some reason published reports of village cricket matches are
virtually non existent for the period of the 1870s. This is
perhaps more surprising with respect to Hethersett CC because
not only are we assured "the Club was playing plenty of
cricket at that time" against neighbouring clubs, but was
also entertaining teams from as far afield as London! Among
those teams from far distant were the Westminster Wanderers. Dr.
Deacon himself witnesses some "very good matches against
the Westminster Club." He also played against it himself.
Yet another such club was known
as the London Pioneers .. presumably because they ventured to
explore the rural frontiers of cricket! But "they were good
players and always gave us a good match." The first
appearance Dr Deacon made for Hethersett was against a London
club. He was "then about seventeen" which would make
the year 1878.
Nor must we neglect to record the
tradition that "certain members of the MCC" having
been gathered at Old Buckenham to play a private match, then
elected to join a team playing at Hethersett.. And that
tradition is not nearly so "far out" as it may appear
to be. To start with, Old Buckenham Hall was a Mecca of cricket
at one time and many a cricket celebrity (including Jack Hobbs)
played on the fine and well kept cricket field in the grounds of
the Hall. Furthermore as we shall see, the Hethersett club was
eminently capable of providing a team fit to meet the MCC of
How well cricket was flourishing
at Hethersett in the early 1880s may be gauged from the fact
that by that time, the parish was running two teams, the other
being known as Thickthorne. Of course the two teams played each
other, but it appears that, when needful, the senior team could
call upon players from Thickthorne. If this suggests that
Hethersett regarded Thickthorne as a sort of "nursery"
for talent, then they were on a good wicket, as the following
reports clearly indicate:
16th, 1884: Thickthorne 101, Hethersett 54
9th, 1884: Hethersett 52, Thickthorne 66
7th, 1884: Thickthorne 83, Hethersett 72
11th, 1884: Hethersett 85, Eaton 60
In the latter of these matches,
having made 85 runs off four men (H. Dobbie, R. Rudd, Rev H.
Watson and C. Rudd) Hethersett confidently declared. In the same
year (as near as we can date it), Hethersett having "scored
no more than 50 themselves," dismissed Wymondham for 30.
The scant report does not state who bowled so well for
Hethersett on that occasion. However, we do know that one of the
Moores was playing. And what that could mean in terms of
devastating bowling! Meanwhile despite lack of other reports, we
are able to say that the season of 1885 was a distinguished one
for Hethersett CCs self esteem. Why? Well in July of that year,
Norfolk CC defeated MCC with the phenomenal score of 695 runs no
less! The members of the Norfolk team were - L.K. Jarvis, C.J.E
Jarvis, Hansell, Kennaway, P. H. Morton, Birkbeck, Rev Wickham,
J. Blunt, E. Pattesen, A.M. Lee and Rudd (C and R) and the
majority of those players as we learn from a letter written by
Dr Deacon in 1929 "played regularly for Hethersett" at
that time. So was founded the tradition which enabled the Late
Fred Dodman to proudly assert "it was always reckoned that
Hethersett did beat the MCC, and as far as makes no
difference... so they did!" In the same year (as it
appears) the Club won so handsomely against a team from Norwich
Barracks that for some time the occasion was claimed "the
day Hethersett taught the Army how to play cricket!" A
distinguished cricket club at that time was the Norwich Blues,
who played at Lakenham. Hethersett played them often and with
varying fortunes we must assume. But a significant occasion was
a match played in June 1886, when each side scored precisely 132
runs, the highest scorer for Hethersett being RS Butcher who
made 77. A month previous to this, the opposition had been
Wramplingham the result being:
Hethersett 39 and 83 Wramplingham
28 and 23
The Hethersett team comprised of
J. Doggett, C. Rudd, W.J. Parker, H. Blake, S. Moore, T. Garven,
W. Dann, C. Wortley and J. Howard. From the standpoint of the
1980s the period we look back upon seems "long ago and far
away" In time it is so. Not so, however, in terms of
communicated experience and memories.
Consequently, from one source and
another, we are fortunate enough to be able to present a fairly
comprehensive list of men who played for Hethersett in the last
quarter of the 19th century. Many of their names are still to be
met with at Hethersett. Here is the list:
W. Back, Bland, J. Blunt, F.
Buckingham, T. Buckingham, R.S Butcher, Cozens-Hardy, Curson, W.
Dann, E. Dann, R. Davey, D. Dawson, E. Deacon, F. Deacon, E.R
Deacon, H. Dobbie, J. Doggett, G. Gowen, T. Gowen, Heydon, J.
Howard, C.J.E Jarvis, L.K Jarvis, Hansell, N. Jodrell, Leggatt.
J. Livock, G. Moore, S. Moore, P.H. Morton, W.J. Parker, Pinwell,
E. Patteson, R. Peek, A.T Riches, C. Rudd, R. Rudd, Rev H.
Watson, A. West, Rev Wickham, F. Wilson Woods, C. Wortly, A.
Want, R. Clements, J. Porrett, M. Perkins, H. Lack and J.
The diversity of occupations
represented in that list is not without passing interest.
Besides four or five farmers, there is a plumber, a butcher, a
doctor of medicine, an army officer, a shoemaker, a coachman, at
least two solicitors, whilst J. Howard, it seems, was son of the
landlord of the Queen's Head. That's cricket! Or as "Old
George" Moore is reported to have said on many occasions
"when you're playing cricket, you're just as good as the
way you play, and no better!"
The sole report we have for the
season 1887 is, again a verbal one, concerning a Jubilee Match
played by Hethersett, at home, against a team combining the
cricketing talents of Wymondham and Attleborough. It must have
been an exciting game, for Hethersett were set to win, needing
only two runs, but with the last man already in, Fred Buckingham
was the unhappy hero of the occasion. Whether in order to keep
strike or just in his eagerness to steal the required extra run,
Buckingham got himself run out, so leaving the visitors to win
by one run! But that again is cricket in a village as well as
anywhere else. Fred Dodman, who knew Mr Buckingham very well,
later on affirmed "Fred never forgave himself for losing
the Jubilee Match!"
the season of 1888 we are able to report as follows:
21st at Lakenham
104 (top scorer W. E. Mansell (47)
Heigham 219-7 (E. Marley 108)
a return match a week later, South Heigham made 196-7 declared,
E. J. Minns hitting 128 of them. Hethersett responded with 22
all out. J. Porret and R. Clements made the runs. So the Heigham
bowling must have been something to witness.
72 and 64 Hethersett 92 and 54
in a return match played in August, Hethersett suffered the
indignity of losing by six wickets.
33 and 25 20th Hussars 39 and 20.
pride was restored when on August 24th, from what must have been
a good match, the following win was forthcoming.
117, 9th Regimental District 105.
to this, however, though dates are uncertain, two other defeats
had been met with against Swardeston and CEYMS (Norwich).
59, CEYMS 64
114 Hethersett 52 (only five Hethersett batsmen making runs -
Partridge, Boileau, Perkins, Lack and J. Slater).
season of 1889, to judge by what scant records we have, showed
no noticeable improvement in Hethersett's cricketing fortunes.
Indeed, it was notable for two defeats the club suffered at the
hands of old rivals Wymondham -
1889 - Wymondham 86, Hethersett 40
1889 - Wymondham 120, Hethersett 57
in the July, Hethersett would doubtless have beaten Keswick
handsomely if rain had not intervened, the recorded scores
being: Hethersett 74 and 86, Keswick 39 (no second innings).
early 1890s presented much the same picture, so far as can be
ascertained. We know that in August of that year, Hethersett
took a drubbing when forced to follow on against New Buckenham:
Buckenham 77. Hethersett 14 and 4!
year 1893 saw the "old enemy" Wymondham once again in
the ascendancy... and to some tune
216-5 declared, Hethersett 49 to which F. R. Deacon contributed
With regard to the
sparsity of records for the long period we have so far covered -
and not to mention the doleful nature of many of them, it seems
desirable in this context to record a statement made to the
writer by the late Mr Walter Dann, whose family had long been
closely associated with Hethersett Cricket Club. Commenting on
the lack of reports Mr Dann said: "It's a great pity the
old scorebooks have been lost; there must have been a lot of
them, and they would have told quite a story; the club played a
lot more matches in those days than we now know anything about
and it won a good many of them as well, make no mistake of
it." So why so few reports? One can only suggest that since
the Press depended on receiving - not seeking - reports of
village cricket matches, the Hethersett CC was notably slack in
reporting its own successes. Meanwhile if other clubs were
anxious to announce their victories over Hethersett - well who
should blame them? It seems fairly clear in fact that around
this time (1893/94), the Hethersett club was showing signs of
slackness. It was recalled for instance that after a certain
match they said "Old George Moore lost his temper and
wanted to know what the cricket club thought it was up to."
In short for "a club that's been playing longer than
most", he didn't think it was doing justice to itself.
Whether it was George Moore I or George II who so expressed
himself, his feelings were seemingly justified. And apparently
they achieved some effect too. For the two matches which we have
a report for the season of 1894 were both very decided victories
126, Horace Laneys 33
Hethersett 111 (Porrett
29), Costessey 37 (Porrett taking 5-5)
June 1896 Hethersett lost to Wymondham in the second round of
the Norwich Shield - Wymondham 116, Hethersett 68.
July matters took a turn for the better -
157, Memorial Hall, Norwich 53
159-5 dec, YMCA Norwich 101
179 Cringleford 53
reverse took place in August against Bracon Ash
Ash 145, Hethersett 50
pride was restored when the following week the following result
119, Memorial Hall, Norwich 56
so "things were not what they should have been" with
Hethersett CC. Older men recall a time in the days of Henry
Black when "men were expected to keep up to scratch by
practising." And so, at the turn of the century, this rule
was re-established and sternly applied. A young man who
witnessed the adoption of this policy was Fred Dodman, o whom it
would later be said: "he was a good little 'n - a marvel at
cover point and a tricky customer with the bat." In after
years it would be Fred's proud boast that he "only ever
dropped two catches at cover point." Meanwhile he was happy
to contribute his share to the "new blood" it was
thought the club required when at about 21 he was selected to
play for it. He was well aware that "the club had some of
the best players you could find anywhere in village cricket; and
it always did have, before my time." But the trouble was
that "some of them would play for other clubs as
well." So some form of discipline was once again imposed by
the Hethersett Club. This entailed among things, practises two
evenings a week. Wednesday and Friday, participation being
essential on the part of any man who wanted to feature in the
team. This, we are assured, "made a lot of difference ...
though lamentably we have no reports to prove it.
excerpt from the magazine of July 1903 provides a list of the
club's members at that time. They were - W.H. Back (President),
E. H Evand-Lombe (Vice President), F.A. Bainbridge (VP), T.
Warren-Saxby (VP), Rev J. Still (VP), G. E. Deacon MD (VP), J.
Mills (VP), Col H.B. Jacobs, W. Childs (Captain), F. Dodman
(Vice Captain), J. Aldborough, W. Blake, W. Back, H.W. Childs,
E. Dann, J. Harvey, T. Moore, E. Smith. G. Moore (Treasurer),
W.N. Buckingham (Secretary).
fixture list published for that year featured 15 matches to be
played between June 6th and September 12th. In addition to such
established names as Wymondham, Attleborough, Mulbarton and
Swardeston, the list contained those of Norwich Teachers'
Eleven, New City Eleven and Norwich Corporation Officials. But
in point of fact, Hethersett actually arranged 20 matches for
that season, the added ones being against Carrow, Norman and
Beards and Bracondale School. Whilst we lack records of these
matches, we are at least able to quote the Parish Magazine's
summary of Hethersett's performance for that season.
1903 - Matches won 11, matches lost 4, matches scratched 4,
matches rained off 1 (a good summer evidently).
1904 - matches won 9, matches lost 6, matches scratched 4 (no
Still things were
warming up "We regarded it as a duty" recalled Fred
Dodman "to have a well trained team ... a team worth
watching." At the head of the team stood W. Childs, a young
man of forceful character, a first class bowler and indeed an
all rounder. Another all rounder was Herbert Moore. Further
intensive practice was called for to be "taken as seriously
as any match." It was said that Wally Childs "put
everything into a game of cricket and he expected everybody else
to do the same, and they did." The following brief reports
testify to the fact. Where not prefaced with the character A,
matches were home games.
defeated Keswick by 9 wickets, Childs taking 8-8.
74, Bracondale School 127. Childs took 804 in 12 overs.
A 101 Hethersett 97 - Dann 37, Moore 20 not out
defeated Hningham. Hethersett 112 -E. Dann 59 not out
41 Thorpe (two innings) total 29. Note- in this match
Hethersett played with only nine men, whilst Thorpe's full
team included Gibson, the Norfolk Professional. H. Moore
for Hethersett performed the hat-trick.
Junior Cup semi-final against CEYMS A. Match drawn because
of rain but Childs took 7-54 whilst Bainbridge for
Hethersett carried his bat for 40.
125 - Childs 56, Mulbarton 12! Moore took 4-4 whilst Chlds
performed a hat-trick in taking the remainder.
semi final replay. CEYMS 109, Hethersett 63
94 (Dodman 33). Gothics Lakenham 36
196 (Childs 57, H. Moore 43). Norman and Beards 47 (Childs
match against Norman and Beards drawn because of rain.
Hethersett scored 151-8, H. Moore making 50 of them.
68, Wymondham 55 (Childs 5-17)
Union 91, Hethersett 163 (Dodman making 51 and R.G. Pilch
The R.G Pilch mentioned
above was of course a member of the family which produced
Fuller Pilch. Although not a regular player, he appeared
several times for Hethersett. It was he who in later years
said: "he had never known a village team that took
cricket more seriously than Hethersett did."
No doubt that statement had
an element of truth. In the meantime some sound batting,
backed by an exceptional standard of bowling was achieving
practical results. The five leading batsmen of that season
Moore: Runs 576
Highest Score 60
233 Highest Score 59 not Average
Dodman Runs 290
Highest Score 51 Average
360 Highest Score
57 Average 12.85
86 Highest Score
27 Average 12.28
the foregoing does not wholly reflect the story of the
1905 season. Some confusion is created by virtue of the
Club running two teams - The Saturday and Thursday
Elevens. Thus, a more comprehensive picture is provided by
a newspaper report of 1905 disclosing the following:-
had a successful season. Thirty-Seven matches were
arranged and 27 won, seven being lost and three drawn. One
resulted in a tie and five were scratched. The Saturday
Eleven did not lose a match. The Thursday Eleven won eight
and lost seven (their mathematics, not ours).
was also reported that during the season W. Childs and
Moore II each took over 100 wickets.
in one way and another the season of 1905 was "a very
successful one for Hethersett Cricket Club." What
better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary? Only one
thing was missing, but that too would be taken care of the