By Micky Garner and Brian Butchers
In 1900 Mr H Hayter joined the club and was for many years a notable performer with both bat and ball, the captain at this time being Rev H A Hodgson. Hayter was a very fast bowler, with a somewhat weird action, and it is recorded that K J Key the famous old Surrey captain expressed his opinion that Hayter would have been a valuable county bowler but for his questionable delivery. Hayter’s action had often involved incidents with umpires; he eventually devoted himself to batting with successful results. Unlike the previous season, the cricket was spoilt by some wretched weather. A E Clayton a bell ringer at St Mary’s bowled very well throughout the season, claiming 75 wickets ably assisted by R A Sheppard and H Hayter. The 2nd XI lost the first two games this year but remained undefeated for the rest of the season.
In 1901 London County CC (who were included among the first class counties) paid their first visit to Beddington Park, under the captaincy of the celebrated Dr W G Grace. It is recorded that the Doctor and some of his team inadvertently booked tickets to Beddington Lane Station, a long way from the park ground and having trudged half the distance, a passing cattle truck was pressed into service, and the great “W G” arrived at the ground, to score a characteristic 51 runs. On another future visit, he scored 147 runs. When he returned again with the London County side, he was palpably caught in the slips by the Rector, who stood with the ball in his hands, early on in his innings. Seeing that the batsman showed no sign of departing, an appeal was made but the county club umpire, promptly said “not out”. The champion turned to the fielder and said “Well Rector I shall not give you another chance.” The very next ball was touched in the same way, but apparently the confused Rector allowed the ball to drop.
Also in 1901 our keen rivals Sutton were beaten when F Lingard and R Henderson played so well that Beddington declared at 345 for 7 wickets. Beddington were beaten by the MCC, captained by Lord Harris, who scored 154 runs. R Henderson of Middlesex 74 runs and F Laver all assisted the MCC in their winning result.
The brothers Windsor joined the club, and in George a wicket keeper of the highest standard was discovered and one who subsequently put in many years of excellent service at the club. The season of 1903 was a very poor one, and the bad weather probably accounted for the fact that no fewer than 18 games were left drawn, with only five victories and six defeats recorded, including every match in the week. This season saw the resignation of R A Sheppard who preferred to play for Sutton, Surrey and the London County teams. The following season 1904, showed even worse results as twelve defeats were recorded including every match in the cricket week. It was in this year that Robert Henderson made his last appearance for the club, with a fine innings of 92. He became the people’s churchwarden at St Mary’s and was a regular visitor to the club ground. Thomas Bentham who knew him well said he was as diligent in his work as Churchwarden, as he was a cricketer. He started first class cricket as an Amateur, but it is understood that W G Grace persuaded him to become a professional.
In 1904 the rule on members subscriptions, was once again amended and this time the annual subscriptions was fixed at 25/-, with an additional 5/- if not paid by the 1st July, that looked rather like asking for trouble. The fixture card left no doubt about the responsibility for choosing the players for matches, by indicating prominently: “Teams will be selected by the Selection Committee”, the fixture card also stated: “Dogs are not allowed on the ground”. That notice does not now appear, but the dogs do.
The great event of the year was the club gymkhana the day resulting in a profit for the club of £50. The prizes, all given by members, were presented by Miss Daisy Bridges who married G L Marks, of Beddington, a very fine cricketer at Whitgift School. At the end of the 1904 season the resignation of the captain Rev H Hodgson after eleven years, was accepted with great regret. Rev H A Hodgson’s interest was maintained long after his retirement from cricket in 1906. ‘Bully’ Bulfield remembers one of his last visits to the club on a motor cycle, when Mr Hodgson was well into his seventies. Another prominent member under review at this time was R A Sheppard, who contributed many fine innings, season after season, until his departure from the club in 1903, when he joined London County CC with W G Grace and Surrey Club and Ground. Sheppard also made a number of successful appearances in the Surrey CCC XI.
In 1905, C W Lindsay was elected captain for the season. There came to the club at this time one described in the records as a “promising youngster”. His name was G M Reay, a larger than life character in more ways than one and had along with his brother Wilfred begun to make their presence felt as a wonderful fast bowling combination against which the average club batsman could do little. G H Ashbery was another fine bowler about this time and with Hayter still bowling at top speed until he gave up, the opposing teams had some very uncomfortable times. A side note of possible interest to present day members is that a football match was played against the Carshalton Football Club in order to raise funds, the Cricket Clubs assets were improved by 3s/7d. C W Lindsay was living with his family, including his brother W H Lindsay, at the Brandries, Chats Hill, Guy Road, Beddington, his father W Lindsay born in Scotland of Indian parentage, described as a Wholesaler Clothier in Lace. He was also a scholar at Winchester College.
T P Rothwell and K A Oswald started as schoolboy members in 1905, from 1929-1934 T P Rothwell captained the 2nd XI and much to the annoyance of Rothwell, K A Oswald took over the captaincy in 1935-1938, and T P Rothwell left the club – another case of the club being bigger than the man. 1905 was the year John Henry Bridges won the archery championship at the Beddington Park Ground, now the Archery, Lawn Tennis, and Croquet Club. He was to go on to represent the United Kingdom at archery in the 1908 Olympics.
Gilly Reay was 17 when he first played for the second XI in 1904. He was 59 when he retired shortly after the Second World War. Seldom can a club boast such a record, and you can still see him at the ground, towering over everyone else in the bar, Surrey blazer on, looking as though he’d still like to be out there with them…
“The pitch at the back was a turnip field”, he said, when talking about the beginnings. “We put out two sides on Saturdays, none of course on Sundays.” It’s difficult to make comparisons about the then and now. “We now have one of the best sides in the history of the club” (he was talking about the 1962 team) “but I wouldn’t like to say how they would have got on against the side we had in those days. We had some pretty good players in those days you know.”
Two of the best were the brothers Reay, Gilly and his younger brother Wilfred. They were the fast bowling opening partnership. Gilly did a bit off the pitch – while Wilf was faster through the air. In 1910 they both took a hundred wickets and in the next season Wilfred established a Beddington record by taking 131 wickets at 9.6 apiece.
Gilly mentioned how his father kicked him out of the house for losing to much money playing cards in Beddington Park after cricket matches. “Wilf and I moved into digs, a pound a week for the pair of us and another chap.” But Wilf had left the club cajoled to Purley, said his brother, by a girl – the Mata Hari of local cricket, I’ve no doubt! The brothers were never destined to bowl together again in the same game, Wilf lost his life in the First World War.
Essex and England’s J W H T Douglas (Johnny Won’t Hit Today as he was called in the quality press) brought a side to Beddington and was bowled out by the brothers who took five wickets apiece – Douglas bowled out by Gilly. “G-M” was six foot three in height and as strong as a bull. He could bowl all day and very often did. In 1910 he took 15 wickets for 67 runs against the Surrey Club and Ground and was promptly invited to play for them.
Mr L Rostron was elected captain of the 1st XI. The results were as follows: ten wins, ten draws, and seven lost. These losses included Dorking, Banstead, Ewell, Goldfield’s CC and London County who all proved victorious. W G Grace was responsible for a magnificent 147 runs in the London County CC match. H Hilder headed the batting averages this season, Reay and Hayter the bowling averages. The second XI had a successful season under new leadership of H S Moore who was to skipper the second XI for the next ten years. Major Morris, the treasurer for the past 14 years, resigned having moved from the neighbourhood. An epidemic of resignations followed when C E Pothecary moved to the Sutton Club and R Henderson on his approaching marriage resigned as match secretary.
In 1907 the President John Henry Bridges lost his devoted wife of 27 years and in sympathy all matches that week were cancelled. John Henry and Edith Bridges had produced nine children at their ancestral home at Ewell Court. He was at this time the secretary of the Archery, Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and a J.P. at Epsom Assizes, with four of his children still living at Ewell Court. During this period H Hayter had become the backbone of the Beddington team. A brilliant bowling performance by Hayter enabled the club to snatch a win from Heathfield CC taking the last four wickets for only two runs. It was probably his weird delivery that caused umpires to closely watch his arm action. During the match against Marlborough Blues the team witnessed the wedding of “Robbie” Henderson at St Mary’s Church Beddington
The fixture list was extended and three elevens turned out each week. H Hayter having decided to concentrate on batting this year, his partner in crime G H Ashbery was still in great bowling form and in that season captured 79 wickets, in addition to scoring 436 runs. Patsy Hendren, H Marriott and T G Hearne playing for the MCC, defeated the Beddington side. F French skippered and like most Beddington 1st XI captains opened the batting with H Hayter, R A Sheppard, G H Ashbery, W Windsor, F T Wiltshire and L V Atkinson were also in the side. The Beddington side was bowled out for 84 runs, with Patsie Hendren and Hearne taking 5 wickets each. It was during this season that Beddington CC received an influx of new members from the Stanley Park Cricket Club who took advantage of joining Beddington’s Club to play on the beautiful Beddington Park ground.
Cricketer JH Bridges, who had played two first-class games for Surrey, was selected to represent the United Kingdom in the London Olympics. Bridges entered the Double York archery event taking fifth place with 687 points.
In 1909 an even more ambitious programme of cricket with a 3rd XI now in place, was arranged, but difficulties in turning out some of the sides caused a number of fixtures to be cancelled. An exciting match against Stoics resulted in a win for Beddington, after Stoics had only wanted four runs for victory with three wickets in hand. Those three wickets fell for the addition of only one run. In another match the opponents, Clapham Ramblers, had brought their score level with the Beddington total, but still had two wickets in hand. Nerves failed, as both batsmen were run out, and the match ended in a tie. In the same season Beddington defeated Purley at Beddington, declaring at 187 for seven wickets, in reply Purley were bowled out for 70 runs, with the brothers Reay taking four wickets each. At Purley the Beddington 2nd XI scored 232 for 7 wickets, with E C Page scoring 113 runs. The Purley 2nd XI dismissed for 94 runs. Playing in the Beddington side was an A W Robertson a surname that would appear on a regular basis, in the later history of Beddington CC.
From 1909 John Henry Bridges who had now remarried Dorothy Mary Jacomb of Beddington, sold Beddington House, the family home in Bridges Lane and by 1910 was planning to sell Beddington Park judging by the photographs taken of Canon Bridges beautiful pavilion and cricket ground by his long-time friend at Oxford, Jarvis Kenrick of Bletchingley. A world war was about to intervene, and his plans were put on hold until 1919 when Beddington Park came to the market once again. Jarvis Kenrick was the eldest son of the Rev Jarvis Kenrick the Rector of St Mary’s, Caterham and Bletchingley, the ancestral home of the Kenrick family. Jarvis Kenrick had produced nine children all girls when he married the sister of F H Birley, the Old Wykehamist’s and Beddington CC player.
Spot the one armed umpire A Saw, also Gilly Reay (middle row third from left) and Wilf Reay middle row far right)
It was in the year 1910 that F F French took over the captaincy from Mr L Rostron owing to ill-health. During cricket week every game was won, due to the fact that the new captain won the toss on every occasion, and every time had invited our opponents to bat first. It was in a low scoring match in the “week” against Surrey C & G, that a bag of 15 wickets for 67 runs during the day, bought Gilly Reay to the notice of the Oval authorities, “G M” was unfortunately unable to accept the invitation to appear in the County side, but Wilfred did play for the Gentlemen of England against Oxford University at Lord’s. The Stoics proved easy victims due mainly to the form of Gilly Reay, and on Wednesday the famous Wanderers, with a very strong side, made their first visit to the Beddington ground. Our opponents were all out for 38 runs, thanks to the wonderful bowling of G Reay and G H Ashbery. In reply Beddington were 29 runs for 9 wickets it seemed as if 38 runs was beyond their grasp, but two sixes by R S Nightingale off Bradley, eventually gave Beddington a 20 run lead on the first innings.
In the second innings Wanderers managed 63 runs, leaving Beddington to score 44 runs for victory, and this they achieved having been 31 for 6 wickets in their second innings won by 2 wickets. The brothers Reay had a wonderful season each taking 100 wickets. Wilfred did not meet with very much success when he was chosen to play for the Gentlemen of England against Oxford University, Gilly Reay on the other hand, not to be outdone by his younger brother, showed himself equally at home with the bat, when he headed the batting averages for the 1910 season.
In 1911 Wilfred Reay established a Beddington record which still stands today by capturing 131 wickets at the cost of 9.6 runs apiece, while Gilly making irregular appearances, secured 59 wickets at a cost of 9.77 runs apiece, his records in later years speak for themselves. Another esteemed member, prominent about this time was F O P Harrison, who all-round abilities were of inestimable value to the club, until his departure abroad in 1925. The season of 1911 was again a successful one, with some remarkable bowling feats by the brothers Reay and G Ashbery. Against the Old Whitgiftians Wilfred took five wickets for 18 runs, against Mitcham he claimed seven victims for 29 runs and against Ewell he excelled with nine wickets for six, in their total of 27 runs, in this match Gilly Reay hit 127 runs including five sixes. F O P Harrison scored a splendid 102 n.o. against Croydon, while at Sutton; Gilly secured eight wickets for 29 runs. From 1906 to 1911 Mr L Rostron had successfully captained a first class Beddington 1st XI, following the example set by Rev H A Hodgson in the previous twelve years. Broken only by one year when C W Lindsay took on the captaincy.
Mr L Rostron the captain for six years resigned and R V Laroche was elected captain with Gilly Reay as his vice-captain, and this was a very successful combination with wins against Old Whitgiftians, Mitcham, King’s College, Sutton, Norbury Park, Dulwich, Banstead, Streatham and Croydon, fixtures which would last for the next 20 years and some for very much longer, in all 16 matches were won, five lost, and three drawn. Against Addiscombe L Dixon accomplished a bowler’s dream of securing all ten wickets at the cost of 24 runs only, while later, against Croydon he scored 102 runs. In this season, R A Sheppard played his last game with Beddington his departure from the club was a sad blow. Gilly Reay’s appearances were somewhat limited during the season, while Wilfred continued in wonderful form, capturing 92 wickets for 6.98 runs apiece. He was ably assisted by L Dixon with 45 wickets, in addition to an aggregate of 572 runs. F A J Wright first appeared in the side in 1912 and became a very prominent batsman. After one year of captaincy R V Laroche stood down and Gilly Reay was appointed captain for the next season, with H Hayter as vice-captain.
Gilly Reay made his first appearance for Surrey, against Middlesex at Lord’s. Strangely enough he fared better as a batsman than a bowler and one hit, said by P F Warner to be one of the biggest he had ever seen at Lord’s, when it sailed over the stand into the “nursery” for six. It may now be mentioned that Beddington was still turning out three elevens each week, and the playing strength was being maintained at the same high standard. Surrey Club and Ground with the two Abels and Peach scored 239 runs and bowled out Beddington for 144 runs. Blackheath Wanderers were twice out for 32 runs and 48 runs respectively, with Beddington scoring 334 in the first innings, F Wright making 124 runs, in this game G M Reay took 14 wickets for 40 runs and L Dixon 6 for 29. Against Croydon, Beddington scored 182 for 2 wickets, with L Dixon scoring 104 n.o. He took 7 wickets against Heathfield for 166 and just failed to reach another century. In the following match against The Honary Artillery Corp. He made 117 runs in faultless style. L Dixon was a truly great club cricketer.
F S Harrison (Hon Treasurer), F O P Harrison, W A Windsor, L H Dixon, G G Windsor, E Langman (Umpire)
E C Page, H Hayter G M Reay, R S Nightingale, A C Kent,
W Magg, A J Wright
1914 – 1918 First World War
We now come to that fateful year, with its unforgettable August Bank Holiday, a brilliantly fine day and a fixture against Purley, who at this time turned out a very powerful side. The war clouded over everything, and while Beddington continued cricket until the end of the month under depressing conditions, the remaining fixtures were cancelled. At that time W A Windsor headed the batting averages while Gilly Reay topped the bowling averages with 51 wickets costing 12 runs apiece. Except for a few scratch games, serious cricket at Beddington was not seen again until 1919, when the office of President was again filled by Mr W J Mallinson, who later was honoured with a knighthood.
Gilly Reay had found time to marry, and was living in Demesne Road, Beddington. Gilly’s father went to Wellington College, Taunton, Somerset, 1870. Gilly himself played cricket as a young man in a field at the end of Rosemount which ran along Elgin Road, and Stafford Road now owned by Sainsbury’s, his first serious cricket was played at Partners, Wallington Green Primary School and later at Sterndale in Springfield Road. He attended Radcliffe College 1899-1903, and joined Beddington in 1904.
1919 – 1920
The seasons were to some extent, periods of reconstruction at the Beddington Club. Some of the former playing members had laid down their lives during the war, and a memorial tablet in the pavilion pays tribute to seven members who made the sacrifice:- R Brindley, C H Cressy, R W Gaskins, Christopher Hodgson, C H Herman, W F Reay, B Salter-Whiter, Christopher Hodgson the grandfather of Jarvis Kenrick’s nine daughters at Bletchingly had volunteered to join the war effort and died on the western front at the age of 60 years. Jarvis Kenrick was at Oxford with John Henry Bridges in 1870, and played cricket in the Beddington Park teams of 1876. In 1919 R W “Bully” Bulfield the Historian joined the club and became treasurer in 1940. Gilly Reay had the privilege of reading the copious notes of F O P Harrison a former secretary and captain. It may be of interest to tell the true story of the famous tied match with Battersea, taken from “Cricket Week” in 1919. Beddington were all out for 76 runs. In reply Battersea were 60 for 3 wickets with Trollope in full flow not out. Jack Christie presently took three wickets in four balls making it 69 for 6 wickets Potter-Irwin the skipper scenting the possibility of a win, switched Gilly to bowl at the other end. Although no other wicket fell until 76 runs the move was amply justified as Christie took Trollope’s wicket and Gilly polished off the remaining last three wickets in four balls for no runs for the tied game. Which is as good a note as any to end!
The land sales
John Henry began his land sales (circa 1909) when he sold the Beddington House estate in Bridges Lane, Beddington, including ‘Riverside’ purchased by his father having married for a second time to Dorothy Mary Jacomb. In 1910 he was planning to sell the Beddington Park ground, the date on the photograph taken of the Beautiful Pavilion by his good friend Jarvis Kenrick of Caterham, then playing cricket at Bletchingly CC. These plans seem to have been shelved due to the 1914-1918 war, and in June 1919 one hundred acres of the park were purchased by Alexander Kaye-Muir of Aberdeenshire for £9,000 including the lawn tennis and cricket grounds, with two pavilions, conveyance carried out by Mr George Payne of Waddon acting as his attorney, Alexander Kaye-Muir came down to Beddington from Aberdeenshire to make the final payment.
Many new faces were seen at the club, including members from the Croydon CC which had ceased to exist, including T Rothwell. J Christie, T Hammond, H Tovey, and before the end of the 1920 season the first XI, included C Potter-Irwin (captain), Gilly Reay, F O P Harrison, G Windsor, T P Rothwell, T R Hammond, H Tovey, and R W Bulfield, who had proved themselves to be suitable opposition for most opponents. The cricket week again became a feature of the season, and strong opposition was encountered from Stoics, Wanderers, Surrey Club and Ground, and the MCC, etc. The outstanding day being the Presidents’ Day that always included some well-known players, such as Hobbs, Fender, Stevens, Valentine, Marriott, Taylor (S African captain) and others who come readily to mind. Particularly, Rev F H Gillingham, who’s first recorded appearance at Beddington, was as far back as 1894, when he helped our opponents to score 153 for their first wicket.
The second XI won 13 matches and lost only three. during August and September L E Rose, featured many time with the willow, in successive innings he made scores of 67 n.o. 66 n.o., 102 n.o. and 89 n.o. and R W Bulfield (Bully) a newcomer, who batted and fielded very well. The club were thankful to Mr W J Mallinson for accepting the vacant office of President, made available by the departure of J H Bridges who had retired to Eastbourne, having sold his last property (his passion) the Aberdeen Angus cattle breeding farm in Horley. (1920 was the last year of the Greensward eight articles on Beddington Cricket Club) which he hoped would be used for a future book. We have no idea who Greensward was, but we thank him for his contribution.
The 1921 season was memorable by reason of the wonderfully fine weather and the long period of drought, which caused a ban on the watering of sports grounds. This led to some fiery wickets at times, and may have contributed to the fact that only four games were drawn, while eleven were won and eleven lost. Bulfield recalls a plaintive request from an opposing captain that Gilly Reay should not be allowed to bowl so fast. For the second season in succession, Gilly headed both bowling and batting averages, while R S Collins, brother of the one-time captain of Australia, who had joined this season, established himself as an admirable all round cricketer. T R Hammond was however the most consistent batsman on the side and one innings against Spencer calls for special mention. Beddington were faced with the seemingly daunting task of obtaining 213 runs in just under 90 minutes, for victory, they were actually made in 80 minutes, with Hammond contribution being 107 runs in forty five minutes, including one six and 21 fours. He was ably assisted in a big first wicket stand with H Tovey.
A loss to the club this season was H Hayter, who had joined Sutton. The first ever tour of the club took place in 1921; a most enjoyable week was spent in South Devon, with pleasant recollections. This same season was also noted for an event of a slightly different nature as the question of obtaining a license for the club, first discussed as far back as 1906, was finally brought to a head and members now found it possible to obtain refreshments in the pavilion, even though the sparrows were still in the rafters. In 1921 there was even space in the local newspaper for the 3rd XI when they played Russell Athletic at Cheam. The scores for the match were as follows, Beddington 177 runs, Russell Athletic 151runs. For our opponents J Coucher scored 71 n.o. while Jack Latham, known to us all as “lightning” bowled very well, taking 5 wickets, on a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.
In 1922, a new captain had to be found to replace Mr C Potter-Irwin, who had decided to retire from cricket; he was replaced by a fine cricketer F O P Harrison who had given many excellent years of service to the club, not only as a player, but also in the capacity of honorary secretary. A successful season ended with 12 wins, 10 drawn games, and nine defeats, which again included several during the tour of South Devon, repeated again this year. This season R W Bulfield headed both the bowling and the batting averages while F O P Harrison followed very closely in the batting results. Don Adams joined this year and gave the club valuable service both on and off the field, his work was eventually rewarded by his appointment as a life member of the club.
Beddington who are under the leadership of the successful all-rounder F O P Harrison have increased their playing strength by the inclusion of H L Hancock a fine left hand opening bat, and Capt. M C Nicholson who has had a lot of experience of Indian Army Cricket, and as G M Reay is available, they ought to have a successful Season. In the opening game against Purley, Beddington declared at 139 for five, but the visitors managed to save the game at 85 for nine, Gilly Reay taking 6 wickets for 42 runs.
It was in this year that Gilly Reay finally retired from first class cricket. The fine work that he put in against such counties as Yorkshire, Lancashire, Middlesex, and Essex to mention only a few, along with Hitch and Fender, Gilly had been the mainstay of the Surrey bowling, and his services would be greatly missed. In addition to the county games Gilly had the distinction of playing for Gentle-men of England against the Australians and also for the MCC against the Australians. At the end of the season, H D Hayter left the Beddington Club and joined Sutton CC.
In 1923, 50 years after Beddington Cricket Ground had been completed, Thomas Bentham wrote a short history of the club. He wrote: “This cricket ground, laid by Southerton and provided with a beautiful pavilion, afterwards became an archery and lawn tennis ground, Mr Bridges generously allowing the club to have it rent free. Here many famous archery meetings took place from time to time and archers from all parts of the country resorted to it. To provide for village cricket, Canon Bridges had made a cricket ground adjacent to it, which has since become the Beddington cricket ground, and much excellent cricket has been played upon it. Its cricket week has been quite an event in recent years. Among other members who had played frequently were: T S Dury (an Oxford Blue), W A Winton (now church-warden), E Janson F Lingard the brothers Lindsay Rostron Goddard Henderson Jacomb Harrison Coles and the brothers Reay (one of whom still plays). All of these did useful work from time to time at the Beddington Ground. It may be mentioned that Mr John Henry Bridges, to the sorrow of the Beddington people, had now entirely severed all his connections with the parish by this time. The last Bridges property that John Henry disposed of before retirement was the cattle breeding farm at Horley, but still retained the Federates Estate in Aberdeenshire.”
Gilly Reay had returned to club cricket at Beddington under the captaincy of F O P Harrison who finished the season with14 wins, six defeats with eight drawn games and during the “week” the club had the satisfaction of winning the matches against Surrey Club and Ground and the President’s strong eleven. Gilly once again had a great season, taking exactly 100 wickets at the cost of 9.86 runs per wicket, and was well supported by Harrison, Bulfield, and Collins. Bulfield secured 8 wickets for 41 runs against Mitcham, and 7 wickets for 11 runs against Streatham. N Hancock, who had followed his brother H L Hancock, into the club, headed the batting averages of 25.6 runs scoring a total of 640 runs.
The latter has rejoined the club this season after a long absence, and again proved his ability as a utility player, who could keep wicket, and bowl well when called upon to do so. The Second XI under the captaincy of H Rapley defeated Spencer at Wandsworth by 42 runs, Ron Johnson then a young man taking 3 for 20. Harry Rapley skippered the second’s for ten years from 1919 and in 1928 was given the opportunity to skipper the Beddington 1st XI, in July W J Mallinson invited the Beddington 2nd XI to play at his new ground at the grange, Hackbridge, the game won by Beddington by 25 runs with J A Taylor scoring 93 runs for Beddington.
In July 1924, the 1st and 2nd XIs were beaten by Mitcham and the 1st Xl lost to Wanderers, all down to poor catching, from the bowling of Gilly Reay. Against Surrey Club and Ground Beddington won very easily by 130 runs. The outstanding feature of the match was the all-round performances of E Collins and Gilly Reay who besides batting splendidly for 60 to 54 runs respectively, both bowled finely. Collins taking 5 wickets for 28 and Reay taking 5 for 38, Reay hit three sixes in his innings, two of them being tremendous hits. Beddington totalled 221 runs, Surrey CG 91 runs. Roll of Merit for August went to H L Hancock 71 runs Beddington v Alleyn Old boys.
The club was now in possession of two grounds, and four elevens were turning out each week, a little crowded in the lesser thatched Pavilion. Results were on the same lines of 1924, but unfortunately Hammond the keeper had fallen victim to golf fever, made irregular appearances. Ian Mason then succeeded to that position and maintained a very high standard. Mason was a very jovial man and his substantial figure always caught the eye when he was behind the stumps, and his habit of having a piece of steak inside his inner gloves often caused a certain amount of distress in the dressing room after hot day in the field, however the dogs enjoyed it. The second XI under the ever popular captaincy of Harry Rapley, with T P Rothwell as vice-captain fully maintained the prestige of the club. Their stock bowler was B Johnson, an old pre-war member who kept up his medium pace deliveries all through the innings. He rarely failed to secure a bag of wickets and a bowler of his class was of great value to the second XI He did appear once or twice in the Beddington 1st XI.
Space must be made here for a reference to the groundsman because advancing years now compelled Mr Langman to relinquish that important post, which he combined with umpiring for the first XI’s home matches. He was in fact the first paid groundsman, appointed in 1890, holding the position for 34 years, a meritorious record, quite rightly recognised in suitable form by the club. After one or two successors, Mr Peter Coates was appointed in 1931, and the fact that at this date (1949) he is still the groundsman, is proof of the complete confidence held by the club in his services, now of a more arduous nature than the previous times.
The club started using the back pitch and four sides were turning out each week. A great loss to the Beddington Club was that of F O P Harrison who went abroad, he had captained the 1st XI from 1922 to 1924, and since his association with the club in 1908 he was one of the most prominent players, and probably played in more games than any other member, an excellent cricketer that the club could not afford to lose while still in his prime. June 13th 1925 Mitcham’s popular player F Boxall, made 63 runs against the bowling of R S Collins, Gilly Reay, and F O P Harrison of Beddington. Mitcham’s final total of 219 runs was due to the efficiency of Boxall and Hussey. Beddington who by the way are old rivals, were put out for 132 runs. It was a splendid victory for Mitcham, and their third consecutive win of the season. This year saw the retirement of Rev Hugh Hodgson as Rector of St. Mary’s, Beddington. He had captained the Beddington side from1894 to 1904. He still maintained his interest in the club until well into his seventies, when he arrived at the club on his motor bike as a spectator. This year heralded the end of the Bridges family connection with the cricket club when John Henry Bridges died at the age of 73 years, 12th Feb.1925 at Eastbourne, Sussex.
Gilly Reay who had taken over the captaincy in 1925 was again elected as captain. The club had lost their long serving Honorary Secretary and life member F O P Harrison. The few cricket records available for this season were against Mitcham who won by two runs, in a low scoring match, whereas the return match by Beddington was won by a similar margin of two runs (scores being 140 and 142). Another noteworthy result was in a match against Spencer, whose last wicket partnership realised just 100 runs. Beddington lost this match by 101 runs.
The second XI score book shows a total of nine wins, eleven defeats, and only two games drawn, with D Adams and R Johnson topping the bowling and the batting averages. Only one century being made in the year by T P Rothwell exactly one hundred against Ashstead, out of a total of 159. It was in this year that R E Johnson joined the club, as a youngster, his best innings being 83 runs, playing for the 2nd XI against Purley 2nd XI, he being another member who gave a long and splendid service to the club. The main event of 1926 must surely be the memorable Gymkhana, which had been an annual event from 1890, apart from the war years. The Gymkhana held on Whit Monday, coincided with the General Strike and the complete stoppage of all transport, coupled with brilliant weather, helped to attract a huge crowd which simply packed the Beddington ground.
On the 14th October 1926 Mr H W Seale a builder from Mitcham, purchased Beddington Park from Alexander Kay-Muir for the sum of £14,900, after holding the land for two months Mr Seale sold it on to the Beddington and Wallington Urban District Council for £21,000. (Alexander Kay-Muir, born in Lanark was a Co-Director of the Finlay’s Group of Company’s Glasgow, of which Payne’s Poppets, Waddon, were a parent company.) Mr Searle must have been delighted at his financial coup.
In 1927 Beddington Park, now owned by the council, was opened to the public for the first time. On the Beddington Cricket Ground, Gilly Reay was elected captain once again. This season the weather played a big part in the results being very changeable. The first XI draw the first game of the season against Westminster Bank, with Beddington scoring 170 runs in total and Westminster replying with 136 runs for 8 wickets. At Kenley the Beddington 2nd XI were too good for Kenley with R Johnson scoring 53runs, H B Worthington 32 runs, and P Rothwell 33runs in their total of 162 runs, in reply Kenley scored 69runs, with R Johnson taking 5 wickets for 10 runs. The following week Bank of England 2nd XI beat Beddington with plenty of runs in the bank. Bank of England 131 for 2, Beddington 112 all-out.
One of the most interesting cricket matches of the season took place in glorious weather when twelve player selected by Major Mallinson. President of the Beddington Club, where brought down and defeated the Beddington Club by 66 runs, due to the splendid bowling of C S Marriott (Kent) with 8 for 19, and A P Day (Kent) 3 for 17 runs. The match was watched by about a hundred people including the host Major Mallinson, the Rector of Beddington Rev O’Shea, and Robert Henderson, the old Surrey professional. The fielding on both sides was first rate; Beddington had half a dozen duck’s eggs in their innings of 41 runs. Dulwich had the better of a drawn game at Beddington, and the MCC beat Beddington in Cricket week. The 2nd Xl fared better this year with a win at Beddington against Mitcham, H A Holmes taking seven Mitcham wickets for twenty runs. Beddington 1st XI had their revenge at the Bank of England ground, scoring 145 for 8 (E Winter 60). In reply Bank of England scored 133 (Bulfield 4 for 19).
Cricketers’ Gloom. Rain “washes out” many matches. Is the summer of 1928 going to be as dismal a failure as its predecessor? The first week in May nearly all local matches were “washed out” or had to be abandoned. In the summer season at Beddington Park Lawn Tennis Club, President W J Mallinson commenced the year with lessons from professional Coach (Surrey L T A) H P Gaskell. A century was scored for Beddington CC by G T Harrison in Beddington’s win against the Old Whitgiftians, with Ron Johnson 3 wickets for 36 runs and D Adams 3 wickets for 31 runs again sharing the spoils. The return game at Beddington was won by Beddington 187 runs (G M Reay 76). Old Whitgiftians 92 runs (G M Reay 5 for 37).
The Cricket Week was also a victim of the inclement weather. Harry Rapley who had skippered the 2nd XI from 1919 – 1928 was chosen to lead the 1st XI this season. In the first week of June, three Beddington sides turned out against Streatham. The Beddington 1st XI had the better part of a drawn game at Frant Road, Thornton Heath, while the 2nd XI had a very good win on home soil. The Streatham 3rd Xl playing Beddington 3rd XI could only raise 89 runs, while Beddington after losing three wickets for no runs, eventually made a winning score of 106 runs with (Fuller 63 n.o.).
Harry Rapley stood once again as captain of the 1st XI. He carried on his duties in the same efficient and happy manner and the season finished with 13 wins, 12 defeats and 5 drawn games. Batting honours were fairly evenly divided with R E Johnson leading, followed by L W Gaite, P F Winter, D Birkett, Gilly Reay and F A Wright, the bowling was mainly handled by G Reay and Don Adams. A match that calls for special comment was at Beckenham against Cyphers, when Beddington declared at 249 for seven wickets. The score book shows that Cyphers were given the same time as was taken by Beddington, to get the runs, and they made a spirited reply. When the last over came to be bowled, they had scored 248 runs, also for seven wickets, only two runs required for victory. Gilly Reay bowled that over, and I recollect him saying in passing that he was going to do his best to stop those runs. They were not the exact words that he used, but conveyed his intentions. he bowled so accurately that only from the last over of the day, was a single scored, thus bringing the scores level. There were shouts from the spectators to “go on”, but this was dismissed. At this stage of our history there were no league points, medals, or other rewards, and the game is the thing, therefore, a draw was a more fitting result than a gift victory to one side or the other.