This article was written by Roger Cook and is reproduced here with permission.
Early History of Chesham Bois Cricket Club
Cricket has been played on the village common at Chesham Bois for nearly 200 years. The ground at 547 ft above sea level and typifies this area of the Chiltern Hills. Today the ground is in a picturesque setting being completely enclosed by Beech, Wild Cherry and Oak trees. Many of the Oaks, dating back to 1919 are a result of the general planting after WW1. Up to that point the common was full of gorse and bracken harvested from the 16th Century by the local brick makers who worked the open kilns on the ‘Brick Kiln’ field opposite the cricket pitch on North Road before moving to a modern kiln at the rear of Fern Cottage, owned for many years by the Aris family who were connected through players and supporters of the club from its conception. Fern Cottage was originally 1 Fern Villas, but after Harry Aris’s death in 1973, the new owners changed the name of the semi-detached cottages to Fern Cottage and Rowan Cottage. Unfortunately for history, the original stone name plate which was high on the front wall covering both cottages was chiselled off. If you look closely you can still see the outline of where it used to be.
The brick makers over a long period were also responsible for the many dips and the ‘Bricky’ pond around the common that supplied the clay. In the 1840’s Duke of Bedford’s son, Lt Col. Lord Charles Russell was a keen cricketer, playing on a regular basis for Woburn. Permission from the 5th Duke would have been sought for Chesham cricket to be played on Bois Common. The 5th Duke of Bedford had a long association with cricket with regular matches recorded from the 1740’s to the 1780’s including playing for Herts against Bucks at Knotty Green in 1785. The statue of the Francis, the 5th Duke (1765-1802) grandson of the cricket loving 4th Duke, John Russell (1710-1771) stands in Russell Square, London.
The first recorded match on Bois Common is on Tues 26th July 1836. Chesham played St Albans on Chesham Bois Common. St Albans noted as being the best side in Herts formed in 1666. Chesham won by 9 wickets. [Bucks Gazette]
Before the formation of the Bois Club the common was used for many other games of cricket between various Chesham Town teams such as the Charity Lodge of Odd Fellows, the Boot makers and Woodenware sides as well as local school cricket teams as recorded:
Sat 22nd Aug 1846. Chesham played Tring on Chesham Bois Common. Chesham scored 84 and 62, Tring scored 52 and 65. [Bucks Gazette]
Mon 31st Aug. 1846. A cricket match between the Woodenware Manufacturers of Chesham and the Boot makers of Chesham took place on Chesham Bois Common.
Mr E. Stafford led the team for the woodenware team and Mr Thomas Mayo, although a woodenware manufacturer led the boot maker’s team.
Mr Stratford’s team scored 34 and 27, Mr Mayo’s team 32 and 32 for 3 wkts. Special mention was made of the good fielding of Mr Joseph Mayo, 12 years old. 40 people sat down to tea in a nearby dell surrounding the pitch. After the match a single wicket match was played between Mr Webb and Mr Jesse Mayo. The former won the match. [Bucks Gazette]
Mon 14th Sept. 1846. A return match between the Woodenware Manufacturers of Chesham and the Boot makers of Chesham took place on Chesham Bois Common. Boot Manufacturers scored 75 and 42, Woodenware Manufacturers 49 and 53. [Bucks Gazette]
Mon Sept 1847. Chesham played Aylesbury. A return match played on Chesham Bois Common. Aylesbury scored 82 and 111,Chesham 35 and 75.Aylesbury won by 83 runs. The Chesham team: Mr Stratford, J. Webb, Christmas, T. Webb, Curtis, Sells, Geary, Dickson, Spratley, G. Climpson, G. Webb. The teams retired to the George Inn for dinner. [Bucks Gazette]
Mon 9th Aug. 1852. Chesham played Watford on Chesham Bois Common. Chesham won the match by an innings. [Bucks Gazette]
Mon Aug 9th 1856. Chesham played Aylesbury on Bois Common. The Chesham club matches on the Common are recorded into the 1860’s. [Bucks Gazette]
Mon 30th July 1860. Chesham played Harefield on Chesham Bois Common. Chesham scored 93 and 77, Harefield 83 and 27-6. Chesham won the match on the first innings score. [Bucks Gazette]
July 24th Cambridge House School played the British School on Chesham Bois Common. British School scored 26 and 39, Cambridge House 54 and 12-6. [Bucks Gazette]
Aug 16th 1879. The British School played the National School on Chesham Bois Common. [Bucks Gazette]
19th Aug 1880. Mr J. Glasgow’s XI played Mr Webb’s XI (both bootmakers) on Chesham Bois Common. Both were members of Chesham CC and owned factories in Townsend Road, Chesham. [Bucks Gazette]
Early newspaper reports for Chesham Bois CC are virtually nonexistent found only by reports entered by the opposition.
The early players for the cricket club in the 1800’s came from the Bois Moor Road and Chesham area as there were only about 47 people living in farm cottages near the common. Chesham Bois parish until 1934 incorporated the Bois Moor area, the Chess River formed a natural parish boundary. Following major development in top Chesham Bois in the early 1900’s the clubs playing members expanded.
In Aug 1889 Chesham Bois CC played Penn Street on Chesham Bois Common. CBCC won by 4 runs. The team: W. Woods, A. Mead, P. Keen, W. Bates, A. Spratley, F. Hearne, C. Holt, T. Fleming, J. George, Hodgkinson.
In Sept 1889 Chesham Bois CC played Gt Kingshill CC at Chesham. Gt Kingshill 112 runs, Chesham Bois scored 12 runs. The team and scores: G. West 0, W. Bates 0, F. Hearne 0, A. Spratley 0, F. Anger 4, T. Thorpe Not Out 0, C. Holt 0, T. Fleming 4, J. Holt 0, F. Keen 0. Extras 2.
May 1890 Chesham Bois CC played Naphill Rovers on Chesham Bois Common. CBCC scored 24 and 61, Naphill 35 and 33. The team: A. Mead, C. Thorp, A. Spratley, W. Benning, W. Woods, G. West, F. Hearne, W. Element, J. George B. Aitkens, C. Holt.[Bucks Examiner]
Chesham Bois CC played Gerrards Cross.
May 1890 Chesham Bois CC played Holmer Green CC on Chesham Bois Common. Holmer Green scored 51 and 21, CBCC 75 and 4-5.[Bucks Examiner]
June 1890 Chesham Bois CC played Winchmore Hill CC on Chesham Bois Common. Chesham Bois scored 93, Winchmore Hill 11 and 11. [Bucks Examiner]
Aug 1890 Chesham CC played Chesham Bois CC on Chesham Bois Common. Chesham Bois scored 90, Chesham 67 and 12. [Bucks Examiner]
May 18th 1891 Rickmansworth Y.M.F.S CC played Chesham Bois CC at Rickmansworth. Rickmansworth Y.M.F.S scored 36 and 54, Chesham Bois 43 and 49-2. [Bucks Examiner]
May 23rd 1891 Wycombe Temperance CC played Chesham Bois at Wycombe. Chesham Bois scored 47 and 42, Wycombe Temperance 39 and 49. [Bucks Examiner]
May 30th 1891 Watford C.I CC played Chesham Bois at Watford Park. Watford C.I scored 18 and 27. Chesham Bois 13 and 36-9.[Bucks Examiner]
June 1891 Chesham CC played Chesham Bois CC on their ‘new ground’, Chesham Bois Common. Chesham scored 116, Chesham Bois 26 and 34. [Bucks Examiner]
The Chesham Bois fixture list for 1891 indicated that a knock out cup was to be played for. July 1891. The cup was the North Bucks- South Beds Challenge Cup in this season held by Chesham Cricket Club. In the preliminary round Chesham scored 110, Chesham Bois 22 and 53. The final words in the report states: ‘Much credit is due to a village club like Bois for entering the competition’. Chesham beat Bletchley in the next round. In the semi final in August they met their old adversaries in Fenny Stratford in which they were beaten at Fenny Stratford on the first Innings result. Fenny Stratford scored 118 and 46, Chesham 80 when the match was timed out. This competition predates the Bucks Rural Cup inaugurated in 1894.
The newspaper article to the right states that Chesham Bois played on their new ground, Chesham Bois Common in May. The ground that they had previously used was probably The Moor, Chesham or nearby as nearly all players were residents of Bois Moor Road? The ground was taken over by The Moor CC in the early 1900s.
1892 May. Northwood CC played Chesham Bois CC at Northwood. Northwood scored 27 and 52, CBCC 41 and 44-4. [Bucks Examiner]
1893 The first Bucks County Cup was won by High Wycombe victors over Buckingham.
In 1894 Chesham Bois CC entered the Bucks Rural League competition. The league was inaugurated with ‘a view of improving village cricket’ and Mr. C. E Cobb, who at that time kept wicket for Bucks and Aylesbury, offered ‘a very hand-Mime cup’. The new league was made to fit in with friendly matches and was started in four regional divisions, each comprising two or three teams. These local tournaments were all settled by the middle of July. Great Kingshill were immediately successful at the expense Great Hampden and Stoke Mandeville and Weston Turville. Then on August 4th in the semi-final atCippenham, Gt. Kingshill beat Cippenham by an innings and five runs. The second Tuesday in September, 1894,Waddesdon and Great Kingshill met in the first Bucks Rural Cup final on the Vale Ground, Aylesbury.
The senior clubs played for the Bucks Cup. In the semi finals High Wycombe (the holders) beat Wooburn andAylesbury beat Chesham. The final was won by Aylesbury.
In August 1900 season Chesham Bois CC were to play Amersham United (Amersham CC under a name change, the season had started with an Amersham North v Amersham South) but rain cancelled the CBCC match. [Bucks Examiner]
1901. The Bucks Examiner published a statement that a new Chesham Bois CC was to be formed in conjunction with Chesham Rovers FC that were already established and played on the Moor. The club or the paper was in error as Chesham Bois CC already existed albeit for a few seasons as Chesham Bois United. The name of the new club was to known as The Moor CC and survived up to WW1. Factory teams were going from strength to strength and playing on a regular basis.
Sat 13th July. Chesham Bois United played Chesham CC at The Meadow, Amy Lane. CBUCC scored 64 and 23, Chesham 58 and 40. CBUCC won the match on the first innings .
Sat 8th June. Britannia Employees CC played Chesham Bois United CC at Bellingdon Road. Britannia Employees scored 52 and 36-3, CBUCC 77.
Sat 3rd Aug. Chesham Bois UCC played Chenies CC on Chesham Bois Common. CBUCC scored 89, Chenies 126-9 dec.
Sat 10th Aug. Chesham CC II played CBUCC at The Meadow. Chesham II scored 50 and 86-4, CBUCC 64. Cbucc won on the first innings scores.
1903. The season started with the appointment of G. Osborne as Captain. The first match was arranged to play Webb’s Recreation club CC. Webb’s were at that time a large employer in Chesham producing brushes for all purposes. They had their own sports ground until about 1928 on the corner of Bellingdon Road-Lowndes Road. This ground was also used by Britannic Sports Club.
July Chesham Bois CC played Little Kingshill CC. CBCC scored 30 and 32, LittleKingshill 22 and 24.
Chesham Bois CC played Chalfont Colony CC on Chesham Bois Common. Chalfont Colony scored 64 CBCC 42.
Chesham Bois CC played Neasden CC on Chesham Bois Common. CBCC scored 112 Neasden70.
During the season Chesham Bois CC lost 2 matches of 14 played. [Bucks Examiner]
In 1911 the village sides located in and around Chesham organised theirselves into the Chesham and District Cricket League. The league followed the example of the Wycombe and District League founded in 1889. The league was one of the first cricket leagues to be created in the South of England following the Midland and Northern leagues also founded in the 1890’s. [Bucks Examiner]
The inaugural meeting to discuss establishing the league was held at was May 25th 1909 at the home of Mr F. Haddaway, Blucher St, Chesham. The meeting was chaired by Mr. D.W Oliver, who with E. J. C Young were representing The Lee cricket club. Other representatives were from Chesham Town Social Club CC, Chesham Congregational CC, Ley Hill CC, Chesham Bois CC, Ashley Green CC and Chesham (Hinton) Men’s Own CC.
A further meeting took place on June 18th when it was agreed to proceed with the following rules:
- Entrance to League 5 shillings.
- Deposit 5 shillings (To ensure teams turned up for matches).
- Umpires fee 2 shillings and 6 pence.
- One player, one club (no transfers).
- All amateur players.
Mr. Oliver became Chairman and Treasurer, Mr. H. Pratt became secretary.
In 1911 Ley Hill C.C in the first league season won the first division.
Ley Hill C.C in that first season won the first division. Other clubs before WWI such as Chesham Moor, Chesham Conservative Club, Chesham British Legion, Harefield Asbestos, Buckland Common,Temple End amongst many others joined and then departed the league. The League Challenge Cup for Division 1 was known as the Oliver Challenge Cup and was first presented in 1912. [Bucks Examiner]
The Oliver Challenge Cup was won By Chesham Bois CC in 1912, 1913 and 1914 before competition was suspended for WW1.
In 1914 Chesham Bois were champions once again of the Chesham and District Cricket league Division 1 champions under Captain A. Cook. The final league match was won by 16 runs againstBoxmoor. The team: A. Bolton, H. Horwood, J. West, E. Grimsdell, W. Ambler, J. Tomlin, H. Ambler, B. Bolton, A. Cook (Capt.), P. Collins, P. Aris.
As champions they played the rest of the league on the Chesham CC ground, Amy Lane. The results for the season recorded played 17, Won 16, lost 1. Losing only to Hawridge. [Bucks Examiner]
The President of CBCC at this time was Cecil Beckwith Cave- Brown- Cave B.A living at Chesham Bois Place, Bois Lane. Cecil Cave-Brown-Cave came from an illustrious family. Educated at Eton and Brasenose College Oxford he was the son of Rev. Fitzherbert Asteley C-B-C and Harriet Ellen Beckwith. Cecil was the grandson of Sir William Cave –Browne-Cave the 9th Baronet of Stanford, Northampton.
Cecil married Sarah Nicholson who died in 1928 and then in 1929 married Edith Evans who lived at Bois Farm, now the Beacon School. In 1910 Alfred Evans owned Bois Farm prior to the land being sold off for housing.
1919. Following WWI the league structure was reduced due to lack of club administration and in some cases lack of playing personnel. The league comprised Bovingdon, Chesham II,Hawridge and Cholesbury, Chesham Bois, and Ashley Green who were League Champions. [Bucks Examiner]
However before WWII Chesham Bois CC had a large share of league championships winning in 1920, 1929, 1930, 1931 and 1940. CBCC’s main rivals during the pre war period were HolmerGreen winning the championship 8 times before 1941. [Bucks Examiner]
1920. Chesham Bois CC played Boxmoor United in the final game to become Division 1 league champions. BCCC scored 81,Boxmoor 75. The team: A. Horwood, F. Pearson, J. West, E.Grimsdell, A. Bolton, W. Horwood, B. Bolton, H. Thorn, J. Tomlin, A. Moreton, P. Collins. A 12 a-side challenge game against Division 2 league champions Great Missenden ended with a clear win for CBCC. CBCC scored 70, Gt Missenden 29. [Bucks Examiner]
Division 1: Little Kingshill, Chiltern Sports Club CC, BerkhamstedChemical Works CC, Chesham Bois CC, (Champions) BoxmoorUtd CC, Chesham CC II, Ashley Green CC. [Bucks Examiner]
Division 2: Chartridge CC, Ley Hill CC, Chesham United Free Church CC, Amersham on the Hill CC, Ashley Green CC II,Beechwood Athletic, Great Missenden CC, (Champions) HolmerGreen Star CC. [Bucks Examiner]
1927. The 1927 annual meeting of the Chesham and District cricket league listed representatives from division one and division two clubs. Division one: Gt. Missenden CC, Ley Hill CC, Bellingdon CC,Holmer Green CC, Beechwood Athletic CC, Britannia Works CC, St Leonards and Buckland Common CC. [Bucks Examiner]
Division two: Chartridge CC, Amersham Hill Athletic CC, Ashley Green CC, Holmer Green CC II, Bellingdon CC II, Hyde Heath and Chesham Town Social Club CC. [Bucks Examiner]
The league secretary informed the meeting that Hinton Athletic CC had applied to join the league and that Chesham Bois CC had applied for readmission to the league. Previous members Coleshill CC and Hawridge and Cholebury CC had dropped out of the league. [Bucks Examiner]
Division 1 Champions Chesham Bois CC played Division 2 Champions Conservative Club CC in the annual challenge match. CBCC scored 93 and the Conservative Club 43. The team: G. Orchard, A.Horwood, H. Darvell, P. Collins, L. Bolton, E. Darvell, W. Bolton, H Thorn, W. Page, A. Cook, G, Oakins, F. Olney. The club secretary at this time was Mr G. Oakins, Bois Mill, Chesham Bois.
The Championship cups named after League secretary Mr Frank Wallington (Div 2) and League President D.W Oliver (Div 1) were presented by Mr F.E Howard, Chairman of the District Council and local Estate Agent.
Division 1: Chesham Bois CC, Ashley Green CC, Britannia Works CC, Chartridge CC, Bellingdon CC, Gt.Missenden CC, Holmer Green CC, Beechwoods Athletic CC, Ley Hill CC.
Division 2: Chesham Town Social Club CC, Conservative Club CC, Britannia Works CC II, Chartridge CC II, Bellingdon CC II, Hyde Heath CC, Ashley Green CC II, Beechwood Athletic II, Holmer Green CC IIAmersham Hill Athletic CC, St Leonards and Buckland Common. [Bucks Examiner]
After a nine season wait CBCC were again champions of the Chesham and District league. The league secretary MrA. E Howlett presented the championship cup and medals. Mr Howlett made special mention to the fact that AndyHorwood and Percy Collins had been in the team on all the eight occasions that Chesham Bois had won the championship. The team: Reg King, Jack Reidelberg, Harold Darvell, Tom Hearn, Len Nash, Andy Horwood, Frank Wilson, Percy Collins, Syd Reynolds, G.King, Harold Foster. The league finally consisted of Chesham Bois, Lye Green, Chesham Social Club, Ashley Green Institute, Brazils Sports Club, Hawridge and Cholesbury and Chartridge. The inter league match with Croydon and District was played at Coleshill on Whit Monday with a win to Croydon. The result equalising the overall results for the last ten seasons . The players and officials were guests of Mr D. W Oliver the president of both leagues. [Bucks Examiner]
1941. Chesham Bois CC were about to be mothballed for the duration of WWII. The league form its inception had gone through many changes as the face of cricket started to give way to the alternative weekend. Up to WWII the majority of players lived near the moor or Chesham.
The league now consisted of Ley Green, Chesham Bois, Brazils, CC Ashley Green, Home Guard, ‘B’ Platoon, CheshamSocial Club CC. In the final game Ley Green won the game by 20 runs against Chesham Bois who were the holders of the league championship. The Chesham Bois XI: G. Walton, R. King, F. Dance, F. Wilson, E. Darvell, T. Hearne, H.Darvell, F. Brandon, S, Reynolds, G. King, J. Reidleberg. The championship was considered during WW1 null and void. [Bucks Examiner]
After reforming in 1945, the Club played only in friendly matches, fielding one Saturday eleven and two sides on most Sundays when cricket in the 1950’s was once again allowed to play matches on Sunday’s following the lifting of a nationwide opposition by the churches and religious institutions.
These friendly matches were played for the next 50 years, despite the availability of league cricket in the area, this being purely a member’s preference to the friendly type of matches bringing lasting friendships between players.
In 1997, a decision was taken by the Club to once again enter into league cricket, this being the Mid-Bucks League winning promotion to Division 1 in 2009. The league featured many teams from the High Wycombe district but the club retained the Sunday friendly matches.
The Oliver Challenge Cup Chesham and District Cricket League Division 1 Champions from 1912:
Ashley Green CC 1919, 1946, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1963 (Shared).
Chesham Bois CC 1912, 1913, 1914, 1920, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1940.
Holmer Green CC 1923, 1928, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939
Ley Hill CC 1911 (no cup until 1912), 1924, 1950, 1952
Gt. Missenden CC 1921, 1926, 1927
Temple End CC 1947, 1948, 1954
Bellingdon and Asheridge CC 1949, 1951, 1953
Chartridge CC 1933, 1934
Chesham Vale CC 1958, 1964
Brazil Sports CC 1959 1963 (Shared)
Beechwood Athletic CC 1922
Coleshill CC 1925
Hawridge and Cholesbury CC 1961
The Division 2 league championship was provided with a challenge cup in 1912 named the Wallington Challenge Cup after the League secretary Mr Frank Wallington, a member of the Wallington soft drinks company.
The Wallington Challenge Cup Champions from 1912:
Gt. Missenden CC 19//, 1920
Chesham United Free Church 1921
Chartridge CC 1928
Conservative Club CC 1929
Buckland CC 1935
Hawridge and Cholesbury 1938
Brazil Sports Club CC 1939