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History of Hethersett Cricket


By H. Kerslake 

This chapter is written by yet another “young sprig”, Harold Kerslake who came to live in Hethersett in 1967. As a result of word-processing the chapters by Mr A.J.R. Harris, it is a humbling experience to follow so many great cricketers who have upheld the fine tradition of sportsmanship in Hethersett since 1860. In the past year of 1995, I have attended the funerals of Peter Harris and Donald Powell; hence I feel that it is even more important to complete this record as an encouragement to those who follow, knowing that they inherit a fine cricketing tradition at Hethersett. I seem to remember Ralph Wright when I first arrived who, still at the age of 56 years, was dispatching the ball to the boundary with ease.; he had a very good eye and firmly believed that the bat was designed to hit the ball to the boundary with ease. 

Ralph was a member of a team called the “Evergreens”. Recently I was invited into their team playing on the UEA Colney Lane ground against a team which included two lady players, one of whom was a grand-daughter of John Edrich – she too was a good left hander. Unfortunately I disgraced myself by hitting the stumps when the captain’s objective was to keep her at one end. And so I am now 56 years and feel that it is important to Resume our Innings. It is important that cricket never dies in our English villages, especially Hethersett with its long and honourable tradition. 

I propose to cover our history from 1952 to 1996 using the “1952 Review” the 1973 Team profile”, scorebooks provided from the archives and my personal recollections. 

Cricket is not simply a superb sporting game chasing a very hard ball, but more importantly it has the great charm of meeting wonderful characters; their characteristics are even more varied and interesting than the pitches on which the game is played. In order to illustrate these characters, I give the following description of players as recorded in the 1952 review.

D. Snowling (captain) – Always does his best to set an example for the rest of the team to follow. Does not allow circumstances to rattle him. Immaculate fielder, useful batsman and bowler. 

P. Ford (vice-captain) -  The biggest hearted member of the team. Has captained the team in many exciting matches. Useful change bowler, bats well – when his wife is present! 

Mr T.E. Hall (Chairman) – A very useful middle batsman, good slip fielder, has been useful when called on to bowl. We hope that he will continue to play for many years. 

Mr L. Gray – We hope that he is not thinking of giving up cricket! Useful batsman, “wide awake” fielder. 

Mr M. Childs – A good cricketer in every sense of the word. We hope that he will play more next season. 

W. Symonds (Bill) – When he hits a ball, he really hits it hard! He is not – repeat not – “just a slogger”. Very good bowler and fielder. 

K. Swann (Swanny) – Very attractive batsman, useful bowler, excellent outfielder, exploits the “whip” throw perfectly. He must make up his mind whether he is to be a fast or medium break bowler. At present serving in the forces. 

D. Ford – A really fast left arm bowler with a classic style. Can be relied on to get runs, especially when they are badly needed. Lively fielder. 

D. Johnson (Penny) – A good batsman with a good batsman’s temperament: cool, calm and unflurried when he strikes form, he is a pleasure to the eye – and a nightmare to the bowlers. 

E. Charlish (Chas) – Or Killer, a title earned by his hard accurate throw. When he concentrates more, he will get a lot of runs. Very popular bowler – with his opponents. 

P. Harris – A very accurate medium break bowler, seldom has an off day as is shown by his position at the top of the bowling averages. 

D. Mullins: We could have done with this player in many more matches. First choice wicketkeeper. Made 40 runs in his first match. 

D. Pigg: Can bat very well as was shown by his display at Saxlingham. A bowler of uncertain merit. The captain usually puts on the Hon. Secretary to bowl – the lesser of two eveils? – when faced with the necessity of choosing between them. A reliable wicketkeeper, brilliant slip fielder. 

G. Elvin (Stork): A medium fast bowler who has bowled consistently well this season with little luck. He can hit a six with the best of them; not afraid to be on the losing side. 

G. Moore (Nutchy): A very good all rounder as shown by his position in the averages. A tower of strength when fielding at point. 

P. Webb: Best bowling performance was at Saxlingham (5-10). A short-run specialist. Good sport. 

H. Hickling: Promising left handed batsman. Medium fast right arm bowler. 

D. Hall: Serving in the forces last season, was, however, one of the keenest members prior to his National Service. Made 5 appearances while on leave. Batsman and slip fielder. 

J. Ayton: Good all rounder. A real lover of cricket. At present serving in Germany. 

J. Wyatt (Tarzan): Shapes very well as a batsman; a much improved fielder; a very keen and enthusiastic student of the game. 

D. Richardson: Very useful all-rounder. We do hope to persuade him to play regularly next season. 

J. Hickling: Bats and bowls and keeps wicket – Jack of all crafts, master of …. Let’s not get personal!!! 

Up and Coming

M. Day (Micky): Has the shapings of a really first class fast bowler. Will make a batsman when he learns to play fast bowling. 

J. Smith: A really wide-awake fieldsman. Shows promise of becoming a forceful batsman. 

R. Hambling: Is a very useful fielder and shows promise of becoming exceptionally good. Knows how to play a really straight bat. 

A .Childs: A very plucky batsman he must improve his leg shots and learn to hit the ball harder. We look forward to the time when he becomes a regular Hethersett player. 

Some 21 years now pass before we see Peter Harris’ 1973 team profile. We see the solid core of club members continuing, together with new players, both of which are vital for the health of any club. 

1973 team profile 

Dick Alexander 

Wicket-keeper/batsman. Dick has this season taken over some of the wicketkeeper duties from Duncan Pigg and has performed quite well despite a damaged finger which has continued to take painful knocks in each match. His batting this season has been a little below par but this could be due to his extra responsibilities. Dick’s favourite relaxation after a match is a good cigar and a pint. 

Peter Balance 

A most accurate medium to fast left arm bowler giving little or nothing away and in the process picking up a considerable number of wickets. Yet he insists on placing his fielders in the farthest corners of the field. The only thing in which Peter seems to lack in confidence is his cricket. No-one knows why. His batting ability almost matches that of his bowling. He has a most delightful forward defensive stroke in which the knee of his back leg actually rests on the ground and his bat presents the image of a barn door. Other interests, we believe, include politics and support for minority groups. 

Chris Barringer 

A good batsman and, on his day, a delight to watch for Chris probably has the most attractive style of anyone in the club but, alas, other commitments restrict his appearances in the team and subsequently form suffers. Many players recall with relish his tremendous innings against Mattishall two or three years ago when, after a disastrous collapse by the early batsmen against very accurate bowling in a cup match, Chris struck the bowling to all points in and out of the ground to provide us with a very close win. 

Peter Bourke 

Peter joined the club this season and has already proved himself to be a very useful acquisition. As a bowler he is quite quick and certainly an attractive left-handed batsman with an eye for the open spaces. Unfortunately here again, business will not permit him to play regularly on a Saturday, but we hope to see a lot more of him in the midweek matches. 

Jim Bush 

A quite unassuming character. Very useful batsman and usually appears in the middle order but can, in fact, give a good account of himself in any position. When going well has a particularly good straight drive. Has been known (on the very rare occasion) to bowl slow off spin (or is it leg spin). Jim has a very strange action. One thing is for certain, he’s a nice chap to play cricket with. 

David Buxton 

One of our original youngsters and has developed into a sound reliable batsman and a regular in the team. He can bat in any position but seems more relaxed in the middle order and has a string of good scores behind him. Apart from cricket has another interest – he is courting, but she must be a considerate young lady for he still finds time to play the game. 

Tony Curson 

Captain and what is even more important, the Club secretary. As captain, Tony has done a good job for Hethersett Cricket Club over the past few years, but as secretary it is difficult to describe or calculate his value. Let us just say that in the opinion of all the members he must be, at least, the best in the county. As an example what other club can hold their annual general meeting in October and peruse an almost full fixture list for the following season. Tony opens the innings with Mike Doble. He is not particularly aggressive but has been known at least once to have hit a six. Nonetheless he is very dedicated and has many good scores to his name. Usually he is reliable and if a ball is delivered up to him and somewhere near the off stump one can depend upon seeing the ball dispatched into and very often through the covers. His bowling is somewhat a mystery, particularly to yours truly, but is known to produce results of one kind or another. People have been known to wager on the likelihood of Tony defying Isaac Newton’s theory of gravitation but somehow the ball does return to earth and frequently to the cost of the batsman. Needless to say, it is not always one-sided, for some batsmen do like slow bowling and take the opportunity to demonstrate it. Special mention must be made of Tony’s wife Doris for the unselfish way in which she allows and, indeed, encourages her husband to perform his varied duties. One thing is for certain, they can both be happy in the knowledge that as a team they are successful in doing a good job well.

Mike Doble

Vice-Captain. Left handed opening bat and, on his day, very aggressive. Mike is also a useful change bowler producing spin. His speciality is to produce a delivery, deliberately (so he informs us) which on making contact with the ground refuses to bounce and makes a direct bee-line for the wicket at ground level. This is known as the “Doble Satellite Delivery.” Mike is a vociferous character but jolly good company. 

Tony Dunton 

Very good all-rounder. As a batsman has a thing about hitting over pitched balls off his stumps back over the bowler’s head and out of the ground, very consistent he is too. Sometimes slightly disconnects and drives hard and low much to the consternation of his partner at the other end. It must be stressed that Tony has a sound technique and is not just a wild hitter. A very useful bowler and can achieve a lot of pace from a short approach to the wicket. Tony can also bowl sharp, turning leg breaks but he is not altogether accurate with these. Perhaps as he gets older, he may attempt to master this for the value to the team could be very high. 

David Flint 

A left arm leg break bowler to the right hander and off break bowler to the left hander or is it the other way round? Anyway, whatever he does he does it pretty well. David specialises in his bowling and consequently bats fairly well down the order but has on many occasions done a “backs to the wall” job for us. Has a delightful wife in Joanne who is one of our scorers and helpers. 

Peter Harris 

One of the stalwart members of the club and, in fact, now referred to as the Senior Professional. Until the middle of the 60s Peter was considered first choice opening bowler, but batted down in the tail at 10 or 11. However, as he has matured with age, he has improved his batting to such an extent that he is now automatic choice for the first wicket down position. In 1972 he broke the club’s highest individual score record by hitting a magnificent 88 not out. With regards to his bowling, the club records speak for themselves. He has taken over 1,000 wickets, holds the record for the most wickets in a season, the most wickets in an innings and has taken over 50 wickets in a season on 10 occasions. During his long career, Peter has served the club as captain for two seasons and vice-captain for 5. The writer (man and boy) has played cricket with Peter for over 30 years with only short breaks for military service and hopes that we shall have many more enjoyable seasons together. 

Harold Kerslake (Noddy) 

A very popular member of the club. A fearsome looking opening bowler and reliable batsman. His fielding has to be seen to be believed for wherever he is placed in the field, whether close in or in the deep, he has one speed for his return to the wicketkeeper – fast. At times it’s quite amusing to see several players lining up behind the wicketkeeper in order to save overthrows, but it’s not so funny to be one of them. Hethersett Cricket Club owes a great deal of gratitude to Harold for his unselfish efforts in grooming the youngsters of the village in their cricket and some of them are now making appearances in the team and giving a good account of themselves. It is quite obvious that the future of the club is assured with such fine young players emerging and it’s all thanks to Harold Kerslake.

Varnham Lightowler

Moved to Norfolk from Nottingham and joined Hethersett Cricket Club in 1969. A very useful and stylish right hand batsman, his favourite stroke is to cut a fast ball outside his off stump through gully or slips. The faster the bowling the more Varnham enjoys himself. One mystery remains unsolved. Why, when the press photographer arrives, is it always him who gets his photograph in the local paper? There is a lot of conjecture. Some say it's his good looks, whilst others that it's his distinguished gray hair. I subscribe to the theory that Marie pays the photographer but I hasten to add not out of club funds. A word here for Marie (Mrs Lightowler). She is the club treasurer and very efficient too "cash on the nail or you don't play - that's her motto. She is also one of our scorers braving the cold winds associated with a typical English summer's day.

Duncan Pigg

Club Chairman. The writer has had the privilege of playing cricket alongside Duncan for the past 33 years and has many happy memories of this association. It is fair to say that every member of Hethersett Cricket Club holds him in very high esteem, not only because of his great personality but also because of his sporting approach to the game. Duncan will do anything he is asked to do without so much as a grumble. This is illustrated by his willingness to bat regularly, nowadays, in the lower order, suddenly be called upon to open the innings (often successfully) for one game and then return to his usual position. Duncan never lets success turn his head. There is no doubt that he is the team's "face saving specialist". When our backs are up against the wall and we are attempting to bat out time to force a draw, Duncan is the man to call on. Many a time he has batted resolutely and saved the day. Unfortunately, this type of contribution never makes the records despite the immense value. Never mind Duncan, you do still hold the 10th wicket record partnership with David Mullen of 63 set, believe it or not, 21 years ago. I can't recall the result of that match, but I bet you can. Duncan has, of course, been our regular wicketkeeper for many years performing with great skill and courage, collecting on the way many severe blows, particularly to the face. These are not due to bad keeping but because of indifferent wickets. Mention must also be made of the fact that he can, when required, "turn his arm over." Because of his duties behind the stumps, opportunities have been rare. Nonetheless Duncan has produced a vital wicket for us on the odd occasion when not keeping wicket. I vividly recall, in fact, when he took several wickets for us in a game against the Eastern Electricity Board, despite the observations of one of their batsmen. I hope, Duncan, that we may continue to play cricket together for man more years and that we will also have frequent opportunities in the future to listen to your excellent speeches at our annual dinners.

Don Powell

A fine sportsman, plays cricket to suit the team and not himself. Not a great batsman by any means but a useful and accurate bowler. A word of warning to any opponents - don't be kidded by Don's fielding. He can be quite nasty when you attempt to sneak a quick single. This advice comes from one who knows to his cost.

Andrew Roberts

Another fine sportsman. If not selected he will still turn up and umpire and very ably too. Andrew can well develop into a useful batsman and when the chips are down, he will perform extremely well but his basic fault is to leave his leg stump unguarded and this has cost him his wicket on many occasions. He can also bowl quite well and spins the ball but does not give himself a chance to find a length. Andrew lacks nothing in enthusiasm and endeavour and there is little doubt that he can blossom into an all rounder of great merit.

Mike Sexton

The Rector of Hethersett. How nice it is to have the local parson taking an interest in the cricket played by his village - it's almost like the old days. Mention must also be made of the fact that Mike's delightful wife Margaret also comes to watch us in action, whether Mike is playing or not. There is one complaint, however, can the Rector please explain why he is unable to produce rain when most desired? I refer of course to the odd occasion when we are facing a hiding.

Jack Squires

Our Lancastrian Jack is not a regular member of the team because of other interests but has on occasions performed sterling acts for us and displayed typical cunning associated with his county of birth. He has a fine sense of humour and this is probably illustrated best on the occasion when he was asked by another player why he was wearing a watch when fielding. Quick as a flash came the reply: "so that I can tell what time I was injured."

Peter Temperton

Peter is probably what we may term as the senior of our younger members. He has had quite a number of games with the senior side and has performed with great merit, particularly in the field where he has displayed some first class ground fielding followed with excellent returns to the wicket. There should be a good future for Peter with the club.

Ralph Wright.

The veteran of the club. The records show that Ralph joined Hethersett Cricket Club in 1964, but, in fact, this was the date when he re-joined us, having been a member before the Second World War. He is still a very useful all rounder to have in the team but cannot play regularly due to business commitments. Apart from his occasional spells of steady slow bowling he has in many games demonstrated his ability to hit the ball very hard and I vividly recall two tremendous straight sixes a couple of years ago off the Loddon opening bowler. His highest score was 69 which I unfortunately missed but I am assured that this was a gem.

The Young Members:

David Curson, Jeremy Lightowler and Patrick Sexto (the surnames speak for themselves). These three young gentlemen have given excellent service to the team during the season and with youngsters of this calibre coming along our future is assured. Jeremy and Patrick are aspiring young wicketkeepers and David a batsman (with the courage of his father in facing "quick" bowling(. Good luck to you all.

Comment made in 1996 on members' movements since the 1973 team profile:

At this time of writing, the following cricketers have moved to new pastures - Dick Alexander, Peter Balance, Peter Bourke, David Buxton, Mike Doble, Andrew Roberts, JackSquires, Peter Temperton and Patrick Sexton. Chris Barrenger is still in the village and is still a very much valued member of the community; recently his cricketing son Robert was married in Hethersett Church.

Tony Dunton has retired from cricket to become a very successful bowls player. Peter Harris and Don Powell are now with the good Lord. David Flint, Varnham and Duncan still take an active interest in the club. Rev Mike Sexton has retired to Poringland and is kept informed by our President Duncan Pigg. Ralph Wright plays for the Evergreens and he is still very successful both with the bat and ball. David Curson lives in Rockland St Mary and is kept informed by our wonderful secretary, Tony Curson. Both Jeremy and Nigel Lightowler play on very rare occasions as also do my sons John and Jeremy Kerslake.

We now look at the players in a 1996 review:

R.D. Ellis (Junior)

A very successful left handed batsman who is a reliable opener. He is able to build his innings and has delightful attacking strokes through the covers and square cuts. Good concentration and a good runner between wickets. A very useful left handed medium pace bowler with a good line and length.

D. Nobes

A young player who gives of his utmost best, even when injured. A determined batsman who sets his mind on a good score and often achieves his target. A useful fast bowler but the line tends to wander.

M. Ellis

Initially a first rate bowler, always on target with good length. He has now developed into a very successful mid-order batsman. Enjoys his cricket and he is very competitive. It is good to see him attacking the ball in the field.

M/ John

A joy to play with and he loves the game and is a true sportsman. A consistent bowler of near perfect length with very good lift. He has developed as an attacking batsman and is a very fast runner between wickets. A fielder with a very good throwing arm.

D. Elden

Perhaps the most competitive cricketer in the club over the past few years. A regular opener who consistently returns half centuries and even centuries on a good day. A good medium/slow pace bowler. Dave likes to win but he has developed to consider all the team when captaining.

A. Baker

A newcomer with high potential. Good batting but as yet not consistent enough when bowling.

J. Swann (Junior)

John has developed strongly from the boys team. A good attacking batsman and has developed a smoother defensive stroke to good length balls. Has started to develop as a bowler and has high potential.

C. Bishop

Christian loves a bit of fun when playing cricket. An excellent slow spin bowler, but has now developed medium pace with less success. Has started to develop strongly as a batsman. With more self discipline he will make an excellent cricketer.

R. Parslow

A fullt mature cricketer with a long loyalty to the club. Likes to field in the deep and returns the ball as hard as possible. A good batsman who lost form which he has now regained. A very good team player.

R.G. Ellis

A very valuable club player, utterly loyal and dependable. Has captained very well, bringing as many players into the game as possible. When the chips are down, he bats with determination and sweeps to leg with ease. A very good sportsman.

A. Curson

A living legend. His tremendous concentration plus a fine judgement of both score and time when captaining. The best defensive bat in the club and guards his wicket with determination. Has excellent cover shots and square cuts; excellent judgement of bowling lengths. An excellent fielder at mid off, consistently he has caught and stopped some stinging drives. Has a sterling character and does not waiver to apply the rules strictly and fairly.

G. Chappell

A good hitter when on form. Very competitive. A fierce medium pace bowler. Tends to lose interest when things aren't going well.

J. Swann (Senior)

A good conventional batsman who concentrates hard. An excellent fielder, especially catching, he is often surprised by his success.

P. Day

Has improved markedly in the past season as a batsman. He is basically a hitter who thrives on slow bowling. A very useful wicketkeeper and vice-captain. He has a good sense of fun and enjoys his cricket.

D. Johnson

A splendid veteran of the club who can attack the ball with a well timed drive. An accurate slow/medium pace bowler. An excellent Hon Treasurer. He has a very wise brain when reviewing play and choosing players for selection.

D. Hobart

A very loyal young man who is developing steadily as a batsman. His fast bowling can be wayward on occasion but nonetheless it is difficult to hit.

S. Gotterson

A very promising young man who enjoys the game and is learning techniques steadily.

M. Hawdon

Mike has made a miraculous recovery from a near fatal motor car accident; it has been wonderful to see his cricketing friends support him. He remains a very good medium pace bowler and I am sure that his hitting form as a batsman will return in due course. It is good to see him wear a helmet, a feature now provided for young players against hostile short pitched deliveries.

B. Whittaker

Sadly left the club due to heavy business commitments. He is very much missed as he loved the game so much. At all times a very fair sportsman

A. Abbas

A very good fast bowler with a natural late away swing. He has started to develop as a batsman. He loves the game. Sadly Assad suffered an eye injury when batting; it is good to see him enjoying cricket again and sensibly wearing a helmet.

D. Simmons

A quiet mature cricketer. Bats sensibly to build his innings. A very good slow bowler who will be very successful.

R. Wright

Still playing for the Evergreens eleven and an occasional Hethersett Cricket Club side. Ralph has an excellent eye and believes in hitting the ball very hard. His bowling remains excellent in length and he is still successful in taking wickets.

Promising Young Players:

The following young players have progressed from the boys team and we look forward to seeing them develop strongly in the near future:- Russell Cooper, Saheid Abbas, Robert Harrison, Chris Bolderstone, Adam Nicholls, James Curson, Arran Nodes, P. Burrows and A. Luscombe-Whyte.

This completes our review of players from 1952 through 1973 to 1996. I hope that you agree with me that cricketers are very "colourful characters". We now look to the next chapter in a good position to understand why it is that Hethersett Cricket Club is very much NOT OUT.