This club history is taken from the original Holton and Wheatley Cricket Club website which stopped being maintained around 2018.
Holton and Wheatley Cricket Club 1977-2013
There has been cricket in Holton since Victorian times, and in Wheatley the game is recorded even earlier.
Holton Village Hall sports a picture of a Holton team from the late nineteenth century, and records of the Club in various manifestations continue through the years up to the present day. Holton’s original Club ceased playing in 1951. Today’s Club grew out of a single match organized by Colin Ring and others on Saturday 27 August 1977 as part of the celebrations for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. The opposition was Wheatley, who were set a total of 43 by Holton which they achieved for the loss of three wickets. That first game encouraged Colin, along with the other founder members, to consider re-launching the Club, and from 1978 new games were added until soon the fixture list ran throughout the full season.
In those days the Club played its home matches at Wheatley Park School, though players remember its then rather unimpressive “shed-like” caverns for changing rooms. The outfield was also used for other sports (particularly rugby) during the year, and so had a somewhat uneven surface. Rugby posts were erected in late August, coinciding with the disappearance of regular mowing. One year the grass in the late season was so long that we only need to position two fielders on the rugby side of the pitch, as the grass did the fielding for us.
The longest-standing fixture for the Club is the game against Great Milton, but local derbies against Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Great Haseley, and Wheatley (in the days before the club disbanded in 1984) also date back to those early years. Continuity of fixtures and players has always been important to the Club. Several of today’s members can be found on those early scoresheets: Colin Ring, Neil Robinson, Robert Barter, Mike Shorthouse, Derek Marlowe, and Frank Johnston all feature in Holton’s early games. Others (youngsters then) appear for many years in the Club’s records, but have since moved away or hung up their bats to watch from the boundary: see the Holton Top Ten of Everything for the exploits, for example, of Richard Washington, Neil Jones, and Malcolm and Adrian Hills.
The Club decided from the outset to play only friendly, social cricket, and did not follow Wheatley down the path of league cricket. Holton players who wanted to play in the OCA league lent their allegiance on Saturdays to Wheatley, on the understanding that on Sundays they would return to their spiritual home at Holton.
For the 1991 season the Club decided to move from their pitch at Wheatley Park School to their present location on the Wheatley Campus of Oxford Brookes University. Few village sides can boast such facilities or such an attractive ground, which are the envy of our opposition.
When the present Club was formed we played each opposition team twice, but after a while we took the decision to expand the fixture list so that each year we played only once against a wider circle of clubs. This enabled us to build up a strong network of local friendly opposition and, despite some initial disappointment from long-standing rivals, the policy has proved extremely successful and has even been adopted by several of the teams we play.
Another innovation was the introduction of the concept of Monthly Match Managers, who are responsible for selecting the team each week (in conjunction with the captain), for notifying players of their selection, and (with the fixture secretary) for making sure that the extensive background arrangements for each match each week run smoothly – leaving the captain to concentrate on matters on the field of play. Indoor cricket and winter nets provide off-season fitness and socializing opportunities, and at various times we have fielded sides in the Oxfordshire Indoor Cricket competition.
Over the thirty years of the Club’s existence over five hundred matches have been played, with success shared equally between Holton and its opposition. Twelve centuries have been scored by regular team members (including one double century), with many more 50s and plenty of 5-wicket hauls. There have been successes for the bowlers too, with one 10-wicket and several nine- and eight-wicket hauls.
At the end of the 2008 season the Club changed its name to “Holton and Wheatley Cricket Club”.