Welney Croft Cricket Club

The day the club played a 1st Class County side


Not many humble village cricket teams can boast of playing a first-class County team.

 But Welney not only played, but hosted, such a match, on Welney's own verdant Playing Field with its picturesque Pavilion.

Was it a fairy-tale ending, did David beat Goliath?

Read on .........!


The following is abridged from an article in the 'Welney News' issue 27. (Author anon, but in the inimitable style of DL - thanks Dirk)

"I must admit that I am no great cricketing fan, but the thought of a few hours relief from gardening and the lure of a beer tent plus fish and chip van were just too good to miss. To stretch out on Welney's finest patch of green under what promised to be blue skies and sun, seemed to be a treat.

And, by the way, there was also a cricket match of some repute to gaze upon. The £5.00 entry fee included a free raffle ticket and donation towards Jack Birkenshaw's Benefit Season (Jack being an ex Yorkshire, Worcestershire and Leicestershire player, coach for Somerset and now coach for Leics).

The Leics team boasted three former England players: Devon Malcolm, Jack Birkenshaw and Vince Wells. After a photo call the Welney Eleven (including three guest players) took to the field and Leics opened the batting applauded by a somewhat sparse crowd (but reported to be 200). The Welney bowlers must have decided to be gentle with the batters as balls flew every where, courtesy of Vince Wells. Two or three times over the hedge going Marifa Lodge way, then our turn came to take cover as they whistled overhead zapping Nursery House garden and one eventually plonked into their fish pond (fresh supplies for the fish van?). Lucky escape for the conservatory! A thought came to mind that Leics wanted the spectators to join in - I bet it's not like this when watching Pat Rix's carpet bowls in the pavilion.

Leics declared when the score got into the two hundreds and all went into tea, which meant that I could have a refill from the beer tent and see what's happening at the fish van. Now you may think that fish and chips are a favourite of mine, which may well be true. However, back to the cricket.

Resumption of play saw Devon Malcolm attempting to intimidate our lads, but the true Fen spirit came into being and after a few overs of bowling he gave up. Somehow I didn't feel as though I needed to be ready to duck and dive for cover, fearful of sixes whizzing overhead. Gary Nicholls scored 28 with the Lamb and Flag's Dennis (that will be a good portion of chips for me Dennis next time I'm in for a meal) scoring 20. In the main the lads made a good show bringing their final score into the eighties.

Thank you for an enjoyable afternoon Welney Croft Cricket Club."


The Welney Croft team, 19th May 2002 versus Leicestershire CCC.

 back row, l to r: Richard Carter, James Lofts, Jon Dale, J. Dye (guest), Dennis Birch, Stuart Singleterry.

 front row, l to r: Peter Scott, Richard Rowlett, John Loveday (Capt), J. Jackson (guest), Gary Nicholls (guest)






The players and officials at the pre-match photo call.

(Apologies for poor quality of this and some of the other photos)

Above, Welney's opening bowler James Lofts

On left, Leicester openers Trevor Ward and Luke Wright

Above, Leicestershire's Neil Burns with local Children


Left, Devon Malcolm with his daughters


Cricket can be a mysterious game even to some who follow it, and every ground seems to have it's own way of displaying the progress of a match leaving the unfamiliar wondering what it all means.

The scorers seen in the score-box on the photo on the left, Ken Smart (in sun-glasses) and Richard Hawes, have vacated the position in the photo above, suggesting the match might be over. The spectators seem to confirm that, but the scoreboard shows Welney's score as 78 runs for 9 wickets. Whatever happened to the tenth wicket? And why has the visitors score been vandalised and two numbers thrown on the ground? And is that a can of John Smith's in Ken's hand?

The mystery continues with Dennis Birch posing and another player apparently lurking in the entrance to "The Ladies".

This is not a Cricketing quirk though, nor is it what it may seem, it's just one of the idiosyncratic peculiarities of Welney's ancient Pavilion.

Like the scoreboard, the sign needs local knowledge to know what it really means.


Some of the spectators enjoying the game, and a drink or two, too. Above, Alan Bye, John Simpson and David Barnard.

Lee Harvey, Kevin Scarff, Lewis Singleterry and Richard Harmer.

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