Wheathampstead Cricket Club History

Nomansland Common, Wheathampstead, AL4 8EL


Wheathampstead CC History

Early Years
On a small parcel of land between Wheathampstead and Sandridge lies a common known as Nomansland, where sheep once grazed peacefully and gypsies were a common sight with their colourful caravans and horses.

On this common is a cricket club, Wheathampstead Cricket Club once known as Whethampsted Cricket Club. This cricket club came to an agreement with The Chapter Estates Manor and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England, to use the said cricket pitch and enclose it, keeping it in good repair, for the annual sum of one shilling it demanded for the privilege of the use. This agreement was signed by a publican, a blacksmith and Wheathampstead Cricket Club on the 9th Feb 1899. Matches, including county games, are known to have been played on the common in the 1800's, but the first officially recorded match took place in 1824.

Notable Players
Wheathampstead has had many fine players over the years, some of whom are remembered with fondness in the annuals of local cricket history. These include the great West Indian batsman Carlton Franklin, the safe hands of wicket keeper Les Hill and, in latter years, the magnificent talents of all rounders Kamran Razza and David Creswell.

The Golden Years: 1985 - 1990
Between 1985 and 1990 the club was arguably at its peak, winning the County Cup and turning out three teams on a Saturday and two on a Sunday as well as having a very highly rated Colt’s team that paved the way for players to move onto the county cricket stage. The success continued into the early 90’s with teams gaining promotion several times and the Colt’s teams finishing runners up in the County Cup final.

Stability: 1990-2000
Ian Medway and Pete Bush led the 1st XI during the 90s as they continued to battle in division 3 throughout the decade. There was stability and 3 sides were entered throughout the era. During 1998 the colts u11's reach the county final, losing out to Radlett by 15 runs in a game which could have seen them qualify for the National Finals. The crop of players included future 1st XI players such as Richard Winchester, Adam Winchester, Mark Winchester, Adam Robbins and Daniel Norris who would form the back bone of the 1st XI in the 2010's..

The Dark Days: 2000 - 2007
At the turn of the millennium WCC's fortunes began to change and unfortunately, due to a depleting membership, only two Saturday teams and one on a Sunday team could be fielded.  Furthermore, the club’s Colts system disappeared and the pavilion was gutted by an arson attack at the beginning of the 2007 season.

The above picture shows the internal damage caused by the fire and although the actual structure of the pavilion was salvageable, it was the loss of the furniture, years of photos, cups and memorabilia from the club's long history which was particularly upsetting.  However, in true Wheathampstead fashion, the club battled through this tough time and even though the pavilion was unusable for almost 18 months, cricket continued to be played on the common. 

Rising from the Ashes: 2007 - Present
The fire within the clubhouse sparked the club back into life. Membership began to rise once again and Colts cricket was re-established thanks to Fraser Kennedy. A big fundraising push meant new facilities, and by 2011 the club can boast some of the best facilities in the county; a newly renovated pavilion, newly laid square, bowling machine and brand new nets!  Pride of place above the bar area is a plaque noting the launch of the club in 1824 which was salvaged from the fire and has now been beautifully restored.     

2011 also saw the club field 3 league teams for the first time in a decade. Although ambitious the club secured 3 promotions from divisions 14, 7 and 3 under the leadership of Hodgson, McEwen and A. Winchester. This was the first time in the club's recent history this feat had been achieved and was confirmation the club was back to it's best.

2013 saw an increase to 4 sides in 2013 and allowed the club to offer 44 competitive spaces. This was the largest the club had ever been and a true testament to those who put the time and effort in to rebuild a great club.

2013 also saw the club's debut in the National Village Cup and, under the leadership of Adam Winchester, the 1st XI defied the odds by running out winners of the Herts, Beds & Bucks region and reaching the 1st round of the national knockout stages.  Unfortunately this proved to be a game too far as the West Sussex groups winners, Middleton CC, triumphed in a disappointingly one sided affair..  Memorable performances along the way included a fantastic knock of 133 by Adam Winchester in the first regional round at home to Eversholt, a devastating bowling performance by Adam Robbins who took 6-37 against the 2012 NVC champions, Reed CC, to seal a remarkable turn around in the game and cause one of the biggest upsets the competition and Nomansland Common is ever likely to see.  A great all round team performance in the regional semi-finals saw Wheathampstead knock out eventual Division 2 winners, Botany Bay CC and superb batting from the Winchester brothers, Adam, Richard and Mark, saw the club triumph in the regional final as they chased down the 190 set by Langlebury with 1 ball to go!!  The road leading to being crowned regional winners saw Wheathampstead knock out opposition from higher leagues on 3 occasions namely; Reed, Botany Bay and Langleybury.  During the campaign Adam Winchester lead from the front as he amassed 307 runs in 6 innings at an average of 51.16.  In the bowling department, pace ace Nick Martin led the way amassing 10 wickets at an average of 11.8.