Sports Clubs in Hungerford
Hungerford Cricket Club’s detailed history is lost in the early part of the 19th Century. However, there are items of great significance that must be highlighted. The first is the recorded fact that the Club played against the full English professional team in 1852, 1853 and 1854. These gentlemen toured the country, playing challenge matches for large bets, which were placed by wealthy landowners. In 1852, the England team came to Hungerford straight from ‘Gentleman v. Players’ match at Lords in July. They played the match at Hungerford Park and England were dismissed for twelve runs. The home team, as was usual at the time, fielded a team of twenty two players, but never doubt the facts, as the original score books are lodged with the County Archivists in Reading and there are printed copies of all the circumstance available.
In the early 1890’s, Rev Denning came to Hungerford as a curate and schoolmaster. He totally dominated local cricket for the next fifty years, until his death in 1939. He played cricket and football all the year round and was later joined by his two talented sons. He regularly took over two hundred wickets per season and many are the tales of his phenomenal energy and prowess.
Hungerford won the Newbury Challenge Cup in 1939. Unfortunately, the cup was lost in the following six years. Indeed, the Club and its premises were in a poor state when the war ended. Fortunately, the town saw fit to incorporate all the sporting facilities into a Memorial for those who lost their lives during the Second World War and quite quickly the Club was reformed in 1948. There was great competition for places in the teams and the Club was able to field three teams each weekend.
Cricket against local teams with good-hearted rivalry continued until fire destroyed the prefab pavilion in the early 1960’s, but with the tremendous money-raising skills of the Chairman, Hugh Curtis and Secretary, Norman Barr, a new modern pavilion was very soon in place.
With the new pavilion in use, league cricket was soon upon us and Hungerford Cricket Club were founder members of the Hampshire Cricket League. Over the next 15 years the First Eleven worked their way up the Hampshire Cricket League pyramid system and in 1990 achieved automatic promotion to the Southern Cricket League. After a period of consolidation, the Club reached a record high by winning the Southern Premier League in 1998 and 1999, along with the Southern League Cup in 1999.
After the highs of Southern League championships, the Club is now in the stage of re-building with the First Eleven finishing the 2004 season in 4th position in the Southern League Division 3, with the Second Eleven finishing in mid-table of Region Division 1 North of the Hampshire League.
The Club has a very active youth policy, running sides at under 11’s, 13’s and 15’s and boasts one of the finest grounds in Southern England.