Club History

In the beginning

The inaugural meeting of the new Cricket Club to be run from the Crown Hotel, Rayleigh was held at 7.30 p.m. on Friday the 12th October 1951

That is the first statement in the history of the club, a meeting attended by eleven people (a whole team), comprising Messrs. N. Phillips, A. Gaze, R. Kirk, A. Brackley, N. Floyd, D. Williams, A. Lines, R. Raven, G. Sills, C. Noakes and N. How.

Mr N. Floyd was elected Chairman for the meeting, called because at the A.G.M. of the Crown Social and Sports Club in September it had been agreed that the club should terminate. A cricket club and a darts club would operate independently from the Crown Hotel, Rayleigh. The new club would be called:

RAYLEIGH CROWN CRICKET CLUB

The first officers were:

Chairman
Mr. F. Brackley
Hon. Secretary
Mr. N. How
Hon. Treasurer
Mr. F. Webb
Captain
Mr. G. Phillips
Vice Captain
Mr. N. How
Hon. Catering Manager
Mr. C. Noakes

Subsequently, before the season of 1952 started, Mr. Phillips declined the captaincy, Mr. N. How becoming captain and Mr. N. Floyd vice captain.

Annual subscription was Two Guineas with 50% payable by 1st February 1952 and the balance by 1st July 1952.

The clubs first home was Fairview Playing Fields, Rayleigh. It was to be the first of many down the years including Chalkwell Park, Blenheim Park, Shoebury Garrison and the present home at Alleyn Court/Eton House.

1952 proved to be a busy season, twenty-two matches being played, of which 12 were won, 6 lost, 2 drawn and 2 lost to rain.

At the A.G.M on 10th November 1952 at the Smack Inn, Leigh-on-Sea, it was decided to change the name of the club to:

MOUNT CRICKET CLUB (RAYLEIGH)

1954 saw the first President's Match, an event still very popular and an occasion which should be the "excuse" to meet old players and friends.

The following years found the club gaining in strength, evidenced by the fact that two teams were proposed for the 1956 season, a move that never materialised.

1970 was the year Mount Cricket Club became Mount Cricket Club as Rayleigh was dropped from the title. As if to celebrate this, the club reached the final of the local evening Knock-out cup in both 1970 and 1971, but typically lost both finals!

On the field

Top of the batting averages in 1952 was a man who has given wonderful service to the club, at times being Hon. Secretary, President and, for a period of 28 years, Hon Treasurer - Mike Taylor. He averaged 28, scoring 496 runs.

Also appearing in the averages was Ernie Coe, who over many years bowled many overs, and took many wickets.

During the 1953 season Jack Slater scored the first century for the club - 101 against Stanford-Le-Hope. Strangely there is no evidence of another century until 1966, when Anthony Norman and Maurice Smith broke the sequence, and thereafter hundreds were to become more commonplace. Anthony Norman scored another in 1969, David Dixon got one in 1970, and as the years have gone by many others have scored centuries, indeed, to jump a few years, in 1999 Richard Green scored four centuries himself, a club record and a magnificent performance.

In 1956 against St. Johns, Bill Browning took 9 wickets against St. Johns, a feat only equalled twice, by Ken White and David Thomas, but never beaten.

Season 1964 saw another first; M. Smith topped both the batting and bowling averages, 491 runs at 40 and 22 wickets at 10.30.

In the early years results were up and down, but some players shone. As a batsman, the one of the first stars appears to be Jack Slater, who topped the averages in five of the first seven years, as well as scoring the first century for the club. Runs were not so plentiful as nowadays, so to average late twenties over these years is some feat. He also shared the wicket-keeping duties with Norman Floyd, in one year, 1956, making twelve stumpings alone, which must be a club record. Mike Taylor also scored regularly and topped the batting averages several times.

Bowling wins matches, regardless of what the batsman says, and it appears that in the early years Mount had some good bowlers. Norman How took a lot of wickets as this list illustrates:

1952
63 wickets at 8.11 apiece
1953
63 wickets at 13.40 apiece
1954
72 wickets at 10.90 apiece
1955
52 wickets at 13.80 apiece
1956
49 wickets at 10.63 apiece
1957
32 wickets at 12.80 apiece

Ernie Coe also shone taking wickets by the bucketful:

1952
44 wickets at 10.75 apiece
1953
48 wickets at 13.70 apiece
1954
22 wickets at 18.00 apiece
1955
24 wickets at 20.00 apiece
1957
37 wickets at 10.10 apiece
1958
35 wickets at 9.85 apiece
1959
38 wickets at 21.80 apiece
1961
52 wickets at 12.70 apiece

These two were the main wicket takers early on, and in support Bill Browning had some enviable figures: in 1952 26 wickets at 6.61 (yes 6.61!!)

As the years passed, new names appeared and figured prominently in the averages. Barry Barrett topped the batting for three years, 1961 to 1963, then moved away, Maurice Smith, featured in both batting and bowling for many years, one year (1964) topping both scoring 491 runs at 40 and taking 22 wickets at 10 each, a very good years work.

Incidentally, 1965 was the first season for another long serving member, "fast" bowler David Thomas, who has hung, swung and dipped with the best for many years, sometimes on the field as well! What an appealing character.

In conclusion

The seasons have been as varied as the weather, wet, windy, hot and sweaty, and like the weather, unpredictable. As always with a club of over fifty years standing, there have been many impressive individuals, either as player, administrator, both and of course there have been many good supporters, whether they be wife/girlfriend/mistress/lover/friend.

The club have had some good seasons and some bad seasons and some indifferent, if judged on results alone. Indeed, any club of some years standing would find this quite usual, but results are not everything, especially with "The Mount". There has always been a sense of fun playing for the club, a fact that is most important and long may that continue. Whilst bearing this in mind there have been some good cricketers, and characters, in the club throughout the years.

In addition to those already mentioned and in no particular order, here are some who have enriched the club:

Bill Davenport, J.R. Rudd, Fred Brackley, Jack Bartlam, Messrs D and I Dixon, Jos Norman, David Skinner, Ken Boddie, Peter Wagstaff, Robyn Hume, Stewart Orrock, Vas Godbole, Nick Clough, Roger Clarke, Michael Jackson, Simon Jackson, Nigel Weller, William Murphy, William Wilcox, Les Stuart, Malcolm Wallace, Jack Tabor, Terence Hair, David Flack, Nigel Havens, Michael Todman, Stephen Marriner, Phil Anderson, David Hewitt, Rodney Montigue, Rodney Jones, Ed Jones, Neville Carr, Richard Hair, Richard Thomson, Richard Postlethwaite, Paul Hart, Clarissa Clement, Adam Birch…

The list is almost endless, and apologies to any and all that have not been mentioned. These and others have all played their part in making Mount Cricket Club the institution it is, loved and feared by many a club from east to west!!!

Apart from the players and officials, no club would survive without the national institution, "The Tea Lady" and Mount has been well served by a long list of these, "other halves" who have sat through many a long hour of boredom for their loved ones to enjoy a cup of tea and some sarnies. They deserve a big thank you, but rarely get any thanks at all. Here and now we salute all the tea ladies/scorers/supporters.

Whatever the venue, whatever the weather, Mount has survived to bat on for the next half century.

© David Hewitt