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Norwich Cricket Club was officially formed on January 21st 1999.
The Club was created when two of the strongest local cricket Clubs in Norfolk, Ingham & District Cricket Club and Norwich Barleycorns Cricket Club, chose to merge their resources.
Solid Foundations – Ingham CC
The local paper records that a “Cricket Club was founded at Ingham for the benefit of the young parishioners.” The date was 1895 and the motivator was the local Rector. Little is known of the kind of cricket played in those days but there was at that time a flourishing East Norfolk League. Jack Borrett joined the Club in 1928 (having been rejected a year earlier) and became captain in 1937.
The Second World War prevented any cricket on the ground except for E.W.Swanton’s army team, stationed locally. In 1950 Jack and George Edrich purchased the ground for £600 from the hall owners. The Ingham & District tag seemed suitable since Sunday matches always included a number of County players from Norwich or further afield. In 1958 after using the present roller shed and another hut as changing rooms, the present Pavilion was purchased from Wymondham College for £20 and the modern era of Ingham commenced.
The 1960’s and 1970’s saw numerous benefit matches played with some of the World’s best cricketers appearing on the ground – Peter May, Garfield Sobers, Everton Weekes, Jim Laker, and Basil D’Oliviera to name but a few. The 1970’s and 1980’s saw an Ingham domination of Norfolk Alliance cricket. The team, once consisting of eight County players, won the Alliance six times between 1975 and 1983 and then again in 1990 and 1994.
Winning was important at Ingham but not everything. Most of all, the Club stood for good cricket, on good wickets, with lots of fun. Jack Borrett led the way and his family contributed so much to the game that it was hard to visualise Ingham without a Borrett. Others who contributed so much to this century of cricket were Tracey Moore who played for 40 years, Andrew Seeley, the Burton family, on and off the field, and last but not least Cyril and Ann Adams.
The Early Years – Norwich Barleycorns CC
The name ‘Norwich Barleycorns Cricket Club’ was established in 1985 following an amalgamation of three well-known Norwich Clubs, ‘St Barnabas’, ‘Barleycorns’ and ‘Norwich Cavaliers’.
The origins of the Club can of course be traced back much further. ‘St Barnabas’ was founded way back in 1924 and enjoyed considerable success over a great many years, producing several fine players. The Club had the foresight to secure a long lease on the existing ground at Postwick in 1966, where the wicket was laid and clubhouse built.
Barleycorns had been founded in 1946 by Brian Barley as a Sunday Club and quickly established themselves as one of the most powerful teams in East Anglia with many county players in their ranks. They were a nomadic side and most of the players came from Clubs that played Saturday cricket only. In 1964, David Bush formed the ‘Norwich Cavaliers’ as a Club dedicated to playing positive swashbuckling cricket, hence the name Cavaliers. Again, this was a Sunday only side intent on providing entertaining cricket in a relaxed atmosphere. Barleycorns and Cavaliers both drew players from Norwich CEYMS, one of the strongest of the Alliance Clubs. All three Clubs lacked a ground with long term security, and it was this common denominator that led to an approach to ‘St Barnabas’, culminating in the three Clubs pooling resources at Postwick, under the name of Norwich Barleycorns CC.
In the fourteen years since the Club was first formed, the success was remarkable. The Alliance title was secured on three occasions, most recently in 1998, and Barleycorns were victorious in the region’s premier one-day competition, the Carter Cup, twice.
Two Become One
The merger was in response to both Clubs long-term view of where league cricket in England was heading. The Clubs were well aware of the English Cricket Boards’ (ECB) initiative in creating the East Anglian Premier League that commenced in 1999. This was the next stage in the drive by the E.C.B to improve cricket standards in this country and, in doing so, bridge the gap that existed between recreational and professional cricket. Both the Norfolk Cricket Board and the Norwich Union Norfolk Cricket Alliance welcomed this exciting step forward as facilitating an increase in the standard of cricket played at local level.
Whilst supporting this notion totally, Ingham and Barleycorns were aware that the concept was not without its problems. The formation of the EAPL had put huge strains upon all invited Clubs. Both Ingham and Barleycorns had to find another ground on which to play 3rd XI fixtures, and approximately 15 extra players were needed at each Club to supplement their existing playing strength. In the medium term there were many other recommendations and regulations that both Clubs would be obliged to enforce over the next few seasons, some of which would prove to be quite exhaustive. By taking a long-term view on the direction local cricket would be encouraged to follow over the next ten years, Ingham held talks with Barleycorns with a view to forming a merger between the two respective Clubs.
After initial dialogues between representatives of the two Clubs, and after management approval from both Committees the merger was put forward at an Extraordinary General Meeting on December 1st 1998. Both memberships provided an overwhelming majority in favour of a merger. Eighteen months after the merger in the 2000 season, Paul Newman captain of the 1st XI, held aloft the East Anglian Premier League Trophy, the Bob Carter Challenge Cup and the Bennett’s Floodlit Challenge Trophy. The Ladies were also crowned champions of the inaugural Norfolk and Suffolk Marsh Ladies League to add more silverware to the cabinet.
During the 2001 season Norwich Cricket Club retained the East Anglian Premier League Trophy and added the Stan Biss Trophy to its silverware in addition to winning the floodlit competition and the ladies league once more. The 2002 season proved successful again with the Stan Biss Trophy being retained and the Ladies completing a hat-trick of league titles.
The club determined to adopt a policy of not making any financial inducements to players which had the inevitable impact of more modest results in the following years However, the spirit within the Club has been maintained and a considerable number of younger players are getting the opportunity to impress and to take the Club forward. In 2009 , the 1st XI came second in the EAPL – a really tremendous achievement.