Cricket at Ashe Park in the First half of 20th Century
by Andrew Cadman
Campsea Ashe Park Cricket Club was formed by Lord Ullswater some time between the wars. It was a thriving local club team which played at Ashe Park until it changed its name and stopped using the pitch in 1956.
The reason the club left Campsea was a dispute between the landowner who took over the estate after Lord Ullswater's death, Major Schreiber, and the tenant farmer, Mr F Turner. Apparently the club forgot to thank the owner for use of the ground at the end of the season, and he took offence. The club subsequently moved to Woodbridge School and became known as Deben Valley CC.
Ashe Park really was an excellent setting to play cricket. It was said to be one of the best grounds in Suffolk to play at, sheltered from westerly winds and bathed in sunshine (no-one remembers rainy days!).
The 1949 team shown above was (standing) Dennis Nunn, Peter Clements, Billy Jewhurst, Roy Burrows, Ken Palmer, Leslie Palmer, Roger Rackham, Arthur Hall and (sitting) Dennis Williams, Richard Rackham and Bill Lankester.
It was not a village team - players came from other places as far apart as Woodbridge and Peasenhall. I can only remember my father, Bill Lankester (landlord of what is now The Dog and Duck but which used to be The Talbot and who died in 2008), Roly Burt, and Billy Jewhurst from the village.
The fixture card below from 1952 shows 21 matches for the First XI over a four month season. Opponents included 'Orwell Works' and East Suffolk Police.
There is a nice unsigned memory of the club's fixture with Lowestoft in around 1950 taken from the website www.campsea-ashe.co.uk:
"In those days, Lowestoft Railway used to play all day Sunday fixtures against Campsea Ashe and Woodbridge British Legion which included family lunches and teas. Also being a cricket club member entitled you to the use of the social club facilities and free parking on the station car park!! I remember those cricket matches at Lowestoft very well. We all met at the Talbot as it was then and load the coach with some refreshment for the journey and after one or two stops for personal needs we arrived in Lowestoft for the match. Children were entertained by Mrs Grace Lankester who was the wife of the landlord of the Talbot. At lunch we all went to a restaurant next to Lowestoft Railway Station which overlooked the dock and as children we counted the fishing vessels for a prize. Teas were served at the ground and on the way home late in the evening Mrs Lankester told us children stories at the front of the ever stopping bus. I still tell my grandchildren versions of those stories."
There are a number of people around who played for Campsea Ashe Park CC but their playing days are now over. Some of the old team players are shown below when they came to the relaunch of the new pitch in September 2008. Left is Len Palmer, who was captain of the 'A' XI (?). Right are Roger (red tie) and Richard Rackham, who also feature in the EADT article on the match.
It is with sadness that we report the death of Richard Rackham in March 2009.