LEVERSTOCK GREEN CRICKET CLUB 1908-2008
When any organisation or individual reaches a 100 year birthday, it is of course a cause for celebration – and often serious reflection. 2008 was the year that Leverstock Green Cricket Club reached that landmark, and it is fair to say both celebration and reflection were much in evidence.
More importantly perhaps, the club also saw its Centenary as a stepping stone to the continued growth and development of the club. Whilst the theme of the Centenary recognised the history and past membership and friends, there was also the satisfaction in involving the full junior talent within the club in those celebrations.
For the Centenary itself, the English club cricketers’ indomitable spirit shone through, as the Centenary Match in late May was close to being flooded out. But, by 4pm, following sterling efforts from everyone, a shortened match took place. Contested by playing members representing Past and Present and watched by a truly wonderful turnout of ex members, stretching back to the 1950s, the weather was irrelevant and the camaraderie and club spirit was a joy to behold.
As part of the celebrations, all the visitors were treated to a wonderful buffet lunch and there was much pleasure in many old members renewed contacts with fellow players for years past. There was no doubt the collective memories were playing tricks however, judging by some of the extraordinary stories being related!.
One of the features of the day was the unveiling of a replica of the original Gazette new item from 23 May 1908, announcing the inaugural meeting of the newly formed Leverstock Green Cricket Club This now has pride of place in the clubhouse.
The club’s efforts that day were rewarded with wall to wall sunshine for the Centenary cricket week in late July. This was a different celebration, with old adversaries but good friends, with whom we have been engaged in competition for so many years. The President’s XI is the traditional game to start the week and we were delighted when those good friends referred to earlier joined the club on Wednesday for a 20/20 day. Potters Bar were the first opponents, as they were in LGCC’s first cricket week more than 25 years ago. Following the “Bar”, a select League XI graced The Green and, like the previous game, the club lost but not without honour.
Finally the Friday finale was graced by Mike Gatting and Mark Illot who had both agreed to lead two mixed sides of club players and ex professionals. The Club were flattered and extremely grateful that two such high profile cricketers found the time to support the Centenary.
The week had begun with the Junior Ashes Day against our good friends from St Albans. The earlier reference to the next generation of LGCC was dramatically demonstrated with the quality of talent on display. The legacy of those so heavily involved in the development of junior cricket looks assured.
The club would like to think that one thread running through the year might make this particular centenary unique – a DVD has been produced featuring the best of thwe action and several interviews with members past and present. It was fortuitous that the club had Nick Taylor as a social member. Nick is a Video Editor for the BBC and made his professional skills available to the Green, shot substantial footage, edited and produced a quite fascinating DVD. Cricket action, mixed with interviews and spliced with images from the past has given LGCC a permanent record to be cherished – it even has Nick Robinson, the BBC’s Political Editor doing the narration!
Should any other club approaching a major landmark consider something similar, LGCC might be prepared to lend Nick (Taylor not Robinson!) – for a consideration of course!
So there it is…….Leverstock Green Cricket Club can look back on their 100 year history with pride and thanks to those stalwarts of yesteryear who “had the dream”. It is surely not too extreme to suggest that they might be looking down from that great pavilion in the sky and nodding their approval.
As LGCC begins the long road to its bicentenary(!) in 2108, those playing now and those to come have been charged with continuing that successful legacy……….there should be no doubt they will.