Norton Lindsey and Wolverton Cricket Club History
The Early Days of Norton Lindsey
The current picturesque ground in the centre of the village is not the Club's first home. There have been two previous grounds. A small field nearby, backing onto the current ground behind the small wood, on Curlieu Lane, at the opposite end of the field to the windmill (which also lends itself to the Club logo) and the first ground which was situated behind “The Long Thatch” just past the school on the Wolverton Road.The club occupied the first ground until the outbreak of war in 1939 and then relocated to the Curlieu Lane ground in 1947 after the war. The move to the current ground was made in 1952.
Records of the local matches go back to the birth of the Club in 1886. In those early days logistics dictated that Norton Lindsey could only play local villages such as Claverdon, Rowington, Snitterfield and Henley in Arden, which goes someway to explain the good natured rivalry between these villages, local to each other and to Norton Lindsey.
A quick wander around the recently extended Clubhouse will show visitors and players alike the Club's history recorded in a fascinating collection of black and white photos hanging on the walls, some going back to the early 1900s. There are also a number of more modern colour photos displayed, depicting matches, teams, and cricket tours right up to the present day.
Two particular occasions take pride of place in the gallery. Firstly, the Centenary Celebration cricket match held in 1986 to mark the Club's first 100 years. The original score sheets and team photos are definitely worth looking at, if only to note that some of the players from 1986 are still playing or in some way still involved with the Club. However pride of place in the Clubhouse goes to the match played in 1998 between the Club and a Dave Gardner Invitation Xl to celebrate the fact that Dave had played for Norton Lindsey for 50 years. Dave played on well pastthe 50 year mark and only retired at the end of the 2008 season when he had achieved the incredible milestone of 2500 wickets. !!
The current much extended Clubhouse was originally built in 1971/1972 by members of the Club and is now a monument to the hard work and dedication of members and friends of the club who have on many occasions “answered the call” and contributed to the current excellent facilities.
With the advent of league cricket in Warwickshire villages, Norton Lindsey joined the Tapster League in 1983. This league was made up of clubs and villages broadly following the Tapster Valley.
With Norton Lindsey in the league were Claverdon, Rowington, Henley in Arden,Tanworth in Arden, Earlswood, Lapworth,Catherine de Barnes and Hockley Heath.
The introduction of a 2nd team was required to facilitate entry into the league and the Club will always owe a debt of gratitude in this respect to the very first 2nd team captain and Club stalwart Paul Ashbourne. Norton Lindsey folklore abounds with tales of Paul raiding local Warwick pubs on Saturday lunchtimes to pressgang players,young and old, still carrying their beer and dressed in jeans and trainers to play (and not always losing!!). Now the Club fields a 1st team, 2nd team and 3rd team every Saturday and a mixed team of all 3 on a Sunday during the season.
In 2000 the original Tapster League was merged with the much larger Cotswold Hills League and now the Cotswold League consists of 7 Divisions and boasts member teams as far apart as Winchcombe in North Gloucestershire and Leek Wootton to the north of Warwick. Currently (2019) Norton Lindsey has one team in the Premier Division, a 2nd XI in the 1st division and a 3rd XI in the 6th Division playing their home fixtures at Snitterfield CC.
Norton Lindsey has the facilities and ground, (not to mention the reputation for the best teas in Warwickshire!!) to support a team in the Premiership and under current skipper Matt Edwards, has the talent and opportunity to regain that status.
The single most important event in the Club's history was the move in 1952 to the current ground. You can still find to this day members who can and will regale you with tales of the old green sheds, Frank Harris umpiring, his wife scoring (diligently only looking forward as the scorebox doubled as a changing room!!), Alec Harris hitting the ball out of the ground, Dave Gardner and Bernard Castle bowling all afternoon and Bert Iles (who was by all accounts a genuine quality left arm spin bowler) wheeling away “with a fag in his mouth”, and good “Old Pal” (the legendary Brian Hinks) standing behind the stumps with his usual “they shall not pass attitude”. Many current players will be amused by the Dave Gardner tales of spending weeks collecting “hundreds” of buckets of stones off the square. Some might even say that the wickets play as if he missed a few!
Many thanks to you who have taken time to read this all too brief history of a modern thriving village cricket club whose roots are traced back into an the Victorian age.
Written by Jerry Ashley and Dave Gardner
A record of the Norton Lindsey and Wolverton Cricket Club’s move from the Curlieu Lane field to Norton Lindsey village playing field - from the Norton Lindsey Village Hall Committee minutes.
Researched by Ken Chapman on the 125th Anniversary of the Club.
17 April 1949
Mr Dennis Baker, representing the Cricket Club, asked if there was a possibility of the playing field, then in the tenancy of Mr J Green, being laid out for a cricket field. He pointed out that the then current cricket field may not be available for much longer.
17 May 1949
Mr Ray Onions had written to ask about the possibility of part of the field being seeded down for a cricket pitch. The Village Hall Committee agreed the following action.
1 Ask Mr Green to approach the War Agriculture Committee for permission.
2 Enquire from the Education Authority the question of a grant.
3 Ask the Cricket Club to what extent it was prepared to assist with the cost and upkeep/maintenance.
4 Find out overall cost.
7 June 1949
The Village Hall Committee agreed to find out as soon as possible full details of the overall cost and if the seeding down of part of the field for a wicket table could be commenced.
20 December 1949
Mr Onions representing the Cricket Club stated that the Cricket Club was prepared to cover the cost of seeding and preparing the wicket table. The Village Hall Committee said that it would get a suggested layout of the field in order to get some idea of the eventual plans.
17 January 1950
The Village Hall Committee agreed to put a suggested layout of the village playing field to a general meeting of villagers.
24 January 1950
Three suggested layouts were presented to the Village Hall Committee. It was agreed that one of these could be put to an extraordinary general meeting of villagers.
3 March 1950
The extraordinary general meeting agreed:
1 Steps to be taken to begin seeding down of playing fields.
2 Notice to be given to Mr J Green terminating his tenancy of the field at 25 March, 1951.
3 Seeding of field to be left to Mr J Green provided it was done before vacating the land.
4 The offer of Norton Lindsey and Wolverton Cricket Club to supply special seed and to maintain the wicket table at its expense was accepted.
1 June 1950
A plot of about 30 square yards in the centre of the playing field which the Cricket Club considered suitable for a wicket table was allocated to the Cricket Club to develop as it thought suitable at its own expense.
9 March 1951
Mr J Green agreed to continue a sheep-grazing tenancy of the village playing field if the Village Hall Committee erected a post and wire fence down the west side of the field.
22 February 1952
Cricket Club asked the village Hall Committee for permission to erect its pavilion on the village playing field. There were no objections.
19 January 1953
Charges for the use of the village hall and field were fixed. Included in the list was a charge of four shillings (20p) per match where tea was provided for both the Cricket Club and the Football Club.
26 February 1953
The Cricket Club asked the Village Hall Committee for permission to erect a fence around the cricket pavilion. This was granted.