West Chiltington and Thakeham are two neighbouring villages in the Horsham District of West Sussex. Both are spread over reasonably wide areas."West Chiltington: a village with a past and a future" proclaims the website. West Chilt. is a Saxon village with a Norman church, connections to Cromwell, Anne of Cleeves and more recently Norman Wisdom so there is a wealth of historical interest in the village. It also has a windmill which features on the cricket club's badge. In the Great Norman Survey in 1068 leading to the Domesday Book, Thakeham had a Norman church and apparenty "thirty villains, twelve bondsmen, and eight ploughs". It was described in 1843 as "an out of the way parish with no resident gentlemen" and had a population of 597. In 1875, the school was built to accommodate 92 children but in 1935 this had fallen to just 35. After the first world war, the village became home to many retired service officers as well as expanding to become a centre of market gardening. It was once the residence of actress Anna Massey and now has around 1,000 residents spreading from Rydon School in the south to the old village in The Street.
Although West Chiltington Cricket Club was not formed until 1921, the first recorded game goes back to the 18th Century when teams from Horsham and High Chiltington played on Hurston Common. (Hurston Common could well now be West Sussex Golf Club). West Chilt CC has always played home games at the Recreation Ground in Mill Road. It is unclear when Thakeham CC was formed but a team played on the current football field next to the Storrington Road until the 1970s on land owned by what was then Linfield Mushrooms. The dilapidated pavilion was not actually removed until the early 21st Century. A new ground is now being built in the field beyond where the old ground was situated. Relations between the two villages have not always been so cordial. "A further tithe dispute in 1279 between the rectors of Thakeham and West Chiltington led to violence in which the rector of Thakeham was wounded". West Chilt CC proceeded in a leisurely manner throughout the 20th Century but prior to merger had only around 20 playing members (including several Thakeham residents) with Saturday league and Sunday friendly sides.
Following the merger at the West Chiltington AGM in October 2000, the new club played for several seasons in the old West Sussex League; initially in the Second Division and then after finishing runners up, they competed at the top of the First Division as they began to attract more players. The Club celebrated being crowned champions of the West Sussex League First Division in 2006. Rapid progress on and off the field followed quickly.
2007: The Club launched a 2nd XI to provide a greater platform for colts to play competitive cricket. A Club XI played a Sussex XI as part of Sussex CC opening batsman Richard Montgomerie’s benefit year.
2008: Joined the Sussex Invitation League bringing fresh challenges
2009: Sussex CCC beneficiary Murray Goodwin opened our nets
2010: Covers arrived and in 2011, sightscreens arrived.
2011 & 2012: The 1st XI achieved back to back championships. 3rd XI also launched in 2012
2015: Promotion to the Sussex County League.
At the end of the 2013 season, the club dismantled the old cricket pavilion and former Thakeham chairman Phil Goring and son constructed our wondeful new home. We still owe the ECB a considerable amount of money in loans so we will continue to raise money through a variety of sources to pay this back as well as enhance our playing facilities for the benefit of our playing and social members.
Colts: 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.
Club Coach: For the first season in the Sussex County League, 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 County League 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 floodlghts but more importantly their 1st XI won Sussex League Division 5 West. A new ground and pavilion at Abingworth (Thakeham) will become a reality in 2019 and many who have been involved since pre merger can scarcely believe how much the club has changed. Essentially though we are two small villages and we do try to retain the feel of a village club, not a city side.
WC&TCC is a Sussex Focus Club with ECB ClubMark accreditation. Fundamentally it remains a great place to play cricket in a friendly environment. If you or your family would like to join the club either to play, in a social capacity or to assist us, please do get in touch