Billericay Cricket Club History

 

Born 1875...And going strong

 

Founded in 1875 the Club spent its first 25 years playing on Laindon Common. Around the turn of the century the club moved to a ground nearer Billericay and began playing on a field near the present Billericay School. For two seasons before the First World War the Club played on a field just behind the Roman Catholic Church in Laindon Road.


Little cricket was played during 1914-1918 and regular cricket recommenced at the Laindon Road ground in 1919. Following one more season at that ground the Club moved to a picturesque field off the Mountnessing Road. The three acres field was to provide a pleasant location for 75 seasons.


Cricket continued at Mountnessing Road up to the Second World War and for the period 1939-1945, yet again, little cricket was played. During this period the ground was maintained by the owner Mr Ricketts. Post war cricket recommenced and in 1954 Club members built a new pavilion to replace the two wooden buildings inherited from the Laindon Road ground.

 

In 1955 the Club first considered the prospect of purchasing the Mountnessing Road ground. After an abortive attempt in the 1960s it was not until 1972 that the ambition was finally realised. In 1966 the executors of the Ricketts estate wished to dispose of the ground. To pre-empt purchase by Basildon Council the then President of Billericay Cricket Club, Toby Howe, a member since 1930, purchased the ground on the understanding that the Club would purchase at a later date. The Club purchased the ground in December 1972 at the same price as paid by Toby years earlier. It is only right that the magnificent ground, currently used by the Club, bears his name as, without his intervention, it would not have been possible.

 

In the 1970s the Club expanded the pavilion but with poor practice facilities and the advent of League Cricket the Mountnessing Road ground was being outgrown. The brief was given to find a new ground within the boundary of Billericay – two full sized pitches with an improved pavilion and changing facility. The Club Centenary Year in 1975 was celebrated with a number of events but the search for a new ground was proving quite difficult. The Club was running four Saturday sides, three on Sundays and with youth cricket, apart from putting a strain on the square at Mountnessing Road, extra pitches had to be hired most match days.


In the mid 1980s the Club were approached by Moody Homes with the prospect of a ground on the Queens Park Estate. After the initial excitement, our hopes were dashed. An alternative Queens Park site was in prospect in 1988 involving lengthy negotiations with Mr Peachey. Our hopes were dashed again due to a problem with the boundaries of the Mountnessing Road ground. In 1992 we were approached by developers and a new ground at Blunts Wall Road was decided on. The Club would vacate the Mountnessing Road ground after the 1995 season.


On May 3rd 1996 The Toby Howe Cricket Ground was officially opened by Mickey Stewart OBE.


The ground is now regularly used by Essex County Cricket Club for outdoor practice facilities, County Second XI and County junior fixtures. Essex County Cricket Club provide a full time groundsman which ensures that the playing surfaces are maintained to the highest level.