To Rectory Road on Saturday afternoon for what has become something of a recurring theme around these parts of late. Cricket Week at Wivenhoe Town is there for the taking – and so was the grand prize of yet another victory for the first XI with all the pomp and pageantry of President’s Day.
Opposition sides have historically had something of a rough ride on such a grand day in the calendar of the cricket club. That’s what half a bottle of red around the boundary does for the enthusiasm of the home support.
Visiting Rectory Road on Saturday afternoon was fourth placed Copdock from over the Suffolk border. I’m not sure what was more off putting – the ‘enthusiasm’ from the marquee following the President’s luncheon, or the dress code for the afternoon, described to me by one wag as “Pulp Fiction come to North Essex.”
I scrubbed up for the occasion (sort of) being held up with boots ‘n braces and my best linen jacket. There is fighting talk of taking to the crease next season with the Wivenhoe Social XI. I wasn’t quite all boxed up down below, but I do intend to source a codpiece for future visits.
A morning of rowing to Rowhedge (seriously) meant that we missed the Wivenhoe innings. No worries – the modern interweb ‘n all that reliably informed us back at base that Wivenhoe were all out for 150.
Not the most commanding of run chases to set for Copdock, but never underestimate the power of the enthusiastic support following a President’s luncheon.
A nervy chat with the esteemed Wivenhoe Director of Cricket greeted our arrival. “I’m not a very good watcher of the game,” explained the coaching genius that has overseen the table topping performance of Wivenhoe so far this summer.
I hold my hands up to being something of a pavilion bar room bore, but running out your County Championship ringer probably wasn’t the wisest of moves.
The marquee and pavilion settled down for what promised to be an entertaining afternoon of cricket. Mr Mayor took up the best seat in the house, and with half an eye on the Test, and one ear following events with @surreycricket, I was all set for a hat trick of favourable cricketing outcomes.
Wivenhoe showed patience with their bowling attack, turning to spin and slowly, slowly working away at the Copdock batsmen. Some energetic appealing to match the enthusiasm from the boundary let to some stern words from the umps.
A huge cheer went up from the pavilion shortly after the drinks break. A quick check elsewhere around the grounds, and nope – Wivenhoe wasn’t celebrating a fourth day victory for @surreycricket, but a hat trick from Stuart Broad in the Test.
The boundary bat ‘n ball game became increasingly engrossing, and then just as the fag end of the Copdock team strolled out to the crease, an improbable victory for the home team seemed likely.
It wasn’t to be however. The occasion of President’s Day raised the game of the opposition. It also raised considerable funds for the club behind the bar.
Consulting my splendid The Story of Wivenhoe Cricket, and what I believe is needed is a return to more traditional types of leg spin attack. What is needed is some underarm bowling, resurrecting the proud Wivenhoe tradition first started by Digby Jephson.
We need a Lobster for the 21st Century.
I’m lobbing that tennis ball down from end of the garden to the other as I type.
Team NMB 171 beat Wivenhoe Town by… I’m not really sure ‘cos I had had three pints on the boundary by the time the players shook hands.
It’s a fickle world out there on the boundary of village cricket life. One day you are the VIP guest, rightfully basking in the light of the success of a stupendous book launch in the marquee; less than twenty-four hours later and you are called on for the lonely world of umpire duties.
Ah, but you do it so well, Sir, you do it so well.
To Rectory Road then on Friday evening to kick start the weekend with the Wivenhoe Town Cricket Club Twenty20 evening. Cricket Week has covered many themes over the past few days. As well as the formal launch of The Story of Wivenhoe Cricket, the old linked up to the past with the T20 tournament.
Four teams contested the trophy, of sorts, throughout Friday. The two semis led to the evening finale of Wivenhoe Town Vs Team NMB, the first team sponsors for the club. Umpiring in the middle of course was all rounder Jon Wiseman.
Arriving fashionably late (and causing a little bit of a rumpus behind the bowler’s arm – apologies) and NMB were stuck on 111 and Nelson. A couple of slogs out towards the BBQ, and blimey – the score had jumped to an impressive T20 run chase of 171.
One of the themes in The Story of Wivenhoe Cricket is how the club has managed to adapt to the wider changes within cricket. T20 was served up to perfection at Rectory Road on Friday evening.
Music greeted the rise and fall of each batsman back and forth to the pavilion, the bar was doing a booming trade and we even had local celebrities loitering around the outfield. It wasn’t quite the Sugar Babes or Girls Aloud, but the appearance of a former Mr Mayor was most welcome.
Sent into bat just as the brighter skies were starting to emerge from the direction of Sunny Colch, and the home team were enthusiastic, but fell twenty runs short of the chase. My mole inside the home dressing room tells me that the T20 tournament was an opportunity to experiment, and most importantly, to enjoy.
The more sombre cricketing occasion returns to Rectory Road on Saturday afternoon with the key first team match against Copdock & OI (CRACKING cricket name) following the President’s Day Lunch.
I’ll be back on boundary duty, third man positioned just in front of the bar.
Something of a world exclusive (seriously) for the latest Wiv Chat with a wonderful conversation with Jon Wiseman, to help launch his recently published The Story of Wivenhoe Cricket book.
Having moved from living next door to The Oval, missing @surreycricket was always going to be the major factor for me personally in leaving South London. Fifteen years of growing friendships and first class cricket can’t be forgotten over the course of one summer.
I needn’t have worried. My recent visits to Rectory Road have found a similar cricketing experience. Wivenhoe Town is a community cricket club that currently has ambitions to combine a friendly feel with a winning team.
It is an aim that appears to be well on the way to achieving. The first team sits proudly on top of the Two Counties Cricket Championship, fielding mainly local lads each weekend. The support comes from the community, with faces old and new adding to the club ethos.
As an outsider I have been made to feel incredibly welcome. This isn’t an old duffers cricket club with no direction. My awareness was pricked with match day tweets, and a strong online presence to welcome local Wivenhoe folk in.
Emails were exchanged, contacts were made and then just as Cricket Week was kicking in, I was able to welcome Jon Wiseman into my front room / broadcast studio to record the latest programme for Wiv Chat.
The Story of Wivenhoe Cricket has been an eighteen-month labour of love for Jon and the backroom assistance he has had from all within the club. It is not so much the story of Wivenhoe cricket, but the story of Wivenhoe as told through cricket.
World Wars, the decline of industry, the re-birth of the town – all of these events are told through cricket. Sport is a great adhesive in which to frame the social history of a town.
Our forty minute or so conversation of course doesn’t do justice to the volume of research and stories behind the stats that Jon’s worldwide quest for Wivenhoe cricket research has taken him.
I was pleased to find that Jon’s starting point was Nicholas Butler’s absolutely brilliant The Story of Wivenhoe (a nod and a wink at the Bookshop, and I believe copies are still available behind the counter…) as a blueprint for his research.
Butler also believes that sport can be used to track the development of the town. Brevity meant that the complete story of Wivenhoe cricket couldn’t be accommodated in his book. Thankfully Jon has had the foresight to complete the story.
In our chat below, Jon explains more about his own forty year involvement with cricket in Wivenhoe, and the “circle of life” that he believes passes through Rectory Road with each passing generation.
It was a rather sombre Wednesday morning when we recorded it. I found the dialogue genuinely moving and quite emotional as Jon opened up as to how the club has played a major role in his own life.
We then explore the research methods, and the stories that lay within. Cricket is a game for characters; it is to no surprise that Wivenhoe has been able to produce many of these since that first recorded game back in 1765.
The final section of our chat concludes with the current golden age that Wivenhoe Town is now experiencing. It is no coincidence that the cricket club is going through a boom period, five years or so after the Committee decided to focus on the long term future of the club.
A day later and I found myself along the boundary at Rectory Road as Cricket Week was in full swing at Wivenhoe. The occasion was for the formal launch of The Story of Wivenhoe Cricket and to celebrate all that Jon has achieved.
Mid-afternoon and half the town appeared to be up at Rectory Road, with a game taking place between the first eleven and Leg Trappers XI, aka the visiting team from Bermuda – blimey!
Mr Mayor, his supporting cast of Wivenhoe Town Councillors, Colchester Borough Councillors, familiar faces from all the local pubs and general flotsam and jetsam that gets washed up within Wivenhoe life – all were out to enjoy cricket and the clubhouse bar.
As the tea break came, the sun made a spectacular appearance across the marquee, and it was time to celebrate The Story of Wivenhoe Cricket. Club Chairman Michael Lucking spoke of how this day was the “biggest occasion” in the recent history of the club.
Looking around the marquee as the printed history was about to be made public, and you could see that the five generations of Wivenhoe cricketers past and present clearly felt the same.
Jon explained a little more about the book, clearly playing a straight bat within the banter that surrounds any sporting club. He seemed rightfully proud of what he has achieved.
I’m happy that I managed to catch him with a few off-spinners away from the safety of the pavilion the day before, and allowed Jon to open up more about what cricket in Wivenhoe really means to him.
And then as one would expect from a cricket tea, the most splendid spread was laid out for all to enjoy. Books were purchased; personal messages were left by the author.
I looked around across the outfield, and as well as the expected sight of the elder generation of Wivenhoe cricket having an eager first read of the book, what I shall remember is the reaction from the current first team.
Huddled together around the boundary, the players were equally keen to head straight for the stats page and to eagerly see if their own relatively short contribution to Wivenhoe cricket has made it to print yet.
This is a club that respects tradition, and has built in a culture of keeping this alive and taking it to the next generation. It is the 75th anniversary in two weeks time since the deeds were signed for the cricket club to have a permanent base at Rectory Road. How fitting that the current first team seems to understand the value of what has gone before, and what it means to play cricket in Wivenhoe in 2011.
I returned back to base, and tuned in, as ever, to the magnificent ball-by-ball online commentary from @surreycricket. Mr Ramps had just hit a fine 140 knock, and all was well within my cricketing world.
You can take the cricket nerd out of South London, and just *maybe* you can find something as equally enjoyable away from the splendour of The Oval and out towards the North Essex estuary wilds.
Oh – and as Jon kindly pointed out, there is a Surrey / Wivenhoe connection in Digby Jephson, the demon underarm bowler, known locally as The Lobster. Digby went on to captain Surrey…
The Story of Wivenhoe Cricket by Jon Wiseman is published by Oxford Publishing Services. It is available from the Wivenhoe Bookshop.
Cricket Week at Rectory Road continues up until Sunday 31st July. There is a T20 tournament on Friday, and then afternoon games on Saturday and Sunday.
You know that the Wivenhoe summer has truly arrived when you have to get out the wellies once again for a short stroll along the Trail and a wade up and down in the glorious estuary mud.
Failing that then there’s always that staunch season signifier of a copy of the esteemed Wivenhoe SocietySummer Newsletter to tell you that it’s probably about time to start looking forward to the start of the new football season once again.
Any soul searching for the estuary summer is soon forgotten about, with the proud picture of Front of House winner Jill Bailey proudly displaying her certificate in her seasonal – and not at all waterlogged – summer garden.
Congratulations, Madam. I am in awe of the arrangements of your beautifully laid out borders. Thirty-five entrants took part in the competition. All funds raised will be split between Wivenhoe Helping Hands and St Mary’s.
But it’s not all about letting it hang out at the front. The Message from the Chair delivers the good news that both a Minutes Secretary and an Honorary Secretary have both been sourced for the Wivenhoe Society.
Or rather the two into one role has been very kindly taken on board by Rachel Allen. Here’s hoping the left and right hand can both meet in the middle.
Not quite rising to full attention, but Mr Chair then raises the issue of Wivenhoe Town Council’s plans to commemorate the Queen’s Jubilee next summer:
“I suspect they may soon be asking for money”
I suspect Mr Chair is correct.
The Wivenhoe Townscape Forum is given a decent write up by Sue Glasspool:
“Good progress is being made. The members of the group have walked every street in Wivenhoe and looked at all open spaces to identify historic buildings, areas, vistas and other assets which could go on our draft local list.”
I wonder if the Townscape Forum has had the good fortune to walk along *cough* Chapel Road of late?
“The weekend was sunny and warm, and visitors started arriving early on the Saturday morning to enjoy a splendid show of gardens. There were 28 open in all…
It was great to have several new gardens open, and new ventures represented, such as Transition Town Wivenhoe and Millfields and Broomgrove Schools.
The weekend raised profits of £3,400 which will be divided between St Mary’s Church and the Wivenhoe Society, whose share will be given to Wivenhoe Helping Hands.”
Great things come from green fingers. My prize courgette continues to grow to an unfeasibly large size.
Changes to recycling and rubbish collection days are also highlighted in the newsletter. Police matters are updated with details of the new police.uk site, as well as flagging the 101 non-emergency telephone number.
Resting her Minutes Secretary and Honorary Secretary role for Wiv Soc, the good Rachel Allen then multitasks to the extreme, with an update on the Helping Hands AGM, of which she is also… Secretary.
“The mission of Helping Hands was reiterated – any job will be considered regardless of age and ability within the bounds of Wivenhoe – and although we cannot directly help with children, we can help with parents who may need some shopping or a prescription collected if their child is ill.
Our band of 42 volunteers [blimey] will attempt a whole range of minor tasks from taking people to doctor’s appointments to putting out bins. We do not operate an emergency service, but there is a dedicated phone line.”
THAT NUMBER AGAIN… 07834 452 764.
In these austere times when we are constantly reminded by gurning fools on TV that “we are all in this together,” it is genuinely nice to be reminded by someone who isn’t gurning, and most definitely isn’t a fool that yep, we really are all in this together and so let’s help each other out.
The Treasurer’s Report breaks down the funding of Wiv Soc and comes to a rather pleasant conclusion:
“Recently we have accumulated a small surplus each year and the Committee thinks that we could donate some money without running our reserves too low.”
The Youth Hub, both primary schools, the Ferry Trust, Christmas lights for the Legion, Helping Hands, Wivenhoe in Bloom, planting trees, replacing notice boards – all have benefited from Wivenhoe locals all being in this together.
“Remembering the aims of the Society, which are to preserve the amenities of Wivenhoe and generally make it a pleasant place in which to live, the Committee would like the views of members on how any money could best be spent.”
Suggestions via email. Inviting gurning fools that we see on TV to have a look around a barren patch of land that should be a new Health Centre, probably isn’t the best use of surplus Society funds.
The new gravel garden located by the Co-op / Jardine / Eyecare Wivenhoe / Bermuda Triangle is featured on p.7:
“The perennial plants were chosen for their propensity to thrive in a sunny, dry spot.”
As for the funding?
“Although there is a restricted budget made available by Wivenhoe Town Council for planting up the floral tubs throughout the town, Wivenhoe in Bloom are managing to pay for additional planting through fund-raising. Their plant stall at the May Fair raised an impressive £320.”
An incredibly generous £250 donation from Jardine has also helped, as has the Wiv Soc contribution of £200.
Moira Collett reflects on the first year of Moving Image – twelve months with many ups and down, but overall an incredibly positive place to be after just one year of supporting an independent community cinema in Wivenhoe.
Having had to let go of the “ambitious plans to turn the St John Ambulance Hall in Wivenhoe’s very own cinema,” Moving Image has found a base at the Philip Road Centre. The Lakeside Theatre at the University was also experimented with, although “the audiences were never large enough,” and sadly this will not continue.
Keeping the uplifting mood and what we all need is a picture of a semi-naked Mayor of Wivenhoe teasing all with a fine barrel chest and a towel wrapped around his torso in the style of a handsome Roman warrior.
The fantastic sport that is Mayor Robert Needham poses – in a very decent fashion – outside the newly re-opened outdoor swimming pool up at Broomgrove School:
“The swimming pool was originally built over thirty years ago but inevitably over the years it had fallen into a state of disrepair. The Wivenhoe Society gave £540 towards the pool’s refurbishment costs.
This saw the start of a major fundraising drive. The Broomgrove School’s Association managed to raise over £4,000 to add to £2,000 from the BSA reserves.”
Fine work from local parent and bathroom installer, Leigh Haig from LH Installations, who volunteered to complete the work at no cost. Seeing a semi-naked Mr Mayor in print is but a small price to pay.
And then finally on p.11 we have the New Town Map and Sign story:
“Wivenhoe First, an organisation that promotes local businesses, is responsible for the appearance of a new Wivenhoe map and notice board which has appeared in front of the floral boat outside the public car park.”
And most splendid it looks to. I got lost the other day simply leaving the house and putting the rubbish out. You’ll be telling me that there’s life north of the Co-op next.
With existing retail businesses in the town continuing to evolve and explore new opportunities, now would seem like the ideal time for a new business idea to emerge down at the foot of the town.
Perfect timing (hopefully) then for Divine Intervintage – a retro clothes shop cum tailor cum curtain maker.
Cripes – that’s not a business plan that they are likely to teach you at Harvard. And hurrah for that.
Celeste opened Divine Intervintage at Jolliffe’s Yard a few weeks back in June. I could give you detailed directions, but basically stand with your back to the Post Office on the High Street, or get rather friendly with Barnwell Bear.
The business plan (and there is one…) is to offer retro clothes from the 50′s through to the 80′s. These are all high quality and bespoke items, but kept at a price that hopefully won’t keep locals away.
The shop has been lovingly put together in a style that suits the items on sale. You’re not so much browsing or buying, but taking a step back and enjoying a break away from the bustle of modern life.
Clothes alterations are also offered by Celeste, as well as a nifty line in custom curtain making. Much as we much appreciate the Co-op, that’s not a service that you are likely to find further up the High Street.
Divine Intervintage fits the style of lower Wivenhoe perfectly. With near neighbors in Curiosity, we can now buy retro furniture and retro clothes, all to match our retro hairstyles.
Or maybe that’s just me?
Do visit Celeste, do browse – do buy if you see something that you like. Or maybe just pop in for a chat anyway. If Celeste can make a Dedicated Unfollower of Fashion feel most welcome having turned up completely unannounced and thrusting a microphone in her face, I’m sure you’ll be made to feel most welcome.
Retro – it’s the brand new, donchta know.
Next up: plans for retro priced pints in the pubs of Wivenhoe.
To The Greyhound on Sunday evening for a fundraising pub quiz for Radio Wivenhoe. Which was quite an achievement, seeing as though *cough* Wiv Chat was being broadcast on your favourite online hyperlocal station, around the same time that round three was just starting.
Clever stuff, I tell you. Clever stuff.
As well as raising funds for Radio Wivenhoe, raising awareness was equally important. All current running costs for the online station are being met by Jerry Davis, the head honcho for the station and all round good fella for Wivenhoe First.
Local advertising will hopefully soon follow, once Wivenhoe folk find out about the station and its ambitions to bid for a license in 2013. The pub quiz was just the first step in helping to build a profile locally.
If the standing room only at The Greyhound on Sunday evening was any indicator, Radio Wivenhoe is already on the radar of many local folk. This was a fantastic turn out, with many *ahem* latecomers left to loiter around the bar with their answer sheets.
Being the poptastic world of radio, and the quiz of course was music based. We had a music and movies round, a name that year, a general knowledge set of questions and a picture quiz.
Much like the inclusive nature of the station itself, the musical styles covered all decades and tastes. Anyone who can theme a quiz around Jon Bon Jovi, Sandie Shaw and Musical Youth, must know a thing or two about different musical tastes.
In rather poor taste of course was the team name of Last of the Summer Winehouse – no apologies though in picking up third prize overall. Back of the net!
A rather generous raffle also took place. This was perhaps the most promising part of the evening – many local businesses stepped forward to kindly donate prizes to help generate more funds. On the Corner, Wivenhoe Eyecare and local yoga sessions were just some of the very generous businesses which contributed.
Radio Wivenhoe is of course still finding its feet. The schedule is bedding down, with weekly shows such as Mr Mule’sOver the River, the Rock Show, a Soul Show and Wiv Chat, all filling up the schedules.
We need the continued local support of the community to make this work. The alternative is to allow the outside big boys of broadcasting into our town to take over the local media.
I’m still contesting the liberal approach of allowing a point for Bon Jovi, when we all know that Jon Bon Jovi of course recorded Wanted.