Cricket

Cricket, oddments

Are lots of other things too.

Essex Weekly News, 26 March 1915
page 8 (see xerox on newspaper file)
Cricket Club. Annual meeting. Percy Laurence presided. Treas H B Peecock. Hon C H Strutt ‘wrote saying that cricket must go slow this year’. Money required for urgent national needs,. Cttee had decided not fixtures this year. Members invited to pay half subs, ‘except those who pay’ in case of scratch matches.

Essex County Chronicle, 26 March 1915
page 4 (see xerox on newspaper file).
Cricket. Witham Club. Annual meeting at the Eagle Hotel. P E Laurence president in chair. Treasurer H B Peecock. C H Strutt had written saying cricket should ‘go slow’ this year; Agreed no fixtures. Committee left in charge.

page 8 (see xerox on newspaper file). Letter from an old member saying applaud decision of cricket club [not to have matches]. Witham ‘done well in way of recruiting, and the Cricket Club itself has furnished over forty members who are serving his Majesty’s Forces, no fewer than thirty of whom are playing members’. Hoped for some local members and ‘especially that facilities be given to soldiers to play’.

Essex Weekly News, 7 July 1916
page 6, col 8 (see xerox on newspaper file). ‘Cricket. Witham drew with the Bedfordshire Yeomanry on Saturday, making 215 for 7 wickets (Rev C G Littlehales 110[?], C S Richardson 29, Corpl Yates 24, G C Butler 22); Yeomanry 108 for 6 wickets (Lieut Bicker-Caarten 39, Major Spencer 32, Pte Turner 13 not out)’.

Essex County Chronicle, 28 March 1919
page 6 (see xerox on newspaper file).
‘Witham Cricket Club. Why Outdoor Recreation was preferred to growing potatoes’. Annual meeting at the Grove by invitation of the President, Mr P E Laurence. Mr W Stevens, for many years hon sec, voted to chair. Mr Laurence not well. Mr A P Snell of Brighton had written. Report by management committee, Laurence, Stevens and H B Peecock. ‘Carried on the club last year for the benefit of soldiers, and military league matches were played. The bar had not been open ..’

Letter from Essex sec, hoped to arrange a match at Witham ‘between the Australian Imperial Forces and Essex Amateurs’.

Mr Pelly thanked committee for ‘the use of the ground by the Volunteers for drilling’.

Hope to get a professional to improve the ground.

‘The Chairman: It has been thrown in my teeth several times that the Witham cricket ground should have been ploughed up to grow food, but I consider that it was far better to maintain the cricket ground to provide outdoor recreation for our soldiers than to grow potatoes to fill the stomachs of the British public (Hear, hear).

Mr Bawtree said ‘Witham had a perfect wicket in the past – easily the best in Essex’.

Mr Stewart Richardson disappointed young men not at meeting.

Mr S Richardson elected captain, he had been in 1914. Said ‘In the future Witham Cricket Club will occupy a more prominent position than ever. The clubs at Chelmsford, Colchester and Brentwood have gone, and Witham alone remains’.

Essex Weekly News, 4 April 1924
page 6. Cricket. Witham club’s serious deficit. Report.

Braintree and Witham Times, 18 February 1932
page 8, cols 4 and 5.. Article about ‘over 80 years of cricket’ at Witham. Nice photo of ‘an early Witham team’. Writer says ‘So far as I am aware the photograph reproduced is the earliest one extant of the Witham Club. This portrait was taken round about the year 1878, but the owner of the picture, Mr Hugh F Bawtree, is uncertain as to the exact date. However, it illustrates clearly how the players of the period dressed, and the absence of white clothing generally. Mr Bawtree, a giant in stature, has a ball in his hand, while the player seated on the extreme left [probably means right] of the picture (W Shee) appears to have football studs in his boots instead of cricket spikes. It is safe to state that studs of that nature would cause the player to be  chased off the Witham playing pitch today. Of the group only one player is now living, namely Mr Mortimer Groves, who can be seen on the right of the photograph with his arms folded, and who probably officiated as scorer. The dog in the foreground belonged to the captain, Mr Bawtree, and had learned to retrieve balls during the club’s practice evenings [but see 10 March, says belonged to W Shee]. Charlie Roberts, the club professional, and Charles Stevens are holding bats, which shew much longer handles than we now use. Also there would be no rubber handle cover as is now the practise.

Some of the names  in the picture, reading from left to right, are: H S Mortimer (“Granny” Mortimer’s late husband), John Mann, James Gamble, Don Davey, and then we come to Frank Bawtree, Charlie Stevens, Charles Roberts, Ted Mortimer, W Potter Groves. Seated are Fred Pluck, Joe Pluck and W Shee. Joe Pluck later became the club umpire. Charles Roberts was mine host of the old “Bell” public house outside the ground. The gentleman who intrigues me in the picture is the one in the centre of the group with a bat tucked under his arm. To me that bat seems uncomfortable, or as out of place as a fountain pen would have been in the hands of the scorer of those times. It is obvious from the drawn expressions upon the faces of the troup that having a photograph taken was a serious business. The only flicker of a smile I can detect is on the face of the gentleman with the bat, in the centre, and the suggestion of humour fits him splendidly. The players were, I expect not quite so serious looking when stripped for action. There is fun in cricket if you will let it come to the top, but having your photo taken over 50 years ago was an ordeal only to be compared with trying to stop one of Isted’s underhand expresses’. Match at Lanhams Green in 1851. would be bowler hats, meet at Spread Eagle for a drink, go in a gig to the pitch, stopping at pub. Mr Crittall, county cricketer (father of FH) for other team. Was in Surrey team before came to Braintree. Summary of play, from score card, which given.

Braintree and Witham Times, 10 March 1932
page 8. Good photo of early Witham football team in striped shirts … Was sent by W H Bailey of Hill Cottage, Great Ormescy Norfolk. Asking for return of photo. Date unknown. Says of earlier picture of cricket [see 18 February], that might be Gentry of Totham between chap with smile unknown, and Don Davey. Doesn’t think dog that retrieved the balls belonged to Mr Bawtree, there was Darkie a black retriever of W Shee who fetched them. So they were always soggy. It watched game in between. Charles Roberts shown as footballer as well as cricketer. [see also follow up on 7 April]

Braintree and Witham Times, 23 June 1932
page 3. Nice photo. Witham Fife and Drum band of fifty years ago. … At that time there were two sports meetings a year, on Bank Holidays, and the fife and drum band performed at them. Also was a cycling club, the Eagle Cycling Club based at the Spread Eagle. Band went to the cycle races in the Park. … Boys in caps. Five of them still survive. ‘Mr Mead recalls the days when the cricket ground was a centre of local fashion. Carriages used to drive onto the ground and a good crowd always attended the matches’. He says town dead now. Rail and motorists responsible.

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