The History of Kilve Cricket Club

Kilve Cricket Club was founded sometime before 1860 when the first edition of the West Somerset Free Press, the local newspaper for this district of the County, recorded a reference to the Club. It was clear from this article that the Club had been in existence prior to this ‘First Edition’ of the newspaper. Little is known about the Club in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century except from the fairly regular reports of matches in the press. The exact playing venue of the Club seemed to move around the Village, even during the early part of this Century. However, since the last World War the Club has had five known venues. The last one was established in 1976 and following 18 months playing matches at a school in Williton, the first game took place on July 15 1978 against Wells C.C..

The Club’s records in the form of the minute book and the accounts have been retained since 1921 when Kilve Cricket Club was reformed after the First World War. Interestingly, the Club’s balance sheet in the 1920s often showed a budget of £20 per year and even by 1970 the Club’s annual expenditure had only risen to £94.1.4d. A feature of the AGM in the 60s. was to vote on which account should be settled first and this was often conditioned by funds available. The minute book also provides a history of the Village, with events; births and deaths; problems of village life and the way the value of money changed so slowly in the first half of the Century.

The current President of the Club has recently written his recollections of the Village and a part of this publication has been re-produced with this submission. The President, Rev. Frank Stevens, is still one of Club’s most loyal spectators at the home matches and has been involved with the Club all his life. He is now 88 years old and regularly travels 20 miles each way to visit the Village of his birth. The extract (shown in Appendix 1) is taken from ” On Kilve’s Delightful Shore” published by Kilve Court Residential Education Centre in April 1998.

The Club has developed considerably since the early 1970s. It was one of the first Clubs to join the Somerset Cricket League after its formation in 1972 and has never played in a division below Division 2. The Club achieved its highest league status in 1982 when it gained promotion to the Premier League. An extract (shown in Appendix 2) from Terry Mockridge’s book, “The First 21 Years” – A Portrait of the Somerset Cricket League is enclosed to give an outside view of the Club. The Club has had considerable success in cup competitions having regularly won the Sully Cup (a Bridgwater area knock out competition) and it has won the Somerset Cricket Association’s Minor Cup (a County wide competition for smaller clubs) on three occasions, before being banned because the Club was too good! The pinnacle of cup competition came in 1985 when the Club reached the semi-final of the National Village KO Competition, sponsored by “The Cricketer” magazine. Kilve Cricket Club was only one match away from Lords when it lost to Rowledge from the Home Counties.

The Club has grown from a small outfit in the early 1970s to a well respected Village Club in the latter part of the 1990s. Looking to the future, the Club established a youth section 20 years ago in 1979. At times, its younger members have played in U17, U15 and U13 competitions and leagues and the Club annually sponsors and organises an Under 13 Competition for 6 local teams who spend the entire day (10.00 am. – 6.30 pm.) playing each other in ’12 overs per side’ competitive cricket.

The Club expanded its senior teams in 1983 by starting a 2nd XI which initially competed in the West Somerset Cricket League, but subsequently joined the Somerset Cricket League in 1986 and played in its 4th division.

Over the last 25 years, Kilve Cricket Club has become one of the top village sides in the County. Already, it is the most senior side in West Somerset, while other town and village teams (Watchet and Minehead) are in lower echelons of the league structure. It is a progressive and ambitious Club with high standards and hopefully it will go from strength to strength in the new Millennium.

Ray Hancock

Chairman, Kilve Cricket Club.

May 1999.