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Club History

This page is in the process of being reseeded.

 

The Early Years 1958-1970

Cheriton 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.


The old pavilion during a match in the early 1960's.
Photograph courtesy of Simon Hingley, taken from his website www.riverdale.org.uk
Click on the photo to see more wonderful photos of Cheriton in the 1960's.

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".


Click on the photo for a larger image
A link was forged with the Charing Cross Hospital Medical School in London, thanks to a relationship between one of it's students and the daughter of Cheritons vicar, also studying at the school. A team would come on tour every year and play us at cricket and then drink us under the tables by all accounts.This link lasted for 30 years until the last fixture in 1990. The photo to the left was taken before the match with Charing Cross in 1960.
Click on the photo for a larger image
 


The Dark Ages 1971-1985

I'm hoping that I shall be able to change the heading for this section at some time, but at the moment my knowledge of this period is minimal.

 

End of an Era 1986-2000

Following the loss of our Groundsman Rodney Matthews after many years of service, the pitch went into decline, despite the brave efforts of James Gordon and Colin Heard. Games became fewer and numbers dwindled. However the core of the club stuck together and somehow we managed to survive.

 

Click on the photo for a larger image

New Beginnings 2001 - Present

After the lean years of the mid to late 90's the club has now taken on a new life, reinvigourated by the priceless capture of a new groundsman. The pitch has improved year on year and with it has come more fixtures. Compare just 12 games played in seasons 1999 and 2001, to 2002's impressive 58 matches including of course 10 league games, another step forward for the club. Cheriton's first venture into league cricket was in the Exeter Evening Cricket League in the 2003 Season. Then in 2005 we took a bigger step and joined the North Devon Cricket League, playing mainly on Sundays. Although struggling against some teams, we proved we could hold our own and in our second season won promotion to Division 4 as Champions. This was followed by another promotion the following year, this time finishing as runners up. Although struggling against some sides in Division 3 we certainly weren't outplayed and should perhaps have won a few more matches than we actually did. Relegation in 2008 saw us back in Division 4 and then another relegation in 2009 saw us return to the basement Division. However all was not doom and gloom as the club had their sights set on Saturday League cricket, and in November 2009 we were accepted into the Francis Clarke Devon Cricket League F Division for the 2010 Season.
We have maintained links with many friendly teams, keeping the tradition of midweek 20 over matches and can still find the room to squeeze in weekend friendlies alongside the league games. Cheriton also welcomes touring sides and had the great pleasure of re-establishing the link with Charing Cross Medical School in 2009 playing an Old Boys XI and the current crop of medical students. The fixture seems set to be repeated for many seasons to come.