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There is evidence of Castle Bromwich teams playing against Nether Whitacre, Coleshill and Water Orton in the 19th century but memories of those times are lost in the mists of times and what we now know as Castle Bromwich Cricket Club restarted in the 1950s. In August 1953 Castle Bromwich Parish Council called a meeting at the Victory Hall in Castle Bromwich, to form a cricket club. This was a very far sighted decision by the Parish Council with the best intentions for the local community and one that has since reaped many dividends amongst the local junior community. The team would play on a pitch situated in the playing fields just off the Water Orton Road in Castle Bromwich. Encouragingly, 38 people attended and a committee of 11 were duly elected. A very interesting note is that the President of the club was the Chairman of the Council, G.H. Joyner, the Chairman was Councillor H.S. Cashmore and the Vice Chairman was Councillor Page with many other Councillors becoming Vice Presidents and the local MP (Sutton Coldfield) Sir John S.P. Mellor also being a Vice President.
The first AGM was held in October 1953 and the Cricket Club was now operational in it's present form. This was only just a start as a square had to be laid and at a cost of £150 when the average weekly wage was only £9.25 the project was almost finished before it had started. The committee launched a funding appeal with a concentration on vice-presidents at £2 each and this was a great success with one of the first to subscibe being the Earl of Bradford whose family home was Bradford Hall which is now of course a 5 star hotel. The Earl also gave permission for the club to use the family crest for blazer badges & ties, some of which can still be seen. Having raised the money and laid a very modest, by modern standards, square everything was set to go with fixtures arranged and people eager to play.
However, there was nowhere to change or have refreshments so a much used old wooden shed was obtained (we believe the MOD might have lost an asset at this time) and when it was delivered to the wrong location the members of the club had to manhandle it to its final location. The jigsaw was re-assembled and given numerous coats of whitewash to make it fit for purpose. A picket fence was erected around the pavilion and a certain rustic charm was to be seen but not by the players who found wooden splinters in their feet on a regular basis.
In 1953 Arden Hall had not been built and the pavilion was just a wooden hut. There were no showers or even toilets but there was sufficient tapwater to enable wives and girlfriends to provide excellent salad teas for both teams and some interesting cricket was played on a green meadow only recently converted from farm land.
The club soon began to prosper and were running two Saturday and two Sunday teams with Geoff Woodfield, Malcolm Botham, Sid Dennis, Billy Jewell, Les White, Graham Jones & Hadyn Conley all starting to make an impression. Players were notified by second class stamped postcard with selection details. Around 1970 a number of players had left, making it difficult to field 2 sides due to poor interest. This resulted in a merger with Erdington Unity, who were a "nomadic tribe" with no ground of their own. The club was know for a short spell as Castle Bromwich Unity which was probably a descriptive fiction. This merger, with Dave Hilditch as 1st team captain, was highly succesful especially with new players being attracted to the active social life centered around the Bradford Arms. During this period the club started to take charge of the ground preparation after the council contractors decided that creosote was an adequate replacement for whitening and gradually invested in mowers and rollers for which we were indebted to M&B amongst other odd benefactors. Mention must be made of Alan Craske who's vast engineering expertise was called upon on numerous occasions to maintain this equipment. I wonder what happened to the famous 36" Dennis?
In the mid 1970s and after a season using a caravan as both kitchen & changing room, the present pavilion was built with showers, changing rooms and clubroom and it was opened by the Mayor of Solihull. Finally and after much prolonged negotiation with Parish Council the club had its own licensed bar. This bar was originally the hatch to the kitchen with temporary pumps attached to the countertop. At the insistence of the Council we had to put up curtains to prevent the neighbours being shocked at public displays of drinking and of course we had to give them a percentage of the profits!!After the recruitment of players from The Legion (Aubrey, Julian, Brendon, Tony, Steve, John & Graham) the bar made a steady and growing profit!
Various club members helped organise a cup competition for local schools in Solihull. This resulted in a large influx of young members who formed junior teams playing for Castle Bromwich. Some of the best youngsters such as Mark Evans & Ian White went on to play for Warwickshire County Cricket Club at various levels. Both of these players have since returned to their first club and are still very active in various roles for the club. Other youngsters to make their mark were Glen Larcombe, Mike Secondini, Keith Hardware, Niggle Smallwood, Phil Eastbury & Bob Bird. During this period the club under the captaincy of Mick Fielding won it's first trophy, The Coleshill Cup, which was one of the premier trophies in the Midlands. This win was a shock to the big names of Coleshill & Water Orton and the lesser lights of Nether Whitacre & Marston Green.
1986 saw a big day in the clubs' history with the visit of the Fijian national side, who were in the country for the ICC tournament. Castle Bromwich were selected to provide a warm up match before the competition began. The match was attended by the Mayor of Solihull and other local dignitaries and was won by the visitors, but not before Castle Bromwich became the first team to bowl them out on their tour. Just as memorable was the after match entertainment provided by the visitors as they sang traditional Fijian songs into the night. Vocal chords were well lubricated by a glass or two of the local exotic brews (Carling and Brew X1). The tour manager was quite concerned that some of his star players seemed more interested in the Castle Bromwich hospitality, and not the first ICC match the next day.
The club now played League Cricket, first in the Printline League and later gaining promotion into the Warwickshire Cricket League.
In 1995 the club changed its name from Castle Bromwich Cricket Club to the present Castle Bromwich Cricket & Sports Club. This was due to the formation of successful Football and Tennis Sections, all playing under the control of the Sports Club.
In the ninties the return of Mick Fielding, Allan Parkinson, Steve Jones and Ian White from higher levels of cricket and the emergence of Palle Quinn signalled a change of fortune for the Cricket Section. Promotion was achieved in three out of four of the following seasons. The Second X1 also chipped in with promotion in 1999 and again in 2005.
2006 saw the return of Mike Duffield to the club after an absence of 15 years, along with Mick Fielding, Peter Jablonski and Ian White the guys formed a development committee which has seen drastic club and facilities improvements from well managed fund raising and sheer hard work from all club members.
These improvements have been reflected on the field as 2009 saw both 1st & 2nd teams gain promotion to division 2 of the Warwickshire Cricket League,the highest league positions ever attained by any team in the club's history.A third team is now well and truly established with 2016 captain Matt Jones at the helm. The youth section that was created by Mark Clayton is flourishing with new Junior Coach Muneer Afzal.
The well stocked and sensibly priced bar is open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Tuesday during the Cricket season and Friday, Saturday & Sunday in the Winter. Family membership currently costs £20-00 per family per year and £15 for individual members. Application forms are available from the bar.
The Cricket Team of 1953
Back Row: Malcolm Botham, Peter Botham, Harry Bazeley, Jim Page (Captain), George Crisp, Derek , David Smith.
Front Row: Brian Jones, Anon, Eric Purslow, Albert Collins, Lewis (wkt).