Early Years 1958-1970
Fitzpaine Cricket Club as we know and love it, began life in 1957.
Bill Baker, the Rev Francis Woodard and Peter Blight went to a meeting in the Half Moon, to explore the possiblities of a Cheriton Fitzpaine club in the village. At that time, Shobrooke CC was known as Shobrooke & Cheriton Fitzpaine CC, their ground was at Shobrooke Park. Bob Blackburn, the landlord of the Half Moon knew them well, and their number included the infamous Cheriton Fitzpaine school head master Walter Marsh.
Bob Blackburn informed the meeting that there already was a Cheriton club, and interested players were invited to join them. Unfortunately this upset Bill Baker who used some choice language to put Bob in the picture. They went outside, and on returning Bob was determined there should be a new separate Cheriton club. He added that he could get a evening fixture with Stoodleigh in the July of 1957, which was duly played, and a new club began.
The problem of finding any
flat ground within a reasonable distance of the village was as it
has always been - difficult. Early games were played on a field
above White Cross to the east of the village. Then in 1958 William
Baker who farmed at Hayne Farm (on the way to Cadeleigh) kindly
allowed the club to rent part of the field in front of the farmhouse.
We have played here ever since through many an up and down.
Peter Blight has his own very vivid and personal memories of how the club came into being.
"On January the 18th 1957, my father was killed, and my personal life changed enormously, Maurice and my Mother allowed me to finish my GCE year. As it happens I made the QE school 1st XI at cricket, at sixteen this was quite unusual, but I knew there was virtually no chance, of me continuing to play cricket when I left in July, unless we could play in Cheriton Fitzpaine, thus allowing me to milk the cows after it.
In those days, the vicar and his family used to visit families, after they knew there had been a tragedy in a home, the Reverent Francis Woodard his wife Mary, and Daughters Rachel and Helen, made such a visit to our family in the first week of June 1957. We talked and the conversation inevitably, reached a sporting slant, and I discovered that Francis Woodard, although now at the age of 66, had been an Oxford blue at Cricket, as soon as I heard this I asked him if we could start a team in the village. He was also one those vicars, who really enjoyed a pint, and took the idea down to Bob Blackburn at the Half Moon. Subsequently a somewhat inconsistent strip, was cut along the halfway line of the football pitch, and we had three practice sessions on it, before the end of June, they were supervised by Francis Woodard, who joined in, and it was obvious he had played some class cricket. He however made the decision, that we could not possibly play on such an impossible surface. He went back down to the pub, and Bob Blackburn said he could arrange a match with Stoodleigh, because his drayman was Tom Woodley, who lived and played cricket there. The match was played in the third week in July, 20 overs a side, and we won, scoring 127 to Stoodleigh`s 93. The C.F. team was—
John Houghton, Adrian Houghton, Colin Baker, Donald Baker, Maurice Blight, Peter Blight, Trevor Howard, Mike Green, Ron Kingdon, Ron Davey and Jim Butt. After this Bill Baker, Bob Blackburn and Francis Woodard, resolved to start cricket the following season, and the best place found was Hayne, and Bill Baker farmed it, and was pleased to let us use it.
In the 1958 season we played 15 matches, all arranged by Bob Blackburn, the following season, Rachel the vicar`s daughter, went to Med school, and that’s how the fixture with Charing Cross started in 1959".