Harold Wood Cricket Club – History

Historically Harold Wood was a royal hunting area and until the end of the last century was an entirely rural village. Indeed in 1895 the big event was the opening of Matthews’ provender mill on a site in Gubbins Lane almost opposite the new railway station. The two buildings demonstrated the coming together of agricultural and commuting as the main activities of the expanding community and in the following year the Cricket Club was formed.

It enjoyed the patronage of the Matthews family for many years and used a variety of grounds in the village. In the early 1900s its improving fixtures included clubs such as Harlow and Wickford who are league opponents at the present time.

In 1934 Edward Bryant, a local landowner, donated a field to the Hornchurch Urban District Council on the condition that it would be used for cricket. This became part of what is now Harold Wood Park and the club has played there ever since.

After the second World War the club was quickly back in its stride and steadily built up its strength. An important step forward came in 1960 when it was able to quit the infamous ‘bug hutch’ on the south side of the ground and occupy a new pavilion supplied by the Council.

An influx of new and talented players enabled the fixture list to be strengthened even further with many of the strongest clubs in the County being included in it. However, it was during the 1960s that the Club, under the benevolent influence of its Chairman, Ron Frizzell, was one of the first to encourage colts cricket. This ensured that the Club had a ready source of players and allowed it to run additional teams.

The social side of the Club also flourished and survived a fire which destroyed the pavilion. However, this provided the opportunity for an even better pavilion to be erected.

Since then the Club has held its own in senior club cricket and fields four teams in the Shepherd Neame League. Like most other clubs it is probably at a crossroads. There are now great opportunities to develop cricket and to improve playing standards and facilities. It requires determination and enthusiasm to take advantage of these. I am confident that the Club as a whole has these qualities and I look forward to great things over the next few years.”