Spring is in the Air

Spring is in the air with the intoxicating smell of newly mown grass, dappled sunshine and morning mists.  Daffodils, crocuses, snowdrops are in flower  – naturally the thoughts of all Outlook readers will turn to village cricket. A new season is upon us. Time to dust the mildew off cricket boots and whites and to do a few preparatory sit-ups and touch one’s toes … oowh – that hurt … well perhaps we can forego the exercises.

By the time readers receive this edition of Outlook we will have had a practice game on Sunday 22nd April and the first game of the season will have been played on Saturday 28th April at Ebernoe possibly followed by a team-building night at an Indian curry restaurant.

The first home game of 2012 is on Sunday 6th May against very tough opponents – Westbourne, and Paul Phillips has been hard at work getting the cricket square into first class condition with the assistance of Paul Lawson and Club Chairman Allan Thompson. In what is reportedly the worst drought since 1976, restrictions on the use of hosepipes will not help and we could find ourselves playing on bone hard tracks. But then the fickle English weather will kick in and we will probably find matches cancelled in June with heavy rain.

As mentioned in recent posts on Outlook we are probably going to struggle to raise eleven players in the early weeks of the season as several of our younger players have returned for the summer term at various universities. So if you are available to ‘hold the fort’ until the arrival of ‘the cavalry’ please contact John King.

The Cricket Club has a new President. Joe Clifford has accepted the invitation of the committee to take over this role. To readers of these notes Joe’s name will be well known. Although no longer a resident of the village he has been associated with the club for many years.  He was born in Lodsworth in 1944 and lived in the village until the late 1960’s. He played his first game for the village team at the age of 7 years old against West Dean & Singleton in 1951 and he took a catch at square leg.

Joe, now a fit 68, recalls playing cricket for the village team before the Recreation Field was donated to the village by the Barnes family – the freeholders of the Holist Arms.

The first time he watched a game in which his father was playing was in the early 1950s and it was played in a field adjacent to the triangle of grass known as Lickfold Green. Later Joe played for the village team on a flat stretch of land opposite the late Lady Fiennes’ house at St. Peter’s Well. There was no pavilion – just a shed and the teams simply changed at the side of the field.  But how did the players travel to adjoining villages in those days when there were fewer cars? Well,” recalls Joe,” we had bikes, and the skipper had a motorbike and sidecar so he brought the kit together with another player on the pillion.” Joe still plays the occasional game for the club. Joe’s nephew Matt Hall is the current captain of the village team.

While welcoming Joe we wish to thank the retiring President – George Bristow. George, as erstwhile landlord of The Hollist Arms and Chairman of the Parish Council has always been hugely supportive of the Cricket Club and hosted some memorable annual dinners at the pub – offering the club a special price. He entered a team in the now defunct annual six-a-side competition and frequently came by to watch on Sunday afternoons.

For readers of Outlook who are interested in tracing the recent history of cricket in Lodsworth the club website has been rebuilt. Type http://www.lodsworthcc.org into your browser and you will find details of matches from 2005 onwards and some recent photographs of the 2012 Awards Evening.

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