The Early Years
Established in 1935, Cove Cricket Club quickly became the traditional village cricket team. Cove Green was the home of all sport within the village and the location of all Cove Cricket Club fixtures until the late 1950’s. Minimal records are available in relation to games played during this time, however we are aware of a brief interruption to cricket during the Second World War. At the conclusion of the war, we got back to playing cricket on Cove Green and began the journey to becoming the club we are today.
Throughout the late 1950’s the club began looking for alternative venues to the local village green. Various army grounds around Aldershot hosted our games, as did a cricket ground attached to Southwood Barracks, now commonly known as Southwood Village. Throughout these early years only one team was fielded, and the majority of the fixtures were local friendly matches. It was during the 1960’s that we began to form a second team and it was this team that returned to our original village green routes at Cove Green. The first team played our games at the ACC ground on Queen’s Avenue in Aldershot for approximately 13 years.
1970 To 1987
Throughout the late 60’s and early 70’s the town of Farnborough began to grow due to its favourable location in terms of a train link to London. With Cove being a small village engulfed by this growing town, we began to see cricket become popular not only for the residents of our village, but for the town of Farnborough as a whole.
The need for our own ground was becoming an ever-pressing matter for the committee of the day to address. We began by securing the lease of a plot of land running alongside what is now Ambleside Close, right up to where our boundary rope is today. The owner of the land Horace Cutler wished to negotiate with us due to the land being a prime location for a housing estate, and an agreement was reached to secure a long-term lease on the land we call our home today. As we took over the marshlands of our new location, our enthusiastic members set about clearing all of the reeds and sourcing excavated land from the newly build M3 to create the playing field that have provided so many great memories ever since. This same group of members began the monumental task of building a pavilion from scratch, which started with a large trench from Ambleside Close, through to the plot of the modern clubhouse you see today. What was once a dream, a ground and our own pavilion became a reality when the pavilion was officially opened on the 29th September 1972 by Alec Bedser, a Surrey and England player of the time. The first official game on the Grasmere Road turf was on 4th May 1974, where we secured a win against our local rivals Fleet Cricket Club.
Competitive cricket was growing steadily in the area throughout the early 1970’s with the formation of the Three Counties Cricket League which brought about more desire for cricket and the need for the formation of our third team. During these years we cemented ourselves as a leading club in North Hampshire with both our First Team (1972 & 1979) and Third Team (1978 & 1979) winning two titles within the decade.
We enjoyed continued success throughout the 1980’s with the First Team crowned Champions in 1981 and 1984, the Second Team taking the title in 1986 and 1989 and the Third Teams victorious inaugural league season in 1982. It was during these years that the Aylward Cup was formed, with Cove winning the competition in 1986, 1987 and 1988 as we started our journey to being the most successful side in the history of the competition.
The Hurricane of 1987
In October 1987, devastation struck the South of England in the form of a hurricane, causing widespread damage on an unprecedented scale. The roof of our pavilion was ripped off and found on the square on the morning of October 16th. In the same way they did 15 years prior, our club members rose to the occasion once again, re-designing and even extending the premises, creating changing rooms, a new kitchen and a pitched tiled roof, creating a club house of a similar look and feel as the one you see today. The re-designed pavilion was ready for its formal unveiling on the opening day of the 1988 season, with the late John Bromley (Head of ITV Sport) doing the honours on the 6th May 1988.
1988 to 2009
The early 90s came with continued success for us as a club on and off the field. In 1993, we achieved our most historic season of all, with our First Team, Second Team and Third Team all winning their respective division of the Three Counties Cricket League without losing a single game. The First Team also achieved the league title in 1992.
Following the 1993 success, we became members of the Thames Valley Cricket League, which was the next stage of our growth as a club. It was this move coupled with the introduction of competitive Sunday cricket that allowed us to place a greater focus on the development of our younger players. As a thriving town, Farnborough and Cove Cricket Club were growing in tandem, and in true Cove Cricket Club fashion, we kept our focus on serving our community by providing personal and sporting development for the young people within our community.
Whilst any Championship honours eluded us for the rest of the 90’s the success off the field continued. In 1996 plans were drawn up to redevelop the clubhouse further, with a second floor being the proposed home of home, away and umpires changing rooms, along with a balcony to provide the players with their own viewing space for the games. As with all redevelopments, they never come easily, and our members worked tirelessly to obtain support from; The National Lottery, Rushmoor Borough Council and The Foundation for Sports and Art to name a few. The grants provided by these generous organisations allowed for building to start in the autumn of 1998. With the help of outside contractors, the pavilion as we know it today was completed in time for the 1999 season, becoming one of the most state of the art clubhouses in our area.
The new Millennium brought with it a new league, as the First Team ventured into the Southern Premier League, and the Second Team finding a home in the Hampshire League situated just below it. This change was short lived with both teams returning to the Thames Valley Cricket League the season after.
It was during the 2000’s that Cove Cricket Club started the journey of becoming the social hub that it is today. With our new state of the art pavilion and fantastic grounds, we became the perfect location for social events, charity days, benefit games and private hires. One particular event of note was the benefit 7-a-side tournament of former Cove Junior cricketer and then Hampshire and England off-spinner Shaun Udal.
Cove Cricket Club continued to grow on the field throughout the early Millennium. As time progressed, the Junior section began to form more formally and Cove Cricket Club continued to establish itself as a well-respected producer of fine cricketers, with many representing their County at various age-groups and genders. We briefly fielded an Academy side that promoted young people getting into Senior cricket as they began to graduate from the Junior ranks. Whilst the team isn’t in existence in the present day, its philosophy remains strong as we continue to develop home grown players that are the backbone of all of our senior sides.
2010, our 75th anniversary was the year for yet another historic milestone for Cove Cricket Club, with the launch of our Ladies section, spearheaded by our very own trailblazer of Women’s cricket in Hampshire, Natasha Marisa (née Raine). Throughout the decade our Women’s section went from strength to strength, with multiple league honours, and we proudly became one of the most respected teams in the County for Women’s cricket.
In 2011 the Men’s First Team created history of their own by being promoted from the Thames Valley Cricket League into the Home Counties Premier League. We were proud to remain in the Home Counties Premier League until 2015, when we were relegated on the final day of the season, in a very close-run encounter. Multiple runners up finishes in Thames Valley Division One and a large number of Aylward Cup wins closed out a decade of considerable growth, with a thriving Junior section, a very well-respected Women’s section and five Saturday teams enjoying cricket.
The Present Day
COVID-19 was the story of 2020, but in a year of so much uncertainty the cricket club was still able to thrive. As soon as the bar could be open, many members could be seen with their own deck chairs on the outfield, getting cold together and enjoying each other’s company after months apart. Success came back to Cove Cricket Club in the 2020 season with the Men’s First Team once again crowned Champions of Thames Valley Division One. The efforts of the committee and all members during the most difficult year since 1987 must be held in the highest regard, as it was a collective effort to ensure the club survived and then thrived.
In 2021/22 we saw the completion of many new projects around the club. The net facilities were refurbished after strong negotiations with the council and ESSO over the installation of a pipeline, the old scoreboard was knocked down alongside the groundsman's shed and a new state of the art scoreboard and equipment shed was erected.
For 2023 we have seen the completion of our brand-new net facility which has been long in the planning. As we look to the future, we will continue to ensure that Cove Cricket Club grows with and serves the needs of the community by providing enthusiasm, enjoyment, a safe social space and competitive sport for all levels.