The History of Chalgrave Sports Club

With acknowledgements to Michael & Barbara Kingham from their book ‘The History of Chalgrave Sports Club’ (this online transcription made available courtesy of Mike Wells). The book was written in 1993 and therefore the difference in dates should be borne in mind.

Early Recollections
The 1920’s and 1930’s
Chalgrave Sports Club
Club Badge
Ground & Pavilion Improvements
Past and Present Officers of the Club
Cricket Awards
Annual Dinner & Dances

Early Recollections

Cricket was played at Tebworth as early as 1910 although there was not a cricket club as such. Walter Kingham, now in his 96th year, recalls how they used to play on the field in Chalgrave Road next to the Vicarage. In those days it was not a weekly event, maybe just 5 or 6 games during the summer months.

The teams were mainly from the Luton hat factories and used to arrive by horse and waggon. The village side were not in the position of owning their own kit and relied on the generosity of their opponents to share theirs. There was no break for tea, the game was played through to the finish when everyone would go round to The Queen’s Head for food and drink. These games were arranged by a Mr George Smart who worked in the hat trade in Luton. They continued until the start of the first World War in 1914.

After the first war the village received a small grant from what was called the Canteen Fund or NAAFI Fund (Navy Army and Air Force Institution) and this was used to purchase the first cricket kit.

The 1920’s and 1930’s

After the end of the first war, the Cricket Club was formed. Money was very hard to come by, but was started with the small grant that they managed to buy the basic equipment. Billy Harris who had returned from Africa was very generous and never saw the Club go short of bats and balls. A ball had to last several matches and they had to take special care of their TWO BATS!

The scores in the matches then were quite low. A team score of 50 would generally win the game. Underarm bowling was still being used and Jimmy Whinnett and Fred Bird were champions at this. In one match Jimmy took 5 wickets for 2 runs and Fred took 5 wickets for 7 runs, the opposition being all out for 12 runs.

Some of the players were Charlie Bradshaw, Sid Groves, Wally Harris and Charlie Currington. Wally owned a baker’s shop in Hockliffe and would often leave the field early to go and set the sponge – part of bread making we’re told and nothing to do with cakes! Charlie Currington was the village greengrocer and also had a delivery round at Dunstable. At home matches he came straight to the ground, leaving his horse and cart outside to do a spot of umpiring.

Leonard Kingham was Secretary and Scorer for the Club right up to the start of the second world war when the Club was disbanded. He did a lot to keep the club going although he never played. He left that honour to his brother Walter. He lived in a cottage opposite the ground and the teams were usually picked there. The row of cottages were later demolished and the bungalow known as Berehul built on the site.

From the picture there are only two surviving members (1993). They are Walter Kingham and Ron Wing. Walter Kingham the oldest surviving member started playing for a Chalgrave team in 1910 when he was 14 years old.

He stopped playing for Chalgrave about 1936 when he moved to Luton where he played for a local side. He was Captain of Chalgrave for a number of years and had a reputation of being very astute and skilful as Captain and was well liked and looked up to by his team. He was a canny slow right arm bowler who took many wickets. He won many bowling honours over the years. On two occasions he was presented with cricket balls as trophies by a member of Middlesex Cricket Club who attended the Mid Beds League ceremony held at Barton. Unfortunately, these cricket balls were never mounted, they were given to nephew Michael who used them in the first schoolboy matches played against Bidwell, Houghton Regis and Milton Bryan between 1944-45.

Ron Wing now in his 86th year started playing for Chalgrave in the 1926 season when he was 19 years of age. He retired in 1953. He was a loyal club member and served on the committee for most of these years. He was elected Captain of the Club in 1946 when the Club was reformed after the war. Along with Alec Ludgate he was the main strength of the team. He was noted for his big hitting and hit many sixes. He remembers that his highest score was 70 or 80 against Pulloxhill. His best bowling was against Stanbridge and Tilsworth when they were bowled out for 18, Ron take 8 wickets for 8 runs. He said he wasn’t very popular with the opposing batsmen that day. He loved his cricket and says there was a very good team spirit in those days.

The Club was renamed sometime between 1924-28. They were runners up in the League in 1924 and were called Wingfield CC but when they won the League in 1928 it was Chalgrave CC. They were runners up again in 1931. This information comes from medals in our possession which were won by Jimmy Whinnett. The Club may well have won other awards but we have no record of these.

Chalgrave Sports Club

You may wonder why Chalgrave Sports Club and not Chalgrave Cricket Club. Well, after the first world war Chalgrave had a football as well as a cricket team. They also provided a tennis court. The field known as The Park, owned by a Mr Marlow catered for the football and tennis. The field lies between the council houses and the new housing development known as Woodlands. The football and cricket were run by the same committee which also had to finance both.

In the 1950s most of ‘The Boys’ as the younger players were known, played both sports. The football team colours were black and amber shirts with black shorts, and the team played in the Dunstable and District League.

In 1953, to be a Club member cost 3 shillings for cricket, the same for football and five shillings to be a non-playing member. Taxi fares for all away matches were 2/6d a head.

Club Badge

In 1968 the Club decided they would like new cricket caps. navy being the chosen colour. Not having a club badge to put on the front, Trevor Wood one of the players, was asked if he would design one. Trevor was a qualified Commercial Artist. The design chosen was taken from an original painting in the Parish Church.

Eventually we had badges for both caps and blazers at a cost of seven shillings for cap and ten shillings and six pence for the blazer badges. It was a very smart team which took the field in the 1970 season. In 1976 Trevor Wood was asked to be our first honorary member.

Ground & Pavilion Improvement

Chalgrave Sports Club was reformed in 1946 after the end of the war. Mr Frank Bird, uncle of Colin, and Trevor Rose, owned the field known as the Green, Wingfield. He gave permission for cricket to be played there on any day except THE SABBATH.

The field was then much longer and stretched as far as The Plough Inn. In 1947 we were allowed to fence off a strip for the pitch during the playing season. The cows still had the run of the rest of the field, so, on Saturday mornings we not only had the pitch to mark out but also remove as many cow pats as possible! During the game, the cows were driven to the far end of the field and at teatime someone kept watch to keep them off the pitch.

In 1949 we prepared a playing surface and Mr Bird allowed us to put up an electric fence all the year round, the cows of course still having the run of the rest of the field. The ground played on today, which is comparatively flat, was in quite a different state about 40 years ago. There was a pond to the left of the main gate, a large blackberry knoll right in line with the bowler’s arm and the whole ground represented a giant switch-back. This is no exaggeration. There were also large thistles and hawthorn bushes dotted around.

In about 1956 when Tythe Farm Estate was being built at Houghton Regis, Mr Bird had the chance of loads of soil and the big job of levelling the field and in-fill of the pond began. The job took about 3 years to complete, in which time all matches were played away from home.

In 1961, Mick Kingham and Trevor Rose had an agreement with Mr Bird and a fence was put right across the field where it is today. From that time onwards the ground has been rented on a yearly basis. In 1961 the rent was £7.00. In 1966 £10.00. By 1969 it has risen to £12.10s and in 1976 reached £25.00. Out of season when the grass became long Mr. Bird could never resist letting his cows back for a good feed.

Sometime between 1969 and 1976 the ground became the property of Mr Frank Rose, father of Colin and Trevor. It is still owned by the Rose family and the rent is still £25.00. Naturally over the years work has had to be done on a regular basis. We had more loads of soil, this time from Toddington to complete the levelling. The pitch area was drained, and the blackberry knoll cleared. In 1977 the bushes were cut back about 10ft and the extra ground reseeded. We have also had Malcolm Skevington rolling the pitch with his A36 Avaling Diesel Roller.

Over many years the late Ted Tansley who lived at College Farm, Chalgrave (now Old Barn Nurseries) used to loan the Club his tractor for both rolling and cutting the outfield. Today we rely greatly on the generosity of Bernard Wilcock.


The First Pavilion 1952

In March 1952, the committee decided that some sort of shelter was needed at the Cricket Ground. Mr Frank Rose said he could purchase a HEN HOUSE for £10 which he thought would serve the purpose. In May 1952 the first (Pavilion?) was erected at Wingfield. It stood in the corner almost where the pavilion stands today. The two men in the photo (to be added later!) are John Perry on the left and Fred Bird Junior on the right. John played for the Club and lived at the farm where Bernard Wilcock now lives.

John became Chairman of the Club in 1955 and continued in the capacity until March 1962. He was also Treasurer for a number of years and represented the Club on the Village Hall Committee.

This photograph was sent to Michael Kingham during his National Service in Egypt so is well travelled.

The Second Pavilion 1969-1980

A 20ft long hut acquired from Hockliffe Football Club in 1969 became the second pavilion. It was sited to the left of the main entrance to the ground and used solely as changing rooms. In October 1976, some 7 years later, another hut was acquired, this time from Eggington Cricket Club. This hut was sited in the far corner of the field and was to become the first tea rooms.

It was a sad sight that met us on the morning of 1st January 1977. After a terrible storm which raged throughout New Year’s Eve, both huts were smashed to pieces.

Rebuilding and Improvement Work

The first four months of 1977 were very busy. The two huts were rebuilt and both sited in the far corner of the ground, where they still stand today. The Hockliffe hut became the changing rooms once again but this time with improvements. At last we would also be able to serve teas at the ground for the first time and for once, things seemed to be looking up.

On the following pages you will see how teamwork brought results. It was a glorious sunny day at the beginning of May; the wives and girlfriends set to, painting the tea-rooms, the benches and the tables. The men cut down hedges and worked on the pitch. A real family day! We all worked very hard but thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Now Chalgrave Sports Club was ready to face the new season.

The Third Pavilion

Acquired by Terry Althorpe who lived at The Paddocks in Wingfield

Terry, a local businessman, played cricket for Chalgrave on a number of occasions. In 1977 he gave the Club 3 or 4 prefabricated sections which he thought could be joined to make a decent pavilion. The sections stood for over 2 years with no work being done at all and rapidly deteriorated. Planning permission was finally granted on 23rd May 1979 and was to be completed by September 1984.

We were lucky in that help was offered from many sources, but the man who really got the ball rolling for us was Larry Radford. Larry was a builder by profession, so had all the equipment needed to do the heavy work. He laid the cement base and with extra manpower moved the sections into position. Club members and friends then set to work and what a task lay ahead of them! There were lots of places to patch and lots of work to even make it look like a possible new pavilion. Everyone persevered and it began to take shape. It was a great day when at last we were able to start on the painting, both inside and out. Then tables, chairs, a cooker, sink unit, toilet fittings began to arrive from all over the place. The total cost was over £2,800 but we could never have reached our goal without all the hours, freely given, by everyone involved in this effort. The pavilion was completed in 1980 but repairs are on ongoing situation.

Have a flat roof the pavilion leaked on a number of occasions. Help was at hand again when Geoff Wilcock carried out the work of putting a slanting roof over the existing one, thus giving double the protection against the elements. Even so, this roof was torn off in the high winds of 1989. More repairs to be done – and more expense.

Past & Present Officers of the Club

Colonel Roberts1951 – May 1958
Mr L (Dick) GillmanMay 1958 – April 1979
Mr Rex UpchurchApril 1979 – April 1989
Vice Presidents
Jack CooperFrank BirdPete Tucker
Arthur SimsonBrian LittleFrank Rose
Ted TansleyMaurice BrinklowRobert Upchurch
Herbie KinghamDes HowardLarry Radford
Horace CooperViv BaumberJim Golby
Honorary Vice President
 Trevor WoodL (Dick) Gillman
Colonel Roberts 
Howard Harris1951 – August 1953 – March 1962 – April 1964
Frank RoseAugust 1953 – August 1955
John PerryAugust 1955 – March 1962
Colin RoseApril 1964 – May 1989
Ron HorneMay 1989 – August 1990
Mick KinghamAugust 1990 – April 1993
Jack Biggs Mick Gutteridge1970/71
Jack Cooper1951/61Derek Brinklow1971/74
June Allen1961/69Brian Horne1974/88
Sonnie Wing1969/70Geoff Wilcock1988/91
Fred (Drummer) Kingham1951-54
John Perry1955-61
June AllenOct 1961-65
Colin Maughan1965-70
Barbara Kingham1970-82
June Horne (nee Allen)1982-91
David Griffin1991-92

Present Officers (as of 1993)

Mr Horace CooperApril 1989
Vice Presidents
Life Vice PresidentMr Michael KinghamBrian Dudley
Life Vice PresidentMr Colin RoseColin Edwynn
Life Vice PresidentMr Ron WingMalcolm Skevington
 Bernard WilcockBill Causer
ChairmanGeoff WilcockApril 1992-1993
SecretaryDavid Herbert1990-1992
TreasurerDerek CrowhurstApril 1992

Players and Officials

Wal Harris1920 and 1930Mick Kingham 
Walt Kingham1928, 1934, 1938Colin Rose 
Billy Harris1929Ray Mooring1968, 1969, 1970
Jimmy Whinnett1933Ron Horne1971-1974
Ron Wing1946Sonnie Wing1975-1983
Alec Ludgate David Griffin1984-1985
Howard Harris Keith Brinklow1986-1988
Colin Rose Colin Dicker1989-1993
Wicket Keepers
George Smart (1910s)Frank Edwards (1920s)George (Lobby) Ledster
Tubby KnightMaurice BrinklowColin Maughan
Keith TaylorDerek BrinklowBrian Dudley
Keith BrinklowMark Edwynn 
Cliffy NorthWal HarrisCharlie Currington
Jimmy WhinnettGeorge Ledster (Snr)Herbie Kingham
Michael KinghamBrian Dudley 
Millie LudgateBarbara Kingham
Daphne RoseJulie Dicker

Cricket Awards

We know that in 1946 Colin Rose was presented with a cricket bat for topping the batting averages. Over a number of years medals were given for both batting and bowling. In 1953, the Club were short of funds and no medals were given. Johnnie Riffle had won the batting and bowling for that season and it was decided that some recognition of this be made. A collection was made among the players and an engraved cigarette and lighter case purchased for £3.2s.6d. The shortage of funds continued but in 1961 it was agreed that some awards again be given for batting and bowling. Plaques were awarded for many years, the in 1979, the first cups were donated by families in memory of loved ones who had been players for the club.

In 1976 tankards were presented to Ron Horne, Colin Rose and Mick Kingham all three having been with the club over 25 years.

The Men behind the Cups

The Howard Harris Cup (Best batting average)

Howard Harris was a batsman and occasional bowler and captained the team for a number of years. He was Fixture Secretary from 1951/56 and Chairman for 3 years 1951-53 and again in 1962 and 1963. Howard died in 1978 and his family presented the cup in his memory. This the start of cups being awarded in place of medals and plaques.

The Alec Ludgate Cup (Best bowling average)

Alec Ludgate was for many years a top Chalgrave bowler and a stonewall batsman. He also captained the Club. You will read more about Alec in the article written by his wife Millie. Alec died in 1975 and his family presented the cup in 1979. Alec would have been pleased that his grandson Gary Kingham now plays for the Club he was so much a part of.

Herbert Kingham Cup (Most improved player)

“Herbie” as he was known was quite a character in the cricketing world. Best remembered for his years as an umpire, he was also our groundsman from 1971-74. Herbie died in 1979 and the cup was presented by his daughter Brenda, the following year.

Arthur Bargery Tankard (Clubman of the Year)

Arthur was a Londoner and married Winnie Ward a girl who was evacuated to Tebworth in the war. They lived in Wingfield just a few years but when they moved away Arthur never forgot the years he enjoyed playing cricket for Chalgrave. He was a first clas bowler and topped the averages in 1955, 1956 and 1957. After his death and to meet his wishes, his ashes were scattered on the cricket field he had so loved.

Dick Parrott Cup (Most 6s)

Dick owned a family butchers shop in Toddington so was unable to play much cricket in his earlier years. He did not join Chalgrave until well into his 50’s. He was a hard hitting batsman and 4s and 6s came quite easily. He always said he needed to hit boundaries because he found running the length of the wicket very tiring. He had, of course, to encourage his batting partners to hit boundaries as well. In some games he was so tired, he had to have a runner.

The Sheep Dip Trophy

Richard Luxton used to play for a team name Oldbury and in 1991 he invited them to Chalgrave for a match. They brought with them a bottle of Sheep Dip, brewed locally at Oldbury, which was duly drunk at the close of play. Later Colin Dicker, who had scored 50 in the match, after being badly hurt by a beamer, was given the empty bottle. He had it mounted and now the match has become an Annual Trophy Match. First played for in 1992, Chalgrave won the match but Oldbury won it back in 1993.

Annual Dinner & Dances

In the 1950s and 60s the dinners were usually held at the Memorial Hall. They were days of hard work rather than pleasure. The whole of Saturday morning and afternoon would be taken up with getting tables and chair ready, preparing food, installing the bar etc. It took the work of both men and women. We would often not get home until about 5 pm, then we were expected to cook a large saucepan of potatoes ready to take back at 7 pm. We also had to supply a trifle. We hardly had any time to enjoy our meal as we had to serve each course and clear away. Then after all this we had to face the washing up. Sometimes they even expected snacks later in the evening. We certainly had no time or energy to have a dance and we paid! Later on we began to try out different venues for our dinners and listed overleaf are some of the places we visited and look at how prices changed over the years.

In 1984 while at The Jolly Coopers, Alan Minter, the boxer, came in for a drink. The Captain asked if he would present the cricket awards – this he did!