Sheepscombe Cricket Pavilion. Courtesy : Sheepscombe. Org
Courtesy : FB page of the club.
Sheepscombe Cricket Club is inextricably linked with the poet Laurie Lee ( the poet best known for Cider with Rosie). For many years Lee allowed the club free use of a field he owned in Sheepscombe, now called the Laurie Lee Field.
Sheepscombe, a sleepy village in Gloucestershire lying in a narrow hypnotic village behind the Cotswold scrap. It nestles amidst green hills with clumps of trees and quaint elevation. It is short walk up the hill from the village Hall car park to the quintessential Butchers Arms Pub.
The ground is idiosyncratic in the best traditions of English village cricket. There is a huge drop of 15 ft from the pavilion side to the boundary on the other side. It plateaus enough to prove a flat pitch area more or less in the middle. The bowler’s run up from one end is so steep that the shorter batter can’t see him till the last few strides. Yet it remains one of the most beautiful grounds of the World. The home side knows to alert fielders and shout a warning if a catch or groundstroke is on its way. Boundaries are a lot easier to earn on the downward slope. A six up the hill towards the pavilion is a rarity.
Lee wrote affectionately of his Uncle Sid who learned his cricket “ on the molehills of Sheepscombe, which is not far from chacterising the ground today. It is all very English and reminiscent of A.G. Macdonall’s famous chapter about county cricket in “ England, Their England”.
Lee’s sympathy towards cricket remained even after a disquieting experience at SCG. He was watching a game from the notorious Hill (Hill was since demolished now to make way for “Victor Trumper stand”) “ when he was hit by a flying beer bottle. After 4 stitches in hospital he said of the experience “ I enjoyed it, but if I go back again I will wear a Tin hat”.
Lee died in 1997, but is still remembered with warmth at Sheepscombe. After his death, the club bought the ground from his Estate with help from the England & Wales cricket Trust and from a very supportive local community. In celebrating the purchase, the club unveiled a fine bench overlooking the pitch in his memory.
The Pavilion that stands today was erected in 1994 and has all the modern facilities of showers, toilets and a proper kitchen counter. The sense of history that pervades through is fascinating. The pavilion walls are covered with pictures and reports of the development of the ground. A table is stacked with books about English cricket including this ground. There are also several volumes of books penned by the Gloucestershire cricket writer, Nico Craven, a frequent visitor to the ground.
The SCC (sheepscombe cricket club) was founded in 1896, playing in Gloucestershire County cricket League on Saturdays and enjoy occasional Sunday and evening matches.
In 2013, the Club bought this ground by fund raising and a grant from ECB.
Sheepscombe village hall is the centre for many activities and events acts as the social centre for village life. It is the place for parties, film shows, meetings, Bridge and Table tennis, concerts and the home of the Famous(Infamous)Sheepscombe Pa