100 not out! Cricket club celebrates
Marcus Trescothick and his father Martyn on Testimonial Day in 2008
KEYNSHAM Cricket Club - one of the town’s most successful and thriving sports organisations – celebrates its centenary this year.
Early records of cricket in Keynsham are obscure, but the club in its current form was established in 1920.
At first there was no permanent ground, but following work by an enterprising committee led by the chairman, Frank Taylor, the Wellsway site was bought in 1927 for £1,500.
The mortgage was guaranteed by the trustees, who included the local GP, Dr Claude Harrison.
A generous - if sometimes eccentric - man, Dr Harrison later took over the mortgage and wrote it off on the declaration of war in 1939.
Despite there being no secondary school in Keynsham until Broadlands was opened in the 1930s, there were sufficient numbers of cricket-playing men and boys in the area to support two separate clubs: Keynsham CC and Keynsham Amateurs CC.
Over the early years, a healthy rivalry developed between them but, eventually, they merged.
Although the Keynsham CC played good cricket in the inter-war years, it was not at the same level as some other local clubs, such as Lansdown.
Consequently, young players hoping to get close to county standard were obliged to transfer.
A further barrier to recruitment was the residency rule, not rescinded until 1957, which denied membership to players who did not live locally.
Unlike during the First World War, cricket continued at a modest level during the Second World War, although the facilities were shared in the summer with various cricketing regiments, numerous military parades and in the winter with sheep!
The privations of wartime rationing did not permit refreshments beyond cups of tea. In 1946 the return of servicemen enabled two teams to be fielded.
In front of large numbers of spectators, with no real alternative entertainment, the first eleven performed increasingly well against the very opponents that had formerly been too powerful.
The wartime spirit of “can do” improvisation was still in evidence as members worked hard to improve the facilities.
The large ex-army hut that stood on the site of the previous pavilion was bought for £150 and the sightscreens were constructed from surplus war materials.
The successes of teams and outstanding performers from the 1950s onwards are too numerous to record in detail here, though winning the Western League title in 1979 and the Premier League in 2002 were notable achievements.
A number of significant players have been produced over the years, the best-known being Marcus Trescothick, a record-breaking England international.
Off the pitch, the old wooden pavilion was replaced by the present clubhouse and officially opened by the then Wansdyke MP, Jack Aspinwall, in the summer of 1990.
In recent times, this has undergone refurbishment and, as well as being the centre of the club’s social life, is now shared by Keynsham Hockey Club.
To celebrate the centenary, the club will be staging a number of events on top of its normal fixtures.
President Derek Joyce said: “This is a landmark in the life of the club and we would like to see as many past players and supporters as possible join us in our programme of special events.”
As part of the celebrations, a pavilion “naming ceremony” is due to take place on May 2, the scheduled start of the season, to honour the Trescothick family name, and everyone is welcome to attend.
l Keynsham Memories: Page 11