Brockham Cricket Team
Brockham Cricket Team Mr Poland and his sister - Reuben Childs second from right front row
In the 1920s on Saturday afternoons the gardeners at The Manor would wheel a cart to the Green with a tent and equipment for the cricket match. Mr Poland and his sister would attend and sit in the marquee with Miss Poland supervising the teas.
Another familiar sight on Saturday afternoons in the early 30's was the red and white striped tent that Bill Parker and my dad used to wheel up on a truck from the Manor, and erect near Vicarage Cottage for the cricketers to use for teas and changing, as an alternative to the Reading room. Another of Mr. Poland's wishes!
Early photo of cricket on the Green
Cricket was traditionally played on The Green until the late 1960s. There were no leagues and all matches were therefore "friendly". The team was very much local people and many played for several years. In every team there were always two or so players who were better than the others. There were cricket teas and even lunches for the all day games at Whitsun and August bank holidays made by Mrs Finch for a charge of 3/6d - usually pork luncheon meat. The changing rooms were in the Reading Room at the front of the village hall that one day became the Club. The Surrey County Cricket Club came and played on The Green before and after the War.
There was a picture in The Times of a typical village cricket match. A net was strung over Surrey House to prevent the balls breaking windows which on one occasion failed and the ball landed on Vera Kimberley's lap. Her husband was extremely cross. Commander Charles Over (retired RN) who lived at The Meadows (followed by Shawqi Sultan and Neil and Dianne Mayall) offered a barrel of beer for anyone hitting a ball through a bedroom window of his house - a feat undertaken by Roger (AKA Dan) Archer and the householder paid up. The move to the recreation ground came finally because of the growth in traffic, the potential dangers and an accident involving a fielder John Chitty who ran into the road and was struck by a car. He was unhurt, the driver shaken and the Club deciding time had come to move.
We boys, who were cricket-mad in the summer, once saw Mr. Patton, who came from Brockham Park, hit a ball right over it, and it (the ball) landed in Vicarage Drive. A mighty hit! Another big hit we talked about for years was by "Obby" Moore, who was left-handed, and he actually hit a ball right over the poplar trees by the entrance to Brockham Court Farm. But probably the longest hit ever seen on the Green, if we were to believe the old men of the day was by Harry Barnes Senior, who played in a bowler hat and black trousers, the ball was said to have finished up in the Brook at the bottom of Tanners Hill.
There were two football pitches on the recreation ground and the cricket club paid for drainage and the preparation of the square. Games were played against adjoining villages and some from further afield including Okewood Hill and Horsham Trinity. Dorking was in a higher league. In the 1950s the team won the Aarvold Cup, finishing the game when it was getting quite dark. (The cup was presented by Judge Aarvold who lived at West Humble and was very involved in sports locally.)
I played to make the numbers up and when my eyesight became poor I became an umpire!