Great Horwood Cricket Club is a typical village club which began in the 1950’s although no-one seems certain of the exact year. Cricket was played first of all on the other side of the crossroads/roundabout nearer Nash but still on the Nash Road, before moving to its current site in 1962 adding changing facilities in 1964 which consisted of the old Waiting Room from the now closed Swanbourne Railway Station. The Club ground is situated at the roundabout which links the A421 and B4033 and is on the outskirts of the village of Great Horwood.
The Club began by playing friendly fixtures and invitation or informal cup and league competitions with the first recorded cup success, for which records can be found, being the Loyal Western Lodge Cup in 1964. A photograph of the successful team still hangs today in the pavilion.
League cricket began again in the early 1980’s with one side playing in the League. After success in the lower divisions, the Club finally gained promotion to the Premier Division after winning Division 1 in 1986, a season which also saw the Club winning the Stewkley Cup, thereby achieving our version of the “Double”. The pinnacle of success in this league came in 1992 when Great Horwood won the Premier League and the Stewkley Cup thus again doing the “Double”. By now the Club was also playing in the Buckingham & District Midweek League and fielding a Sunday XI.
In 1994, the playing strength was of sufficient numbers to begin running a second team in the league on Saturdays. Today we are not only running these sides but also have an active youth coaching set-up which attracts in excess of 40 youths to the coaching sessions. Currently we have three youth teams playing in the Bucks Cricket Board Cricket League with plans to have teams in all age groups in the future.
The Club moved from the Milton Keynes and District Cricket League to the Ouse Valley League as a founder member in 1994 however we only stayed in this league for three years before joining the larger Oxfordshire Cricket Association League in 1997 where the 1st XI won their Division at the first attempt. In both 2014 and 2015, the 1st XI reached the final of the prestigious Airey Cup. The 2nd XI has also subsequently won its Division in 2002 and has won the Osberton Radiators Cup on three occasions in 2001, 2003 and 2007.
A Ladies team was also playing occasional games from the early 1980’s and in the late 80’s became a founder member of the Milton Keynes & District Ladies League finishing Runners-up in both the league and cup competitions on a number of occasions. Whilst the Ladies team does not currently operate, it is the club’s ambition to restart this section of the club.
As stated earlier, the Club moved to its current site in 1962 and had the former Swanbourne Railway Station Waiting Room as its changing facilities with no electricity or running water. A Tea Room was added and modified in the late 70’s before, in 1988, the Club constructed its own pavilion from a Terrapin building which we were given and, for the first time, we had electricity and running water which meant we had separate changing facilities and showers. In 1999 the Club was granted a Bar License and over the next few years a new extension was built with a custom built bar area, thereby improving the facilities considerably. In 2005, following the donation of a building by the Barton family, who are residents of the village, new enlarged changing rooms with improved shower and toilet facilities were officially opened. Both the original construction in 1988 and the extension in 2005 were grant aided by Aylesbury Vale District Council and without their help we would not have been able to achieve what we have.
What is happening today?
Today the Club plays on an attractive, well-maintained ground on the outskirts of the village. The ground is unique in that the Pavilion sits on a raised area of ground, which offers an excellent vantage point for watching games. The pavilion contains spacious, well-equipped changing facilities, a bar area and kitchen. The club has recently been successful in achieving grant funding from AVDC Community Fund; the £17,000 has so far been spent on installing a new roof across the whole pavilion. Plans for spending the remaining £5,000 of this grant are currently being scheduled by the executive committee. The club will be continuing to seek additional grant funding, with the aim of completely re-furbishing the entire pavilion and its surrounds.
The club was also successful in securing £10,000 from the Tesco Ground Improvement fund. This money will be spent on making much needed improvements to the drainage of the field, in particular the area between the wicket and the A421 roundabout.
The Club is extremely active on both the playing and social fronts and supports:
- Two Saturday teams that play in the Oxfordshire Cricket Association League; Divisions 1 and 5.
- There is a thriving, rapidly growing Youth Section, with players ranging from 8 to 15. Under 11, 13 & 15 teams play competitive matches against local sides.
- The Club has hosted Buckinghamshire County Youth Matches in previous seasons.
- The Club achieved Clubmark accreditation and ECB Focus Club status in October 2009 and has twice successfully achieved re-accreditation; currently to 2018.
- The Club has a thriving social section that organises events throughout the year; featuring a Quiz Night, a Race Night, a Mid-Summer Party and regular B-B-Q’s on Youth Training evenings to coincide with the 12 & Under Youth Cricket training.
- The clubhouse is also used for member private functions, using the Fully Licensed Bar Area and Kitchen.