West Chiltington and Thakeham are two neighbouring villages in the Horsham District of West Sussex. Prior to the 2001 season, both clubs existed separately.
There are three Play Cricket sites with old matches - one each of the two village clubs prior to merger and a third combined club site since 2001.
Please click on the relevant link below to learn more about each club:
Sources: West Sussex County Times, West Sussex Gazette, Worthing Gazette
WEST CHILTINGTON CC
The first recorded match for a team based in West Chilt goes back to the 18th Century when sides from Horsham and “High Chiltington” played on Hurston Common (which could now well be West Sussex Golf Club). The first game showing in Play Cricket (which starts recording matches in 1800) was against Coneyhurst on 14th July 1826 resulting in a win for “Chiltington” by nine runs in a two innings per side encounter. (Many matches in the 19th and early 20th Century were two innings per side as pitches were of generally poor repair and runs were hard to come by as a result).
By (or before) 1882, the club was called Nutbourne and West Chiltington and played matches on Nutbourne Common to the south of Nutbourne towards the Pulborough Road. There are several matches showing on Play Cricket in the nineteenth century.
West Chiltington Cricket Club was officially formed in 1921; they didn’t play at all for eight years in the late 20s to the mid 30s due to a lack of members. The club also didn’t start playing at the Recreation Ground until 1936 when they took on a Royal Engineers side (stationed temporarily at Thakeham) in the inaugural game. A year later, the Engineers sent a side from Aldershot and were well beaten thanks to man of the match, Don Ayling. Don who went on to play for many years was just 20 at the time. He made 20 valuable runs (second top score) and took 7-27.
Notable fixtures pre merger were regular visitors such as the Kenya Kongonis in 1947, the Cricket Society's first ever game in 1949 and the Press Club (which later became the Fleet Street Strollers) in 1976.
Images below from 1940, 1955, 1973 (against the Press Club) and 1985.
The first recorded ton was by W.Wakeling (108) against Findon in August 1949; Cliff Mayes (100) repeated the feat against Storrington in June 1953. It says quite a bit about the state of the pitches that it took so long for this to be achieved. Then in 1959, 20 year old Guy Harwood (110) and 17 year old Stuart Bell (63*) featured in a record opening partnership of 173 in Worthing against the Inland Revenue. This will have probably stood till the 1990’s when the likes of Brian Chambers started playing.
There is evidence of the Club playing in the Guardian Invitation League in 1985 (which became the Worthing Cricket League in 1986); at some point in the late 90s, the club entered the West Sussex League (WSL) although precisely when remains unclear at present. And at merger, the club had a small but capable squad with some ex Horsham players and others of that ilk.
The 20th Century
We have at least one result in Play Cricket every year between 1945 up to merger in 2000. (We even played Pulborough Post Office containing several servicemen during the war in 1940 at the Rec). We have full seasons showing in 1962-64, 67-69, 1974, 1978, 1980, 82-84, 1986, 1993 and 1995. Although many of our scorebooks ended up in skips, several local clubs have helped us track down results to help build up an historical picture. Thanks especially go to Storrington, Arundel, The Fleet Street Strollers and Kenya Kongonis whom we’ve played regularly down the years. Altogether, we've located nearly 700 results in some shape or form plus another seven in 2000. If you assumed 30 fixtures a year, that could have been around 3000 games. In reality, it would have been closer to 2,500 as we hardly played in some years but plenty more to be uncovered.
It is unclear when Thakeham CC was formed. Their first pitch was in a local field called “the Marshes” in the 19th Century; they eventually moved to what are now the football pitches next to the Storrington Road. This land was owned by what was then Linfield Mushrooms. The dilapidated pavilion (near where the football changing rooms are now) was not removed until the early 21st Century.
The first recorded fixture from press archives was on 4th July 1864 with a defeat ironically to West Chilt. Thakeham lost the two innings match by 45 runs. Revenge was achieved at the Marshes two weeks later with a win by 13 runs.
By 1932, the team was primarily playing Linfield Sports (the mushroom factory which still exists in the village) and Thakeham CC soon effectively was a Linfield Sports XI. In the era of few big scores, Sam Mitchell made an unbeaten 91 for Linfield’s at the Manor against a Worthing B XI in June 1956 before on the 23rd May 1959, C.Rucklidge made exactly 100 against Chipps. The last recorded match in the press for Linfield Sports Club was a narrow defeat at Storrington in July 1971 although the team played into the 1980's before being disbanded. The company could no longer afford to maintain the square as they were implementing cost cutting measures. At their height, the Sports Club team was a better side than Chilt. The last game recorded for Thakeham CC was in late August 2000, a few weeks before merger. A defeat at the West Chilt Rec. Altogether, we’ve located detail of no more than 52 matches.
At merger, the Thakeham committee consisted of Phil Goring (Chairman), David Hardisty and Will Hasler amongst others with captain Peter Bullock. Hardisty was elected the first chairman of the merged club and all four played in the first few years post 2000.
WEST CHILTINGTON & THAKEHAM CC
The two clubs merged in October 2000 at the WCCC AGM in the church hall. Just prior to this, WCCC had around 20 playing members (including James Chaloner, Malcolm Fitzgerald and Matt Hennings plus Thakeham residents Peter Jones, Neil Miller and Brian Chambers) with a Saturday league side and a Sunday XI. In their final season, WCCC were in Division 2 of the old West Sussex League (WSL)
The images below represent the evolution of the cricket club badge. The addition of the oak leaf in 2001 represents Thakeham village.
Following merger at the West Chiltington AGM in October 2000, the new club played for several seasons in the old WSL; initially in Division 2 and then after finishing runners up in 2002, the Saturday XI competed at the top of Division 1 as they began to attract more players. The Club celebrated being crowned champions of WSL Division 1 in 2006. Rapid progress on and off the field followed quickly after a colts section was reintroduced in 2005.
In 2007 the Club launched a 2nd XI and a Club XI played a Sussex XI as part of opening batsman Richard Montgomerie’s benefit year. Mushtaq Ahmed turned out for Chilt on a great day at the Rec.
In the following season, WC&TCC were accepted into the Sussex Invitation Cricket League (SICL), a step up from the WSL, as 15 clubs moved from the SICL into the newly expanded Sussex Cricket League (SCL). In 2009 the SICL merged with our former league, the WSL, to become the West Sussex Invitation Cricket League (WSICL) and act as a feeder league for the west area of the SCL. A route to the higher echelons of Sussex cricket was thus opened up. Chilt were 'placed' into Division 3, having been in Division 2 the previous season.
Sussex CCC beneficiary Murray Goodwin opened our new three lane nets in 2009. In 2010 covers arrived and a year later, sight screens were installed. The latter a necessary requirement if we wanted to continue to climb the cricket pyramid.
In 2011 and 2012 the 1st XI achieved back-to-back WSICL Division 3 and Division 2 championships and a 3rd XI was launched.
At the end of the 2013 season, the club dismantled the old cricket pavilion and former Thakeham chairman Phil Goring and son constructed our wonderful new home.
After two consecutive fourth place finishes in Division 1, the Club won the league to finally secure promotion to the Sussex Cricket League (SCL) in 2015.
For the first season in the Sussex Cricket League (SCL), the committee took the bold step to appoint a new club coach, the former Hastings player Tim van Noort, to oversee all adult and colts' coaching at the club.
2016 saw consolidation in the SCL for the 1st XI with van Noort also assisting significantly on the playing front. 2017 saw the side retain their Sussex Cricket Foundation six-a-side trophy overcoming Pagham at Hove under the floodlights but more importantly the 1st XI won SCL Division 5 West. *Various SCL restructures make this part of our league history a bit confusing but essentially we went from Division 4 to Division 3 West in the space of two seasons (2016-2018). See League Placings history below!
A new 'second' ground and pavilion in Thakeham, Abingworth Meadows, were built in 2018 (images below) and in 2020 former Sussex and Scotland professional cricketer Matt Machan was added to our family, taking on the role of Club Coach. In 2021 the team acheived it's biggest acheivement to-date, winning Division 3 West on the final day of the season at Littlehampton and gaining promotion to Division 2.
Many who have been involved since pre-merger can scarcely believe how much the club has grown. Essentially though it's been organic growth and we remain two small villages. The club tries to retain the feel of a village club, not a city side.
West Sussex League (WSL). Exact year of entry is unknown.
1999 Division 3 - 4th
2000 Division 2 - 7th
2001 Division 2 - 3rd
2002 Division 2 – 2nd
2003 Division 1 – 2nd
2004 Division 1 - 4th
2005 Division 1 – 2nd
2006 Division 1 - Champions
2007 Division 1 -
Sussex Invitation Cricket League (SICL)
2008 Division 2 – 7th
West Sussex Invitation Cricket League (WSICL)
2009 Division 3 – 3rd
2010 Division 3 – 4th
2011 Division 3 - Champions
2012 Division 2 - Champions
2013 Division 1 – 4th
2014 Division 1 – 4th
2015 Division 1 - Champions
Sussex Cricket League (SCL)
2016 Division 4 – 5th
2017 Division 5 West* - Champions
2018 Division 3 West** – 6th
2019 Division 3 West – 5th
2020 Division 3 West - season cancelled (Covid)
2021 Division 3 West - Champions
2022 Division 2 -
*SCL restructure in 2017 removed the county-wide divisions beneath Division 2 and Second XI and First XI ladders were merged. We were placed in Division 5W.
** SCL restructure (again). The ESL, WSICL and MSL leagues were disbanded and from this point all teams are moved into the newly formed/expanded SCL. We were promoted from Division 5W to Division 3W.
For a wider history of the SCL and other leagues in Sussex click here.
Our current President Peter Jones started playing for the club in 1960; he only really retired aged 75 in a veterans’ game for the merged club in Petworth Park in 2018. Peter has recorded 250+ matches and 4500+ runs for West Chiltington CC as well as 62 matches (and 686 runs) for the merged club. If he hadn’t enjoyed a brief “loan” spell at Arundel in the late 1970’s, there would be even more. Predominantly a top order batsman, our former captain also kept wicket and bowled off spin on both Saturdays and Sundays. Like the red wine he is fond of, Peter’s batting improved with age! Peter was also the brains and most of the manpower behind a colts section in the seventies.
Pat Tuppen appears in more than 300 matches which we’ve located from 1952 to 1998. He took more than 570 wickets at 13.5 - 250+ more than anyone else - with a best of 8-21 against the Cricket Society in September 1984; he took 27% of our wickets when he played and also made three half centuries. His two sons Mark and Larry have also played for us.
Another former captain (and all rounder) was Paul Carruthers who made 150+ appearances in matches we’ve found with thirteen fifties and one ton between 1966 and 1978; like Pat, his record with the ball is more impressive though. 300+ wickets with a best of 9-26 in the hammering of the Press Club (later the Fleet St Strollers) in an early encounter in 1976. He took 28% of all wickets in the Chilt matches he played in (and we’ve located) before he transferred to Storrington. (There were several others that have played for both clubs such as Alan Reeves who started at Storrington and Martin McKilligin who started at Chilt).
Although he passed away in 2014, all rounder Rob/Bob Llewellyn still holds many records at the merged club including appearances, runs and tons. He made nearly 400 appearances for the merged club between 2001 and 2012 which at the end of the 2020 season was still 60+ more than James Chaloner in second place. There are also 40+ recorded for West Chilt CC too with a first game in 1991 and many more missing. If there was a match scheduled, Bob would play usually batting at 3 and fidgeting in the outfield ready to bowl. Towards the end of his life, he was working in Argentina in the week and flying home at weekends to play cricket for Chilt or hockey and football for Worthing. A ferocious competitor on the pitch, he was a lovely man off it especially with the kids who worshipped him. He racked up 15,035 runs for the merged club (8,000+ more than Mick Armstrong, his nearest rival) plus probably another 2,000 for West Chilt (1,000+ recorded). He made 17 hundreds and an incredible 112 half centuries for WC&TCC with 22% of the team's runs when he played. 254 wickets at 21.2 as well as countless catches behind the stumps and in the outfield. A confirmed batchelor which explains how he played so many games, Bob’s booming Welsh voice is still missed by those that knew and played with him. We celebrate his life every year in our club day on Bank Holiday Monday.
Tim Monday is another who left us too early and is much missed. He was only here for a few seasons but is the only man to lead two separate clubs (us and Wisborough Green) from the old Invitation League into the Sussex County League (prior to the current pyramid). Timbo was another fierce competitor, had an encyclopaedic knowledge of opponents and was a superb people manager on the field. All his team would walk through fire with him (usually to the bar) and we have his son Jack to thank for securing his signature from the Wiz. His sudden death during a match with Middleton in 2017 still hurts with many especially those in the 1st XI that had a special bond with him and we certainly struggled to replace Tim effectively as captain too. He actually made his Sunday debut in 2011 at Midhurst but didn’t play league cricket for us till 2014. He then captained the 1st XI for three and a half extremely successful years with promotion to the County League achieved in 2015. The wily fox usually batted at 11 and bagged 74 1st XI wickets in that period. (The 1st XI only lost 25% of matches between 2014 and 17). An incorrigible much loved character who helped lay the foundations for the success we continue to enjoy today. We celebrate his life every year in June close to his birthdate in T20 matches against his two former clubs, Aldershot and Wisborough Green.
A major success since 2005 has been the rise of our youth section. The club began an ambitious youth development policy which continues to be a tremendous success for the local community and despite some other adult acquisitions, it is the prime reason for recent success. Launched by former Sussex coach Brian Jeffries and current president Peter Jones, we now boast a number of ECB accredited coaches for every age group and start coaching at Under 5 for Boys and Girls. In 2010, it was fitting that Brian's grandson Will Jeffries (U13) became the first West Chilt colt to score a ton in the SJCF against Goring. In 2011, Toby Glover (U14) and Callum Wyatt (U17) established themselves in the 1st XI and several colts played for the 2nd XI and Sunday friendly side. The U12s won the Sussex Junior Cricket Festival Shield (SJCF) which was our first ever colts' trophy. Tom Good (U13 captain) made successive tons in the SJCF and Tom Chambers (U16) also made a hundred at Felbridge, having made a ton for the 2nd XI against Wisborough Green earlier that season. In 2013, U16's captain, Jack Elliott-Monday broke the 150 run barrier for a colt for the first time again against Goring in the SJCF Shield putting on 254 unbeaten runs with U14, Eddie Miller. It was Jack's third century of the season and he broke the club appearance record playing 50 games that year. 254 runs was also a new club partnership for any wicket (although that has since been beaten by Reuben Taylor and Luke Tolson's opening partnership against Preston Nomads in the U16 SJCF Bowl in 2016). The Girls section was launched in 2013. Colts and former colts have played in every adult side for a number of years now and are fundamental to the success of the club. We have had both Girls and Boys representing the club in Sussex full and area sides and now generally just compete in the more competitive Bowl rather than Shield festival cricket.