A Brief History

Following are brief extracts from the booklet "150 Years on the Hill" put together as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations in 2000.

On the first day of November 1850 a meeting was held in Taplow Village for the intention of forming a Cricket Club to play on land belonging to Taplow Court Estate. Fourteen gentleman attended on that winter's evening and it is really necessary to list the 14 who would no doubt be pleasantly surprised to learn that the Taplow Cricket Club is still playing on the same ground today, 150 years later.

The name that they decided on was Taplow Union Cricket Club and the first members were

By May of the following year the number of members had grown to 22.

We know that by 1853 matches were played with Wycombe and Colnbrook and would have necessitated the hiring of a horse-drawn conveyance. Over the next few years the fixture list was increased and included Slough, Wargrave, Marlow, Iver, Stoke Green and Beaconsfield.

1888 saw the first water pipe laid to the field by kind permission of Mr Grenfell the landlord.

By 1890 the club had grown in strength with 32 members having paid 10s/- subscription (5s/- for 16 to 20yrs). That same year a concert was organised for club funds which raised £10.1s.0d.

Into the 20th Century and in 1907 a match was played at Kidwells Park, Maidenhead, opponents unknown, also at Dropmore, another ground which does not exist now.

At the AGM of 1910, concern was expressed at the lack of members available for selection. After much discussion it was decided to reduce the number of fixtures to 8 including Bank Holiday matches. The club held a gentlemen's supper at the Dumb Bell Hotel on the evening of Saturday 4th November 1911.

A full list of fixtures were completed in 1914 but at the AGM in April 1915, some doubt was expressed as to whether any matches would be played that year owing to the war. The Secretary was instructed to use the balance of any monies in hand to keep the ground in good order during hostilities.

It is interesting to note that the season before the outbreak of war, Taplow played at Cliveden, Pinkneys Green, Slough, Wooburn, Dropmore and Farnham Royal.

One can only imagine how many of those cricketers involved in these matches lost their lives during the next few years. Unfortunately, no record of Taplow C.C. members who died in this war is available, except the two sons of Lord Desborough who gave their lives so tragically.

The first pavilion at Ten Acres was erected in 1927, an attractive small cedar construction with a veranda and two changing rooms.

It appears that a heated discussion took place at the 1930 AGM as to whether to enter the Julian Cup Competition. Eventually it was decided to write to the Julian Cup Committee stating that unless the competition was kept to 'bona fide' clubs in accordance with the proposal carried at the last general meeting of the Julian Cup committee, then the Taplow Cricket Club would not enter in the future.

Annual General Meetings were being held in the Reading Room during the 1930's and at the 1933 AGM, reference was again made to the fact that the Julian Cup Competition was still allowing none 'bona fide' members to enter and therefore Taplow Cricket Club would not participate. It was not until 1935 that Taplow again entered the cup competition.

In 1938 the club secretary, Mr H. Good, expressed fears that the club could not continue to operate because of dwindling membership. However, it was decided at the AGM to try and continue and indeed a fixture list was fulfilled.

Events a year later overtook the membership question with conscription of the younger men and the club went into hibernation for six years.

During this period local farmer Mewton from Hill Farm was allowed to graze cattle on the cricket field and at a later date sheep. In fact when the club was reformed in 1946, only the square was fenced-off, so it was quite hazardous in the outfield.

As 1950 approached, moves were made to celebrate the centenary with a match against a Middlesex XI, captained by R. W. V. Robins who personally attended the 1949 AGM where he informed members that he would bring a very strong team to Taplow on the 28th May 1950. The team would include both Dennis Compton and Bill Edrich and one condition would be that a good pitch be prepared and that all profit was to go towards ground improvement.

The Treasurer, Mr F. T. Wilson, offered to make a cine film of events during 1950 which, together with the Middlesex match, included a game between club members dressed in the mode of 1850. Unfortunately, this film has been lost.

There was also a Gentlemen's Dinner at the Dumb Bell Hotel and a Ladies night at Skindles Hotel. A Centenary Brochure was produced and the first appearance of the 'Old Man on the Hill' by local artist John Wilson. This rather fearsome figure has featured variously over the past 50 years.

A second XI had been mooted for a few seasons and with increased membership it now seemed a reality. Also in the same year Cyril Moore joined the club and was to become the batting and bowling hero of the club. Moore was then playing for the strong Aspro side and it was obvious from the outset that he was a couple of grades higher than the village cricket of that period. Born in Solihull he had an edge to his cricket which was not always appreciated by opponents who were never keen to play against Cyril. He was a right arm fast/medium bowler moving the ball at pace from the pitch and was an accomplished left hand opening bat. Cyril played to win at all sports including soccer (goalkeeper), table tennis and snooker.

After opening the bowling and batting he would often insist on keeping wicket in any beer matches.

Lady Desborough died in 1952 and a new nervousness crept into the club regarding ownership of Ten Acres. At this time in its life, Taplow Cricket Club could not have had a better man at the helm than chairman Colonel Sydney Marriott. The colonel would spend hours in his den at the Hermitage cajoling everyone for support and there is no doubt that the very large list of vice-presidents from the village in the early 50's were entirely due to his tireless work as the club struggled through some difficult years.

The Colonel's house was the HQ of the club with committee meetings taking place there on a monthly basis, culminating in a snooker party at the end of the season.

The Hermitage stood almost opposite Skindles hotel and often the Colonel was seen negotiating the traffic to call in at the Cedar Bar for a nightcap after a long stint on his ancient typewriter.

The typewriter was an old American Hammond which the Colonel bought in the 1880's. The Den contained scrapbooks of such souvenirs as War Office telegrams from the First World War giving instructions to move his unit forward. The Colonel's army career started at the turn of the 20th Century when he joined the 4th Volunteer Battalion, the Essex Regiment (later the 7th King's Liverpool Regiment).

At a committee meeting on 15th March 1958, the Secretary Mr Peter Trunkfield, announced that a Deed of Gift was being executed in favour of Taplow Cricket Club by solicitors acting for Lady Gage. A vote of thanks was recorded to Colonel Marriott for his outstanding contribution in bringing this matter to an excellent conclusion in favour of the Taplow Cricket Club.

Col. Marriott had been a director of the Limmer & Trinidad Lake Asphalt Co. and his connections with this company resulted in them layng an experimental practice wicket at the ground free of charge. The wicket is still in use today with only a few surface scratches after 40 years.

With the ground now secure, a new sense of hope emerged and talk of a new pavilion being built in memory of Lord Desborough. The nissan hut had served its purpose and the old changing rooms in the wooden pavilion were gradually deteriorating and in any case would barely allow 11 players to change at the same time. It seems very little has changed, even now.

League cricket was growing in popularity and the fixture secretary advised that he was having some difficulty in arranging fixtures on Saturdays. During the March 1971 committee meeting, a heated discussion took place as to the merits of league cricket, resulting in a view that most members were hostile to joining a league.

In April 1972 final details of the new soccer section were explained and a certain Mr Doug Hatch was appointed manager. The team would consist of cricket members and called the Swans F.C., with colours maroon and gold.

It was announced in December 1972 that Col. Marriott had died and it was proposed that Raymond Lock, who had purchased the land to the north of the ground, should be President as from 1973.

Early in 1974 plans were well ahead for extending the bar and store, plus installation of oil-fired central heating. Also it was decided to join the newly-formed Chilterns League for Saturday cricket in 1975. In fact Taplow won both the first and second leagues in the inaugural season.

1975 would also see the clubs 125th year and celebrations were arranged to take place starting with a grand opening on 1st January 1975 of the bar extension. This to be followed by a Celebrity Dinner at the Holiday Inn, Langley and a Showbiz XI match on the 8th June 1975, courtesy of Mr Terry Wogan.

When Taplow Court was sold on the death of Lady Desborough, the house and grounds were purchased by British Telecommunications Research (BTR) who erected a cricket pavilion on the north side of the estate. BTR Cricket Club played most of the local sides during their existence including Taplow C.C. When BTR was eventually taken over by the Plessey Group the cricket ground was kept in good order by Mr Dick Keeble and with the advent of more players at Taplow, the club was given permission to use the ground for some 3rd XI matches.

When Plessey sold the premises to Soka Gakkai International UK, fears were expressed that Taplow C.C. would not be allowed to use the pitch at Taplow Court. However, the club has been welcomed by SGI and we now share the ground with their own team, Taplow providing the expertise on preparing the pitches.

On the resignation of Raymond lock, who moved from the district in 1988, John Midlane became the owner of a new 'Wickenden' and with it the presidency of the club. John together with his wife Iris, has offered hospitality and support to the club for the past 10 years. The August Bank Holiday President's match has produced such test match players as Jimmy Adams, Keith Arthurton, Ian Bishop, Chris Harris and Roger Harper, much to the enjoyment of members.

In 1991 the club embarked on a three-day cricket tour of the New Forest. This proved to be the first of many and the year 2000 saw the l0th tour. Many friends have been made, especially with Cadnam and Brockenhurst.