Cricket History

Rankin's first match

By Brian Pettitt

June 3rd marks what is believed to have been the first ever game played by “The Broom Hills” Cricket Club which subsequently was renamed Rochford CC and then became Rankin’s after WWII.

The game was played on Leigh Hall Meadow (owned by the Bentall family) against a team from Leigh. The meadow was on land which is now occupied by the Grand Hotel and the shops going up the hill. The eleven included the President, Reverend Keightley (vicar of Stambridge); Alf Hunt (Tailor of North Street); Frank Arthy (Solicitors Clerk of West Street) ; The Wiseman brothers from the Paglesham Oyster and Farming family; Alf Warren (Butcher of North Street); Charles Shelley from the Thatchers in Hockley, which is still trading, and the only Rankin to play was Will who was 15 at the time and the older brother of Patrick’s grandfather Harold.

Broom Hills made 39 and 77 and Leigh 66 and 52-6 to win by 4 wickets. Frank Arthy faced the first ball and Lewis Hamman, an 18 year old engine fitter, took the first ever wicket for the club. It would appear that the club was made up of people who were friends of the Rankin family and people who likely worked for, or supplied them in some way.

June 14th 1919 marked a return to cricket after WWI and the first reported match was at Wickford where Rochford CC were heavily beaten. No Rankin’s played but Austin Squier, great grandfather of Tristan and John led the side. Club stalwarts Christopher and Frank Warren played, as did, probably the clubs longest serving member, Harry Chapman who first played in 1900 and was still supporting the club in his 90s. In the Wickford side was W Patmore whose family were involved with that club for many years and after whom their present ground is named.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Cricket History' page
This page was added by Brian Pettitt on 30/05/2019.
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Christopher and Frank Warren were later the owners of C and F Warren garage in South Street on the corner of Union Lane.

Harry Chapman Lived in Stambridge Road. When well in his eighties in the autumn he was to be seen up a ladder pruning the fruit trees in his garden. He loaded the prunings in the basket of his old sit up and beg bicycle and delivered them as kindling to 'the old folk'. Harry said he would live to 100, get his letter from the Queen and then die. This he achieved.

After WW2 when Essex County Cricket Team were playing against other county or touring teams either in Southchurch or Chalkwell Park there was no Sunday play. It was quite common for members from these teams to appear as guests in Sunday matches  at Broomhills

By Rex Watson
On 17/08/2022
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