The first record of Rowledge Cricket Club appears in 1886 with a match recorded against Tilford. However the Club’s official start date is 1887. Until 1914 the club played its home matches at Holt Pound. This ground is believed to be one of the oldest cricket grounds in England and is often referred to as the ‘original Oval’. Since 1914 the club has played at Rowledge Recreation Ground which has changed little since. The current pavilion building dates from 1924.
Over the years Rowledge Cricket Club has played a prominent part in local cricket but it was in the 1980s that it became one of the leading clubs in the area. In the seasons 1980-85 the club won the I’Anson competition every season. In the 1985 season these achievements culminated with an appearance at Lords in the National Village Cup final. It is pleasing to see that after 40 years Chris Yates (snr) is still playing National Village Cup and Premier League and his family including his brother, son, wife and nephew also play for and continue to support the club.
Amid some controversy, Rowledge, seeking higher standards, moved to the lowest level in the Hampshire League and gradually progressed through the Leagues culminating in 1999 when by becoming runners-up in the Hampshire County League Division 1 they gained promotion to Division 3 of the Southern Premier League.
Over a ten year period from 1995, the Club gradually began to introduce players to senior cricket who had progressed through the Club’s successful Youth system, a system which really began to develop in the Mid 90s. This stood the Club in good stead for playing at the higher Premier League level. Players like the experienced Chris Yates Snr and David Lloyd were joined by Chris Yates Jnr and a number of other youngsters who came through the Club’s Youth system in the late 90s. This culminated in the Club’s most successful period in which they became runners-up in Division 2 of the Southern Premier League in 2007 and 2008 and finally became Champions in 2009 under the Captaincy of our prior First XI Captain David Llloyd. The team’s success was led by Chris Yates Jnr who scored a record 819 runs at an average of 81.9, at the time a League record by a non-overseas player and Peter Dickinson who took 31 wickets at 13.26.
The National Village Cup Competition still remains a major event in the Club’s season and the Club still features strongly in the competition each year. The Club runs three mens Saturday teams the other teams are either in the Southern Premier League or Hampshire County Leagues. In 2005 the Club entered into agreement with Binsted Parish Council to use the Binsted Recreation ground as a second pitch. The club continues to carefully introduce youth players to senior cricket and during the past few seasons on some weekends at least 50% of our senior players have been developed via our junior section.
Formed in 1997the ladies / girls section now run 3 teams, 2 at youth level and a mixed adult / youth team which plays in the Surrey Trust League. Since 2012 the club has run a specialist girls section from the age of 8, this is designed to develop our girls cricket and also to enhance skills in preparation for adult cricket. We also encourage mixed teams.
This current season we will run 13 junior / youth teams playing in the NE Hampshire youth leagues. Our junior / youth section now enjoys huge support from local families and on a busy Friday evening one can find nearly 200 young people from 4 years and upwards learning cricket at the Recreation Ground. The size of the Club’s Membership has meant that the Club has had to keep up with the demands of that Membership and in turn improve the Club’s facilities on an ongoing basis. Over the years 2004-07 with the support of the National Lottery ‘Awards for All’, Waverley Borough Council, Southern Premier League Development Fund and a number of club benefactors the Club has refurbished the Pavilion and built a new electronic scoreboard. In the Autumn of 2007 the Club achieved National Clubmark Accreditation. In 2014 and with thanks to the Sport England Protecting Playing Fields, Places People Play, legacy programme a comprehensive upgrade to the playing area including relaying the outfield, repositioning the square and improving drainage across the pitch commenced. This works is likely to be completed by the start of the 2015 season.
Like every successful club we rely totally on volunteers to run all the activities at Rowledge Cricket Club . We are blessed with a large number of people who give us their most valuable contribution – their time. It would be wrong to single out any specific people but no history could be complete without expressing sincere thanks to all those people who, over the years, have given their time to ensure our club remains a centre of excellence for cricket and provides an environment where all in the community can enjoy both cricket and other leisure activities throughout the year.
Members of the Southern Electric Premier Cricket League
Members of the Hampshire Cricket League
Members of the Surrey Trust League
Members of the North East Hampshire Youth Cricket League
Affiliated to the Surrey County Playing Field Association
Affiliated to Surrey Cricket Board
Affiliated to Hampshire Cricket Board