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Into the 20th Century (1900-1939)
The Turn of the Century
By the turn of the century. Dr. Alfie Grace had followed in the footsteps of his father (Dr. Alfred) by taking over the captaincy of the Club. Dr. Alfie Grace and his brothers, Arthur and Gerald, played and during the next decade their uncle, "E.M." continued to turn out for the Chipping Sodbury Club as well as other members of the Grace family.
Arthur Grace, who was a stolid bat, would frequently open Chipping Sodbury's innings and Dr. Alfie, a good all-rounder, invariably appeared early in the batting order and opened the bowling.
"In the course of a cricket match played at Chipping Sodbury between that team and Tytherington on June 25th, a ball was struck by Dr. A. H. Grace and the batsmen ran three, when the man who was fielding the ball, instead of returning it to the wicket, threw it to the boundary, which was a fenced in tree, near the centre of the field, for which in the ordinary course four runs are allowed.
I was umpiring and as three runs had been run before the ball struck the boundary on the return throw, I gave seven runs. As one to two of our opponents doubted the justice of my decision and as it is an interesting point, will some of your cricket readers kindly say if I did right and oblige." But as far as we can ascertain, no one ventured a second opinion!
In 1905, Chipping Sodbury Cricket Club lost the services of Arthur Grace who went to South Africa but prior to his departure a presentation was made to him.
'Chipping Sodbury have evidently got a good team together this season" wrote the cricketing correspondent 'Cover Point' in the "Gazette" on July 13th, 1907. "It is something unusual for Wickwar to be defeated at home but this is what happened on Saturday and the Sodbury men accomplished the feat'' he added. (Wickwar made 75 and Sodbury replied with 96 for 6, of which Dr. Alfie Grace made 38).
Rain ruined the 1907 season, but worse was to follow at the start of the 1908 season when snow was lying ½ inch thick on the ground and as the cricketing correspondent of the "Gazette" remarked in his jottings of May 2nd. 1908 "under such extraordinary conditions there was no alternative but to stay at home."
At the end of the 1910 season, Dr. Alfie Grace relinquished the office of captain. He finished tap of the batting averages which also listed the following in the "also batted" section: E. M. Grace 31, F. H. Grace 23, M. B. Grace 1. G. E. Jotcham came second in the batting averages while J. Weare headed the bowling averages taking 30 wickets at a cost of 5.13 each with J. H. Bennett and Dr. Alfie Grace each having secured 28 wickets.
4 years later - on August 4th. 1914 - war was declared and cricket ceased.
Following the First World War, cricket was resumed at Chipping Sodbury in 1920, fixtures being arranged on a limited scale with a number of local Clubs.
Chipping Sodbury's current performances were compared with " The brave days of old " in the Gazette " of August 4th, 1923. A correspondent wrote: Chipping Sodbury do not possess a particularly strong cricket team now but at one time the villagers could field the strongest XI in the County. That was during the days "when "E.M; (Grace) took an interest in the Club. There have been many Dr. Graces in the Sodbury scorebooks."
In a match at The Ridings against Old Sodbury, twenty batsmen were dismissed for a total of 56 runs, victory going to Chipping Sodbury who got the visitors out for 21.
Wotton avenged their earlier defeat at The Ridings on June 25th. They scored 90 with J. Mayoh getting five wickets and J. Tanner, three. Sodbury's batting display was mostly a one-man show, L. Goulder knocking up 23 out of their total of 44.
The Thirties will always be regarded as one of the most flourishing periods in the Club's history for the "Chipping Sodbury Town Club (as it was known in those days) had some conscientious officers, a hard-working committee and some first-class cricketers.
A remarkable bowling feat was performed by Les Brown in the 2nd XI's game with Kington St. Michael on August 26th, 1933, when he took nine wickets for nine runs and caught the tenth man, Kington St. Michael being dismissed for 19 runs.
L. Montague Harris was unanimously elected president of the Club at the annual meeting in February 1935.
At the annual meeting in 1936, it was decided to increase the annual subscription from 5 / - (25p) to 7/6 (37 ½p) with a match fee of 6d. (2 ½p) for each Saturday game (home and away) in view of the heavy expenditure in operating three teams.
Thursday XI Cricket
Spectacular cricket was seen at 'The Ridings on August 12th 1937 when the Thursday XI played Cainscross. Jarvis Savory beat his own previous best score for the Club with an undefeated 142 and with Cliff Monks (who had made his debut for Gloucestershire two seasons earlier) shared in a second wicket stand of 197 in just over one hour. Chipping Sodbury reached a total of 272 for 3 declared; then Mel Turner (5 for 8) and Monks (5 for 10) bowled unchanged to dismiss the visitors in 37 minutes for only 19 runs.
It was late August, 1939, and the international situation was deteriorating rapidly. On Sunday, September 3rd, war was declared and in the ensuing conflict, three Chipping Sodbury Cricket Club players lost their lives.
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