NEWENT cricketers started the new season with a look back over their club’s long existence – all thanks to the National Lottery.
The first league match of the summer saw the launch of ‘175 not out’ a book documenting the club’s history from its foundation in 1845 to the present day.
Written by former players Richard Martin and Tony Marcovecchio the book was funded by a National Lottery heritage grant. The project includes an exhibition, currently at the club’s Three Ashes ground, but which is planned to circulate eventually to other venues in the town.
“Followers of this manly sport” were encouraged to join the new club in those early Victorian days. The club flourished and by the 1880s was described as the strongest team in Gloucestershire, outside of the county side itself.
Notable players like E.F.Wright, Thomas Gregg and John Hatton were selected by W.G.Grace to play for the county, and it is reputed that W.G himself brought a team to play at Newent. The club’s former ground, now a housing estate, includes a road named Grace’s Pitch.
Stories from those days include a remarkable match when the first team, using broomsticks, played the second team, using bats. And the broomsticks won!
The club experienced a downturn after the Golden Age of the 1880s, and suffered a few seasons of inactivity, then years of more low key competition.
A new ground, in Watery Lane, gave the club an impetus after the First World War and the team flourished again. The Second World War brought another halt but the phoenix rose again in 1947 and play has continued uninterrupted ever since.
In 1965 the cricketers moved to their present home at Three Ashes, Oxenhall. A lean period was followed by a surge of interest in the 1980s which saw the club regularly turn out four Saturday sides, plus Sunday and midweek teams, and a strong youth section.
Thanks to the hard work of members Three Ashes now boasts some of the finest facilities in the district, and is used regularly for county age group, matches.
The club has also been a pioneer of women’s cricket, with several players from the club receiving county honours.
All this and more is described in the lavishly illustrated, hard back book, costing £10, and available from Seymours Newsagents at Newent, from the cricket club bar on match days, or by contacting chairman Chris Germaine at [email protected]
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