Cricket club’s perennial search for a suitable ground

The May image in the Reepham Life Calendar 2018 shows a photo of the Reepham Cricket Club team in 1921.

Early information about a cricket club in Reepham is sparse, but there are occasional newspaper reports of a club based in the town as early as 1805.

In the 1850s and 1860s the club appeared to be thriving – in one season even hiring a professional bowler.

However, the club must have run into difficulties and efforts were made to re-establish it, notably in 1875 when, in spite of funds being provided by Rev. Sir Edward Repps Jodrell, and a core of enthusiasts, a ground could not be procured. The club was later re-formed in 1881 after a break of 16 years.

Finding a suitable match ground seems to have been a perennial problem. In 1884, when the cricket club was again re-formed, the club resumed using a ground at Kerdiston, probably made available by Barnabas Seely. But misfortune lay ahead, hence this extract from the Norwich Mercury in May 1884:

In 1889 and 1890 the club was using Mr Brownsell’s Meadow as a practice ground. (Thomas Brownsell was the farmer at Rookery Farm at that time, having previously farmed at Moor Farm.)

And in 1891 “Mr B. Stimpson kindly offered a meadow at Sall, gratis, for the use of the club”.

The later-1890s seemed more successful as the team took part in the Junior County Cup and Samuel Bircham provided a ground free of rent – this may have been on land in Norwich Road opposite where Reepham Fishery is now.

Janet Archer

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