Lindford's I'Anson exit 'nothing to do with finances'

Thursday 5th November 2015 9:00 am
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THE news that Lindford Cricket Club are to withdraw their teams from the I’Anson Competitions will come as a blow to their players and members, opposing clubs and to the league itself.

The modern Lindford CC has been an I’Anson club since 1972 and the opening of the self-built ground and clubhouse at Broxhead in 1983 was applauded for what a progressive club could achieve through drive, commitment and administrative flair.

John Gray, former player and one of the committee men who saw the Broxhead project to fruition, was keen to dismiss rumours that the club had withdrawn for financial reasons.

“It’s nothing to do with finances,” he told the Herald. “In fact, it’s embarrassing because we have thousands in the bank and now we have to work out how to distribute the money.”

The main problem, he explained, was a lack of will amongst present members to take on management roles at the club and to fill the gap left by the death this year of Frank Lunt, the secretary, founder member and, for so many years, leading light of Lindford Cricket Club.

Gray said: “We held several meetings during the season, but no-one came forward or was willing to help run the sides, take on administrative tasks, to fill the positions of secretary or treasurer.

“At the start of September, we gave them 14 days to sort themselves out. We were prepared to enter just one side next year because we’ve struggled to get two sides out, but still there was nothing.”

He said the burden of running the club had fallen on senior players Jeremy ‘Jingles’ Hall and Stuart Henderson (also chairman) and himself. “Jingles has been filling roles, including secretary, and he and I have been running ourselves ragged. Stuart is away a lot due to his work. We have a nucleus of 15 or 16 players, but no-one else is fronting up.”

Despite the club’s predicament and the probability that neighbouring Grayshott CC will rent Broxhead as their second ground, John Gray insisted that Lindford CC was not going out of existence. “We intend to play friendlies at Broxhead and we are seeking some Sunday fixtures,” he said. “I’m sure Jingles and Stuart will be involved in that.”

He added that arrangements with Grayshott were not finalised, although things were well advanced and an offer was being considered.

The original Lindford CC was based at the Royal Exchange Ground, long since built over. To add insult to injury as far as the older players were concerned, the estate was named ‘Cricket Lea’.

Lindford played in the Miller Cup before the war. In 1953, the club became founder members of the Stevens Cup, first played as a league, and Lindford won it in 1954. The wicketkeeper that year was Norman Disney, later to become a long-serving I’Anson president.

After 1955, Lindford returned to the Miller Cup for three years, after which the club withdrew.

After a lengthy absence, a new club was formed in 1971, thanks to the efforts of a ‘gang of five’. Frank Lunt was the prime mover, flanked by Clive Hudson, Ken Jones, George Mansfield and George Wilson.

After a Miller Cup season in 1972, Lindford gained admission to the I’Anson in 1973 and had sufficient members to field a second team in the Farnham & District League.

In 1985, the departure of Rowledge from the competitions opened the way for both Lindford and Kingsley to enter two teams in the I’Anson.

Frank Lunt, Ken Jones, local policeman Mike Pike, John Gray and businessman Gordon Filmer, who revived the I’Anson umpires’ pool, were the key figures behind the self-build project. The first I’Anson match was played at Broxhead in April 1983 and, on June 5, the ground was officially opened by club president Peter Whitfield and Lindford played a match against an I’Anson representative side.

The following Saturday, Bill Scott scored Lindford’s first I’Anson century at Broxhead – 100 not out against Tilford.

Major trophies have eluded Lindford, but they were Division Two champions in 1992 and maintained their top-flight status for many years before slipping down the divisions.

With selective hitters like Mike Pike and Bill Scott in the side, and the agile Ken Mansell behind the stumps, Lindford were always capable of upsetting the form-book during the 1970s and 80s.

But they enjoyed their best period in the 1990s when with a well-balanced team, including Stuart Henderson, Jingles Hall, Barry Clement, Geoff Boardman, Karston Waller, Paul Copplestone and Trevor Lee, they finished fourth in Division One in both 1996 and 1997.

In 1994, Lindford won the Pope Cup, only to forfeit the knockout trophy for fielding an ineligible player. It was typical of the club that they themselves brought the oversight to the attention of the league.

More importantly, Lindford have earned a reputation for sportsmanship and generous hospitality at the handsome Broxhead pavilion.

Could Lindford return to the I’Anson fold? “Who knows what might happen in years to come,” said John Gray. “But it’s up to the members to say ‘yes’.”

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