CRICKET returned to Hampton-in-Arden after a break of more than 10 years when the first match was played on the village’s new cricket pitch.
Situated at Hampton Recreation ground in Shadowbrook Lane, the pitch was laid with the help of an £18,000 grant from local charity, the George Fentham Trust.
Drainage work had to be carried out before the playing area was seeded under the direction of Steve Rouse, head groundsman at Warwickshire County Cricket Club.
Local MP Caroline Spelman set the ball rolling on Monday when she took a bat and faced up to 14-year-old bowler Chris Bransbury,
who plays for the recently-formed Hampton Village Cricket Club.
She congratulated club officials on keeping going the long tradition of playing cricket in the village.
Mrs Spelman doesn’t play the summer game herself but members of her family do, including her son Jonny, a promising young player with Knowle & Dorridge and Warwickshire under-14s.
The distinctive sound of leather striking willow disappeared from Hampton in 1997 when the long-established village cricket club left its ground at Corbetts Field and merged with Solihull CC.
The prime mover in the formation of the new club was Dr Rodger Charlton, a local GP and passionate cricket enthusiast.
He captained the eleven who took on a team from Temple Grafton in Warwickshire in the inaugural match, which was sponsored to the tune of £500 by the Old Triponians of Hampton-in-Arden.
For the record, the visitors won by 121 runs.
Liam Killian, who scored an unbeaten 113 for Temple Grafton, was adjudged man of the match and received a tankard presented in memory of Graham Williamson, a leading figure in the sport who lived in Hampton.
A larger than life character, he was responsible for
the resurgence of the Birmingham Premier League and was a member of the Warwickshire CCC committee.
The presentation was made by his widow Julie.