David Gower and MCC celebrate Valley End's 125-year journey
Valley End Cricket Club celebrated its 125th anniversary on Sunday, 9th August with a thrilling match against the MCC under blistering blue skies.
However, this celebration of cricket was only half the story. The last time the MCC’s egg and bacon flag flew at VECC, it was to mark the centenary of the club with a match staged on the idyllic Windlesham Park ground. Gary Lineker top scored for the visitors that day, but England’s greatest striker and more than decent wicketkeeper batsman would be astonished at what has been achieved in the intervening twenty-five years.
It has certainly been a long process with many false dawns and setbacks along the way, but just before the MCC match began, the club proudly welcomed England Legend, David Gower OBE to cut the ribbon and declare the new pavilion open.
VECC President, James Young & Chairman, Donald Kingsnorth joined the local Mayor, Pat Tedder, and David Gower in raising a glass of champagne to toast the achievements of all those who have worked so hard to create not only a cricket pavilion, but also a hub facility for the whole community.
Since 1995 the club has won a Lord’s final, entered the Surrey Championship, and rocketed up the leagues to have experienced Premier league cricket. The proactive club volunteers have developed disability and girls’ cricket, built a four-lane floodlit caged AstroTurf practice facility and the club now fields six men’s Saturday league teams; all playing home matches on the three adjacent pitches. All junior age groups are catered for and four home grown juniors have gone on to play First Class or List A cricket.
Valley End’s story is an inspiring one of determination and vision against the odds, and one that should be shared to give hope to other club’s in these difficult and uncertain times. They are already working with others looking to do similar projects, to offer advice and experience. An example of the cricket community working together.
© Cricket World 2020