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MWCC - A SHORT PROFILE

The Mogador Wanderers Cricket Club is a wandering club, playing mainly on Sundays. Founded in 1949 in Kingswood, Surrey, it draws its members nowadays a from much wider area but still with a Surrey focus. The centre of gravity is now Reigate/Redhill as displayed by residences of officers and members and favoured watering holes.

Fixtures are mostly in Surrey, from Brook in the west and Oxted to the east, with a few in Sussex, as far as Ditchling. Tours are arranged in some years, either short ones so far only in England, or on occasion week-long ones, even into Europe.

The Club endeavours to play sociable, but good, cricket and believes in trying to involve all the team actively in the game and in having a drink or two with the opposition afterwards. It does its best to ensure that there are proper umpires and scorers in support. There is a strong family atmosphere and plenty of off-the-field fun.

MWCC - A BRIEF HISTORY

Early Days - to the mid 1950s

One day on the up-train from Kingswood, Valerie Pollitt (later Mrs Harlow) had the notion of forming a cricket team to keep her boy-friends busy on Sunday afternoons. This team played through the 1948 season under the name of Mr Hollis' XI. During the winter the gentlemen, with Bill Hollis, Tim Barnes, Tony Sartain, Nigel and Malcolm Weller to the fore, resolved to form a proper club, taking the name Mogador Wanderers from the local telephone exchange. Tim Barnes was the first Captain and Bill Hollis the leading batsman and all-rounder. Receipts books show as many as 28 playing members at subscriptions of 10/- and 20 non-playing members (11 ladies) at 5/- and 10 colts at 2/6. The earliest fixtures were Headley and Tadworth, both of whom we still play, along with other local clubs including the Kingswood Conservative Association. The first win was against Walton Heath. A concrete wicket and nets were procured and installed in the Martin garden in Warren Drive (later donated to St Christopher’s School at the lower end of the road).

The fixture list built up quickly to 36 games in 1951 and 1952 when Saturday games were also played. Grounds at Burgh Heath and Woodmansterne were hired to allow some home fixtures. Club records, a few of which are missing from those early days, show some considerable success, including 15 wins out of 23 completed games in 1950. Wickets were less prepared in those days, bowlers had a lot of help and runs were hard to come by. Eric Evans and Nigel Weller each captained for a season. Fixtures with Reigate Priory and Reigate Pilgrims started in 1952, Purley and Newdigate in 1954.

With great foresight a Colts team was initiated in 1950, if not a year earlier. Peter Martin, an adhesive batsman, who continued to play for the Club until 2003, was one of the leading players, along with Nigel Brook and David Fawcus.

The first tour, to Devon, was made in 1952. It started with just ten players, which number was unfortunately reduced to eight following a collision in the field, straining for a catch off the last ball of the first game, and broken bones for two players.

Rejuvenation from mid-1950s

The Club almost folded in 1955 as leading players retired or moved away, but David Fawcus and Peter Martin, both just returned from National Service, took up the challenge, recruited their contemporaries and rejuvenated the membership under the experienced captaincy of Bernard Boxall. By 1959 the call for more games allowed Saturday matches to be resurrected with considerable success - 17 wins against 10 losses out of 34 completed games, David Fawcus making an aggregate of 1082 runs including a hundred. Many new fixtures appeared, mostly surviving for many years and some until this day including Merstham, South Nutfield, Leigh, Oxted, Chipstead and the two Horsleys.

The Legendary 1960s

From 1957 to 1962 the Club was able to hire the Windmill Press’ ground at Lower Kingswood for a number of games giving a home venue and a legacy of club crockery, some as yet unbroken as late as 2003 (the poles of a cricket net from about 1950 survived into the current century). For a further three years some games were played at Lloyds Bank’ ground at Eyhurst Court, Kingswood.

From 1959 until 1971 a Whitsun weekend tour to the South coast, taking in Worthing and Ferring mostly, was a highlight with many famous parties at the Village House Hotel in Findon. The mighty Worthing were beaten in the first year, but took care to deny a repeat subsequently. Bob Brown knocked up 189 runs at Ditchling in 1964, a fixture regained in recent years.

The Club remained very strong in playing terms through most of the 1960s under the captaincy of Ian Foster, a powerful all-rounder, one of an influx of strong players from the Purley area, seeking congenial Sunday cricket, increasing the existing cadre of ship-brokers members. Selection meetings were reputed to be held on Mondays on the floor of the Baltic Exchange. The bare records of those years do not show great dominance, but the fixture list was very strong, with several all-day games, and a notable cavalier spirit existed.

A particularly strong social life was enjoyed, with the Well House Inn at Mugswell being the unofficial club pub for many years. Closing time was 10pm and beer was always from the barrel;  on occasion the pub was drunk dry. Huge dinner-dances were held for many years, first at the Burford Bridge Hotel, then at Gatwick Airport’s restaurant for 12 years. On one occasion at Gatwick no less than 303 guests attended. Such events made large surpluses and enabled the purchase of a Club cricket bag and kit which travelled for many years with the team.

Into the 1970s

John Ruffle, batsman, wicket-keeper and leg-spinner, was Captain in the early 1970s, doubling up as team secretary. He also introduced to the club Bob Hudson who stood as umpire for 25 years.

The 21st, 23rd and 25th Anniversaries were celebrated in the grand manner at members’ parties at Ian Foster’s and James Freeland’s houses. One of these made a significant loss due to out-of-control costs, necessitating a retrospective whip round all members. However, Annual Dinner Dances continued more profitably for some years at the Russ Hill Country Club, Charlwood and the Felbridge Hotel. After time declining attendances and changing inclinations led to what became a new tradition of member parties, starting with three years on board the Northdown, a refurbished Thames barge moored in St Katherine’s Dock, arranged by Ian Foster by then the Chairman of the Club.

In 1975 David Martin, an attacking batsman and useful bowler took over as Captain and served - apart from a break of one year whilst he was working in Scotland and John Cuthbertson took over - for 23 years up to the half-centenary in 1998. His first year was an exciting one with two tied games and 5 catches for David in the victory at Leigh. However, overall the number of wins declined a bit, although losses were contained by a stiffening of resolve to achieve more draws than previously.

The Tight-rope 1980s

By the early 1980s retirement of many players and lack of major recruitment, gave team secretaries Peter Martin (by then a legendary high-flighted leggie) and Paul Whitehurst (probably our most prolific bowler over the years, with 10 bags of 6 wkts or more) many headaches. Guest players were often drafted. For three years there was a flirtation with another wandering side, but playing and social synergies did not come about and the project dropped.

So the Club soldiered on with the help of a small contingent from Cheam, sons of members in the holidays and on two occasions - ladies. Thanks to amazing work by Team Secretaries full sides were secured with few exceptions and the pattern of results did not deteriorate. In 1986 a nucleus of players was bold enough to attempt a week’s tour to North Cornwall, with barely a team and only mixed success. But elsewhere the fixture list and the standing of the Club was maintained. The 1980s closed with the usual Headley fixture in which three father and son combinations played for the Mogs - Alan and Jonathan Richards (Dad once made 5 dismissals in a Mog game including no less than 4 stumpings, no doubt mostly leg-side), Bob and Ali Brown (the latter later made an ODI hundred), Frank and Stuart Jackson; could have been four pairs but Ollie Martin was at boarding school.

Golden Days Again in the 1990s

In 1988 the 40th anniversary was celebrated at Lord’s with a well-supported dinner, including many former players. In the same year Alex Hewitt, son of a former player, joined and over a number of years encouraged a membership influx of his contemporaries. This led to a highly successful period on the field, with a run of nearly two years without defeat and 16 wins out of 23 games completed in 1994. For one glorious season The Fox Revived in Norwood Hill was the Club’s watering hole, at least three members being working there at the time.

For five years in the early 1990s a proper week’s tour was made to North Cornwall, staying at Perranporth (who let us score 337-8 dec in 1994). When this venture became stale, in 1995 a short tour was made to Wiltshire where the mooing sight-screen and a somewhat lively wicket was experienced at one venue. With renewed enthusiasm, in 1996, with introductions and hospitality courtesy of Ian Foster, a week’s tour was arranged to Menorca where Ian was living. Three games against the MCC (Menorca actually) were enjoyed and won at their Biniparell ground, also great beaches, Mahon gin and a party hosted by Ian. The tour was repeated in 1999.

In 1998 the 50th season was celebrated with three mid-week games at local grounds against invited sides, and with a Ball at the Burford Bridge Hotel, attended by many former players and other guests. A slim booklet was produced for the celebrations, including memories, history and statistics.

The New Century

Alex Hewitt, the most prolific all-rounder in the history of the Club and a punishing batsman now with two double hundreds to his name, became Captain in 1999; son of Robert Hewitt, a former player elevated to V-P. This points up the family nature of the Club and the longevity of playing and non-playing engagement. The list of vice-presidents bears witness. Three generations of Martins had played by about 1990; in this century the third generation of the Hewitt family and the Lewis family have taken the field. Some 15 other father and son pairs can be counted over the years. In 2014 three members celebrated their 25th playing season - Alex Hewitt, Will and Johnnie Parker. Will is now Secretary and honorary Curry-Meister. Johnnie is one of our three overseas players, turning out when they are on furlough from far climes, along with two other second-generation members, Jonathan Richards, first game in 1985, and Stuart Jackson, first game in 1988. On many occasions the supporters’ club includes three generations. Over the years has gone through repeating cycles of girl-friends, wives, children, then playing offspring.

The fixture list remains strong. Sunday is cricket day, with only one or two off each year to rest the team secretary. A number of strong club games replace village clubs who are no longer able to raise Sunday sides. It still includes Headley and Tadworth from the first year and many others of longstanding. Match trophies are played for - against Reigate Priory and Reigate Pilgrims, both in memory of Peter Martin, and against Merstham in memory of Matthew Lewis, a more recent player and vice-captain. One or two fixtures have come to be midweek, during our hosts’ cricket weeks, notably at Reigate Priory.

Tours continue to feature every two or three years. 2002 & 2003 to Lechlade in Wiltshire; 2008 to Menorca; 2011 to Devon, including Sidmouth and in 2014 to Worcestershire. A repeat of the latter will be considered for 2016. Sometimes these are planned as boys-only tours, with the usual omerta, but such is the strength of family ties that does not often happen (boys-only or omerta?).

If the Club no longer holds regular annual parties, there are a number of pre-match luncheon gatherings and curry evenings; the Annual Dinner with the AGM continues. The latter started at Kingswood GC, and, having passed through a number of local hostelleries, is now held at Reigate Heath GC. Partners have been invited for a number of years and, after prior gof, it makes a splendid evening, the set-piece being the Captain’s Report and awards. In 2004 a marquee luncheon was hosted by the Club, at Reigate Priory before the annual game, to honour Peter Martin’s long service to the Club and iconic status, including more than 50 years of man-office holding (just pipping Peter Tudball), on the occasion of his 70th Birthday. The Club’s 60th Year was celebrated in 2008 with a lunch for members of all vintages and their families, including babes in arms, in the garden of Gill Freeland’s house in Chipstead.

The Values of the Club stay as strong as ever. We move with the times, playing the overs-limited games often preferred by our hosts, and indeed some Mogs. The core remains that we want to play decent standard, competitive cricket, on pretty grounds, against teams that do not enjoy sledging, but do enjoy a friendly drink or two before and after the game. This and the inclusive atmosphere engendered is why the Club continues to flourish both on and off the pitch.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

DLM - March 2015

OFFICERS OF THE CLUB

President
1950 - 1961   R C Robertson-Glasgow
1962 - 1974   B Boxall CBE
1975 - 1982   W Hollis
1991 - 2004   J F Ruffle
2005 - date    D L Martin

Vice-Presidents (never President)
G R Peerless
WE F Webb
L A D Martin
H J C Rowe
F G King
J B Worley
J A Higinbotham
M Simmonds
D S Fawcus
Mrs J F Ruffle
I J Lyons
N K Brook
W N M Freeland
Mrs W Hollis
R T Hewitt
I S Foster
J L Cuthbertson
Mrs D L Martin
P N Martin
F S Jackson OBE
A G C Parker
K A Rice
R J Adam
J L Davison
T N Johnson
P R Whitehurst
Mrs G B Freeland
A T Lewis
Mrs C Jago-Lewis
H R H Bate

Chairman of Committee
1949 - 1950   W Hollis
1951 - 1952   E F Webb
1953 - 1954   L A D Martin
1955 - 1957   H J C Rowe
1959 - 1961   B Boxall
1971 - 1990   I S Foster
1991 - 2000   P C Tudball CBE
2001 - date    D L Martin

Captain of the Club
1949 - 1952   T B Barnes
1953               E A Evans
1954               N G Weller
1955 - 1960   B Boxall
1961 - 1970   I S Foster
1971 - 1974   J F Ruffle
1975 - 1981   D L Martin
1982               J L Cuthbertson
1983 - 1998   D L Martin
1999 - date    A R Hewitt

Hon Secretary
1949               N G Weller
1950 - 1952   L A D Martin
1953 - 1955   W Hollis
1956 - 1957   F G King
1958 - 1959   M Simmonds
1960 - 1966   N K Brook
1968 - 1981   I J Lyons
1982 - 2008   P N Martin
2009 - date    W G C Parker

Hon Treasurer
1950 - 1952   W Hollis
1953 - 1962   J A Higinbotham
1963 - 1967   T D Bishop
1968 - 1970   P C Tudball
1971 - 1994   J L Cuthbertson
1995 - date    F S Jackson OBE

Hon Match Secretary
1950               T B Barnes
1951               M Simmonds
1954               P Sparks
1956 - 1959   P N Martin
1960 - 1966   W N M Freeland
1967               V G Ward
1968 - 1998   P C Tudball
1999 - 2009   P N Martin
2010 - date    A G B Tharp

Hon Team Secretary
1950                E F Webb
1951                E F Webb & E Strange
1952                J G Gosney
1954                D R Haydon
1956                P N Martin
1957 - 1958   D S Fawcus
1959                P N Martin
1960                G L Kerr
1961 - 1966   P N Martin
1967 - 1975   J F Ruffle
1976 - 1981   P N Martin
1982 - 1987   P R Whitehurst
1988 - 1990   R F Millar
1991 - 1998   P N Martin
1999 - 2000   W G C Parker/J T Richards
2001 - 2006   W G C Parker
2007 - 2009   J R Honeyfield
2010 - date    C Lee

Junior Captain
1949 - 1950  N K Brook
1951               D S Fawcus
1952               P N Martin
1953               D G Scholey

Vice-Captains (never Captain)
M D Weller
E F Webb
K H W Hancock
N K Brook
W N M Freeland
R J V Steward
P C Tudball
J L Davison
R A Farnes
J B Lyons
R F Millar
F S Jackson
M D P Lewis
D N Abbott
A G B Tharp
C Lee

Committee Members (other)
A T Langdon-Down
B T A Lane
W T Rose
P Haydon
R McAdams
D B Ryde
R T Hewitt
J G Freeland
M Rowland
J T Richards
J F Parker
J J B Freeland
R G Moss
R G Turner

Family Dynasties (in accession order)

Laurence Martin
Peter, John and David Martin
Harry, Susanna and Ollie Martin

Graham Peerless
Brian Peerless

Father Hutchinson
Clive Hutchinson

Teddy Webb
Richard Webb

Bill Hollis
Christopher Hollis

David Linney
Andrew and Ian Linney

Ian Lyons
Jonathan Lyons

Peter Tudball
Nicky Tudball

Neil Freeland, James Freeland
Mark and Jamie Freeland
Barnaby Dunn (nephew)

Ian Foster
James Foster

Alan Richards
Jonathan Richards

Frank Jackson
Stuart Jackson and Gail, David Jackson

Bob Brown
Alistair Brown

Bob Hewitt
Alex Hewitt
Harry Hewitt

Allan Lewis
Matthew Lewis
Oscar Lewis