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History of Hethersett Cricket

 NOT OUT

By H. Kerslake

It is now 1997, 137 years since our story began. HCC is definitely not out as we look forward to a full fixture list with some 80 games for 1997 thanks due to our efficient secretary Tony Curson. The title reminds me of a miniature cricket bat, signed and presented to me by colleagues at Norwich City College on my retirement. It is described "28 Years Not Out." In the same way after 30 years with the club, I have every intention of playing as long as health and age permit. I am also reminded of my best score of 70 not out; I often wonder what final score may have been made had time been available. 

Although a Devonian, I now feel a "naturalised" Norfolk man since my youngst son Jeremy was born here and Granny has died here. Cricket was fostered for me largely by playing for Totnes Grammar School from 1951 onwards. I played also for my home town of Asburton. I should also like to record my younger nephew, Roy Kerslake, with whom I used to play cricket on the recreation ground beside his home in Paignton. Roy was groomed at Blundell's school and went on to play for Somerset Cricket Club, became captain and later chairman during th Botham/Viv Richard/Joel Garner dispute. Interestingly Roy supported the pro-Garner/Richards faction; record of this made on pages 306 and 307 of the book entitled "Botham: My Autobiography" published in 1995. Roy was a first class fielder who could loft a ball accurately over the top of the stumps; my throws in comparison were fast but very inaccurate, perhaps an interesting comparison between Roy's professionalism and my amateur enthusiasm! Eventually Roy ceased to play top class cricket in favour of developing his career as a Barrister.

I mention the above background to indicate that we have connections with top class cricket. Norfolk, in particular, is the home of John Edrich and Peter Parfitt; hence it is a cricketing county which has produced county and Test match players. Village cricket is so important to the national game since it has been said that "if cricket dies in English villages, then it will die nationally and internationally at Test Cricket level."

Not long after Mary and I came to Hethersett, Tony Curson came asking whether I was interested in cricket. Getting a little too old for rugby and suffering after playing rugby for Norwich City College, it was suggested that I looked after the boys' cricket. And so it was that for some 10 years from 1967 to 1977, I experienced the enthusiasm with which boys played cricket. I met boys such as David Curson (Tony's son), Robert Barringer, Peter Temperton and his brother Simon, Andrew Harris (Peter's son), David Buxton, Robert Valentine, David, Alex and Perrigrin Bush (sons of Jim Bush), Kevin Frost and his two brothers, Andrew Roberts, Patrick Aylmer, Mark Goodswen, Jason Utting, Mark and Paul Taylor, Patrick Sexton (son of the Rector Michael Sexton), Jonathan Brummitt, Ian and Mickie Saunders, Alfie Brighton and David Jessop. These boys have now grown into experienced cricketers and it has been a privilege to have played a small part in their development.

Alan Rowell began to play cricket for the club about 1977 and soon developed a love of the game. It was especially pleasing that he volunteered to look after the boys' team. Very quickly he entered them into the Ken Barrington competition as a result of which Hethersett played in the final on several occasions. Graham Jarmy also assisted Alan. Their contribution to the supply of good young players was most significant and is a tribute to their selfless devotion to the game.

The future looks good with many young players coming through, which should ensure that Hethersett Cricket Club is very much Not Out.

For the past four seasons we have applied to gain entry to the King's Norfolk Cricket League albeit without success. I very much hope that our competitive games can be enhanced in the future in order to develop our younger players. Sadly two clubs cease to be in existence, namely Dunston Hall and Norwich Hospitals. Some of our Burgess Shield clubs are withdrawing due to the fixture pressure imposed upon them by the effect of new Alliance competition rules. Despite these developments it is certain that we have a most interesting season ahead of us thanks to Tony Curson. There seems to be no shortage of touring clubs wishing to have fixtures with us. The boys' team have been entered in the U-15 NCA compettion.

Now late January, there are signs of spring in the air and soon we will make a start on pitch preparation. Players will soon be sorting out their cricket kit ready for the nets in March. One can almost sense a longing for the hot sunny days of cricket in this most green and pleasant county, built I would argue for cricket. We will soon have selection meetings and the captain will order his list of batsmen ready for our next innings. Indeed we are Not Out, simply at the beginning of another glorious innings, another wonderful season in the continuing long history of Hethersett Cricket Club.