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Little Hadham Cricket Club marks 40th anniversary of re-formation with celebratory match at Thorley

A match celebrating the 40th anniversary of the re-formation of Little Hadham Cricket Club ended with honours even.

The game between two sides consisting of current and former players took place at Thorley CC, whose ground the club has rented on a match-by-match basis since 2020.

The history of Little Hadham CC goes back over 100 years with the earliest match recorded in the local press being on May 7, 1921

Between the two World Wars the club played its home matches at Hadham Park. The Second World War brought an end to cricket for the duration of the war, but the club was re-formed in 1949 and the home venue was a field loaned out by local farmer Mr Harvey. In 1957 an agreement was reached with Hadham Hall School and from that season the club played its home matches there.

The club was reasonably successful during the 1960s and 1970s, but by 1981, due to a shortage of players, the club was forced to fold.

The following year, Little Hadham resident Ron Bunce re-formed the club once again by bringing together Little Hadham residents, some of his friends and employees of Hayter Ltd, the Spellbrook-based lawnmower manufacturer. Playing home matches once again at Hadham Hall School, the first match of this re-formed club took place on May 6, 1983 against Elsenham, ending in defeat by 110 runs.

The players in Little Hadham Cricket Club's celebratory match
The players in Little Hadham Cricket Club's celebratory match

Playing mainly friendlies and occasional cup matches, the club became quite successful during the 1980s, often playing more than 50 matches in a season.

The summer of 1990 saw the closure of Hadham Hall School and this meant that the club was no longer able to use the school ground as its home venue. The last match at Hadham Hall was a drawn match against London-based side Fives on Sunday July 15.

For the next four seasons the club rented Manuden’s pitch for use as a home base whilst a new ground was prepared. The new ground was at Millfield Lane, Bury Green, and belonged to Glaxo. It kindly leased the field free of charge to the club and thanks to much hard work by all members of the club, in particular Terry Booth who tendered the new playing surface over those four years, the first home match at the new venue was played against Little Waltham III in April 1994.

In 2000 the club joined the Mercury Village League and two years later, along with all other members of that league, joined the Herts & Essex Cricket League, starting off in Division Five. Unfortunately in 2008, due to a shortage of players, the club had to withdraw from the league and from that time has only played Sunday friendly cricket.

Over time the costs of maintaining the ground increased and, with income reduced from only playing one match a weekend, in 2019 the club reluctantly decided it could no longer afford to lease the Millfield Lane ground. The last match played there was on Sunday October 6 against neighbouring village Albury.

From 2020 it was agreed to rent out Thorley’s ground on a match-by-match basis. The start of the 2020 season was delayed due to Covid, but eventually in July the first game was played.

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