Hutton Cricket Club

Hutton Cricket Club History


Hutton Cricket Club came into existence on a summer day in 1864 on a plot of land east of Hutton Hall, which we know today as the Warren. The idea of forming a village cricket team solely for Hutton had been the idea of one Joseph Addison McLeod, who was the squire in residence at the Manor House. Hutton Hall had been built in the mid eighteenth century on a site of a previous house and is still situated north west of the nearby Church. Over the 139 years of Hutton Cricket Club’s existence the club has always had a close connection with Hutton Hall and also with the previously mention church “All saints”.

Hutton’s first opponents on that day in 1864 were Billericay. The players changed in the Hall and in a two innings match Hutton lost by 30 runs. What is not clear is how often matches took place after that first match. The team was made up of local gentry, grooms and local shopkeepers all residing or working in Hutton. What is known about these early days though is that many players also played for other local clubs as well including Billericay, Brentwood, Herongate and Stock.

From late 1880 until about 1914 Hutton Cricket was flourishing. Matches were played regularly, although not necessarily in the right spirit as this following article from the Essex Weekly News of July 24th 1885 reports: Hutton v Mountnessing - Last week we received an account of this match. From one side we have received a very different version from the other side. We think It is advisable to publish neither. It is evident on the face of each that there is some feeling in the matter and it is better that matches should be played fairly by both sides with bat and ball on the field, rather than through the columns of a newspaper.

It is noticeable, looking through reports and scorecards of this period, that in most club matches it was the day of the bowler and there were many close finishes and low scores. It was rare for a team to muster a ton, so it was with great celebration in 1888 when George Baxter of Hutton Park scored the club’s first 50 v Billericay.

The rector at Hutton, Piers Leopold Claughton had begun his long serving spell at All Saints in 1881. This lasted until his death in 1939. He was a full playing member of the club, and played in the famous Lords v Ladies match of 1890. Hutton Cricket Club had at this point played at the Warren for 35 years. It was decided at this point to leave the Warren and move about 1 mile along the High Road. The headmaster of Industrial Residential School, W.B.Dean, instigated the move to the new ground at Burses, this being the home of William Dalton. The School was at Hutton Poplars on the opposite side of the road to William Dalton's house and the new ground was where the Fire Station now stands today. William Dean's sons Ronald and Allan were keen cricketers and Dean felt that the type of wicket available at Burses and the standard of outfield was far better than could have been achieved at the Warren. A regular groundsman was employed and this paid dividends as the new wicket got better and better. Indeed the standard of cricket improved so much that many Essex Club & Ground matches were played at Burses.

One of Hutton’s most distinguished players of the nineteenth century was J.L.Nickerson who was a fine batsman. He was an old Brentwood schoolboy, who also appeared for the Gentlemen of Essex as well as Essex County Cricket Club. Another was J.F.Lescher a local landowner and the first Essex secretary. His brother Edmund also starred for both. The strength of the club was good at the turn of the 20th century, such that a professional, G.Collinson, was taken on. Collinson was from Yorkshire and was a quick scoring batsman and a fast right armed bowler. He added to the all round ability of the side so at this period in time they could obtain better fixtures and could even hold their own against arguably the best side in the district Herongate. The strength of the team was constantly supplemented with the help of the new recruits from Warley Army Barracks (where Ford's Building now stands today). Even with these recruitments Hutton Cricket Club was and has always been a family club. Well known families from the district took bigger parts in the club’s running. These family names are still well known in the district - Cross, Wainwright, Spooner, Matthams, Parmenter and Emberson.

The Golden age of Hutton Cricket Club had reached its peak during these early years of the 20th Century. This era was to be cruelly ended by the outbreak of World War One. Hutton as a village had changed greatly in character after the “Great War” as many families lost family or relations fighting in battle. As a result lives had to be rebuilt so cricket was the last thing on people minds at this time.

Hutton Cricket Club’s previous cricket ground at Burses had been sold by William Dalton after the end of the First World War and houses were being erected on the site. This meant a new site had to be found, when all the existing members decided to restart the club in 1924. Mr Pilkington, who lived in Hutton Hall at this point,came to the clubs rescue and decided that he would let his existing Polo Ground be used for Cricket. The Squire still had horses on the field so part of the Polo Ground was fenced off. One of the members at the time a Mr George Hardinge, who lived in Hutton House, decided to celebrate the birth of his son, by having a square laid on the new Cricket ground and once a new pavilion had been built Hutton Cricket Club was back in business.

In those days the wicket ran from North to South (this was changed to East-West in 1932). The first captain of the reformed club was George Wood who lived in Hutton High Road and although the new pavilion had changing and storage facilities it neither had a bar, electricity or even running water. Teas were therefore served in the rectory, home of the still installed P.L.Claughton, after match hosting was at the Hutton Junction Hotel (The Hutton) and water was carried in churns from Hutton Lodge, a distance of about ¼ mile. In June 1926 Malcolm Pilkington died, at this point Hutton Hall plus all of its land was sold to London County Council, who were at this time looking out for land to built on, as the inner city grew larger day by day.

The first change of captaincy also took place in 1926 when Jack Emberson had his first spell in charge. Fixtures in the late twenties included matches against Mountnessing, South Weald, Brentwood Congregational, New Tabernacle (London), Stondon and Great Burstead. As in earlier days, the ball often dominated the bat. A report from September 18th 1927 shows that Hutton declared at 22-8 and Great Burstead won by just one wicket. There is also mention of a match in 1930 where Hutton were dismissed by Stock for 7.

One of the clubs distinguished opponents of the early thirties was the Essex Legend, fast bowler - Charles Kortright. The Cricket Club committee in 1928 had both joint secretaries and Treasurers. R.L.Lindsay of Hutton Village and J.E.Tasker taking these duties. As the 1930s began Hutton were captained by John Fredrick Willan a player of some repute. He lived in Hall Green Lane and was captain from 1928-1930. He died in 1936 at the tragically young age of 39. L.Dixon then had his one season in charge in 1931. He was a prolific batsman as well as a fine medium pace bowler, but unfortunately he was not around when Hutton reached its lowest ebb on June 3 1933 when in a match against Bentley they were dismissed for 2. Not surprisingly the club were at a low ebb during this time, but it revived during the mid-thirties, mainly due to the influx of new players and in 1935 a second XI was formed and in 1936 a mid-week XI.

Yet more family names were springing up during this time – Willey, Myall, Harman and Fiddes.One outstanding player was Jim Pope, who was the first to bring to the club the rich stroke playing that the club has enjoyed for many years now. Bill Legge too, was a free scoring batsman, but the club also had bowlers of reputation too. J.H.Spooner, P.Waddle and the record breaking Jack Wren (10-18 v Leyton Nomads) all terrorized the opposition batting on many occasions.

During the mid/late thirties, Hutton were beginning to show form constantly with both bat and Ball. During the Second World War cricket still continued thanks to the efforts of the older members. After the war the club grew in stature on and off the field. This was due on the field to captain George Mills who in the 1948 season took a record 173 wickets. Off the field the tireless work of secretary David Bradford was starting to pay dividends. Benefit matches were arranged for the Essex players from 1948 onwards and Hutton Cricket Club was mentioned frequently in the Essex C.C.C. Yearbook.

During the 1950s and 1960s the team grew in strength and had a powerful opening pair in John Clarke and John Wallis. It also had a more than useful bowling attack of Dudley Fiddes, John Spooner and left arm spinner Roy Willis. A colts section, started in the late sixties, as well as a newly formed 3rd XI saw the club move to even greater heights. The colts system saw Keith Pont, Ian Pont, Paul Prichard and latterly Andrew Clarke all go on and play for Essex County Cricket Club.

During the 1970s the club entered the Essex League and in 1980 had their best season finishing a close second behind Orsett and Thurrock under the captaincy of Richard Pryke. The first championship was won in 1982 when the third XI won their division. Around this time the field adjoining the main ground was purchased and a third and fourth XI ground was developed. This ground is regularly voted as the top ground in the 3rd & 4th XI leagues. The cricket at the Polo Ground is still played in the exciting way it always has done and this has brought other titles for the lower sides.
N.B. These history features would not be possible without the help of the libraries of Essex, the Essex Records office and the late Peter Myall who this page is dedicated to.