Westbourne Cricket Kent History

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2

 

Early History of Westbourne Cricket Club

Westbourne Cricket Club was formed in 1976 when the local Road Safety Officer, Peter Hogben, got a team together to play a one-off fixture at Shorncliffe Camp against an Army team. The players were all known to him, but few to each other. Some had not played cricket since school, others were already in their thirties and forties and thought they had retired from cricket! However, although that first match was a heavy defeat, the players enjoyed it so much that they wished to carry on and several more matches were played that season.

Picture of the old Westbourne Cricket Club Clubhouse

Over the next couple of years, a full programme of fixtures was built up, against village teams at weekends and local mostly “works” teams on midweek evenings, and we played our one hundredth match during 1979. We had several early seasons in the Folkestone Evening Cricket League, but found competitive matches becoming increasingly fraught and less enjoyable, so left to play friendly fixtures only, a policy which still obtains to this day.

KCC Shepway Cricket Club

For the first few seasons the club played under the name of K.C.C.(Shepway) Cricket Club to reflect its composition of those with a local government connection, including teachers, firemen and police who were then employees of Kent County Council, plus others working for Shepway District Council. The name was changed to “Westbourne” by 1980, taken from the name of the large school boarding house next to our then-ground.

The club went from strength to strength (not necessarily in playing terms) and over the next few years evolved in to a group of friends who happened to play cricket together. That spirit continues to this day.

Table Tennis

By 1985, a Table Tennis team had been formed to keep members together in the winter months, and over the years that has expanded to 8 teams under the Westbourne name currently playing in all divisions of the Folkestone and District Table Tennis League, several with conspicuous success.

Pent Valley Days

Old Westbourne Cricket Club

From 1976 to 2001, the club played its home games on the ground at Pent Valley School in Coolinge Lane, Folkestone, before moving for the 2002 season to the Harvey Grammar School ground in Cherry Garden Avenue where the chief improvement is a modern pavilion with showers and kitchen facilities. We also have the use of an artificial pitch, off the main square, which does enable some matches to be played which would otherwise be off due to the turf pitches being unfit.

1000 Games Played!

During 2009 the club played its one thousandth match (a win!), but has never been ahead on wins over losses. We did draw exactly level a few years ago, but then slipped back again with a losing sequence, and the current deficit stands at 14. In our terms, a successful season is more about enjoyment than winning, but on 2009 we won more games than we lost (17 to 11 with three draws), so a few more like that could eventually see us in credit! At weekends, we still prefer the traditional ‘timed’ game of village cricket, but find an increasing trend for opponents to insist upon a limited overs game due to most sides now playing league cricket.

A Few Statistics

During the club’s thirty four seasons to date, we have (according to our venerable statistician) used 281 players, having had just 79 members, (only 27 fielded in 2009, 24 of them members!): we used a lot of “guests” in the early years to get teams out!

It is our proud boast that never once have we cancelled a match through being unable to raise a team, although we have played “short” a few times. Many of our founder members, who played in that first match in 1976, still remain actively involved with the club, several as officials. One retired as a player only in 2009 and one still remains an active player, making 27 appearances in 2009 (out of 31 played), keeping wicket in all of them. Several still regular and senior players joined in the first ten years of the club. We currently have the potential to field four father and son combinations, and three of those regularly appear in the same team.

Club Traditions

We have only ever run one side, and that remains the case with no plans to add. In recent years were have had an influx of younger players, which bodes well for our future in the longer term. Not only are many of them useful players, leading to better results, but, importantly, they are pleasant young men who fit in well with the ethos of the club and some are already taking on positions of responsibility.

Westbourne Cricket Club Team

We have never sought to recruit players purely to strengthen the team; our main criterion always being to maintain the friendly spirit established at the outset, designed to ensure that those with more enthusiasm than ability take a full part and play as much as they wish. This has enabled a number fitting that category to have a “career” in village cricket they probably would not have had elsewhere. On that basis, Westbourne Cricket Club continues to go from strength to strength, and for the longer established members their involvement/playing remains as enjoyable and rewarding as ever.


1947 – 2011