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    Beaminster Cricket Club

    It has been generally accepted that BCC came into being in 1855 mainly because The Bridport & Lyme Regis newspaper first publication in that year carried a report of a Beaminster CC match. The Club’s 150th celebration was held in 2005 which reinforced the above fact but there are a number of accounts of cricket being playing as far back as the 1830s. One being a notice of a race horse meeting held on the old cricket ground called long ground at Langdon in the early part of the century. In recent memory, Long Ground was sited alongside The Trinity Church and was the pre second world war home of The Beaminster Football Club...was there two Long Grounds ?

    The Memoirs of Rev Alfred Codd who was vicar of St Marys Beaminster in 1857-1890 were written up and added to by his son Alfred Percy Codd circa 1929 recorded that "cricket matches of a kind were played on and off from 1853 up to 1866, but it was not until J.L.Kitson got a proper pitch laid and a small pavilion built in a field off the Tunnel road in 1869 that a regular club was formed to be continued ever since."

    At the end of the First World War BCC moved with its pavilion to the Parnham Estate and the old field was kept up privately by Major Pinney of Horn Park. The Pinney family were great supports of the Beaminster Cricket Club. The Dorset Cricket Club and The Dorset Ranger CC a sometimes nomadic club, the family had plans draw up for a new pavilion on the old field which never came to fruition and over time the field was abandoned.

    At the end of World War One an offer was made to the town from the owners of The Parnham estate regarding a plot of land in mill ground to be used as a playing field for sport and recreation. However money raised at that time was spent on establishing memorials in St Marys Church and the gun plinth in the square leaving little money to fence off the gifted plot so the offer was turned down. It took another war and 32 years to establish The Memorial Playing Field.

    Circa 1950 the club with its pavilion moved from Parnham onto The Memorial Playing Field. The pavilion being placed on the western edge of the boundary complete with flag pole and white picket fence. Since then the pavilion has been replaced by two further pavilions.

    As to the Characters who bowled the ball and carried the bat, there are too many to mention but their exploits can be found in local newspaper archives. A number of score books along with photographs and minute books can be found in the Beaminster Museum and are available for research.

    The Beaminster Cricket Club is the oldest cricket club in West Dorset, records show it was formed prior to 1855. The oldest score-book in the Clubs possession dates back to 1899, and this magnificent book was used when the Club celebrated its centenary with a cricket week in 1955. It was during this cricket week that the Clubs President, Mr Bernard C Dupont, first brought a team to play the Club, the Presidents match has now become an annual occasion, the highlight of the season at Beaminster.

    Among the most notable of Beaminsters cricketers is Lt.-Col. GA Pinney, now President of the Dorset County Cricket Club and Chairman of the Beaminster CC, with which he has been associated all his life. Colonel Pinney played for Beaminster as long ago as 1901 and continued to do so up t the outbreak of the 1939-45 war. A stylish batsman and useful spin bowler, he played on a number of occasions for the MCC, and was a member of the County XI after the 1914-18 war. But perhaps his proudest moment was in 1938 when he led Beaminster to victory in the Dorset Junior Cup. In those days the Colonel led a team which included such well-known local players as Arthur Cox, George Hunt, Fred Lumbard, Teddy Bullivant, George Perry, Jack Cleal, Les Perkins, Doug Perkins, Arthur Mason and Len Marsh.

    Every year since 1956 Mr Dupont has presented a bat to one of the Beaminster players. The first recipient was Graham Moores, a sound batsman and splendid pace bowler. Other bat-winners have been skipper Brian Newbery, a stylish batsman who has played for Dorset 2nd XI (1957), 41 year old vice-captain Len Marsh, free-scoring batsman and off break bowler (1958), wicket-keeper batsman Ralph Bugler, a prolific scorer in his time (1959), and 21 year old six hitting, fast bowler Tony Hunt (1960). But there are several grand cricketers still to win the Presidents bat. There are those well-tried pace bowlers, Bill Davies (41) and Roger Bailey (38), who in the first ten years after the war formed one of the best Club opening attacks in Dorset; long-serving former opening batsman John Bailey, who has just resigned, after ten years as Secretary; attractive batsman Derek Lipington; quick-scoring, seam bowler Bob Andrews; hard-hitting Ron Colborne, and talented young opening batsman, 20 year old Maurice Hannam and 21 year old Graham Roper.

    Among the Clubs most faithful servants are Bill Stiby, a former player, who is now Umpire and Committee member; Philip Barrett, who has been Treasurer for more than 35 years; Umpire Vic Dawe; scorer Ern Cleal; and 2nd XI players Norman Welsford, Jack Taylor, Doug Bletchley and Phil Spencer.

    The most famous cricketer ever to play for Beaminster was 32 year old Cuan McCarthy, the former South African fast bowler, who was once ranked with Australias Ray Lindwall as the fastest bowler in the world. He was with the Club in 1956.

    Another great player was the late Brig. JAE Hirst, whose glorious batmanship brought sparkle to the years from 1947 until 1956 when he retired through ill-health. In seasons 1952, 193 and 1954, Devon tours were made, with headquarters at Paignton.

    Since 1950 the Club have played at the Memorial Playing Field, one of the most picturesque grounds in the county and the scene od a Dorset 2nd XI versus West Dorset match every year since 1956. The Club runs two teams and play on Saturdays and Sundays.

    Jerry Richards, Broadstone CC

    © Beaminster Cricket Club 2018