“Having been associated with Effingham Cricket Club for many years, it was no surprise that I was asked to document the history of the club.
Paul Gathercole and I would be delighted to hear from anyone who might be able to help.”
Club President, Ray Pritchard has taken on the unenviable task of documenting the history of Effingham Cricket Club. This is most likely to be a lengthy piece of research since records are scarce and the club was founded in 1853. Ably assisted by Paul Gathercole, Ray will publish various snippets of research here on this page as they are discovered until such time as we can mould them into a concise and accurate summary.
In the meantime, the club would be very keen to hear from anyone who has any information, records or photographs of anything or anyone connected with the history of the club.
Although dating back to 1853, records concerning the cricket club at Effingham around that time are scarce. Inevitably, it is difficult to actually pinpoint any notable achievements by any of the members in those early years. However, we do know that the membership increased to the extent that during the early 1900s, the club fielded teams on both Saturdays and Sundays, and a very prominent member at that time was Ralph Street, who is quoted in some old notes as being “aware of the Club having been in active being for some years”. After finishing his playing career, he attended games until his last years and became the Club’s oldest member.
Around this time, cricket was played on various grounds, depending on where permission could be granted.
The 1914-18 war understandably held up any cricket and the earliest ground that can be identified on the resumption of play was a meadow close to what was then a football ground, which later became the King George V Playing Field. When permission ceased here, play continued in a field belonging to Indian Farm. The next enforced move was to a field owned by a Miss Ross, later the site of council allotments. Up to around 1920, Effingham Common had been an expanse of grass closely cropped by the many sheep and geese kept by local residents and by cattle from Lower Farm and Norwood Farm.
The actual date is not known, but in the early part of the 20th century, informal play took place (? on the present site) by a number of local residents, with no formalised club and no facilities. Owing to the turf-like nature of the cropped grass, the players just rolled a pitch where it suited them! A barrel of beer was a usual feature and this was conveniently placed over the edge of the ditch.
An important stage came around 1930, when the Club was revitalised by a group of railway servants housed near Effingham Junction and permission was obtained to play in Leewood Farm meadow.
During the 1920’s and 1930’s, playing members included Albert Ranger, his son George Ranger, Ralph Street, C. T. Sutton, Edward Tyrrel and Maurice Waller. There are also records of a Jimmy Ranger, no relation to the other ‘Rangers’, who was a regular umpire and known as Jimmy Dover!
Local residents, both men and women, were usually referred to as ‘The Peewhits’ and the players adopted the name for themselves.
Play gradually ceased as the uncropped grass grew rough.
…to be continued!