A Brief History of Marlow Park Cricket Club by Wreford Gibbs
Information has been obtained from the Annual General Meetings and the Committee Meetings minutes from 1927 to 1957 and 1967 to 1991 together with memories, not always reliable. Unfortunately the missing minutes refer to the formation of the Marlow Working Men's Cricket Club generally thought to have been in 1892, and the building of the pavilion - both important times in the history of the club. Peter Ayres provided copies of the Parks fixture cards from 1957 to 2008, a Working Men's fixture card for the 1921 season and also a record of the results of matches with Little Marlow Cricket Club all of which were very helpful and interesting.
The minutes of the Marlow Working Men's Cricket Club's A.G.M. of 1927 records that the club was managed by a committee consisting of the President, Secretary, Treasurer, Captains and nine other members all elected annually approximately 40% of the total membership. There were also a considerable number of Vice Presidents elected annually who it was hoped would support the club financially. In1954 the number of other members was reduced to three.
The Secretary arranged all friendly matches until 1951 when due to the number of friendly fixtures required the position of Fixture Secretary was created.
A brief set of club rules were drawn up in1938.These concerned membership and players conduct. A revised set of rules were drawn up in 1951 when the club obtained sole use of Higginson Park these elaborated the previous rules.
A new set of rules were drawn up by Mr. Wood Smith, the club's solicitor as required by the provision of the bar in the new pavilion, a revised copy of these is available. These stated that the club be managed by a committee consisting of the President, Secretary, Treasurer, Match Secretary, Chairman of the Selection Committee, Bar Treasurer and 3 other members and that not less than three Trustees be appointed for the purpose of holding the lease of the club's premises, as well as rules relating to use of the bar and membership etc. Amongst the various amendments to these is one at the A.G.M. 1969 creating the office of Chairman who would take the place of the President on the management committee. Mr. F. McKeown was appointed.
Messrs. G. H. Charles, H. L. Jameson (both M.U.D. counsellors) and A. Rockell consented to become the Trustees and were appointed.
At the 1971 A.G.M.it was agreed that the club's constitution be changed. The management committee to comprise of the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Fixture Secretary, Club Captain and 6 other members who would be responsible for the bar; social; pavilion; ground; finance and selection. Other related rules were amended as required. These were approved. Further revisions to the composition of the management committee were agreed with regular occurrence.
FORMATION AND NAME
When was the Marlow Working Men's Cricket Club formed? A good question. Letter heads used to record minutes during the 1970s indicate that the club was founded in 1892 and this date was used as the centenary celebrated by a special cricket week in August 1992There was also a date published in the Club Cricket Conference Hand book which was different but is unknown. The date of foundation was discussed at a General Meeting held on January 6th 1950 but it could only be agreed that the club had been in existence for over 50 years. There is also a record of the club playing Little Marlow in 1906.More important Peter Ayers has a fixture card for the 1921 season titled Marlow [Working Men's] Cricket Club. It is safe to say that the club was formed in the late 18th century and reasonable to assume that the actual date was circa 1892
The name of the club was changed to the Marlow Park Cricket Club in January 1950 and is detailed latter.
The Marlow Cricket Club was formed in1830 but was disbanded in 1920 when their ground was sold to Wethereds Brewery and a lack of players but was re-formed using the Wednesday section of the Marlow Working Men's Cricket Club as a basis.
At a committee meeting on April 29th 1935 the Hon Sec, Mr. L Dormer proposed that the Wednesday Members should pay a 4 shillings sub being the same as the Saturday Members. This is the first reference to Wednesday Members and as Wednesday was early closing day it is probable that these members were shop keepers and business men.
At the A.G.M. of the Marlow Working Men's Club held on February 19th 1936 it was agreed to form a Wednesday section which would be run almost as separate entity by Messrs. R. Brown and L. French who were Wednesday members and also committee members.
At the 1937 A.G.M. of the Marlow Working Men's Club a letter from Mr. French the secretary of the Wednesday section was read to the meeting. This stated that as the members could not agree with certain of the club rules it was decided to sever connections with the club and to form a separate club to be known as the Marlow Wednesday C.C. There was no mention as to where the Wednesday club would play their matches and in the circumstances both clubs shared Higginson Park.
The Marlow Wednesday C. C. proposed a scheme to improve the ground in Higginson Park by relaying the square, 100 ft by 100ft, and leveling a further 25 ft around the square. This was discussed at the Marlow Working Men's club's 1938 A.G.M. Messrs A. W. Oram, G. Moore and L. H. Ryan were elected to meet representatives of the Wednesday club to clarify the proposal. This improvement was eventually carried out. This seems to indicate that the Wednesday club were financially strong and were becoming the major club.
The Marlow Working Men's A.G.M.s of April 2cd 1947 (co-tenants of the ground) and March 11th 1949 (concrete wicket) and a committee meeting of June 6th 1949 (sight screens) all refer to the Marlow Cricket Club, thus establishing the formation of that club. It is believed that there were discussions among the members of the Working Men's club that it should have changed its name to the Marlow C. C. at this time but there is no record of this.
1949 saw the formation of the Marlow Sports Association comprising of the Marlow Cricket, Hockey, Rugby and Tennis Clubs, to be based at the Wethered Sports ground in Pound Lane later to be known as Lower Pound Lane. Wethered's terms were rent £1 per annum for the first 2 years and £60 per annum for the next 20 years with an option to purchase at any time.
Messrs F. McKeown , A. W. Oram and H. White (Hon. Sec.) had met with representatives of the Association and reported the outcome to an E.G.M. of the Working Men's C.C. on September 19th 1949 as follows -
Estimated expenditure -rent £60, rates £65, schedule a&b tax £35,wages £400 and sundries £40, total £600 per annum.
Estimated income - subs hockey £35, rugby £45, cricket (1 club only) £50 and tennis £70, profit on teas £100, bar £200, and dances £100, plus Association membership subs of 7 shillings and 6 pence per person per annum, player's subs in addition - cricket - 21 shillings, hockey - 17 shillings and 6 pence and rugby - 13 shillings and 6 pence per annum presumably to be paid to the clubs.
Transport costs to be borne solely by members.
The Association would only approach H.P.S. for the use of the Higginson Park ground if enough members could be found to guarantee a 4th eleven.
Mr. Oram enlarged on the information given and a lively discussion took place, general opinion was that the extra expense to the members was too heavy and that the club could continue at Higginson Park and even run 2 teams subject to agreement with the Higginson Park Society without the extra expense. It was also obvious that the team would be dispersed among the various elevens to be formed by the Marlow Sports Association losing the present team spirit. Finally a proposal that the club should NOT join the Association, proposed by Mr. Oram, seconded by Mr. McKeown was put to the meeting and passed unanimously, ensuring the Marlow Working Men's C.C. continued.
The need to change the name of the club was raised at the A.G.M. held on the 28th of October 1949. It was felt that as the club would be fielding 2 elevens the term Working Men would prove a drawback in obtaining new fixtures. It was thought that it conveyed an image of country yokels playing in grey flannels and braces. Mr. K. Langston proposed that the name be changed, seconded by Mr. W. Faulkner. A counter proposal that the name be retained was made by Mr. F. Glithers and seconded by Mr. A. Weller. On a show of hands the first proposal was carried and that it should be an item on the agenda of the next general meeting.
At the E.G.M. held on the 6th of January 1950 it was agreed that the name be changed. Capt. Warren (Chairman) proposed the new name, the Marlow Park Cricket Club , seconded by Mr. A. W. Oram (Hon Treasurer) carried unanimously by the meeting. And so the Marlow Park Cricket Club was born.