The History of Abberton & District Cricket Club

Abberton & District Cricket Club Meet the CricketersAlthough the club was officially founded in 1947, many games were played under the Abberton banner in earlier years in Fingringhoe. In those days, cattle had to be moved elsewhere to allow the games to take place. It was on Sunday 23rd July 1947, at about 12.45p.m., in the Langinghoe Lion public house that the club was formed. Present were Colin Tippetts, Jimmy Telford, Peter Russell-Walker and the landlord, Bert Amos. Colin was made chairman, Bert was patron, Peter became the first captain and Jimmy, in effect, was secretary. The following week, the first game took place against West Mersea. Dick Butcher and Joe Wentlock opened the bowling, whilst Jack Butcher kept wicket. As the storey goes, Dick Butcher complained to Peter Russell-Walker that he could not see the third man. He was eventually located in the long grass fast asleep. This due to an over-indulgence at lunch-time. Nothing Changes!

Ron Whitfield & Edgar Rumney snr step out to open the batting at Abberton & District Cricket Club's first ever home fixture After securing victory against West Mersea, the club's first home fixture took place the following weekend, in a field near the Fingringhoe Post Office. The pavilion and changing rooms comprised a scrounged War Department tent. The first ball of the game was bowled to Bert Amos and he duly dispatched this to the boundary, using a 12 inch wide bat. The need for a more permanent home became apparent, and local farmer (and the clubs first president) L.G. Evans provided this, initially on a lease hold agreement. The club patronage was taken over by J. Taylor & Sons, the agricultural engineers whose workshops bordered the ground until recent years, whereupon it was taken over by housing developments. In the early years, the Taylors, along with the Butcher family, made up most of the teams.

Abberton & District Cricket Club Old Pavillion Originally, the club played friendlies against other local sides such as Tollesbury and West Mersea, enjoying a reasonable amount of success. However, it was in the late 1960's that the side developed into a serious force. With the advent of the Haig National Village Championship (it's latest sponsor now being Davidstow) competitive cricket came to the area and this saw the club go from strength to strength, both on and off the field. In the inaugural year of this competition, Abberton were crowned Essex Village Champions but succumbed in the last 32 of the competition to the Bedfordshire side Blunham. To supplement this, the club appeared in the next three area semi-finals, and again became Essex champions in 1978 and 1984 and were Group Winners in 1992, 1993 and 1994. Its greatest effort in the competition came in 1992 when the club reached the last 16 in the country, the initial entry being over 1000 clubs. In 1976, the club, and particular, Tony Patmore, was instrumental in setting up the local Green King League (now known as the North Essex Cricket League) and became founder members. In those days, the league comprised eight teams, but it has now blossomed into a body of 40 member clubs with 45 teams in 5 divisions. The club remained in the first division until 1996, winning the championship on no fewer than 9 occasions.

Abberton & District Cricket Club History With the aid of a small interest-free loan from Greene King, a bar was added to the old pavilion in 1974. The proceeds from this, along with income from the various successful social functions allowed the club to improve its facilities. Phase One of the redevelopment during the 1979-1980 close season saw completely new changing rooms and toilets built at a cost of £14,000. Apart from a £4,000 loan from a local farmer and grants of £850 from the Sports Council and £850 from Colchester Borough Council, all costs were met by club funds. Phase Two of the redevelopment took place between the 1981 and 1982 seasons at a cost of £18,000. This saw the club demolish the old pavilion and build a new social area and bar onto the new changing facilities. These facilities along with a picturesque ground and excellent cricket table are the envy of most clubs in the area. Although the latest building works were financed in the main by a bank loan, the club can proudly say that all debts are now cleared, thanks to prudent financial controls.

The Colts, Abberton & District Cricket Club In the 1979 season saw the formation of a second eleven, which after a couple of years joined the newly-formed reserve division of the Lancaster Garages League (North Essex Cricket League). High spots for this side have been representing the club in the Essex Village Championship final in 1984 and returning from the county ground with the trophy, winning the Lancaster Garages Reserve Division in 1983 and the Lancaster Knock-out Plate in 1985. In 1983, the club joined the Two Counties League and won promotion to the first division at the first attempt. After relegation in 1988, the club regained its top spot in 1994, winning the second division championship. In 1996, saw the club relegated back to division two. A third eleven was formed in 1993 and joined Division Six of the Lancaster Garages League. This was primarily aimed at introducing the colts to senior cricket, and it is the colts cricket that has been a major part of the club's commitment over recent years. Indeed, several colts have developed into regular members of the first eleven squad. In 1995 to further enhance the opportunities for younger members, the club entered both the Colchester Midweek League and the Royal London Indoor League (Now the Colchester Indoor Cricket League), under the guise of Abberton Lions. It was in 1985 when the senior side first entered the indoor league, winning both the league and without losing a game. Since the arrival of competitive, league cricket standards have shot up and the playing strength, in turn has increased from 15 members to in excess of 50. The days of playing no more than 20 games a season are long gone, and the first eleven now takes on 50 games, the second eleven 40 and the third eleven 20. The colts themselves now boast a fixture list of about a dozen matches.

Champions, but back to earth at Blunham

Abberton vs Havering-atte-Bower 1978 In the inaugural year of the National Village Championship (at that stage called the Haig Trophy) Abberton were crowned as Essex Village Champions but succumbed in the last 32 of the competition to the Bedfordshire side Blunham.
Having overpowered Little Bardfield in the first round (a match reduced to 30 overs due to the weather) by a margin of 69 runs, Little Waltham proved much sterner opposition. Ken Brush struck 42, after Abberton had recovered from 14 for 3, but once the diminutive wicket-keeper departed, the innings fell apart and at 81 for 4 became 96 all out. In turn, the home side had a collapse of their own, at one stage being 48 for 6 before Freddie and Cyril Taylor wrapped up proceedings with 3 wickets each, the winning margin a mere eight runs.
Another rain-affected fixture at home of Havering-atte-Bower saw Cyril Taylor produce some explosive hitting, taking 24 from one over, and eventually reaching 52 not out, including three sixes. The clubs total of 142 was never in danger, and Edgar Rumney finished the innings with 4 for 30. Abberton met Tillingham in the Essex final, played at the county ground, and overcame them convincingly by 67 runs. Ken Brush was once again in inspired form, hitting 60, including 6 fours and a six, and with Mick Loughton and Edgar Rumney both contributing 38, the 191 total was way beyond Tillingham's grasp. Their reply closed on 124 for 6, Cyril Taylor taking 2 for 29, and Ken Goody producing a remarkable reflex, diving, juggling catch at silly mid on which helped take the side through to the next phase where it would meet its eventual conqueror.
Along with alien territory came the understandable nerves, and at 22 for 6 it was clear this was no easy ride. John Ward and Edgar Rumney put together the only partnership of note, the pair accumulating 40 before the innings collapsed in tatters. Ken Goody, with two sharp catches at short leg, put both openers back into the pavilion with only one on the board and Abberton's progress was given fresh hope, after the bowling efforts of John Ward and Freddie and Cyril Taylor had the home side reeling on 39-6. Sensible batting, however, saw Blunham through, and a successful, though ultimately disappointing campaign had come to a close. The scorecard can be viewed below.

Innings of Abberton
Name How Out Bowler Score
Brush ct D. Lawson b M. Ransom 5
Patmore ct P. Ransom b M. Ransom 3
Rumney ct Ashwell b M. Ransom 23
Loughton ct P. Ransom b Fordham 0
C. Taylor ct M. Ransom b Fordham 0
MacDonald ct Thompson b Fordham 1
Hoggarth ct M. Ransom b Fordham 1
Ward b Watson 25
Stephens Not Out 4
F. Taylor ct Tester b M. Ransom 0
Goody ct P. Ransom b Watson 0
Extras 4
Total All Out 66
Bowling: M. Ransom 4-11, Fordham 4-8, Watson 2-11
Innings of Blunham
Name How Out Bowler Score
P. Ransom ct Goody b F. Taylor 1
Thompson ct Goody b Ward 0
Fordham lbw b C. Taylor 16
Lawson ct Brush b F. Taylor 8
Ashwell ct MacDonald b Ward 10
Rawlins Not Out 10
Tester ct F. Taylor b C. Taylor 0
Watson Not Out 16
M. Ranson
Extras 0
Total for 6 wickets 67
Bowling: F. Taylor 2-12, C. Taylor 2-20, Ward 2-12

Early Stars at the Brow.

Abberton & District Cricket Club A quick delve through the archives of the club unearthed the earliest fixture, with records still available, as being the match between Abberton and Ray Smith?s XI. Smith, one of the Essex stars of the era, took time off from playing against Lancashire in the County Championship at Colchester, to bring an exhibition side to the ground. Ostensibly an Essex XI, the visitors included in their ranks Geoff Lomax of Lancashire and Peter Russell-Walker, one of Abberton?s founder members. For their part, Abberton boasted players from seven different clubs within the local area. Although the final result of the match has been lost in the wind, some individual performances are to hand. Ray Smith himself contributed just one run, whilst Crabtree made 26. Tom Pearce (later to put two sides of his own to take on various touring teams) hit 24, whilst the Lancastrian Lomax top-scored with 45. The villagers were indebted to Jack Butcher who took 3 wickets and Blake of Frinton, who did likewise.
In reply Abberton?s top-scorer was Butcher of Clacton matching Lomax?s 45 with Kettle of Eight Ash Green scoring 20. Although play was destined to be between 12.00 noon and 7 p.m., cricket seemingly played second fiddle to catering on the day, as there were extended breaks for both lunch and tea. The programme cost a paltry 3d, and the teams that day were.


  • W. Dixon (Abberton)
  • M. R. Butcher (Clacton)
  • L. Kemp (Abberton)
  • T. Lockhart (Paxmans)
  • J. Butcher (Abberton)
  • V. Blake (Frinton)
  • D. Kettle (Eight Ash Green)
  • G. Dawson (West Mersea)
  • F. Taylor (Abberton)
  • F. Evans (Colchester)
  • C. Tippetts (Abberton)

Ray Smith's XI

  • T. C. Dodds
  • H.P. Crabtree
  • G. Lomax (Lancashire)
  • T.N. Pearce
  • F. G.Unwin
  • R. Smith
  • P. Smith
  • F. Vigar
  • W. Dines
  • R. Horsfall
  • P. Russell-Walker (Abberton)

Abberton Vs England

Abberton vs England Ladies 1988 On not many occasions can an amateur sportsman state that he has been in direct opposition with the players who have earned the right to represent their country. One such opportunity became possible when England Ladies visited the ground to show off their quite obvious talents (the cricketing ones, in case the lurid of you were wondering).
Abberton v England has a ring to it. Granted it was the England Ladies and not their male counterparts, and okay, they only had eight players, but even so it will be hard to part with our memories. Three of our colts at that time, Clive Earley, Nathan Peachey, and Andrew Ward, found themselves not only making up the numbers but also their full England Debuts into the bargain!
An opening partnership of 45 between Simon Swinn and John Dixey gave Abberton and early superiority, a state that was never really surrendered. Indeed the only advantage the Ladies gained throughout the day was first use of the showers. Cathy Mowat produced the Ladies best figures, her 3 for 70 coming from 16 overs of medium pace, but with steady, and at times carefree, runs coming from each of the home side's batsmen, an early declaration was possible.
The target looked out of the reach when the Ladies reply stuttered to 22 for 3, courtesy of fine opening spells by both Bob Lille and John Ward, but a 57 run partnership between Sarah Plimmer and Lisa Nye put the innings back on course. However, the middle and late order seemed somewhat bewildered by the spin twins, Mick Mussett and Kevin Felton. The real lady killer, however, proved to be Barry Rudlin, whose 3 wickets were so convincing that the innings faltered to a close with four of the allotted last 20 overs remaining.
So a fun, yet competitive encounter came to its conclusion with the club having gained its first major giant-killing scalp. But in true game-show style, the losers didn't leave empty-handed, a cheque for £500 being presented to the Ladies after the game to go towards their forthcoming Australian winter tour.

12th June 1988

Innings of Abberton
Name How Out Bowler Score
Swinn run out 38
Dixey ct Powell b Plimmer 27
De'ath b Mowat 17
Ward ct Earley b Mowat 30
Dyson ct Peachey b Lipton 23
Sherwood run out 21
Rudlin ct Earley b Mowat 11
Brown Not Out 8
Mussett Not Out 1
Extras 8
Total for 7 declared 184
Bowling: Mowat 3-70, Plimmer 1-46, Lipton 1-20
Innings of England Ladies
Name How Out Bowler Score
Lipton b Lille 10
Barr b Ward 0
Powell b Ward 2
Plimmer ct Rudlin b Felton 33
Nye run out 26
Earley ct Ward b Mussett 3
Peachey b Rudlin 4
Ward ct & b b Felton 1
Mowat ct & b b Rudlin 11
Stinson st Brown b Rudlin 11
Barrs Not Out 0
Extras 14
Total all out 115
Bowling: F. Taylor 2-12, C. Taylor 2-20, Ward 2-12