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Community News & Views | Cricket club celebrates 150 years

Former players of Walberton Cricket Club were invited for a celebratory lunch for its 150th anniversary.

 

Steve Lockwood, Brian Bailey and Brian Varney, the club’s oldest ex-cricketers, along with their wives, were welcomed by Walberton Place Care Home, which hosted the afternoon.

 

The guests enjoyed a menu of 6oz steak with brandy and peppercorn sauce, broccoli and horseradish mash.

 

Dessert was a dark chocolate tart served with Chantilly cream, everything freshly prepared on site by chef Sergio Terrasini.

 

Peter Rolt, customer relations manager, said: “After lunch they enjoyed a tour of the home which left everyone very impressed. In fact, you might say they were ‘bowled over’ by Walberton Place.”

 

The players, pictured above, made the most of the opportunity to share lots of stories and memories about the club.

 

They remember the ‘beer match’ being very popular, during which the team would play for a gallon of beer.

 

Away matches were also discussed as the trio remembered the two shillings (10p) tickets for the Southdown bus. One ground was so unheard of, even the bus driver couldn’t find it!

 

Current club president Steve Lockwood started playing in 1949. He told residents how he was once knocked out by a ball that would have killed him if it had been a few millimetres lower.

 

As with all cricket teams, the players had their own nicknames.

 

Brian Bailey was nicknamed ‘Biffa’ Bailey because he would come in late in the innings and attempt to whack the ball everywhere. ‘Buckets’ was the name given to Brian Varney because of the size of his hands.

 

The South Downs area is thought to be the birthplace of cricket, with the neighbouring village of Slindon recording shepherds playing a version of the game on the Common as early as 1741.

 

By 1892, Walberton was enjoying regular games with Slindon, records showing how the club became an important part of village life.

 

Over the years, the club thrived, until the war years when many players were called away for military service. However, by 1948 the club had started up again, one of the leading supporters being Roy Jackson and his wife, Joan.

 

Roy was a player, captain, chairman and president until he passed away in 2018. Joan made tea for the players for 55 years and both were involved in the club for 70 years.

 

Both he and his wife Joan were fondly remembered by the players during their lunch.

Posted in Letters.