A few weeks ago, the young David Evans started exploring the history of Walsall Wood Cricket Club here on the Brownhills Blog, following some great contributions by Julie Le-Moine. Steadily, we’re building up a good record of the lost cricket club, which stood where Boundary Close is now, behind St. John’s Church and the Library (then, the Co-op).
In the course of his research, David has turned up some photos and news clippings which allow an insight in the clubs progress over the years, and hopefully may jog a few memories.
David had this to say:
Here’s a couple of news clippings and some photographs which have been kindly donated for use on the blog by the Crutchley family of Walsall Wood.
I would like to extend my personal thanks and gratitude to the Crutchley family, especially to Linda, Cynthia and Alan who have welcomed me in to their home and have generously offered this wonderful insight in to the history of the Walsall Wood Cricket Club.
I understand that the club closed in the 1990s . The sweet sound of leather on willow became a distant but glorious and abiding memory for all those who had enjoyed watching and playing spectating a quintessential English game.
I echo David’s gratitude, of course, and also thank him for his hard work. We’re interested to see if any of the people here can be identified, and what memories people have of the club – lots of people seem to remember Walsall Wood Football Club – not so many the Cricket.
Likewise, sporting memories of Brownhills clubs and teams also welcome – Brownhills Town FC and Brownhills Cricket Club have barely had a mention here in five years. Let’s see if we can correct that.
Please comment on this post, or mail me at BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.
Cricket booming at Walsall Wood, 1947
Purchase Of Ground Is Club’s Biggest Venture
Walsall Wood cricket club could become one of the leading clubs in the district, Mr. Frank Beasley told 50 members at the annual supper on Thursday last. The decision to purchase the club’s ground was, he said, the biggest venture the members had ever undetaken, and in appealing to Walsall Wood people for their full support, he added, ‘We want them not only as members, but also to come to sit in the pavillion and watch the game.’ A cricket club was as much a part of village life as the church [or] the women’s institute. The Walsall Wood club now had the best fixture list in its history, and it was up to Walsall Wood people to give the club the support it needed.
Councillor J. D. Holland said the village would be ‘a very naked place’ without the cricket club. The decision to buy the pitch was a step in the right direction, and there were outside bodies who were willing to give financial help once the club had proved to their satisfaction that it had a good case.
The Brownhills Council might sometimes appear to resemble a sports ground, even if the members did not always ‘play cricket.’ The Council was, however, always glad to do everything possible to encourage sport in the district, and the help which had been given to clubs in Norton Canes and Shelfield could be extended to the Walsall Wood club if it were required.
It is understood that an appeal for funds to buy the ground has realised more than £70 since it was opened in November. The total cost of the ground and pavillion is about £350.
Walsall Wood cricket club’s new pavilion
Tonight (Friday) sees the opening of Walsall Wood Cricket Club’s new pavilion with a get-together of present and former players in what the club are earnestly hoping will open up a new era for the club. For so long one of the unfashionable clubs in the area, the crunch came towards the end of last season when it became painfully obvious that their restricted shed of a changing room would not survive another winter. But, if the club lacked amenities, they did not lack spirit or endeavour, and a committee, called the pavilion project committee, under the chairmanship of the former skipper and now second team skipper, Alan Collins, was formed.
Grants were obtained from the Ministry for the Environment, the Lords Taverners, the national Playing Fields Association. More help for the bar was obtained from Watney Mann and the club’s own building fund swung into action.
But what money the club obtained it was obvious it would fall short of the target unless voluntary help was obtained. This is where the spirit of the club began to really emerge and wherever possible, members got time off from work with one or another appearing at odd times to give what assistance they could.
Weekends of course were the really big working occasion, with even the club president Len Bailey lending a hand with the most menial of tasks.
Even this might have been of little help if Alan Collins, together with the professional help of Charlie Shakespeare had not shown some acute business sense coupled with selective purchasing.
Gradually the pavilion took place, and tonight will see the culmination of their efforts, which has resulted in a building , which has cost the club only £6000 but which has already been valued at £11,000.
Although highly proud of the club’s efforts, Alan Collins was quick to give credit to all those who had put in so much effort on the club’s behalf and to erect this, a symbol of the Walsall Wood cricket to come.