The Early Days
In 1878 the Rev. James Brown, rector of Stackpole reported in the Deanery Magazine:-
“The first meeting of the Stackpole Cricket Club took place on Wednesday, May 8th. The attendance was not large, and the ground was not in good order; but not withstanding these drawbacks, there was a pleasant game. Wednesday is proposed as the usual evening for the meeting, and the cricketing friends from the neighbouring parishes will be welcomed to join the game.”
In 1932, Billy Murray, who had recently moved to Buckspool from Lawrenny, where he had played cricket, suggested that a cricket team be formed in Bosherston. The idea took shape and a meeting was held in Bosherston School to which interested people from Bosherston and Stackpole were invited.
Mr. Campbell Clarke, Lord Cawdor’s estate agent took the chair and at that meeting the Bosherston and Stackpole Cricket Club was formed.. The well attended meeting included Brynley Edwards, now a life member and Wilfred Smith who was still at school in Pembroke Dock and who became the first secretary.
Some kit had been stored at Stackpole Rectory from the previous venture and this Mr. Clarke arranged to have delivered. Lord Cawdor provided a donation and together with member’s subscriptions of one pound meant the club was solvent.
The first fixture was probably played in 1933, on a field at Buckspool Farm, opposite where there is a grid on the road to St. Govan’s. There was no pavilion and very few players had whites; but a hut, for the scorers, was supplied by the Estate. Teas were not provided at the ground but by four people in the locality who supplied teas to the many. Preparation of the ground was carried out with great enthusiasm, but with very little machinery. The outfield was mown with a hay mower and the wicket with a 12 inch cut cylinder mower, pushed by hand. A heavy roller, normally pulled by a horse was used for the wicket, but not wanting hoof marks on the wicket it was pulled by as many members as could be mustered.
There were few cars in the village and so bicycles were much used for away matches. Tom Griffiths, by all accounts not a great cricketer, was a regular selection for away matches in Lawrenny as he owned a car.
The War Years
During the war years the team disbanded. Some joined the forces and much of Buckspool Farm was taken over as an army range. However all was not lost as some helped form a team run by the Home Guard with matches played on a variety of local farms using the BASCC kit.
The Club Reborn
After the war the club was reformed. With the first meeting at the Home Guard base at St. Twynnells, with Mr. Campbell Clark as President, Rev. Davies as Chairman, Brynley Edwards as Secretary and Cyril Preece as Treasurer and Captain. A new pitch was now required and the Cawdor Estate kindly gifted the club our present field under a “gentleman’s agreement”. Lewis John and Elwyn Griffiths borrowed an old Fordson tractor and “finger mower” from Sampson and cut the field which was very rough and overgrown with lots of ant hills. Initially the wicket consisted of a cinder base covered with a coconut matting and rolled down hard, but after a few years it was decided to lay a turf wicket and Lew and Elwyn dug turf from St. Govan’s Head and laid this as the pitch, and so it remains today. The outfield did not need cutting as it was always grazed, animals even roamed the outfield during play. For many years Lew John tended the wicket with loving care, but after his sad passing a number of individuals helped out. By today though Denis Alderman, Richard Gibby and Phil Tallett have developed their expertise and the wicket is playing better than ever.
There have been a number of splendid “pavillions”, from the asbestos building purchased from Pembroke Dock for 60 pounds; a barn purchased from Crymych; Bill Bellamy’s pheasant hut; a portakabin purchased from Grove School that only made it to the ground in broken pieces and was never quite assembled, to the magnificent edifice we have today, named in memory of a club stalwart of the time, Clive Huxley. This was officially opened by international cricketer Alan Butcher in 1992.
In the early days after the war only friendly matches were played but after the formation of Pembrokeshire County Cricket Club and eventually the County league structure, Stackpole’s then one and only team played mainly in Division 3 South. The club nurtured many fine cricketers, such as John Bevan, who must have taken more wickets and scored more runs than any other member of the club, but only three have represented Pembrokeshire County at senior level. Cyril Preece an early stalwart, Peter Davies, brother-in-law of Elwyn, even though it was shortly after moving to his veterinary practice in Narberth and Phil Davies who transferred to the club after playing for the County.
Only on one occasion was the league title won, in 1978, with the cup being presented by the Chairman of the MCC, Mr. Freddie Brown at the County Annual Dinner. However, the team has invariably performed well and is noted for its sporting approach to the game.
Of major significance in the history of the club is the formation of the 2nd and 3rd XIs. Both developments are the result of the establishment of youth teams which began in the 1970’s and the associated growth in playing strength. Youth teams now play at 3 age groups in County leagues. This is due in no uncertain terms to the efforts of people such as Lyn Childs, Lee Smith, Kathryn Huxley, Owen Cox and many others. There has been tremendous success with regard to representative honours for our junior players, many have represented Pembrokeshire County, Dyfed and West Wales with Jonathon Willington, Jonathon Thomas, and Alex Kemp representing Wales and Kathryn Huxley representing the Welsh Women’s Cricket XI.
The influx of new players meant that playing opportunities had to be created for them on reaching senior level. The main driving force in the formation of the 2nd and 3rd teams was Denis Alderman, whose vision was instrumental not only in setting up the teams but also in locating a second playing field that was now required. This is at Castlemartin Camp, many hours having been spent in preparing the wicket which is improving year by year.
As the Bosherston and Stackpole Cricket Club approaches its 76th playing year, it continues to grow in strength and looks forward to more success and more enjoyment in 2009.