A Founder Batsman Writes....


Following the Club's triumph in the Mid-Kent League I was trawling the NAG Online site, trying to find a way to leave a message about our success when I came across a message from Lorraine Buddle, recalling her childhood in New Ash Green. I didn't remember her, but I recognised her surname, and sure enough her message confirmed her father was Brian Buddle, one of the founders of New Ash Green CC. I sent a message to her, and a few days later received the following response from Brian:

 Some weeks ago my daughter informed me she'd discovered a web page all about New Ash Green and had posted a message on the notice board. She gave me the details and I spent some time reading about the village and feeling some nostalgia. My family and I spent some of the best and happiest years of our lives in Punch Croft and often visit and reminisce on our frequent trips to England.

A few days ago she excitedly phoned me at my office to tell me that you had responded to her message and, from the information in your e-mail, had logged on to your Cricket web page, where she had found reports of my exploits as a member of New Ash Green Cricket Club.

I must admit to being a founder member and remember quite vividly how we got started 30 years ago. Perhaps I should put some of those memories on paper and send them to you if you think anyone would be interested.

I read the e-mail from Peter Blunden with interest and will certainly respond in the near future.

My entire family is now living in Africa. My wife (Pat) and I, daughter Lorraine and son Ralph all live in the suburbs of Cape Town whilst our other son, Philip, is in Botswana. All three children have a son and daughter of their own.

I would ask you, please, to remember us to all those lost friends who may still be living in the village and would be pleased if they would e-mail us at this address.

Naturally enough I replied asking for any further memories that Brian had, and received the following, addressed to both me and Rob Newmarch who also sent a message to Brian:

Thank you both very much for the messages you sent me. We have never met but there seems to be a 30 year old bond that has brought us together, albeit by a chance visit to the NAG web site.

I must admit to being the author of the 1972 season match reports (all 2 of them) and to being a founder member of the club.

I am now 64 years old but, although I sometimes forget what I did yesterday and what I'm supposed to be doing next my memory of the events leading up to formation of NAG Cricket Club are surprisingly clear.

On day Jim Harbinson, my neighbour, living two houses from me in Punch Croft, asked if I was interested in playing cricket. When I agreed he asked me if I would join Alan Avery, Iain Smith and himself in forming a club at NAG. I'm not certain if Ivan Phillips was involved at this stage or whether he joined later. We started meeting weekly to decide our plan of action and, after publishing a letter in the village newspaper inviting other interested parties to make contact, soon had sufficient numbers to make our efforts worthwhile. We persuaded Bovis (the builders) to not only donate the land for the ground but to erect a wooden pavilion on it for us. Our party of would-be cricketers spent many weekends and evenings walking the ground, with buckets and garden trowels in our hands, prizing up the numerous and sometimes huge and sharp flintstones which seemed to stick out of the earth in annoyingly large numbers. We had plenty of time to have knock-ups, as at that stage we had no opponents, but our group of thirty-somethings started to look something like a cricket team. Peter Blunden, who I see has also just renewed his acquaintance with the club, showed what a fast bowler he could be and spent many hours frightening the lives out of us and preparing us for our first match whilst Ivan Phillips tried to show how to bowl spinners. Iain Smith, Jim Harbinson, Lyle Ellard and Ivan Phillips all were useful with the bat, which makes me ask myself why the hell did I open the batting in the first match to score that magnificent duck.

As fixture secretary I had the task of finding opponents. This was a difficult task because all of the established teams had obviously a pretty full fixture list but, after writing by hand (no computers in those days) 40 or 50 letters, I eventually managed to organise just two matches towards the end of the season. We could probably have got an extra home fixture or two but for our lengthy de-stoning program.

I was successful in arranging quite a good fixture list for the 1973 season and even persuaded Paul Myers to print 1000 copies to display on the tables of his Ashes Restaurant. I wonder if any of those still exist.

Due to my moving up north to a new job I wasn't able to take part in any of those matches. I must admit that I missed NAG and the cricket club for a very long time. On one of our trips back to UK we visited the village when a match was in progress but I sadly didn't recognise anyone. I somehow feel part of things again so next time we're in UK my wife and I will most certainly make a trip to NAG and hopefully meet some old and new friends. If you ever get up that old duffers team that Peter Blunden refers to perhaps I could follow him in at No 12.

I would be pleased if would publish this little bit of memorabilia on your web site and my first e-mail too if you wish. For anyone that is interested my e-mail address is bfj@telkomsa.net


Brian Buddle

So, there we have the story of the start of the Cricket Club, just in time for the 30th anniversary of that game. It shows just how much effort went into starting up the side, and how easy we have it now in terms of pitch-work. I hope that all current members who read this will remember Brian's name and make him very welcome if he ever does pay a visit, because its clear that we all owe him and his colleagues a great deal. Its also interesting to note that it seems to have been the cricket club, not the rugby club as I'd always thought, who did all the initial work in getting the sportsfield started. My last thought is to wonder about the accuracy of Brian's memories, since he describes Lyle Ellard as useful with the bat, but perhaps he just remembers Lyle' enthusiasm, which no one could possibly doubt! 


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