The 175th Anniversary of the first recorded fixture of the Club was celebrated in style. The highlight was undoubtedly the Anniversary Dinner on April 17th but ‘1840 Day’ in August was also a memorable event. Sadly the fixture against the MCC was washed out. Additionally the Club struck a special tie and ‘1840 and all that’, a history of the Club was published.
Nearly two hundred people attended the Anniversary Dinner. Numbers necessitated the event took place in a splendid marquee with the Pavilion being used for the pre and post dinner socialising.
As guests arrived, serenaded by a saxophonist, it was clear this would be a special night. The arrival of the First Minister was loudly and quite splendidly announced by Jon Wilks in his Town Crier persona. The Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, added lustre and dignity to the occasion and Mr Jones spoke of his admiration of a sporting club that had reached such a milestone. The President, Jeffrey Bird, presented Mr Jones with a tie and book, the former now regularly worn on televised appearances.
Once the guests had taken their seats there was a fun ‘Heads and Tails’ conducted by the Chairman, Hugh Williams, based on Cowbridge cricket history won by Matt Smart.
After the excellent meal the President welcomed the club’s guests who included Hugh and Debbie Morris, John Dalton and John Morgan from Bridgend, Charles Dagnall, the guest speaker, Ben Wright of Cowbridge CC and Glamorgan CCC, Neil Hobbs from the South Wales Cricket Association, Hamish Buckland the Glamorgan CCC Treasurer as well as Andrew Hignell, the Glamorgan CCC scorer and archivist. The Club’s groundsmen, past and present, Bernard Cooke and Tim Williams were also guests.
It was striking how people had come from far and wide to be there including Ian and Katherine Cran from Kirriemuir and a particularly welcome guest, Julian Ebsworth from London. It was also very gratifying to welcome back to the Club a number of more locally based former players.
Following the President’s welcome Hugh Morris entertained the diners recalling how cricket had begun for him on the very turf the marquee was resting upon. It was very much a homecoming for Hugh after eighteen years at the ECB having recently become Chief Executive of Glamorgan CCC.
At the culmination of Hugh’s speech a popular investiture of Gerald Leeke and John Bevan as Honorary Life Members of the Club took place where the two stalwarts were presented with tankards to mark their service on and off the field over a long period.
The evening was brought to a hilarious climax by the speech of the guest speaker, Charles Dagnall, once of Leicestershire and Warwickshire now of the BBC Test Match Special team.
It had been a night to recall in years to come.
By contrast the scheduled MCC fixture was never a likely starter as heavy overnight rain meant a call off at dawn as MCC were bringing a team from far and wide. Happily MCC have kindly agreed to play the fixture in 2016.
The Anniversary match against Bridgend resulted in a fine four wicket victory for Cowbridge led by Mike Lloyd who hit an unbeaten 103 chasing 185. The usual President’s Lunch was incorporated into the day, a model which met with much approval and will be followed in the future.
The year finished with the Club Dinner, not strictly part of the festivities, but an excellent event with Welsh sporting great, Graham Price as speaker.
175th Anniversary Dinner Photos
Click to Pictures to Enlarge
John Wilks in Full Regalia
Jeffrey Bird with The Rt Hon Carwyn Jones, First Minister
Jeffrey Bird, Hamish Buckland, Neil Brand,The Rt Hon Carwyn Jones, Charles Dagnall, Hugh Morris
Sean Rowland, Nick Rowland, Ian Evans, Sara Russell, Joe Russell
John Dalton, Bernard Cooke, Derek Pearce, John Morgan, Martyn Bevan
Gerald Leeke, Rosemary Harris, Sue Leeke, Richard Harris, Andy Brace
Katherine Cran, Ian Cran, Dil Lewis, David Lewis, Collin White
Nigel Anderson and Julian Ebsworth
Val Finucane, David Webb, Nonie Gilbert, John Gilbert, Pamela Haines, Mary Webb
Su Chan, Andy Brace, Tim Williams
Pre-Dinner Drinks Reception
Hugh Williams - “Heads & Tails”
Panorama of the Marquee
Jeffrey Bird, Hugh Morris with New Life Members Gerald Leeke & John Bevan
Roger Bird and Alex Clay
Hugh Morris proposing the Health of Cowbridge Cricket Club