Like all village cricket
clubs, history is passed on by word of mouth. documentation
is sketchy and hard to come by. Records show that cricket was
played in the village before 1885 in various forms. Little is
known of activities before the First World War, after which.
the reorganisation of the club took place by moving to The Bush
field next to our present headquarters. Here, the club flourished
running three sides - the "A", ''B" and "C"
teams (remember, no Sunday cricket in those days), meeting and
beating the best in the district.
I was privileged to meet some of those great characters who
put us in the very strong position we are in toda - Len Snow,
Len Hayward, Wilf Davies, David Wright, Bill Clayton, Jack Taylor,
Alf Dilks, Harry Shortman and Amos Breeze, to mention a few
committee men of some stature who restarted the club after the
War and bought our present ground with little or no money in
the bank. Many great stories have been told of feats on the
Old Bush ground, epic battles with local pride at stake, humorous
stories - all true. I'm told of one tragic story with the death
of Foddy Parkes in 1926 - struck on the temple with a full toss.
history of the club would be complete without mention of the
strong connection the club had in its early days with the Methodist
Church. Remember, Pelsall until recent years was a pit village,
pillars of the Wesleyan Church. Fools were not countenanced
gladly, Some of this spirit remains today. When invited to skipper
the 1st XI in the early fifties, I asked a senior member what
was expected of me - he said "Have fun during your year
of office", that personifies Pelsall Cricket Club. A lot
of people have had a lot of fun over the years and are still
doing so today. Incidentally, my year as skipper lasted 17.
Later on you will learn of great feats with bat and ball, but
the secret of our success over the years has been in our officials
being of the highest calibre. Too numerous to mention, but the
story is as true today as then
No history of the club would be complete
without some mention of Albert Aldridge - nicknamed by the press
as 'Ambidextrous Albert' for his feats as right hand spinner,
left hand bat. To us of course, he was just 'Bonk', one of the
select few club cricketers to record a thousand runs and a hundred
wickets during a season on several occasions. His haul of 183
wickets, 1,463 runs in the late fifties must be some kind of record
(remember, no mid-week figures allowed). Whoever matches it will
be very, very tired !! Tom Ivey. our scorer, recorded a century
in 29 minutes against Harborne around this period in time. A further
five 'tons' followed when he learned how to bat.
After numerous 9 wicket
hauls he eventually took all 10 at Enville - a spinner's paradise.
I suppose a hat-trick in Walsall K.O. final is worth a mention.
He only bowled the one over. Incidentally, we felt we didn't need
him. what with Spike and Smithy in the side. Looking back one
wonders what the rest of us were doing as Albert was the icing
on the cake. Harry Witcutt, Norman Cross, Alan Cross, Ken Rowley.
Ray Law, Bill Pemberton, Harold Spanswick, Ken Smith and Ron Challenor
were all very fine club cricketers in their own right and contributed
in no small way to our success both on and off the field. Laughter
played a big part in the life of the club in after match concerts.
.I shall always remember Albert whenever I hear Begin the Beguine.
Norman Cross singing - Mammy -, Betty Spooner, Joyce Mills. Bryan
Stringer and Challinors "Cork Leg"- happy days!!
I will finish with a tribute to our ladies who not only support
us in all we do, but make sure we are not a dead organisation
on the social side. Anyone who has ever played cricket will tell
you there is nothing to beat changing room humour. It's wicked,
it's personal. but believe me. very funny. To all the many lads
I've been unable to mention - thanks for the memories.