Sidcup Cricket Club
Address: Sidcup CC, Sydney Road, Sidcup, Kent, DA14 6RA
Website: Click Here
Phone: 02083 002 336
2014 Fixture Card: Click to open/download
The club was founded by Captain Edward Blanks in 1877 in Mr Howe’s meadow at Crescent Farm, when Sidcup was a village of some 1200 inhabitants.
By 1884 the membership had risen substantially and a second XI was formed.
The first proper pavilion was built in 1894, on the site of the present clubhouse, where it stood until 1949, until it was destroyed by fire.
The future looks bright for Sidcup CC, both on and off the pitch.
Having turned a real corner over the last few years, things are genuinely starting to look upwards in every aspect of the Club’s business.
The lengthy history of the club has already been covered on the pages of Cricket World, but it’s worth reiterating some of the more recent events in order to understand where the Club finds itself now and why we are so positive about the future.
In the not too distant past, a lack of focus on the youth set-up left a real gap in talent coming into the adult sides, resulting in drawn-out fall through the leagues. However, just over 10 years ago, a small number of Club members set about rectifying this issue, re-instating the Colts set-up, which is now flourishing with over 100 members and two sides at every age group.
The results are there for all to see. The first cohort of Colts from those initial days are now in their early twenties, forming the backbone of our 1st XI, who were promoted into Division III of the Kent league last season under the leadership of Mat Kilbey, only 22 himself.
There is now a steady stream of youngsters coming up through the youth system, and the Club are continuing to develop our support for them. We have recently re-instated our Academy set up, something that was first developed by the Club under the tutelage of Club member and former MCC Young Cricketers coach John Wilson.
This original set-up played a large part in developing the quality youngsters that we have playing at the top of the Club at the moment. Unfortunately, following John’s retirement, finding a coach of a suitable calibre had proved difficult.
However, having had huge success with our oldest age groups last year (our U-16s won their league and U-15s came second in theirs), it was clear that the time was right to focus our effort on re-instating the Academy, in order to give our best youngsters the opportunity to further their development and to bridge the gap between playing youth and adult cricket, accelerating their progress into the top adult sides.
So this year, Ex-Kent batsman, and current Kent U-15 coach Neil Taylor is running a number of sessions for our best youngsters, providing focused, small-group coaching, aimed at developing their all-round game, preparing them for playing at the top of the Club.
Our youngsters also have the opportunity to play against their counterparts from some of the best clubs in the county, as the Sunday Development League side have rocketed to the top division, pitting their cricketing skills against a number of Premier League sides.
At the core of the Club’s commitment to improving the quality of cricket is the investing in the development of our own youngsters.
But it’s not all about the performance end of the Club. We have a wide range of standards of cricket, often putting out four, occasionally five teams on a Saturday, and up to three on a Sunday.
The Sunday sides include the ‘Ad Hocs’, whose choice of opponents is far more dependent on the quality of the teas and the local pubs, than the standard of cricket!
Off the pitch
Behind the scenes, the Club is also moving forwards fast. The most prominent recent additions to the facilities at the Club are the new three-lane, all-weather outdoor nets and the smart electronic scoreboard, adding to the already fantastic facilities at the club, including a members gym (overlooking the 1st XI square), three bar areas and spacious, modern changing facilities.
Much of the recent development has been helped by a new long-term main-sponsorship deal with Cook and Matthews Sport of Chislehurst, whose extensive range far exceeds their ‘local high street business’ image.
Having a multi-year deal in place has given us the confidence to make the financial commitments necessary to develop our facilities, helped also by some of our smaller, secondary sponsors, whose ranks include a number of local businesses.
The facilities will be further enhanced at the end of this summer, with a full re-lay of the 1st XI square thanks to a significant grant from Sport England.
As a Club, we are now able to look forwards in every aspect of our set-up, with a thriving Colts system, a high quality Academy providing the link into the adult sides, and a wide range of cricket available to adult members. We have built a solid platform from which to continue our progress back up through the highly competitive Kent League, with a set of facilities to more-than match our on-field ambition and which rival any Club in the area.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Sidcup CC please visit our website at www.sidcup.play-cricket.com. We welcome new members of any standard and playing enquiries for both Adults and Colts should be made to Mike Buchan at [email protected]
The club had achieved a good reputation by the early 20th Century, attracting a number of professional and university men to the membership. W.G. Grace played at Sidcup for Eltham in 1911 and 1913.
The cricket, although inconsistent in quality, was always interesting and some astonishing performances were achieved.
After the Great War, cricket continued to be played, though Captain Blanks died in 1920, after 35 years as President of the Club. In 1923, C.L. Ackroyd was in the 2nd team, destined to become Lord Mayor of London in 1955 and knighted. The time between the wars was probably the Golden Years of Sidcup Cricket Club with some brilliant players performing great feats. Some of those players were Frank Turnbull, Bernard Eastwood, “Copper” Herbert and Ken Poulter. One new member who joined in 1939 was a young man named Walter Bennett, who was to serve the club with unbounded enthusiasm for over 50 years.
After the Second World War, play resumed in 1946. In 1948, the ground, which had been rented on an annual basis, was offered on a long lease, with an option to purchase. The Cricket, Rugby (formed in 1883) and Tennis (formed in 1879) clubs met to discuss this proposition and on the 1st October Sidcup Sports Club was formed. In the same year, the cowshed on the farm was converted into a pavilion, as the old wooden pavilion was not in the best condition. The cowshed was in use until 1966, when a new clubhouse was erected on the present site. The cowshed has since become a centre for martial arts and many cricketers in the 1970s were treated to the sight of Brian Jacks walking behind the bowler’s arm, though nobody complained!
Also in 1948, Sunday cricket was introduced, due to public demand. In 1951, a second square was prepared to accommodate the increased demand for games from a thriving membership. The Sports Club was now in a stronger financial position, because of increasing membership and the opportunity to purchase the ground was taken soon afterwards, with some serious fundraising taking place! Members raised £3000 and one member contributed an incredibly generous £5000, thus achieving the £8000 required in 1958/59.
During this period, “Worcester” Davies, John Newdick, Barry King, Jack Pepper, John Moseley, as well as the prolific Herbert and Poulter were performing at a high level. It was in 1955 that a young Peter Farrell joined the club. “Lumley”, as he became known, was to contribute a huge amount to both the cricket and rugby clubs over the next 40 years. The cricketer’s bar in the new clubhouse (opened in 2004) is named in his memory.
During the 1960s, fortunes slumped, but in 1973, the club decided to join with others to form the South Thames League, with a separate league for 1st and 2nd XIs. Membership began to increase again and there were full fixtures for three Sunday sides. With the help of a new Colts section, it was often possible to put out five sides on a Saturday. The likes of Jack Spalding, Peter Bastin, Tony Rush, Alick King, Peter Farrell and Andrew Keenan were well known at this time.
The Sidcup sides did quite well, with consistent performances. After both sides had come close to winning their respective leagues on occasion, the 2nd XI won the title in 1981, with the 1st team achieving the distinction in 1982. The 2nd XI held the title for three consecutive years, missing out in 1984, but winning again in 1985 and 1986. The 1st XI won their league again in 1987.
In 1979, the 3rd team (renamed as the 2As) joined the 2nd XI division of the Kent Metropolitan League, where it performed very well, winning the league and/or the cup on a number of occasions. During this time, players such as Peter Farrell (still going!), Dave Evans, Nick Startup, Clive Winton, Roger Shaddock, Dave Croker and Trevor Whiting were turning in march-winning performances for the 1st XI.
The 2nd XI were as equally well served by the likes of Robin Thomas, Richard Sels, John Davies, John Gough, Tony Rush, Hugh Beresford-Webb and Dave Bragg.
In the late 1970s, Danny Kelleher passed through the ranks of the Colts and adult sides before progressing to the Kent squad for a few years.
During the 1980s a young Colt named Gavin Hamilton was prolific in age group and adult cricket, before moving into the professional game. He went on to play county cricket and have a brief England career, before becoming a stalwart for Cricket Scotland.
During the 1990s, the teams continued to play good cricket, though a number of key players left the club or retired from playing. This, coupled with a waning membership resulted in a slight decline in standards. When the leagues restructured, introducing promotion and relegation, the teams could not maintain their initial level and both drifted down in their respective leagues, both ending up in Kent League Division 4.
During this period, interest in cricket waned, probably because of the affordability and popularity of computer games! The Club now had three Saturday sides and one Sunday side, but even this was a struggle on occasion! However, the likes of Phil Robinson, Dave and Neil Bastin, John Wilson, David Thorn and others were doing their best to keep the performances going.
In the early part of the 21st Century, the Sports Club sold a piece of land to finance the new, extended and improved clubhouse, which was opened in 2004. The facilities are now second to none, with three bars, a function room, eight changing rooms and a gymnasium. The cricket club also has a burgeoning Colts section with a good local reputation, which is the result of much hard work by, amongst others, Jim Waterhouse, John Cook, Alan McCawley, Adrian Crust, Andy Stent and Bob Harbert.
The Club also had the peerless services of ex-Lord’s coach, John Wilson, a long-standing member, for a few years until his retirement in 2013. Under his watchful eye, the Colts, adults and other coaches all showed improvement year on year. In fact, the Saturday 4th XI was not even in existence in 2005, but by 2009 we had 5 league sides on a Saturday and two sides on a Sunday, including league cricket for the 1st XI!! In the last three years, a Sunday 3rd XI, The Ad Hocs, has been formed, specialising in social cricket in rural locations!
The culmination of the recent effort to improve the Club’s fortunes was in season 2010, when four league sides gained promotion – the 1sts, 2nds, 3rds and Sunday 1sts! A lot of this success was because of the performances of the Colts in adult cricket and the coaching staff can be proud of what they have achieved.
After three years of trying, the Club at last obtained a substantial ECB grant to build a three-lane net facility, opened in 2012, which has vastly improved the practice facilities for all at the Club.
In 2013, another grant was successfully applied for, to re-lay the main square and landscape the outfield.
Work will begin on this in September 2014 and will enable the Club to compete with the more established “top” sides in terms of the playing surface. Thus, Sidcup CC will become even more attractive to players looking for a progressive club with excellent facilities, both on and off the pitch.