KIBWORTH CRICKET CLUB - The 20th century
Kibworth CC entered the 20th century able to call on the services of
one of the notable Leicestershire cricketing families, the Marriott's.
Five sons of the reknown surgeon C.H. Marriott played for the club with
Charles B. Marriott captaining the club for 15 years from
1895-1910. The youngest brother Henry H. Marriott gained a blue at
Cambridge and played 87 first class matches, he was also reputed to
have invented the 'gully' fielding postion.
Four years after Charles gave up the captaincy another man who would
prove a stalwart for many years Cecil
'Cis' Berry made his debut. He
would play for the club man and boy into the 1950's.
Once the great war was over, KCC came back to life and both first and
second teams were fielded regularly each weekend. The club had over 50
vice-presidents including well known local names such as the Marriot
family, J. E. Elliott, who was to become a very popular and respected
Headmaster of the local Grammer school, Brigadier Jack and R.G. Watson.
The administration of the club still revolved around the secretary
Frank J Loveday, who had held the position since 1885, and T Harry
Lewis. The headquarters, for business purposes, was The Royal Oak on
the High Street, a base the club was to use successfully for a great
many years. Problems did occur of course and there was a crisis over
the state of repair of the pavilion before the 1935 season that
necessitated the calling of a special meeting. When all the tenders for
the work proved to be too expensive the members carried out the work
themselves. There was a constant need to raise funds and events such as
Whist drives, dances, and prize draws feature in almost all committee
Frank Loveday would eventually hold the Secretary position for 50 years
and he deserves much of the credit for the fact that by the mid 1930's
the club was well established in Leicestershire cricketing circles. In
recognition of his outstanding service a special dinner was held and an
illuminated address presented to him. Frank would continue his
association with the club until his death in 1941 but his job as
secretary would pass to A S 'Stan'
Bolton in 1938 and remain in his hands for most of the next 40
years. In 1939 E W 'Eddie' Welton
took the role of chairman to begin a long period when the two men were
principally responsable for the management of the club. Eddie was also
captain of the 1st XI from 1932 to 1949 and was recognised as one of
the best bowlers in local cricket.
Kibworth Bowls club was established in 1926
by a group of non-playing members of the Cricket Club, including George
Gamble, Jack Bowns, Harry, Tom and Vic Illiffe and Theodore Adkinson.
George Matock, a local farmer and owner of the land, gave permission
for the top court of the defunct tennis club in the corner of the
cricket field to be used and a neighbourly relationship that would last
until the Bowls club moved in 2004 began.
Transport to cricket matches necessitated the hire of transport and
notes from 1937 indicate' a guarantee to Mr Nibloe that 12 members
would travel by his bus to all away matches' was given.The need
for improved ammenaties was also apparent and in 1938 a water supply
was provided to the ground. There were other problems concerning
members as a minute from 1938 shows: 'Owing
to the inconvenience caused when fetching balls sent over the hedge
into Mr Evans' poultry pens by the presence of barbed wire....it was
suggested putting up a netting gate which could be replaced and locked
up after the practice and matches.'
Around this time a second club existed in the village. Named
'Kibworth Tradesmen' they played their games on a pitch two fields away
from the Kibworth ground and occassional games were played between the
two clubs before the tradesmen folded in the late 1950's.
During the Great War, cricket had ceased but this was not the case
during WWII with matches continuing to take place throughout the war
years. Most matches were played at Kibworth with the away games being
restricted to the Leicester area because of transport problems. The
club lost another of its stalwart members within a few months of Frank
Loveday when T H Lewis passed away, another man who had been a member
of the club in various capacities for close on 50 years.
Full fixtures were arranged again for the 1947 season but a further sad
note occured the following year with the retirement of Alf Smith
who had been the 1st XI umpire for the previous 20 years. At the same
time Mrs Clark, having reached her retirement age reluctantly gave up
her responsibilities for the clubs catering. The ground continued to
develop with a brick tea room being built at a cost of £257 in
1949 and extended to provide kitchen facilities in 1956. These
improvements has enhanced the reputation of the club and it was
therefore a shattering blow for the club to learn in January 1951 that
the ground had been sold. Intensive negotiations with the new owners
followed and interest free loans were raised from members so that at a
meeting on 27th February it could be agreed to buy the ground. This far
sighted purchase was completed the following year and helped set the
club on a path to a secure future. The much loved old pavilion was
finally abandoned in 1969 for a new
structure linked to the existing tea room and its timbers used to
construct an equipment shed on the corner of the ground.
For many years the links between the club and Kibworth Grammer school
had been close, the clubs badge derives from the two lions of the KBGS
shield, and the school had provided a regular source of young talented
players. However in the mid 1964 the school moved to a new site in
Oadby and became known as Beauchamp Grammer School with the site in the
village becoming a new home for the Hanbury Secondary Modern school
from Church Langton which was renamed as Kibworth High School. The
result was a fall in the playing standards of KCC as the dearth
of promising local players combined with a lack of good class players
willing to join from other clubs. Many of the strongest traditional
opponents embraced league cricket with the formation of the Central
League in 1968 and Kibworth fixture list began to weaken as a result.
In 1965, despite opposition from the more senior members, Sunday
fixtures were introduced for the first time. Former secretary Len
Sturgess believes that the club had lost touch with
the village community at this point surviving instead on a supply of
'gentlemen cricketers' through the Grammer school system, The
introduction of the annual six-a side competition was an attempt to
address this issue and restore links. Len recollects that attempts by
the local boys to play games on the outfield in the week would result
in Cyril Illiffe appearing from the Johnson & Barnes factory on the
corner of Dover Street to clear them off.
The annual dinner until the mid 1960's was held at the Kibworth band
hut and was organised by the male club members who also prepared and
served the meal as a thanks for the work the ladies had done over the
season in preparing the teas. The only work that the ladies were asked
to do was the washing and cleaning the next day. After the meal and
speeches made by the Chairman and Captain there would be 'games' to
play, some of them quite energetic. A version of hockey and relay
games are amongst those recalled by members who were present. Chairman
Eddie Welton would also regularly entertain with songs from Gilbert and
Later in the decade the dinner was moved to various hotels, the Angel
at Market Harborough (where the tea ladies were presented with
brooches), the Lodge Hotel at Kibworth and later public houses at
Billesdon and Hallaton.
The club finally joined a league in 1974 when they were founders of the
Leicestershire Club Cricket league and celebrated a centenary of
cricket on the Fleckney Road with a game against Leicestershire CCC in