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Can you beat this photograph?

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Click HERE for 40th Anniversary Photo Challenge
The Move to Underlane
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1977 was a critical year for North Wendron Cricket Club.  In January, there was every prospect that the club would go the way of so many other village cricket teams and fold due to the lack of a ground. Players and officials investigated numerous options in their search for a new home but none came to fruition.  By February, however, the situation had improved.  An extraordinary general meeting heard that three small fields, at Underlane, had been offered to the club for two thousand pounds.  Despite the daunting prospect of raising funds to cover the cost of purchase, the decision was taken to go ahead and, within three months, the land was bought; hedges removed and a wicket prepared.

For this first year, the ground was much smaller than it is today because one of the three fields had been ploughed and was not suitable for use as part of the outfield.  The stumps were pitched at the Retanna end of the ground, directly opposite the cottage occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Sid Thomas.  This was not an ideal situation as Mr. Thomas was no cricket lover and could not understand why batsmen kept hitting sixes towards his windows when, "They had all the rest of the field to hit the ball in."

The first game on the new ground, played on 21st May 1977, resulted in a win for the home team, against Barripper 1st XI.  The match was played in beautiful sunshine - which is just as well as there was no pavilion and tea had to be taken outside. A tent was hired, for the day, to ensure that players could change in some degree of privacy and comfort.

Forty years on and the Underlane ground is a picture, as the club celebrates the anniversary with a commemorative game featuring cricketers from earlier eras and the present day.  The sun is shining as they bat and bowl against a back-drop of the pavilion/clubhouse, opened in 1982, where they will later take their tea.  Behnd this is the newer football building, three football pitches and an all-weather floodlit training area - all undreamt of when the club took the decision to move to Underlane on a cold February night in 1977.

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