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A message from your Chairman ...

posted 28 Mar 2015, 03:39 by Paul Hackett
1968 was a momentous year: the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the student riots in Paris, the crushing by Russian troops of the Prague Spring, the Mexico Olympics….

Slightly less momentously, perhaps, it was the year I made my debut for Twyford and Ruscombe Cricket Club.

Stanlake Meadow was just a meadow in those distant days, and cricket was played on “The Rec”, more formally known as King George V’s Field.  It was a bit rough.  We did the square ourselves, or rather Ray Cox – still resident in Wargrave Rd, I believe – did it, with the help of an ancient Ransome and a roller powered by muscle.

The bounce was interesting and kept you on the alert.  The last Single Wicket competition we had ended prematurely when a just-short-of-a-length delivery from me struck my fellow finalist, Mick Houlton, in the middle of his forehead and laid him out.  A score of 100 was regarded as a potential match-winner, and you were still in the match if you set the opposition 80 to win.  I do not remember any side reaching 150.

There was no league then, just “friendlies” on Saturdays and Sundays.  Some were not too friendly.  Our wicketkeeper, frequent captain and main run-scorer, Stan Coates (whose mortal remains are in the ground on the edge of the square at Stanlake) was a great man for holding ancient grudges.  Stan played in every game and once scored a thousand runs in a season.

Our pavilion – more of a shack – was long on charm, short on facilities.  For a long time there were no showers; then we rigged up a copper pipe with holes banged through which issued a trickle of generally cold water for a few seasons until an enterprising local arsonist (female) burned the whole thing to the ground.

By then we were in the league, and the old guard had moved on.  Eventually we got the new ground at Stanlake, and a new era was born.  By then I was already seasoned veteran – God knows what designation I would come under now!  Now we have youth cricket, 20/20, two outdoor nets, indoor nets, even – so I have heard – fielding practice, forty over games on Sundays (heresy!), working showers, a paid groundsman, one of the best squares around, a regularly mown outfield.

So, yes, much has changed.  But in the view of this old fogey, one thing hasn’t – and that’s what playing for TRCC means to us.  I’m writing with the new season a month away, with that familiar slight tingle of anticipation and excitement located somewhere inside me.  Long may it last!