The History of Epping Cricket Club
(1768 to the Present Day )
Although Epping Cricket Club was established in 1865 there has been cricket in Epping for much longer. The first reported match played by an Epping team dates back to 1768.
The record of the game states:
"On Monday se'nnight was played at Ware in Hertfordshire, a match of cricket for £50 between eleven of that town and eleven of Epping. The Epping side went in first and scored 95 notches, night coming on, the match was deferred 'till the next day. When Ware went in, their first four fetched fourscore, which occasioned the bets to rise to 10-1 against Epping, but to the amazement of the spectators the other six men were bowled out for one notch; good bowling."
An "Epping Cricket Club" was playing on a pitch on Epping Plain in 1850 with two outstanding under-arm fast bowlers, one who always played in a white top hat and another who performed in a black “topper”. In 1857 the club moved to a ground off what is now Buttercross Lane, and after a few seasons moved again to a new field at Lynceley Grange. It is noted that on this ground, playing against Bishop’s Stortford, each team managed to bat four times on one day but the game still ended in a tie.
In the early 1860's the Cable family started the Bell Common C.C., the parents of 'A.J.C. Cable' providing all the gear and a tent. A very good wicket was made on the Common, ditches being filled in, banks levelled and removable posts and chains erected. The brothers Cable - Alfred, Frank and Walter - were undoubtedly the backbone of the team, and were well supported by such players as Walter Banfield, Fred Simpson, “Sixty” Everitt and very frequently Frank Silcock, and many County players also came along when possible. After some years an Essex Competition was started, and owing to some of the players not being selected, a “split” arose and the Epping Victoria team was started and functioned on the Plain. Eventually a public meeting was called and the present Town Club was brought into being and the 'Common' ceased to be a club, although they would later reform and become Epping Foresters.
The present ground in Lower Bury Lane was leased from Copped Hall Estate and again the Cable family were very prominent. Their building firm erected the pavilion, with the Rev. Buckmaster footing the major part of the cost, and the builders the remainder. The pavilion was officially opened on 7th May 1896 and is still used to this day and, although it has had some alterations, remains essentially the same as when it was first built.
When the ground was opened, a supporter offered £5 for the first century scored by a player on the new ground. Imagine A.J.Cable's leg being pulled on scoring 99 before being caught at point so close to winning the prize on offer. There was in fact no century scored during the opening season and the offer was withdrawn.
During the First World War cricket was kept alive on the Lower Bury Lane ground with help from the players in the forces stationed in the locality, and some good cricket was seen.
In 1919 the club started again. With names like Dan Willis, J.P.H. Soper (for many years skipper), Gerard Trotter, Bob Saines, Charles Gouldstone, Frank Frances, Ben Hyde, umpire Jack Archer (who was always the driver of the wagonette that conveyed the team in those days), Basil Hails, “Fluff” Brewer (so many years the groundsman), Harold Palmer, Frank Simmonds (a fine all-round sportsman) and later Eddie Cox, E.E. Pring, Johnny Dixon, Billy Osbourne, Dyer and Keith De Manus (a very popular skipper of the 2nd XI), Frank Baker, Ken Krailing and Billy Mitchell. In these days Epping also fielded a very useful Wednesday XI.
Between the wars the club flourished but in 1940 and the outbreak of WWII it ceased operating as a cricket club, although the ground was occasionaly used by services teams. After WWII in 1945 full cricket activities were resumed and before long the club was running three Saturday and two Sunday XIs.
This was the first time Sunday cricket had been introduced in to the club. The second 'tea' pavilion was also built around this time and like the older changing pavilion remains in use today, although again with some alteration and extension.
In 1960, 110 years of Epping cricket was celebrated by a visit to Epping of a team composed largely of football players. The team was led by Billy Wright, a former captain of England, and included Bobby Moore, then the current captain. Several other well known West Ham players were also included in the side.
In recent years Epping has seen some success and achievements.
On the field the Club had success in 1983 by winning the Morrant Essex League, the forerunner of the current Shepherd Neame Essex League.
We entered the Shepherd Neame Essex League in 1994 and to do this the Club was required to have a third league team playing on a Saturday. This meant the club formed a Saturday Third XI which played, until recently their home matches at Coopersale Cricket Club, which is a short distance from the Lower Bury Lane ground.
Currently our Saturday teams are in the Third Division of the Shepherd Neame Essex League and our First XI has had a taste of success in 2004 by gaining promotion to the Second Division. Alas, due to several of our promotion winning side being unavailable for the 2005 season, the First XI suffered and were relegated on the final weekend back to the Third Division. Epping Cricket Club is also six times winner of the “Vernon Cocking” knock-out cup.
Over the years Epping Cricket Club has had a lot of success in the Colts section of the club, winning the West Essex Cricket Association league and cup on numerous occasions throughout the 1980s and 1990s at under 13, under 15 and under 17 level.
In 1983 our Under 13 side reached the final of the Essex ‘Terriers’ (Bradford) Cup and this gave them the honour to play the match on the Essex County Cricket Ground, a massive honour for any Essex cricketer let alone one as young as 13. Unfortunately we were runners up on that occasion but took heart from beating the previous years National Winners, Wansted, on route to the final. Epping also contributed the majority of players that represented the West Essex Cricket Association in 1985, 86 and 87 and the team won the 'Trevor Bailey Shield' in those years under the captaincy of Gary Edwards who, at the time, played for Epping Cricket Club.
This tradition has continued in recent years with Dan Twitchett being selected to represent the West Essex Cricket Association in 2004 and he also had the honour of captaining the side in the 2005 season.
In 2015 the club celebrated it 150th anniversary in style, inviting many former players back to the club for a legends v current game. This is now an annual tradition and celebration of a proud history of Epping Cricket Club.
The club has produced several very fine cricketers in recent decades who currently play or have played at the highest level in Essex. With the emergence of lots of young cricketing talent the Club is looking to pursue promotion for all their league teams in the near future and to continue the long and glorious tradition of Epping Cricket Club.
***This History was compiled with the help from an artical entiled "120 Years of Cricket" written by Harry Mead the Secretary of Epping Sports Council (date unknown).
Special thanks go to Honorary Life Member of Epping Cricket Club, Eric Wood, for his efforts in obtaining the information and pictures that also contributed to this history.
Bill Stock and Charlie Knight RIP
The club sadly lost two of its greatest supporters and players who passed away in the close season. Both will be greatly missed for the amazing continuing support to the club after their distinguished playing career ended. Bill was an ever present fixture supporting the club as a spectator after a fantastic playing career as a hard-hitting all-rounder. Charlie was the English Shane Warne of his generation bamboozling batsmen with extraordinary leg spin. His good humour off the pitch will also be sadly missed.
2008 SEASON NOTICES
Dave Westall RIP
Epping Cricket Club member Dave Westall sadly passed away at too young an age after a motor cycle accident in April 2008. Dave followed in his father's and uncle's fine footsteps in playing for the club and had come up the ranks from being a colt to playing in our 1st XI. He is sadly missed at the club as a larger than life presence and highly competent cricketer capable of destroying any attack with his forceful batting. Many Epping CC members attended his funeral and Dave's ashes were scattered on the square at Lower Bury Lane. Our thoughts are still with his family and close friends.
Epping v Germany
The May weather deprived of us Epping's most distinguished fixture in years - a game v the German national side. Former Epping CC member James "Eggie" Eggleston, now living near Frankfurt, is a member of the German national squad and arranged a game against Epping as part of a pre-season tour. Torrential rain did for the fixture but Epping CC were proud to play host to the German national side for a practice session on our wet outfield and arranged nets at Chelmsford and follow-on fixtures v Bishop's Stortford and Loughton for them.