Cricket set to make a welcome return to Boughton

Annabelle DicksonJust two generations ago Boughton Village Cricket Club was a force to be reckoned with as they knocked teams for six and brought home the trophies.But as the village team got older and people moved away, the club gradually died out in the 1960s.Annabelle Dickson

Just two generations ago, Boughton Village Cricket Club was a force to be reckoned with as they knocked teams for six and brought home the trophies.

But as the village team got older and people moved away, the club gradually died out in the 1960s.

Now, balmy Sunday afternoons will see cricket come back to Boughton, and the gentle knock of leather on willow will echo through the Fenland village once more.

Cricket enthusiasts have been bowled over by the generosity of their neighbours, Alan and Rosemary Wilkinson, who have leased land to create a new pitch in the village, near Downham Market.

Until now, a small band of cricketers, including their son Benedict, have borrowed other village pitches for the odd informal game.

But with a new ground on the horizon, an official team has been formed, a team tea lady appointed and they are hoping to build a pavilion on the pitch.

Most Read

Although it will not be ready for this season, they are hoping to have it up and running next year.

Team captain Benedict, 26, said: 'There is something quite quintessentially English about village cricket.

'It will be amazing to have a cricket pitch in the village. We want to get people from the surrounding villages and from the area to play in Boughton.

'It is also something the spectators will be able to get involved with. We would be delighted if people in the village came to watch.

'We've got a lot of people who are keen. But as it's an amateur team, it's sometimes difficult to get 11 out. We usually play three or four games a season.'

He said they were really keen to get younger members involved and would be trying to establish a Colts team.

And they are hoping to emulate the success of the team in the 1950s.

Rocky Bruce, 84, who was captain of Boughton for more than a decade in the 1950s and '60s, said: 'We were very successful for a village side. One year we entered five or six cups and we won them all.'

He said he still had pictures of the team after they won a cup in East Winch in 1959, but that the team ended in the 1960s as members gradually moved away.

He added that he hoped the new club was a success, but he did not think he would be joining the

re-formed team.

'I don't think I would be able to run between the wicket as I'd probably end up in a wheelchair,' he said.

David Cooper, 62, has been associated with Boughton all his life and still lives in the village. He remembers watching the team as a young boy because his uncle was an umpire.

'They used to play on a cow field going out of the village,' he said. 'The cows were put away, their mess was cleared up from the outfield and barbed wire was removed before they played.

'Cricket was synonymous with the village when I was a young boy. Boughton was a cricket village.'

Team member and chairman of Boughton Cricket Club Emad George said the age range of the club members spanned from 15 to 68.

He said: 'That is an important part of village cricket. Fun is paramount, but we do also like to win.'

Chairman of Boughton Parish Council and cricketer Frank Reid said: 'It is a very English thing to do. It's lovely. It will also help to develop younger people in the community.'

He said he even hoped they might be able to produce some cricket stars of the future from the village team.

'How can you develop national teams and county teams to compete if you do not have it at this level? You never know: we might have a star youngster around the corner.'

Mrs Wilkinson said: 'I think village cricket provides a bigger sense of community. We have got to know a number of people that we did not know before.'

The field, which is set in beautiful fenland countryside, is at the back of their house and is bordered by houses on one side.

'I think you would have to hit a tremendous six to get anywhere near them,' she added.

If you would like to sponsor the team, donate money for the project or play for Boughton Cricket Club, contact Frank Reid on 01366 500743.