AS cricket finally gets underway across the country, Worcestershire CCC’s second home is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

The Chester Road ground, often used by Worcestershire when New Road is unavailable, saw its first ever match played all the way back in 1870, having seen the clubhouse relocated to the ground by a horse and cart from its previous home in the Villiers Street and Lorne Street areas.

The club moved, literally lock stock and barrel, with another ground floor being built using bricks before the original structure on top was re-assembled.

The pavilion was quite new when the club moved it, as just seven years earlier, with debts of £8, it launched a subscription list – a crowdfunding campaign of its day – to raise £40 to build the 30ft by 16ft structure. The ground was originally rented but when it came up for sale in 1920, carpet-baron Michael Tomkinson bought it and sold it to the club when sufficient funds had been raised.

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One of the oldest carpet manufacturers in Kidderminster, Tomkinson’s were great supporters of KCC and many of the family played at a good level.

The current iconic black and white pavilion was added in 1925 and the wall along the Chester Road boundary was built in 1936. The old pavilion, which had seen better days and was only used for storage, was sadly destroyed in an unexplained arson attack in April 2008.

The site was rejuvenated within a couple of years with the building of a Masonic Lodge, creating a permanent home to several local lodges and bringing many Freemasons to enjoy the facilities offered in the clubhouse and Long Room, along with the cricket.

It made history itself when, in 1965 during a friendly between Worcestershire and the Cavaliers with the great Denis Compton batting, the Early Bird satellite sent pictures of the game around the world.

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The great W G Grace played for Kidderminster in 1883 against The Saxons and is said to have hit a ball over the house on the west side of Chester Road. His match fee was £10 and a Kidderminster carpet. The Birmingham League was formed in 1888, the oldest cricket league in the world.

Seven clubs were admitted but KCC didn’t join until 1895 by which time there were nine.

Prior to the First World War, KCC won the Championship three times in 1899, 1901 and 1910 and twice in the inter-war period in 1924 and 1929. After the Second World War, the club took the title in 1946, 1950, 1962, 1973 and 1975. The Challenge Cup evening competition started in 1958 and was won by KCC in 1966, 1967, 1980, 1982 and 2004.

The club also won the Williamson Trophy in 2009 and has competed strongly in the National Club Knock Out competition, reaching the semi-final twice. The club has amassed a wealth of accolades and a rich history during its 150 years at Chester Road.

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Throughout its history, KCC has seen numerous high profile players turn out, including Basil D’Oliveira and Graeme Hick.

D’Oliveira was often treated in an outrageous manner by the cricket authorities, but he never let it affect his game. He played for KCC in 1964 whilst qualifying for Worcestershire, scoring 706 runs and taking 43 wickets.

Hick, at just 17, became a run machine, scoring 1,234 runs at an average of 70 in 1984, his first season at KCC, including five centuries, four in successive matches, along with 19 wickets and 10 catches.

In the league match at Moseley, he scored 182 not out off 130 balls. His partner was Mike Wilkinson who scored 83.

The current cricket club officials are Norman Broadfield (President), Les Vincent (Chairman), Mark Mansell (Secretary), Rob Carter (Treasurer), Neil Pinner (Club Captain) and Sandra Barlow (Scorer). Sarah Beadsworth is chairman of the junior section and Peter Radburn is chairman of the CRSSC.