Valley End Cricket Club

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The Cricket Club has been a part of Valley End life for over 120 years.

The idea for a club seems to have originated with the local church, possibly planned as an alternative to the Brickmaker’s Arms.

A board in the clubhouse commemorates those who have given “special help and assistance.” The names include those of 2 vicars of St. Saviour’s, The Rev. T. J. James and the Rev. N. Edmunds. But maybe they were also keen cricketers; after all James and Edmunds, and the Rev. Richmond, also served as club presidents.

Local benefactors were involved in setting up and running the Club. These included the Leschallas family from Highams, and the Christies from Ribsden.

Lady,s Gents Cricket Match Coronation

A cricket match for ladies and gentlemen, held at Highams, the home of the Leschallas family, as part of the  festivities for the Coronation of George V, 1911. (Image courtesy J. End.)

The first problem facing the cricketers was to find a pitch. A plan to use a piece of common land behind the church failed after a lot of effort had been expended on it. Finally Mr. J. A. Tyler of Woodlands, (later known as Windlesham Park), provided some ground. This was the start of a long connection between this estate and the Club.

Mr Tyler was a prominent local figure.He was elected MP for Chertsey in 1903, but unfortunately he had to resign the following year. He had speculated on the Stock Exchange, and was declared bankrupt. This didn’t break his connection with the Cricket Club, and he was Club Captain from 1914 – 16, but he had to move from Woodlands.

The  new owner of the estate charged rent of £6 per season. It was  a huge sum for Valley End, and represented half their annual income.

Not only that, but after 1907 he wanted his pitch back. The Cricket Club would have been homeless but for the support of Leschallas family, who simply invited them down the road to Highams.

During World War 1 the pitch was ploughed up, and many members were called up for military service.

After the war, A. P. Henderson, of Windlesham Park, let them return to the ground. This family were committed to the Club for years. 3 of them later became Club Presidents. They seem to have let the Club have the ground rent free.

Valley End Cricket club circa 1932

Valley End Cricket Club, c. 1932. From left to right standing; Ted Harris, (unknown player), Arch Hampton, holding Eric Adams, Eric Smithers, Pip Chew, Nev Anscombe. Sitting; Bert Jones, Curl Adams, Reg Millard, Bill Lovejoy, (unknown player,) Roly Felton. (Image courtesy J. End.)

Despite this finance was always a problem. Various fundraising efforts were made; in the 1920s whist drives were popular. There seemed to be so many demands. A trip to Merrow in 1926 seemed likely to be an expensive outing, until Mr. Sturt of Valley End lent his lorry.

Sturt Builders

Mr. Sturt’s lorry. (Image courtesy J. End.)

The Cricket Club was established as a part of the local community. Members were often part of the local sporting fraternity , such as Edward Coombs, member of the Cricket and Football Clubs, or William Godfrey, a cricketer who also played Table Tennis at Christ Church.

After World War 2 A. P. Henderson’s widow, now Lady Wilson, became President. At the same time the Secretary and Acting Treasurer was Jim Binks. Under his auspices Valley End finally bought it’s own ground from Lady Wilson for £200 in 1954. He is commemorated in the Jim Binks Pavilion.

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The Jim Binks Pavilion at Valley End Cricket Club.

In 1946, Lady Wilson had sold neighbouring land to Farmer Dudley Glanfield. He seems to have been fiercely protective  of his boundaries. It may be no coincidence that a fence was built between the two properties, confirming what belonged to the Cricket Club.

Valley End was a friendly local club. Tony Lovejoy remembers the  players coming not only from Valley End but also from Chobham, Woking and Windlesham. Most of them had bikes, and only one or two had cars. If fixtures were at a distance taxis could be hired from Taylor’s of Updown Hill Windlesham to transport the players.

After the matches at Valley End the teas were served in the in Institute. Ladies such as Mrs Gladys Lovejoy and Lilian Millard would prepare the food.  Joan Weymouth recalls cucumber sandwiches, and  small jars of sweet peas on the tables.

The Valley End teas became legendary. Visiting teams looked forward to playing Valley End and relishing the lavish tea afterwards.

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Valley End Cricket Club remains a local club, and a good one. In 2008 they played at Lords in Village Cup Final.

And won!

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*********************************************

SOURCES.

With thanks to Tony Lovejoy, Joan Weymouth, and Mark Jones.

Valley End Cricket Club 1895 – 1995. Published by Valley End Cricket Club.

“THE HITCHING RAIL – looking back to the history of cricket in the village,” by Sally Clarke. First published in the Windlesham Magazine, July 2014.

Shields Daily News – Thursday 28 July 1904

Surrey Advertiser – Saturday 28 October 1939

Surrey Advertiser – Saturday 29 June 1940

“St. Saviour’s Valley End, 150 years; a history of a church, a parish and its people.” Sally Buchanan 2017.

If you want to know more about the early history of the Club, the Clubhouse displays a copy of the report for 1895. It is as follows;

Valley End Cricket Club.

Report 1895

The Club was formed in the early part of 1895, and consisted of 25 members. The great difficulty was the finding of a Ground on which to practice, and it was thought a piece of the Common Land in the parish might be used for this purpose, but various difficulties arose, and after spending a good deal of labour on a piece of the Common behind the Church, the idea of playing there was abandoned, and efforts were made to obtain a Ground elsewhere. Towards the end of the season, Mr. J. A. Tyler of Woodlands was approached, and he at once consented to allow the use of a piece of ground in his Park. As far as the friends of the Club have allowed the Ground has been taken up and re-laid, and Mr. Tyler has very generously at his own expense taken up and relaid a piece as large as that done by the Club, and the result is now a good large pitch that will meet all the requirements of the Club for the coming season.

The Club has during the past season played four matches winning two and losong two.

The foundation of the Club has been largely owing to Mrs. Christie and to her encouragement and sympathy and pecuniary assistance the present promising future of the Club is also in a great measure due.

The thanks of the members are due to Mr. Tyler for his very generous assistance, to Mr & Mrs H. P. Leschallas, Mr & Mrs R. C. Christie, Sir Joseph & Lady Hooker, Mr. J. C. Darnell, Mrs Hotham and Mr Alexander for their donations to the Club, and to the Rev. S. Edwards for a donation of past proceeds of the Concert on January 30. Also those members and friends who helped in the clearing and levelling of the piece of ground behind the Church.

From the Balance Sheet beneath it will be seen that there is a balance in hand of £1.11.1.

Valley End Cricket Club

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