The History of Cheam Cricket Club
The origins of cricket at Cheam date back to 1864 when a group of local parishioners started playing in the local meadows. In 1875, 5 acres of land was leased in Cheam Park and the game was played there for many years.
The first recorded gathering of Cheam Cricket Club in the twentieth century came in 1919, and 2 years later the freehold of the current ground in Peaches Close was purchased. The distinctive poplar trees were planted and the enormous permanent sightscreen was constructed, until recent years the largest in the world.
During the second world war, bombs fell on the ground causing damage to both the pavilion and playing surfaces. After the war, players gradually returned and cricket at Cheam was played to a good standard.
The late 1950’s and 1960’s became known as the benefit years and valuable funds were raised for the Surrey beneficiaries of the time. In 1968, Cheam staged an International Cavaliers match with John Edrich of Surrey and England the beneficiary of a game watched by a crowd of 8,000. The match was televised live on BBC2 and it was the first cricket match televised in colour. Gary Sobers, Frank Tyson and Trevor Bailey were amongst the stars of cricket who played at Cheam on that day.
In the same year, Cheam became a founder member of the Surrey Championship and quickly earned a reputation of producing pitches of high standard. Mike Haigh’s 1st XI finished 4th in the league in 1976 and the 2nd XI, under Nick Mason’s leadership won a first championship title for the club in 1977. Strength in depth was a feature of the club and there was further success for Nick and the 2nd XI in 1981, and again with Tim Masey as captain in 1986. 3rd XI success came with back to back league titles in 1982 and 1983 with Trevor Lonsdale leading an all conquering side. Pat Wearne’s 1985 side added a third triumph in 5 years and Sonny Patel’s 1989 side made it four. In doing so a very special decade for the club was completed and there were further honours to follow.
Colts cricket was flourishing and a number of young players made easy and effective transitions into the senior sides. Of these youngsters, Alastair Brown and Mark Butcher were both brought into the 1st XI at very young ages and both were offered county contracts at Surrey. Long and highly successful county careers for both ensued and Alastair went on to play 16 ODI’s for England. His score of 268 in a one day 50 over game against Somerset remains a world record. Mark totalled 71 test matches for his country, gaining the highest honour in the game with the England captaincy against New Zealand.
Alastair and Mark formed part of a power filled batting line up during their years at Cheam and the club swept all before them in 1990. A first 1st XI championship was won in 1990 under Bob Falconer’s captaincy and a thrilling semi final win against Truro gave the club a Lords appearance to contest the final of the Cockspur Cup, the premier club cup competition. A tense and exciting game was finally won by opponents Blackpool in the last over.
Stalwart David Morgan played in the 1st XI before the beginning of League Cricket and was ever dependable in the team for over 30 years. His record of 1325 wickets in the Surrey Championship 1st XI league is unlikely to be broken.
Strength in depth was still the theme and Mark Rendall’s 2nd X1 won consecutive Surrey Championship titles in 1990 and 1991.
As the Surrey Championship expanded, the club continued to field 4 sides on a Saturday, all playing league cricket. Sunday cricket has always featured as an important component in the summer season, with veteran Bob Airey still playing and having featured in the team over 4 different decades.
The Colts section continued to impress and Michael Carberry, a Cheam colt and 1st XI player has gone on to enjoy a lengthy county career with stints at both Kent and Hampshire. Michael made his England debut in a test match on the sub continent in 2010 and has 6 caps to his name.
Overseas cricketers featured over several seasons, with Greg Lamb following several summers at Cheam with a breakthrough into the Zimbabwe Test and one day sides.
Into the current era, and the club prospered under the captaincy of Danny Miler for 5 years, and the team has played a brand of entertaining cricket with David Houpapa and Danny both all delivering memorable moments.
Mike O’Donnell remains first team captain for the 2016 season. Mike in previous seasons has successfully captained his age group throughout his years in the colts, and more recently the development XI. Tom Horwood remains Captain of the 2’s, whilst Paul Fisher, the 3rd XI.
In President Warren Robertson, and Chairman Andy Bruen we have two leaders who know the club well and have seen their own children progress and develop through colts cricket at Cheam into the senior sides.
Cheam has hosted Surrey 2nd X1 games for many years and other representative games are also played at Peaches Close, including Club Cricket Conference and County Over 50’s fixtures, testament to the current quality of the square and facilities.
Past Presidents, Justin Thomas and Howard Cohen have both given many years to the role at the club and been largely responsible for the Club maintaining a prestigious fixture with MCC during our cricket week. Great credit and thanks are due to them for their hospitality and generosity on these days.
The club sets out to be very much part of the local community and continues to offer a friendly and inclusive approach enabling cricketers of all standards to enjoy cricket and club life in the heart of Surrey.