There is a long history of sport being played on The Common in Southwold, as football, rugby, cricket and golf all have rich histories. The cricket club’s own past is an interesting one, as well as a promising future.
Although we know that the history of the club stretches way beyond 1939, that is the first year we have evidence – in the form of a fixture list from that year. Within it are fixtures listed against Framlingham College, Saxmundham, Lowestoft, the Port of London Authority and most intriguingly the Rest of England – a match played at the Eversley Ground in Southwold and won by Southwold. All matches started at 11:30am and the Captain, Secretary and Treasurer were positions all held by one man – Mr Cox-Howman.
There is a break in records until 1949 where there are fixures listed against Yoxford, Lowestoft Railway and Beccles YMCA -and it would appear that the primary ground for matches is The Common, rather than Eversley playing field. Given the place in history, it is perhaps unsurprising to see that the make-up of the Committee is entirely different.
Throughout the 1950s and 60s supporters were encouraged to travel on Away matches to cheer on the team. According to the 1954 fixture list, “…it is possible for a limited number to travel with the team to each away match (fare 2/-). Any member or supporter wishing to accompany the team should enter his or her name on the Club notice-board (in the Market Place) before each match.” In the days before mobile phones and the internet, the Club notice-board was the place for all Southwold CC announcements – “The team lists are posted on the Club notice-board each Tuesday”.
The social side of the club is a large part of the 2015 version of Southwold CC and it was in the 50s, though in a different guise, for throughout the decade there were at least three Cricket Club Dances a season arranged to take place at the ‘Pier Pavilion Ballroom’. In 1958 the first mention of subscriptions and match fees occur – the bane of any Club Captain’s summer. It cost 10/- for a Playing Member to pay his subs for the summer, as well as 2/6 for each home and away fixture. For a member under 18 it cost just 5/- and 1/3 for match fees.
It was during this decade that the Barbrooks’ long affiliation with the cricket club begins. Ken Barbrook was captain in 1957, 1963-65 and 1974-75. He was President of the club from 1996-1999 and was involved with Southwold CC heavily until 2002, either on the Selection Committee or serving as Fixture Secretary. He is still involved with the club as an Honorary Life Member and is regularly down on The Common supporting his grandson Sidney and his sons David and Matt. David himself was one of Southwold’s most regular and successful players throughout the 90s and into the 2000s and captained the side in 1996. His 8/34 against Bawdsey in 2007 remains a club record and more recently he has been putting efforts into the youth section of the club, as well as in playing with the Saturday XI.
The Barbrooks are not the only name synonymous with Southwold CC – the Middleditch family has a long and proud history of sport in Southwold as both Roger and his son Chippy have played rugby and cricket for the town. Roger is currently the President, a role he has had with a great deal of success since 2007, but before this he was Chairman from 1999-2002 and captain in 1971. His time at the helm coincided with that of a man who has held the club together throughout the years – Trevor Clifford.
First listed as a scorer in the 1964 fixture list; five years later as an 18 year old he was vice captain. It was as captain from 1978 – 1990 that the club experienced its most bountiful years – they enjoyed promotion in 1980 and 1981 and were runners up of Section A in their first year of 1982. They won the League Cup in 1983 and were again runners-up of Section A in 1984. In that year they won the Whitbread Cup Suffolk & Essex Group and the following year the 2nd XI won the Tolly Cobbold Alliance. All this success was accomplished with Trevor and his mullet at the helm and with a great team and support network. In 2014 he became Southwold’s first Director of Cricket, a role which encompasses much of the behind the scenes work, as well as groundsman, umpire, scorer and player in the Saturday XI.
During the club’s difficult years in the mid-2000s, numbers were dwindling and on a regular basis the team was travelling to away matches with just eight or so players. Keith Pettman, captain in the 90s and 2000s as well as groundsman, helped to attract new players to the club as well as ensuring that the current players didn’t leave. During this time, the club even considered a merger with another local side – Rumburgh, in order to get more players. Eventually this did not happen but it served as a sharp reminder of the need for greater commitment from players. This, coupled with the increasing interest from the local community in youth cricket, has seen Southwold go from strength to strength in the last few years.
With the construction of the brand new pavilion in 2008 Southwold CC finally had a place they were proud to call home. The Sunday XI were promoted to Section A in 2011 under Steve Hines, the league in which they still reside, who captained the side during the rocky years from 2008 – 2012 and who has taken over 200 wickets for Southwold. In his final year as captain the team had their biggest triumph since the 80s as they won the John Boast Memorial Plate in a thrilling and memorable game over Needham Market.
In 2014 the club ventured into new territory with the creation of the Saturday XI. Competing in the Norfolk Cricket League and starting at the bottom, this team offers cricket for old and young whilst being successful – in their first season, the team broke many club and league records, including highest individual score (Sam Booker, 156*). The team will compete in Level 5 East in 2015, after coming second in their debut season, losing just two games.
In 2015 the club is in good health. With two successful senior teams looking to the future and with four junior teams beneath them at U9, U11, U13 and U15 level there is a good mix of youth and experience. There are plenty of young cricketers coming through the ranks and whilst there were many bright days in the club’s past, there look sure to be plenty more in the near future.