In 1875 Braunton played Fremington in a two innings match when the scores were, Braunton 37 and 24 Fremington 21 and 24. Braunton played Taw Vale C.C. and reached 60, with visitors making only 20 runs. In these games no double figures were recorded! In 1876 the Club played Chaloner’s Endowed School another two innings game- Braunton 50 and 55, the School 30 and 78 and this was published in the local paper. However, scorers were not so accurate in those days and a subsequent letter to the press with a corrected score gave Braunton a win by 12 runs!! A match against Bishops Tawton C.C. saw Braunton win, 77-28.
Back Row: Mr. Kelsey, L.J.Isaac, J.Kelly, C.Thomas, C.Bearne, Rev.Morley-Wilkes, G.Barnes (Umpire)
Front Row: A.V.Betty, r.J.Shaw, Rev.G.A.Carter, T.G.Chugg, E.Shambrook, E.Bidder
In 1956, Mr. Kelsey, who enjoyed watching his cricket and was a frequent visitor to George Chugg’s shop, heard that the ground was to be up for sale. He also knew that the Club could not afford to make the purchase. So, quietly, he went to the vendors, bought the ground and gave it to the Club!-for the playing of cricket. A provision was made that the Scouts were to have their hut in the corner of the field for as long as they wanted. This was gladly agreed and still is there today. To own its own ground is a “fillip” to any club and those in charge soon got down to some work on both the square and building. The erection of that first pavilion was done by members themselves in 1939. Freddie Baker supplying the timber, all hands were assembled at 2 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon and by 8 p.m. the floor was laid, partitions were up and only the front was left to assemble later. Members assisting were Reg. Pascoe, Len Leworthy, Joe Huxtable, Stan Hiscott, George Chugg, Charlie Pickard and Ernie Shambrook. It cost £29. In 1967 the New Pavilion was opened by the local M.P., the cost was £1150; the erection took two days. Secretary at the time was Bill Newman who spent a great deal of time with the paperwork and being on site to see that things were in order.
It is not possible to record here every achievement of the Club over these years. It is hoped that the exhibition of cuttings and photographs assembled in the Pavilion will recall some, others will linger in the memory, none perhaps more than that of 1980 – this Centenary Year of Braunton cricket.
Braunton 1946 at Filleigh
Back Row: L/Leeworthy, G.Chugg, R.Barker, G.Venton, Pascoe, Woodley, Leeworthy Sen. (Umpire)
Front Row: A.Potier, W.Ackland, F.Goldthorpe, J.Incledon, C.Bearne
Playing on the new ground at Wrafton in 1878 v. Georgeham the game finished with two hours to spare as Georgeham declined to take a second innings. In June of that year Braunton beat Ilfracombe 86- 35. In 1910 on the Saunton Road ground the 2nd Xl assisted by ‘several 1st Xl players, beat Chaloner’s School in a two innings game 54 and 117 against 35 and 21/4. Braunton were defeated by St. Mary’s ( Barnstaple ) in August of that year scoring only 24 in reply to 81/7 dec. The pitch was blamed for the poor batting!
1913 saw the first lack of interest when few games were played and a revival was planned for 1920. Few turned up to a meeting and the game continued to be in the doldrums with no press records of scores. So we move on to 1938 when the Club was’ reformed by a dedicated group of men and women working on and off the field to see that no further lapses would occur again
They raised money by holding whist drives in their homes on Friday nights; Jumble Sales and Skittles competitions all helped to raise the funds. A tea hut was purchased, a grass cutter from Ellerslie School, timber was bought and £7 .10s was paid as the rent for the ground. The revival had come and has been carried on by people likewise minded until present day. The ground was off Moor Lane and part of Saunton Park Estate. Later Col. Tweedie invited the Club to play at The Brittons, now covered by bungalows. From there to Farmer Paul’s field in Silver Street, then to Goodgates and Chaloner’s School ground during the war years up to 1945. Eventually to the field where the Club now plays in Field Lane, and now called the Kelsey Ground.
The introduction of the snap resulted in unexpected consequences. Prior to the snap, the strategy had been to punt if a scrum resulted in bad field position. However, a group of Princeton players realized that, as the snap was uncontested, they now could hold the ball indefinitely to prevent their opponent from scoring. In 1881, both teams in a game between Yale-Princeton used this strategy to maintain their undefeated records.
Back Row: R.Fogerty, N.Lucas, M.Pattison, N.Woodley, J.Griffiths, R.Churchward, H.Heaver, D.Perry, D.Cowler, E.Beer
Middle Row: N.Dennis, J.Fry, R.Lewis, G.Hird, M.Lewis
Front row: S.Guest, J.Carr, D.Brook, D.Gunn, N.Rendle
The clubhouse was erected in 1983 and opened by our local M.P. Mr. Tony Speller. Each year there have been improvements mainly on the interior where the social side of the club has flourished. An umpires room doubling as an office and enhancements to the interior decor incorporating the skittle alley are planned.
When we entertain tourists from all over the British Isles as well as from Australia and the County Clubs of Somerset and Worcester, they show much appreciation of the facilities and friendliness they find at Braunton. Having been with the club for 36 years I have seen many changes none more dramatic than the last eight years. It appears that the Centenary year gave rebirth to our already good club. If you can improve on the best then I am sure the committee and members will make it so and we all wish them well in the years to come.
First published in the Phil Neale Benefit Season Braunton CC Brochure promoting the Saunton Sands Festival of Sport August 30th – 1st September 1988