A MAN from Brookend in Berkeley has written a book on local cricket history between 1890 and 1990.
Cricket mad Ken Coughlin spent over three years doing research to compile A Century in the Vale, which covers 12 clubs between the River Severn and the M5. As well as looking back over old scorecards Coughlin has spoken to several former players to get their stories.
“It’s social history as much as a log of old cricket results,” said Coughlin, who has sold over 100 copies already.
Of the clubs that Coughlin studied, only Tortworth, Oldands and Stone still exist with Newport, Sharpness, Purton, Brookend, Severn Mills, CEGB/NSSC, Falfied and Berkeley all folding, and Coughlin made some interesting findings. “I think league cricket has taken away some of the old camaraderie,” he said.
“To maintain a decent standard is very expensive and that’s why a lot of clubs have folded. “The social fabric structure of villages has collapsed.
“I remember the days when there were no pavilion or showers, the nearest tree was the toilet and some of the pitches were frightening to play on.
“The equipment is better now and the grassroots have changed. The clubs didn’t bring the youngsters on – the schools would do it. “The clubs that have survived have a progressive structure. “The other clubs that have disappeared didn’t have continuity and didn’t bring the youth on.”
Coughlin, 73, described himself as a ‘mediocre’ cricketer, who played for Dursley Grammar School seconds before joining Brookend.
After a long break from playing, when he watched England play all over the world, Coughlin returned to local cricket at 56-years-old with Berkeley and Stone.
He now plays the odd t20 game at Oldlands on Friday nights for Brookend Badgers. “We’ve got two or three good youngsters but they haven’t got the time to join a proper cricket club,” said Coughlin.
The book is available for £12.50 from Bailey’s newsagents in Berkeley or by calling Ken on 01453 810657.