Chalfont Park Sports Association / CSP Cricket Club History
Chalfont St. Peter Cricket Club / Chalfont Park Sports Association
Bevan Whitney had a collection of all our memorabilia from years gone back. I remember seeing that he played in 1934 and he probably played until 1971 as his collection includes fixture cards from 1932 to 1971.
Bevan suffered ill health in 1971 and wrote many letters to members informing them of his collection of score books and stated in one letter that the collection belonged to the club. Bevan thought he was going to die in 1971 and this is detected in his letters. Nobody went back to him, so he wrote that upon his death, the collection should be placed in the county records hall – Aylesbury. The lot number is D122. Bevan actually died in 1979 but he protected his collection well. The collection can be built upon as David Mathew’s wife will have some old score books from the 1950’s as David took these and never returned them. Len Devonshire’s wife should be able to inform us of where she is now.
The early days
In the early twenties, Chalfont used to travel miles to play sport at the weekend. Southgate was one fixture I saw. The railways were built then, so it must have been into London and out again to the north for the game and how long did that take? People didn’t have cars then did they? This game started at 11.30am so what time did they leave? In 1934 the Club toured Norfolk and Dr Bair was in the side. He used to work at Harefield hospital and liked a tipple. He would regularly go up to the bar and ask for 2 jugs. One for the opposition and one for himself! After one such drinking spree he asked Rickard to throw at him in the nets. They finished and Blair went into the changing rooms. He sat down and died of a heart attack. W.D. Farquharson went on tour in 1934 although his brother did not as J.R. Farquharson died in the spring of 1934 under tragic circumstances whilst game hunting. I guess he was shot in an accident! Jack Rickard was one of out great players of all time. Jack didn’t have a great technique, but had a great eye for the ball. “You never saw the ball travel so far when Jack him it” Mervyn Jeanes has been heard to say! Jack had a brother and he immigrated to Australia. The assumption is that Jack followed him later although we are not sure of the facts. Billy Weir’s name comes up and is described as “our famous bowler” in letter from Bevan to the secretary dated 1959. On May 28th 1927 Billy Weir took 6 for 32 in 15.4overs with 5 maidens against the Architectural Association. This was on the current Chalfont Park site.
CPSA Late 50’s and early 60’s
Just to the right of the 3rd Tee, behind the far sight screens there is a copse. In the 40’s and 50’s it used to be a dell until Les Smith (the golf club green-keeper) filled it in. Gordon Tresize from the Artisans used to go down with his catapult and shoot the rabbits in the dell. He only ever caught one and bumped into Les Smith in the middle of the cricket pitch with his catch. “You’ve got one of my Rabbits there!” said Les. “No, it’s mine, I shot it with my catapult.” replied Gordon. “Well what’s that snare doing round its neck” retorted Les. Gordon handed it over as the only rabbit he could catch was one already snared! That has not put Gordon off as he still visits the Park every day to walk his dog. We have a tremendous collection of Photo’s and one is of the great Don Bradman and Mr Cornwall. Mr Cornwall was a very wealthy man who was Chalfont St Peter for many years. He lived in a very large house near “Old Jobes” in Chalfont St Peter. He had properties in London and mixed with the famous. He used to entertain the Australian Cricket Teams at Chalfont Park and he had 2 sons that went to Cambridge. He met Sir Learie Constantine on the social circles and offered him an apartment in London in return for playing for Chalfont St Peter on a Saturday. In the Team was a South African named McDonnell. He was captain and found it difficult to accept Sir Learie in the same room as him and his equal! The youngest of Cornwall’s sons was studying Law, as too was Constantine, and every Saturday the two of them, with a twenty to thirty year gap, would compare study notes.
Chalfont had a great side and was a match for most teams which included High Wycombe, Southgate, Gerrards Cross, Chesham to name a few.
Constantine would never take tea at home. He would go to the outfield and would give his time to the youngsters and coach them during the tea break. During the game, whilst batting, Constantine would try to hit the ball at the old pump station, now the site of the green-keepers shed on the golf course.
The great Dennis Compton played for Chalfont but in the end moved up to Gerrards Cross after a falling out. He insisted that a long-standing fixture against Chesham be cancelled in preference to a late organised charity game with Anthony Knight. I guess Compton is better known as a Gerrards Cross player rather than a Chalfont one. He did want to bat, bowl, captain and do everything himself it seems, but that is probably why he was great because he could do that !
Ian Meyhew has told us that in the early 70’s the famous “Ridge” has build on the square to stop the river Misbourne from flooding right up to the square. This worked and is why it is always a “batting paradise”. This explains the “raised square” as we know today. It was formed by surrounding the square with oak beams and the filling the square with soil, before compacting and removing the oak!
The Ground at Chalfont Park was created by Lady Edgar for the recreational activities of her Staff from the main Manor house. In 1922, the Golf club was formed and the club was run out of a room in the main house. In 1955, still with many years left on the lease on the grounds for the playing of Cricket, Lady Edgar died. This gave the Club the opportunity to buy the freehold of the land and they set up the appeal. They needed to raise £2,200. They had £500 in the bank. They decided to mortgage £500 and planned to raise £1,200.The Plan was that the members would lend £5 for twelve years and the Club would repay £6 in twelve years. Every year a ballot would be made for 20 units of £5 and monies repaid until everyone was paid back.
The Club raised the Money!
Chalfont Park came up for Auction in 1955 in several Lots. The Golf Club, the Cricket Club and the House would have been in lots. The Golf Club went for £5,000, The Cricket ground went for £1,200 and it is not sure what price was reached for the rest of the lots.
The Original Clubhouse was on the West side of the pitch in front of the current River Misbourne. There was a concrete base on the site and this was recently removed by the current squash court conversion project It is interesting to note that the current river Misbourne course was moved to accommodate the by-Pass in the early seventies.
The Golf Club apparently own the land, some 15 years in from the river. This now means that the old concrete base for the original pavilion, that was built in 1934 and was used until 1957, when the new pavilion was built, is on land, currently owned by the Golf Club (?). There are rumours that the Golf Club claimed squatter’s rights to claim some land from the Cricket Club – Bill Horton remembers something about this.
I quote from a letter to all members dated May 1957. This is the year Meryvn Jeanes hung up his boots and joined the Golf Club, I seem to remember.
The new pavilion is nearing completion and will be formally be opened by the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Major Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, D.S.O., M.V.O., J.P. at 2.30pm on Sunday 16th June.
This occasion also marks about 100years of cricket in Chalfont St. Peter.
In 1855 a combined team from Chalfont St. Peter and Gerrards Cross played against Beaconsfield
On July 6th 1859 a Chalfont St. Peter Team played Amersham in Hand meadows and lost 66 to 62
The return match was played on Gold Hill on August 2nd and we won 81 to 74.
About 1925 we started to play in Chalfont Park and now in 1957 we own our ground and a pavilion, which you will agree, will take some beating.
So please turn up at 2.30pm on 16th June