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The History of Chertsey Cricket Club 

The Beginning

 

The first big date in CCC's timeline was in 1737, with the foundation of the Club and the first mention of cricket being played in Chertsey, when we took on a London side (losing - good start),but the future was bright with the backing of the 4th Earl of Tankerville, Charles Bennett, who's infatuation with cricket not only sustained CCC, but kept him in the Chertsey XI from 1773 to 1781 as a handy batsman.

 

It was great thanks to the Earl for the introduction of a one legendary Edward "Lumpy" Stevens. Born two years before CCC's beginnings in 1737, he is regarded as the first great bowler in the game's history and a master of his craft, starting his career around the 1750s in a time when the ball was bowled by throwing the ball the same way as in crown green bowls, along the ground. He also played through the period of the game's progression where "giving the ball air" and its variations were developed, which began around 1770, and is more recognised as the style we are most used to bowling now. The Earl employed Lumpy as his gardener, along with another well-known batsman, William Bedster, who went on the play for Middlesex.

 

It was during a match with Hambledon on 22nd - 23rd May 1775 that Lumpy beat batsman John Small three times by the ball going through the middle of the two stumps. Lumpy, as a typical precious bowler, was agreeably upset, and along with the other patrons at the game (we can only imagine during conversation at the bar post match, where most decisions are made) agreed this gap must be filled and a third stump introduced, and after a meeting with the great and the good, the rest they say is history. If you check out our current logo, this is reflected with the golden middle stump and the year of its introduction, 1776.

 

The above is the best to our knowledge, and we often have spats with clubs re the ownership of Lumpy (mostly with the keyboard warriors on Twitter) - but such was the pioneer he was and the clout he held he played for just about everyone, ending his career on 5th September 1789, so walk into most Surrey cricket clubs and they can tell you their own story about beloved old Lumpy, he has a lot to answer for.

 

Photo credit: The Laws of Cricket agreed in 1744 and published 1755, taken from the CCC Pavillion, below: Member Martin Allen makes an appearance on "Celebrity Antiques Road Trip" at the club

 

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19th Century

 

During the early part of the 19th century the club continued to flourish, (the club even gained column space in the Sporting Life) but by the 1850s news started to become sporadic. One prominent and beloved figure of this period is Joseph Moir. First President of Chertsey Town Cricket Club (spoiler alert),mean slow bowler, and self-styled "General" of the Club. In the 1860s though our story starts to take a bleak turn. In 1860 membership was down, but the county of Surrey was deemed to be the best at producing gifted players, and Chertsey players had started to be sent to the County Eleven. The Club toasted themselves and gave themselves the nickname "The Surrey Club", with fixtures against players from actual The Surrey Club and All England Eleven players proposed in 1861. One player, a H.H. Stephenson, actually made it to the prestigious All England Eleven, in a group of 12 professional players headed on a tour of America. The Club did find themselves down on membership numbers however don't forget, and in 1862 the Club no longer appears in the newspapers of the day. By 1865 Chertsey Cricket Club was sadly defunct, seemingly in debt. It's not all doom and gloom though as after much talk a meeting was called on 22nd July 1865 and a new Club was proposed by a W. Croft, who "much regretted that there was no club at the present time in Chertsey, the old one being defunct; but he thought if a little new blood was infused into it with a few of the old ones it must succeed" and "believed every man who could afford a trifle would support it"*. He offered to chair and fund the club, with Joseph "The General" Moir as President, and the club was taken out of trust and handed back when the debts of £6 10s, 2 1/2d were cleared. Hurrah.

  

In 1885 a new club on the block sits down for their first annual general meeting - Gogmore Cricket Club (an early incarnation of the Gogmore Knights we like to hope). They became popular in membership, so much so that they started to eclipse Chertsey Town Cricket Club. in 1886 Chertsey Town Cricket Club offered Gogmore use of the dressing house, utensils, & cash, but Gogmore politely declined their offer. Chertsey Town Cricket Club started prosperously, with 50 members, was given use of a Mr H Hamilton's field, which was a handy three minutes from the train station, and it is also around this time we hear the first mention of a Major E.D. Stern, who gives us £1 to get us going and lets us have use of his Chertsey Rec ground to play our matches on. More from the Sterns later. The club was on a better footing this time around, and owned by a trust, consisting of three members, who owned the property and funds of the club. On 15th April 1893 they decreed at their annual general meeting the club colours should be yellow and navy blue, with a cap incorporating these colours was to be worn at all times during a match.

 

Back to Gogmore Cricket Club.

 

As mentioned previously, Gogmore Cricket Club sat down for their first annual dinner in early 1885, with around 40-50 attendees.  Their first match was reported in June 1885, playing matches at a ground owned by E.T. Madeley, a wealthy household store owner. By 1887 they weren't doing very well results-wise, but were seen to be very social in attitude, frequenting the Kings Head for a post-match debrief, and putting their poor form down to a lack of practise and time other clubs had afforded to them. They decided the club was to be more of a social playing club, and wouldn't compete to win. By 1892 their AGM notes advise they still needed more practise and were looking for more members. They remained financially healthy, much in part due to membership doubling to over 100. By 1898 they'd finally got their ducks in a row, going from 12 matches to 42 by joining a league involving Weybridge, Chertsey, & district, and they voted to increase their number of out grounds to accommodate their growing membership, only playing at the best & prettiest grounds in the country.

 

Photo credit: Top - Gogmore Cricket Club team photo and names, match poster for game v Surbiton, 1853, newspaper cutting from 1893 showing club colours decided upon, Chertsey Town Cricket Club team photo 1891

 

*Surrey Advertiser July 22nd 1865

 

 

20th Century

 

We've learnt up to now CCC (in whichever incarnation) have had a history of having a pioneering attitude and moving into the 20th century this hadn't changed. In 1903 CCC as we know it was about to undergo somewhat of a transformation, with the merging of the more serious Chertsey Town Cricket Club and the social and popular Gogmore Cricket Club to make the club we know today. They also decided the club's colours would stay as yellow and navy blue, the colours we still use today (with the royal blue being gradually introduced as time passed). We also managed to upset the clergy - much to the chagrin of the local vicar and first CCC President E.R. Parr, Chertsey were one of the first sides to play on a Sunday. Sacrilege!

 

By 1909 the club was flourishing both financially and on the field, with the mid-week side deemed better than the Saturday side. There was much help provided by now Sir Edward Stern, a London banker, who gifted funds to open up a pavilion of sorts, and he was offered the Presidency again (he'd previously been a part of Chertsey Town Cricket Club) by way of a thank you.

 

The Edward Stern Sports Ground, our current home, was purchased by Sir Edward Stern, in 1921, and the following year the first pavilion was built at Grove Road. This remained until 1963 when the pavilion was replaced with what we know now. In previous centuries the club played at the Burway mainly until the mid-1850s, but also at Abbey Mead, now known as Abbey Field, Gogmore and Chertsey Rec (where we still play Colts and 3rd & 4th XI matches).

 

The write-up of the period of this point onwards to the present day is currently under construction, with the help of CCC members.

 

Photo credit: Newspaper clipping from The Surrey Times showing the amalgamation of Gogmore and Chertsey Town Cricket Clubs, 1903, Chertsey Cricket Club team photo from the 1910s, Chertsey Cricket Club photo from the 1920s, location of the ground in the 1920s (provided by Mick Wells),Chertsey team photo from 1931