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Bishop's Stortford Independent

Bishop's Stortford Independent

By David Hardcastle
20th March
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This week highlights the Club's proud history, ambitions and bright future

Bishop’s Stortford Cricket Club, founded in 1825, is one of the few clubs in England that has
occupied the same ground for almost 200 years and to this day continues to provide a broad range of cricketing opportunities to the local community.

The Cricketfield Lane ground was originally a field owned by Hawkes brewery who allowed the club to use it, rent free.

By the 1860s the club had become a much-respected force in Hertfordshire regularly hosting England XIs on and in 1868 the legendary W.G. Grace played on this ground for the local side helping to secure a victory over an England XI.

In 1928 the then Club Chairman, Tresham Gilbey, handed over the Deeds of the ground to the Urban District Council (now East Herts District Council). His only stipulations being that Cricketfield Lane should remain in the Council’s ownership and be used solely for playing cricket.

The Club faced some up and downs during the First and Second World War period with the ground falling into disrepair but survived with the help of dedicated club members. In 1971 a facilities renewal programme saw the Charles Edwards pavilion opened, which helped to re-establish the club, and secure its future.

1972 saw the emergence of league cricket and the 1st X1 won the league that year, while the 2nd X1 also won their division. League cricket continued to develop and in 1973 the club joined the new Hertfordshire League winning it on several occasions during the 1970s and 1980s. Indeed during this golden age, Bishop’s Stortford also featured twice in the National Knock-Out Final at Lord’s.

Since then the cricket offer has broadened to four Men’s teams and one Ladies team. The Men’s 1st and 2nd XIs play in the Saracens Hertfordshire League, the 3rd and 4th XIs in the Herts and Essex League with our very successful Ladies 1st XI playing in the ECB Women’s Premier Cricket Southern League Division A. There are also plans to add a second Ladies team in 2019.

The growing Junior Section boasts teams for U9s to U17s with coaching for the youngest budding mini cricketers and new for the 2019 season the club will introduce All Stars Cricket for 5 to 8 year olds.

The Cricketfield Lane ground is seen as one of the most beautiful settings in Hertfordshire and has now developed into a local social hub, attracting many families on most summer weekends with some referring to it as “the best beer garden around!” For sure there is no better place for spectators and families to relax, socialise and watch some good quality cricket.

The club is ambitious and keen to improve for everyone; players, volunteers and visitors both on and off the field of play. Greater playing success, development of players, adding a second Ladies team, upgrading ground & modernising clubhouse facilities, coaching more young people, improving how we communicate our success more widely are all areas where work is continuing.

Everyone at the club is very confident Bishop's Stortford Cricket Club has a great future, and are already thinking of how to celebrate its 200 year anniversary, in 2025, and taking steps to ensure it delivers for the community by providing cricket opportunities for all and is seen as a social centre for the local community for the next 200 years!

With thanks to Colin Chatfield

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