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Wall Heath Cricket Club enjoys fifty year reunion

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 16, 2014

By Terry Church

  • Left: Wall Heath in the good old days

  • Just one of many tables at the recent cricket club reunion

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WALL HEATH Cricket Club came into existence half a century ago in 1964, when the founders agreed to take over the fixtures of the Alfred McAlpine and Son club.

Initially it was difficult to arrange fixtures and also to persuade players to commit to play on a regular basis. With lots of hard work, coupled with the enthusiasm of the "traditional few", a full fixture list was arranged for the 1965 season with several players agreeing to turn out on both Saturday and Sunday each week.

Additionally the club was accepted into the local Knock Out competitions, including the Don Kenyon, The Chronicle and British Steel competitions. Quite often in the following years the club would be drawn against stronger opponents including Old Hill and Stourbridge, both members of the Birmingham League. Success came the way of the club in 1970 when they won the Don Kenyon six-a-side competition.

The problem of having no ground was overcome by negotiating with Summerhill School to use the school ground. Also on occasions the club hired the ground in the middle of the racetrack at Dunstall Park Racecourse, which turned out to be one of the best wickets that the club played on.

Although the club ceased to exist several years ago many of the former players are in regular contact and it was unanimously agreed that the 50th anniversary of the birth of the club should not be allowed to pass without being celebrated.

Accordingly a lunch was held at Churchill and Blakedown Golf Club on Sunday June 1 to which all former players were invited. Sadly some players have passed away but it was pleasing that some of the widows were able to join us. A total of thirty one were present and were able to recall so many happy times from the past.

Some players, inevitably, have moved away from the area but were keen to attend the event – Tony and Barbara Carter journeyed from Macclesfield, Alan Darley came from Sheffield; Bob and Jo Hughes from Leominster; Chris Roper travelled from Eastwood, near Nottingham and his brother George drove from Wisbech.

From memory a list was compiled of opponents against whom many competitive but fair matches had been played. Included in the list is Wolverhampton Wanderers. How did that come about? Brian Thompson, one of the better batsmen in the club, was also a promising mid-fielder with Wolves, being good enough to be chosen to represent England at Under 18 level.

A game against Wolves was duly arranged by Brian, being played at The Mile Flat ground, Wall Heath. Included in the Wolves side were Mike Bailey, Phil Parkes and Dave Wagstaff.

The photo shown on the menu card is the presentation of the Don Kenyon six-a-side trophy by Bill Smith, President of Stourbridge CC, to captain Barry Hickman. The other players are Jeff Perkins, Bob Drake, Steve Emery, Terry Church and Alan Darley.

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