The Westbourne Cricket Club has been situated in the meadow opposite the Cricketers pub for some 130 years although, due to the two world wars, play hasn’t been continuous throughout. In the early 1900s,Charlie Goddard, landlord of the Good Intent, claimed to have made ‘the longest hit ever known – nearly a quarter of a mile’. According to an old newspaper cutting, ‘he banged the ball with a mighty hit, it bounced on to the road alongside the common (Monks Hill) and rolled down the hill, a few yards only under the 440 yards from where it was struck’.
Today there are some 30 adult players in the club. The season, from April to September, consists of 22 weekend fixtures and 16 evening fixtures, both home and away. A special annual memorial cricket match is organised by the Desais and the Patels in honour of Dr Patel’s who, besides being the local doctor, was also an international cricketer, captaining the Kenyan side in the 1960s. Dr Patel’s guest XI was recently led by Sandeep Patel and cheered on by 150 enthusiastic relatives, some arriving from as far away as Uganda.
The clubs pitch at Commonside at the top of Covington Lane is picturesque and tranquil. With horses grazing in surrounding fields, the pitch is renowned for its wild orchids (Autumn Lady’s Tresses), one or two of which have popped up inches from the stumps.