The latest instalment of the Kilve Cricket Club horse race night saga continued at Kilve Village Hall on Saturday 2nd April, with gamblers coming from all over the shire intent on…

The latest instalment of the Kilve Cricket Club horse race night saga continued at Kilve Village Hall on Saturday 2nd April, with gamblers coming from all over the shire intent on leaving with pockets lined in gold.

Upon arrival, all would be punters/hopefuls/mugs were relieved of a pound for the obligatory race card from none other than local handyman Martin James, and given a free Halifax ball point pen courtesy of ‘not all bankers drive Mercedes Jim’ Cris Taylor. Ahem.

It wasn’t long before the seats were full and the air was full of hope and expectation –  the great turnout helping to produce a great atmosphere and a good queue at the bar, staffed by Martin’s better half Claire.

After the previous year’s effort the tote (staffed by former Kilve legend Nick Hancock) were expecting things to start slowly and build throughout the evening but it was to Nick’s surprise that almost everyone went in hard from the off, a sign that people were determined to enjoy themselves despite the current financial hardship.

With most of the horses/races being sponsored before the night itself thanks to the fabulous organising, there were three races left to auction on the night and this proved to be not only a great benefit money-wise, but also in the enjoyment of seeing friends betting against each other for the right to own a horse, especially semi-pro gambler Carl ‘alright butt’ Clemenson and his ensemble.

With the action hotting up, incumbent chairman and Kilve’s resident hide and seek world champion Ian Head interrupted proceedings to make a presentation to two of Kilve’s finest stalwarts.

Both previous Chairman Ray Hancock and son Nick have been at the club for over a total of 65 years, and with both hanging up their respective pen and boots at the end of the 2010 season, it was only fitting that they were given a good send off. Ian presented the pair with gifts and a signed bat each from the current players, and they both made short speeches before a fitting tribute to two fantastic club men was given by rapturous applause from the crowd -. Although some might say the applause was intentionally loud to make sure Ray’s speech was not to his normal length!

After some great food cooked by Kate Taylor and Kelly Stone, the racing was back under way, and it wasn’t long before the bids were rolling in again, with some fantastic counter-bidding between Carl, James Payne and Kilve philanthropist Martin Tulley, all looking to invest in the finest equine stock.

James was well and truly stitched up by Cris ‘custard shorts’ Taylor in the horse sponsorship, although he should have known better than to trust a man with a wardrobe full of pastel colours, and was practically squeezing a hole in the table with his hands as his horse went from leading all the way to dropping out at the last minute.

With the last round remaining it was clear a few people had left it late to have a punt and the price of a horse went up dramatically, with Merv Coles, Cris Taylor and that man again Clemenson to bid over £30 a horse, with Carl proving to have the Midas touch – his horse coming in first and netting him a cool £140 for his troubles – although that’s probably the hourly rate he gets paid at Gerber!

With the last race bringing the house down it was over – too quick for some, not soon enough for others! Testament to the great night had, most people chose to stay and have a few more drinks and chat rather than head off into the night which says it all about what a great night it had been.

Special thanks must go to organisers Pete and Kelly Stone, Martin and Claire James, and Kate and Cris Taylor, Nick Hancock for running such a smooth tote, Ray Hancock for being a fabulous MC and the youths who helped on the tote throughout the night.

And thank you very much to all the punters who came and parted with your money, we really do appreciate it.