MILDENHALL CRICKET CLUB

History

HISTORY

Mildenhall Cricket Club was established almost 150 years ago in 1876.  On through two world wars its fortunes ebbed and flowed and the club was known to be no better than the village sides that surrounded it. However in the early 1960’s a group of younger members persuaded the committee to raise funds through bingo in an attempt to purchase a ground of their own. As bingo sessions became more popular the club eventually hired the local Comet cinema on a Friday night. By the end of the decade the club had sufficient funds to identify and purchase land in Wamil Way.

With help from national and local organisations the club successfully opened their new ground in 1972. The ground and its facilities soon raised the standard of cricket played by the club and in 1980 it ventured into league cricket. Its reputation of a fine wicket and a centre of excellence soon attracted cricketers from other local clubs. Mildenhall went from strength to strength moving to higher leagues and finally became a member of the highest league in East Anglia (The East Anglian Premier League) . It has through this century enlarged to four teams on a Saturday and had flourishing Ladies and Youth sections. It also boasts having used cricketers who have played at International and Test levels.

In 2018 Mildenhall Cricket Club was awarded a grant enabling them to archive much of its records, photos and artefacts and also make them available to the wider general public. For an index of what’s available see side menu.


                                          "143 Years Not Out"  
                  

 

From this the Club re-emerged with the help of the local clergy. The Reverend H. Wooley became the Treasurer and Secretary and took on the job of resurrecting the soul of the Club. His divine intervention allowed Mildenhall to finally climb out of the red in 1902. In 1910 the Club recorded its first centurion, Doctor F Barnwell and before the outbreak of the First World War the Club secured a life time member in A W Neve.

Through the efforts of W G Stockley, Barnwell and Neve the Club resumed after hostilities and membership continued to shine, the teams’ scores regularly remained well under the cloudy heights of three figures. After years of setting records including their lowest recorded total of seven all out. Mildenhall Cricket Club ceased playing again when war was declared once more in 1939.

In 1946 the Club moved to its third premises, St Andrew's Street, now known as Recreation Way. This provided Mildenhall with a home for twenty-six years, however, they had to share with the football club, with the square providing much of the centre circle. Facilities remained basic. In the last days of the 50's a 2nd X1 was re-introduced under the captaincy of Roger Pendleton. 1966 as the great England team picked up the World Cup Mildenhall recorded another first, with ten ducks in a total of twenty-one against Histon. Former President, the Late Bill Abbs, became a historic figure during this time and a prominent character in the history of the Club. He was a man who developed a fan base across the region and became renowned for his awesome batting displays and unmatched sportsmanship. The Club itself remained on par with most of the village sides around.

Also in the 1960's Mildenhall started to grow as an "Overspill" town bringing in new members. Meanwhile through a playing member, Brian Vale, a weekly bingo session was launched that provided a fund that paved the way for the Club to purchase its own ground. The Club Secretary, Mike Clarke, developed the blue print to bring sports facilities to Wamil Way. He and the then Treasurer, Tony Cornell, embarked on a two year project to transfer the Club to new premises. This final move proved to be a superb twist of fortune, for their move to Riverside ground in 1972 began to transform results, teams, players and fixtures.. 

 

Mildenhall celebrated its centenary in 1976 and Suffolk took advantage of the facilities to start playing county cricket at Wamil on a wicket that had by now become one of the best in the East of England. Following the move to Wamil Way the groundsmen Mike Clarke and Mike Kill tended their hallowed turf with much love and affection for many years. 

Through the 1970s, although they had facilities comparable with top clubs in the county, the Club continued to only play friendly weekend fixtures and it was not until 1981 that the Club joined the "Dairytime” Suffolk League and Mildenhall finally began to improve the quality of their cricket and opposition.


                                                                                   Wamil ground 1977
                                
 
                                                                               Wamil Walk 1998


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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wamil Walk 2009

They entered the Two Counties league in 1990. Following the move to Wamil the Club had run a successful Sunday morning Wamil Wasps football team, however in the early 1990's the pitch was transformed into a second cricket field and a 3rd X1 started. An artificial surface was subsequently added in 1998. The Two Counties league provided a better standard and in three years the 1st X1 had powered their way through to Division One (where they were runners-up the season prior to entering the EAPL) from the basement Division Three. Help in the advancement of the quality and development of cricket played came from the Squire, Handy and the Grinling families and other local cricketers, and not forgetting the wide youth base, cultivated by Kevin Boardman. Boardman was an inspirational coach to many of today’s stars. In 1999 the Club took on its first professional coach Mark Feltham and broadened its catchment of players in order to compete in the East Anglia Premier League.

In 2001 the Club staged a Cheltenham and Gloucester first round match between Suffolk and Nottinghamshire. This was the country’s premier one day competition.

Following the Millennium the Club was relegated back to the Two Counties league in 2006. It did have more success, however, with the continued development of its youth section, winning all three Suffolk Youth cups on three separate occasions. The practice of appointing an overseas coach was adopted in an effort to make Mildenhall the Flagship club for top cricketers in the area. The Club broadened its appeal when it started a Ladies team (2008) and a Fourth X1 on Saturdays (2010). The Pavilion was re-developed in 2009 with funding from the ECB Cricket Community Development Fund (CCDF) and Forest Heath District Council (FHDC). In 2011 the Club boasted its first England player when Tymal Mills played for England U19's test team against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Having first entered the Two Counties league over 25 years previously, the 1st X1 won the Championship in 2016. This earned the Club promotion back to the EAPL. In 2017 Tom Westley (a former youth cricketer) turned out for the Club just one month before making his full Test debut and in the same year the Club secured the services of former West Indian test cricketer Tino Best.

In 2018 the Club finished third in the EAPL, the highest place it had ever since its foundation and in the same year it was granted funds by the Heritage Fund to archive its records and artefacts.







Mildenhall are currently back  playing in the EAPL 

For a potted history through the years read the MCC Milestones