'under' Mrs. Gee and later Mrs. May.

Fred Powney

If there is one player who has become a legend in his own time at Spye Park then it's Fred Powney. He has played with three generations, starting when he was 14. He was still playing last season, aged 49. No one can believe that he won't be playing during the Centenary Week; he must, it wouldn't be a festival week without him.

Fred has been a great all-rounder but it is for his bowling that he is best known. He doesn't have the build of a cricketer at all let alone that of a fast bowler yet he was for many years the opening 'quickie'. Fred is short and stocky and tremendously strong. This strength and the low trajectory has troubled local batsmen for years and he has taken well over 2,000 wickets for the club. Not having the advantage of height Fred has never been able to bang the ball in and so has relied on length 8fln line and movement off the seam and he has been tremendously consistent.

Although he started in 1946 it was in the 70's that he had his best spell. His performance in the then, Haig Cup with both bat and ball were nationally recognised in 1976. He rated a small feature article on the Sports page of the Daily Mirror and was selected for the Haig Village team that played against Surrey at Guildford in a match in aid of Geoff Arnold's benefit year.

Having played for so many years Fred is full of reminiscences. He recalls many disappointments, Spye's failure to get further than the regional finals of the Haig three years following, his own failure to ever take all ten wickets. He's taken nine on several occasions. successes are legion, he's taken 100 wickets in a season on many occasions, once his tally was 124 "plus a fair few runs". He narrowly missed a reward offered for any batsman hitting the pavilion clock at Corsham, the broken tile alongside the clock reminded us of that for years.

Fred has a remarkable memory for players. He believes the best batsman to face him to have been the Wiltshire batsman David Essenhigh who playing for Tockenham in the Gallick Williams Cup "gave me a bit of stick". Of bowlers he's faced he considers Reggie Harrold of Roundpounds and Aubrey Eden of Derry Hill to have been the most consistent. He found 'Benny' Goodman one of the best Spye players and he has a tremendous regard for Ken Glass who at his best was a fiery bowler and a tremendous hitter.

One of the games remembered best was a Sunday game at Tockenham. At tea Tockenham were 209 - 9. After tea, having had no word from the Tockenham skipper Fred was about to lead his team out to field again. The skipper stopped him, saying "I reckon we've got enough". Spye went on to make 210 - 1 with Lionel Perrett on 88 and Fred 60 not out.

Sometime I suppose, Fred will have to retire but Spye will never be the same without him in the team.

The Gee's

One family who were totally involved in Spye Park cricket was the Gee family. Although earlier Eddie Gee had played for Bromham, when cricket folded up there he turned, naturally as he had lived at Westbrook, to Spye Park. He played for many years and after became the club umpire.

Like his father Eddie before him Bert Gee was, for many seasons, the 1st XI wicket keeper. He was very accomplished in this role, one of the best keepers Spye have had. He was a quiet and modest man, not for him the raucous appeal but a polite enquiry. In addition, he was a classy batsman.

Mrs. Lottie Gee was a stalwart on the teas for years, I expect she showed Mrs. May 'the ropes'. When Bert married his wife Cynthia she too was a 'tea lady' it being expected that if you married a Spye cricketer then it followed that you would help with the teas. Later Cynthia would bring their two children and so the whole family were involved.

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