A Brief History of Long Ditton Cricket Club
Long Ditton Cricket Club is now based at Stokes Field, just off Betts Way in Long Ditton, behind Surbiton Hockey Club. The club has been in several locations and used to be called Ditton Hill. Tom Wedlock, started playing for Ditton Hill in 1924 and has the following memories:
“I started to play for Ditton Hill at the age of 14 in 1924, with such wonderful characters as Ernie Boxall (Frank and Ken’s father), Jack Dean – captain of the club at the time and Charlie Harris, to name but a few. The ground was then at Woodgate Lane, or Love Lane as some called it, right opposite St. Mary’s Church at the end of Rectory Lane. One end of the pitch was called the Piggery End, as some chap used to keep pigs in the adjoining field and if the wind was blowing in the wrong direction it was as much the captain could do to get someone to field that end. As I was the youngest by far I had more than my fair share!
The other end was the Orchard end or Stubbs End and it was quite a job to get the ball back sometimes, especially if Mrs Stubbs fetched it. She used to give us a bit of a mouthful but in later years became quite an enthusiast when her son, Ron, started to play.
In 1939 came the war and at first I was in the Home Guard and formed a cricket team that functioned at a few venues. I went into the army in 1942 and Ditton Hill still kept a team going, for whom I played three or four times on leave before going overseas.
At the end of the war Ditton Hill formed a committee headed by the very active Eddie Elms and eventually shared the Sugden Road ground with Hinchley Wood. It was never a very warm relationship, as Hinchley Wood would not let us forget that we came from a different class and hated it when we used to thrash them!
I deem myself very lucky to have played with some outstanding players. Frank Boxall was a very good slow left arm bowler, Peter Sawyer was a very solid player and one of my best friends, Ray Oldham a 100% player in every game and Percy Stenning, who was a brilliant fielder and a terrific hitter- another very dear friend.
Ditton Hill changed its name to Long Ditton Cricket Club and remained at Sugden Road (sharing it with Surbiton Hockey Club) until 1993. The hockey club had gained promotion in their league and had to install artificial pitches, which obviously meant the end of the cricket pitch.
Decca Cup 1981 Cup Final Winners at The Oval, London:
Pictured: Dick Lightfoot, Kevin Mackintosh, Niel Eames, Mark Arthur, Tony Lightfoot, Graham Kell, David Knight, Roy Luthra, Ian Clapp, Dave Oldham, John Harvey, Dane Marshall, Piglet.
Long Ditton was then homeless and spent numerous years at the Hawker Centre on the banks of the River Thames in Kingston. Planning permission for the site where the club now plays was granted in 1998, but while the club continued to play in the Morrant Wey Valley League, work continued on the site at Betts Way.
Sports and Lottery grants, along with fundraising, allowed the project to continue and the new club was finally ready for the 2001 season. Overall Project Manager, Paul Mock, said:
“After years of planning and construction, I am thrilled with the finished result. Now all we need is a good summer to get lots of people visiting the club and having a drink at the bar.”
To celebrate, the then president, the well-known celebrity David Essex, invited a number of stars from the world of cricket and entertainment to take on a match to help raise further funds for the club. On a glorious day in June 2001, about 1500 people lined the entire ground, some who had travelled overnight, to see Mike Gatting, Graham Gooch, Ainsely Harriott, Nick Hancock, Sir Tim Rice Sir Geoff Hurst and others take on David Essex’s Long Ditton side. Unsurprisingly with a team full of ex-England cricketers, Long Ditton were beaten on the day, with five overs to spare.
In 2002, Les Bond, another member of Long Ditton heavily involved with the new ground, was chosen from more than 1500 clubs, when he was awarded Club Cricket Conference Cricketer of the Year.
After playing for a couple of the years in the Morrant Wey League, the club joined the Fuller’s League. A beautiful photograph of a match taken by one of the club’s members, Romilly Lockyer, adorned the 2010 Fuller’s League Handbook.
In 2008 the club achieved the much sought-after Clubmark accreditation and in 2010 became a Surrey Cricket Focus Club, strengthening its links with Surrey Cricket even further. Simon Sweeney, a former junior member now plays for the Surrey Academy side and Imogen Neely became the Surrey Under 11 Vice Captain in 2010. Imogen was also named as a Surrey Player of the Year in 2010. She is pictured below receiving her trophy from former Surrey and England player Alec Stewart at the Oval.
2011 saw the club celebrating 10 years of being at its new ground. It was also the year where the club began running more junior teams than ever before. The thriving junior section is a very important part of the club, with Under 11s, Under 12s, Under 13s and Under 15s all taking part in League matches. Training and friendly matches take place for Under 8s and 9’s.
In 2013 the club was proud to win the Fuller’s League Cup, a competition which saw further success in 2018 with another cup win. The following season in 2019 saw huge success for Long Ditton, with the club winning the Fuller’s League Treble; Fuller’s League Cup 2019 (back-to-back), Champions of Fuller’s Premier Division and the Fuller’s Twenty20 Cup Winners.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the club set up a GoFundMe page for members, family and friends to donate if they wished to help the club throughout this period. All at Long Ditton CC would like to thank those who made any donations, all of which were greatly appreciated.
In 2022, the club also featured in the Sky Sports Cricket documentary ‘The Man Who Bought Cricket’ giving vital exposure to the club on national TV – some images can be seen below:
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