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.