Hungerford Cricket Club may never again reach the giddy heights it achieved in July 1852, when our team bowled out England for just 12 runs – its lowest ever total (so far that is – who knows, the way they’re going this summer, anything’s possible!). However, 166 years on and with its 200th birthday approaching in 2030, the Club continues to thrive.
Today, Hungerford CC fields two Saturday XIs in the Hampshire League, a Wednesday XI in the Downs League and U9, U11, U13 and U15 teams in the Berkshire Youth League. This summer, we are again running ECB-backed All Stars Cricket, with more than 50 5-8 year olds getting a fun introduction to cricket on Friday evenings under the encouragement of our club coaches and helpers. Add to that the 54 U9-U15s that receive coaching every week and play regular matches too, and that’s over 100 local children engaged in cricket and enjoying all the benefits that sport brings to young lives.
This doesn’t happen by chance of course. A number of years ago, the Club, driven by our energetic Junior Co-ordinator, Andy Bell, made the decision to invest heavily in its youth section. A number of senior players have undertaken ECB Levels 1 and 2 coaching courses and are now supporting Andy in running the junior section. “It’s this kind of commitment from so many of our players and supporters that makes Hungerford such a great club,” says Andy. “Everyone recognises that our future success depends on engaging with the next generation and the whole team works incredibly hard to make it happen – and to make it fun and fulfilling for the youngsters.”
We’re not resting on our laurels though – we are continuing to work hard to secure the future of cricket in Hungerford by further developing the junior section. A number of young players who had their interest in cricket first engendered by our junior coaching programme over the last few years are now successfully making their way into the senior teams.
Indeed, one has already gone considerably further; you may remember reading recently in Penny Post about Lauren Bell – now 17 and a fearsomely quick and accurate bowler – and now the youngest member of the Berkshire, Southern Vipers and England Academy squads.
It’s not just new junior members we welcome at Hungerford CC – we have a number of senior players who, for a multitude of reasons such as young family commitments or going away to university, gave up playing for 5, 10, 20 or even 30 years, and found a welcome back to cricket at Hungerford.
We are always looking for new players; why not come along to one of our Saturday matches and meet the teams and have a look at our well-maintained square, outfield and facilities, which are regarded as some of the best in the region. If you’ve ever played cricket, I guarantee it will re-engender your love for the game!
We are very lucky to be well supported by local businesses and organisations. The Town and Manor of Hungerford has contributed two new sightscreens in the last couple of years, Tesco kindly supported us through its Bags of Help Scheme and the Co-op currently through its Local Causes programme. If you have a Co-Op card then you can register online to select Hungerford Cricket Club as your local cause. All Co-Op products bought will donate 1% to us if we are selected. The project is to improve bar and kitchen facilities.
We are also lucky to have support from many other local businesses and trusts, including the Clere Group, The Queens Arms, Nye & Co, A.M. Electrics, PBA Accountants, Cobbs Farm Co., Lewis Electrical, The Tutti Pole, Marc Allen, Barlow’s, B K Grain Handling, CGS Garage Services, Kennet Roofing, Inklings, Hungerford Garden Machinery, Hungerford Town Council, The Greenham Common Trust, Peter Stirland, M&P Hardware, CDK Global (UK) Ltd, LJ Smith Accountants, Dickens Hopgood & Chidley Solicitors, The Miss W E Lawrence Trust and a number of generous local citizens too.
If you have a bit of time on your hands one Saturday afternoon this summer, I urge to come along to Hungerford Cricket Club and enjoy the quintessentially English summer sounds of leather on willow, ripples of applause, occasional raucous appeals – and of course, a cup of tea and a slice of cake at tea time!
Hungerford cricket Club