Basingstoke & North Hants Cricket Club History


Brief History Of BNHCC

Cricket has been played in Basingstoke from at least the early part of the last century. The earliest recorded game involving a Basingstoke team was in 1817 and the first documented match on the Folly, the present ground, was against Newbury in 1855. The present club, however, was formed, at a meeting chaired by the Mayor of Basingstoke, in the Wheatsheaf Inn on May 4th, 1865.

The Clubs' first President was Lt.Col. John May, who guided the club through its first half century. It was during this time, in 1875, a timber and thatch pavilion was built in the centre of the southern side of the ground (where the drive is now situated). At this time the club was renamed the Basingstoke Athletic Club and included football and cycling sections. Even today after spells of dry weather the old cycle track is still visible on the cricket pitch.

The final decade of the 19th century saw an upturn in Basingstoke Cricket Clubs' fortunes when it regained its original name and a proposal for a general sports club was rejected. The new century began with another change of name. This time to the present Basingstoke and North Hants CC. The ground was enlarged to its current size and a new brick pavilion with a timber balcony was built in the south west corner of the ground, its present location, thanks to the generosity of John May. The brick structure still forms the main core of the current pavilion structure.

The beginning of the century saw the development of a player who along with the rest of his family were instrumental in the fortunes of the club in various capacities for most of the 20th century – Bert Butler. His 50th year at the club was celebrated in 1948 and in 1949 his fiftieth a groundsman a testimony to his impact on the development of the Club as a whole.

In the 1950’s, the club purchased the freehold of Mays Bounty and in the 1960’s more improvements to the pavilion were made. Comments at the time were made as to whether or not the club would be able to continue due to lack of weekday patronage of the bar and even the future of the cricket club as a whole was questioned.

1966 saw the first First Class match since the war and Hampshire CCC continued to play matches at May’s Bounty each year until 2000 when they took another break only to return again in the 2008 season.

The Club had its first taste of League cricket in 1969 when the 1st XI entered the Southern Evening Echo League. In 1972 it was decided that the club should enter the newly formed Thames Valley League and were the inaugural Champions. This was a rare success and it was not until 1985 did we see a repeat performance. Further sucesses in 1988, 1989 and 1996 followed.

During the 1970’s, a number of other cup competitions were formed and the Club have continued to play in The National Knockout and Bertie Joel cups ever since. Although we have won the Bertie Joel twice in 1992 and 2001 we have always seen disappointment in the National reaching the last eight on many occasions but never progressing any further.

In 1974 the club decided to expand the sporting facilities available to members and two squash courts were added to the rear of the pavilion. This added another 140 members to the Club and provided an important source of new income and allowed the Club to open every night of the week. Further development of the facilities have continued with the addition of another squash court and meeting room facility.

The 1970’s and 1980’s saw the pinnacle of performances for the club with established players from the 1970’s such as Bernie Harrision, Clive Harrison, Mike Richardson, Paul Harmsworth, Derek Dicker, Bill Ives and others being replaced or added to by a group of talented young players developed in the Junior section over many years under the guidance of Derek Brooks. Players such as Danny Bent, Mark Gifford, David Hacker, Ray Pavesi, Rob Williams, Nigel Williamson, Darren Flint all reached their peak in the 1980’s and early 1990’s and this was reflected in the success of the Club during this period.

During the 1990’s the Club were still one of the strongest in the Thames Valley League and were a match for most sides in the South of England winning the Southern Evening Echo and Evening Post Knock out trophies on many occassions, it was no surprise that we were invited to be members of the newly formed Home Counties Premier League in the 2000 season. Players such as Ian Maynard, Jon Govett, Keith Harsham, Lee Nurse, Chris Chandler, Keith Harris and with the addition of some overseas help such as Charl Willoughby, Gavin Tonge and Paul Harris all who have gone on to play test cricket managed to keep the Club competitve at this level. In 2013 we will continue to put out five senior league sides every saturday and our 1st and 2nd eleven look forward to facing the new challenge of playing in the Southern Premier League, which will hopefully be a new exciting chapter in the clubs history.

The Junior section continues to grow and through the hard work of many people over the years has been one of the success stories of the club culminating in the U13 XI being national champions in 2003. Moving forward, we try to ensure that as many young players are introduced to Senior cricket and decide to continue playing the game for as long as possible.

In the early 2000’s it was thought that with many other sports now being played or based from the May’s Bounty facility including Bounty Squash, Football, Darts and Basingstoke Hockey Club that renaming the club to Basingstoke Sports and Social Club would better reflect the diverse nature of the Club as it is today. Since this time we now also host Chineham Rugby Club.

All of these various sections, along with a vibrant Social membership, allows the club to continue opening every day of the week thus employing full time bar and ground staff, offering the best playing facilities for cricket and football in the area and providing a wide selection of cask ales and a venue for social events.