Things move fast at The Ridings (1950-1954)
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In recognition of his valuable services to the Club in connection with the building of the new pavilion, Norman Buckeridge was made a life-member at the annual meeting in 1950. He also took over the 2nd XI captaincy, Ron Tranter continuing as 1st XI skipper.
The annual dinner took place at the George Hotel, Chipping Sodbury on April 8th when the Club captain in proposing the health of the president, spoke of the exceptional assistance which Major L. Montague Harris had always rendered to the Club. In reply, Major Harris referred to the ties between the Club and the giants of the past, including Dr. W. G. Grace.
Playing against Harris's of Calne on July lst, 1950 John Pettit carried his bat for 48 in a total of 88, Chipping Sodbury's last wicket falling with the last ball of the match. Harris's totalled 111. On to 1951 when the 1st XI were engaged in two exciting finishes with old opponents, Thornbury, and Harold Willis performed the "hat trick " in the 2nd XI'S game with Twyford House on August 18th.
At the annual meeting in the Town Hall on March 4th, 1952, John Binks succeeded Wally Vickery as secretary and for the first time the Club had the services of a lady official, Mrs. Betty Willmott, who took over the duties of match secretary, fixtures secretary, and 2nd XI scorer. Norman Buckeridge became 1st XI captain with Hugo King and Harry Lewis as umpires and Alfie Paul, 1st XI scorer.
Lionel Higgins performed the " hat trick " against Oakleigh on August 9th. 1952 and in the last match of the season against Thornbury on the Ship ground at Alveston on September 2nd, Chipping Sodbury avenged an earlier defeat, though, in fairness, it should be mentioned that it was almost dark towards the end of Thornbury's innings and the street lights were on in the Ship drive!
Chipping Sodbury XI v District XI at The Ridings, 31 May 1953. This match was part of local festivities to celebrate the Queen's Coronation.
1953 was Coronation Year and as their contribution to the local week of festivities which were held to celebrate the occasion, the Club arranged a match between a Chipping Sodbury and District XI and Frenchay at The Ridings on Sunday, May 31st.
In the annual Whit. Monday match at Sherston, " Darkie" Martin, a serving RAF officer who used to journey down from his Station in Worcestershire every weekend to play for Chipping Sodbury, took 7 for 10 in Sherston's second innings. Mention of " Darkie " Martin brings to mind the day when his car broke down in the hill leading into Sherston and all aboard jumped out to push the vehicle up the incline. There was the day, too, at Sherston when the " pavilion "-a canvas tent-caught fire and there was one mad dash from the field of play to rescue kit and belongings.
John Binks played some fine innings for the Club in 1953 and it was towards the end of the season that Cliff Monks (captain of Gloucestershire 2nd XI at that time) started to play again for Chipping Sodbury at a period when the Club had lost the services of a number of first-team men of the immediate post-war years with the result that some lean times were experienced.
Sunday XI Formed
It was in order to ensure that some improvement should be effected in the Club's status that the annual meeting was advanced four months to November 1953 so that adequate preparations could be made for the 1954 season. One important decision taken at this meeting was the introduction of a Sunday XI which a number of members had been advocating for a long time because it was felt that this would attract some good players to the Club and provide better class matches.
Cliff Monks was made 1st XI skipper with John King as his deputy and captain of the new Sunday XI. H. W. (Bert) Jones became 2nd XI captain and Jim Cowles was made vice-captain, (Jim was Chairman of the club at the turn of the Millennium). Viv Harris took over the duties of fixtures secretary with John Binks and Wally Vickery continuing in office as secretary and assistant secretary, respectively. These officers together with the two umpires (Hugo King and Harry Lewis), Jack Sandells, Albert Adams, Francis Hill, Peter Guy and Norman Buckeridge made up the Club's management Committee. A revised set of Club rules was drafted.
Back to his old Club came Wally Lewis in 1954 and the "firm" of Monks and Lewis was to take heavy toll of opposing batsmen during the ensuing season. On July 3rd, Lewis took 8 for 39 against the Pessimists. Colin Scott, the Gloucestershire player, appeared for the Sunday XI on July 4th, cracking five sixes and two fours in his 44 against S.W. Electricity C.C. and taking 7 for 13. He clean bowled six batsmen in his last four overs without conceding a run.
The first post-war century by a Chipping Sodbury player was scored by Cliff Monks on the Erinoid ground at Stroud on July 31st, 1954 in just under two hours. Monks and Wally Lewis (73) put on 152 for the third wicket enabling a declaration at 189 for 4 to which Erinoid replied with 128 for 6. Colin Scott played again at The Ridings on August 28th against Dursley knocking up 80 (including seven sixes and five fours) out of 124. Cliff Monks clean bowled three batsmen in his fifth over without cost. There was no doubt that the Sunday XI had proved very successful and the team lost only one match in its first season.
By the end of the 1954 season, a new toilet block had been completed at the rear of the pavilion and consideration was being given to the question of having a licensed bar in the pavilion, thereby adding to the facilities at The Ridings. But these additions, improvements and annual commitments, as always, cost money and one novel way was found towards raising the necessary cash to re-paint the pavilion.
Whenever two Chipping Sodbury Club members met for a drink-whether it was tea or beer-the cup or glass had to be held in the left hand. A right- handed drinker was fined 3d (15p) a sip! This scheme was so profitable that when the Hon. treasurer presented his balance sheet at the annual meeting on October 19th, 1954, he was able to report receipts totalling £1 10s. from "right-handers' penalties."
At this meeting, the Club received with regret the resignation of the secretary, John Binks, owing to ill-health and John King was appointed in his place with Peter Guy as his assistant. Viv Harris took over the captaincy of the Sunday XI and Wally Lewis was made 1st XI vice-captain.
A Busy Winter
During the 1954-55 winter, work went ahead with the conversion of the old pavilion into a tea-room and kitchen; a ladies' committee was formed, primarily to be responsible for arranging teas at home matches; the interior of the pavilion was altered to accommodate the bar; a bitu-turf practice wicket was laid down; a second-hand set of gang mowers was purchased and a car park provided.