Captains of English Cricket Team Up With Locals

To raise over £12,000 for improvement to facilities at Chiswick House

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Three ex Captains of English cricket – Chris Cowdrey, Mike Gatting and Tom Graveney joined forces with local supporters last weekend to raise funds to improve the cricket facilities at Chiswick House.

Backed by cricket luminaries Chris Adams, Ian Salisbury, Simon Hughes and Patrick Eagar, 150 local enthusiasts paid to attend the fund-raising dinner and participated enthusiastically in a live Cricket Auction, co-ordinated by Chiswick ‘local’- John Ayling who last year was awarded the OBE for his services to sport. The auction was hosted by Chris Cowdrey.

More than £12,000 was raised during the evening - enough to replace the non-turf pitch and to replace ageing showers and toilets in the pavilion. Work is already in hand to improve the ‘square’ and outfield.

Proceeds from this event will also provide funds for further improvements still under discussion – including new ‘nets’. Prior to the dinner a total of £6,200 had been raised from grants and donations including £3,000 from Lord’s Taverners, £1,000 from Middlesex CCC Centenary Youth Trust and £500 from Hounslow Local Area Committee.

Cricket started at Chiswick House in the 1890s when the House was used as a mental asylum – Tuke’s Clinic. Doctors wanting to stretch their legs marked out a cricket pitch and started to play; the patients joined in too.

Regular cricket began after the war when Turnham Green CC received permission from the Council to play at weekends. From the end of the 1940s celebrity matches were played at Chiswick every summer, often for Middlesex cricket club beneficiaries. Famous players such as Denis Compton, Bill Edrich, the Bedser twins, Tony Lock and Colin Cowdrey and Turnham Green CC’s own local hero – Jack Robertson, (Middlesex CC and England) played here. He was a Chiswick boy, his family having an off-licence in Devonshire Road.

The last benefit match was in the mid ‘70s when Bob White (Middlesex ’58-’63), educated at Chiswick County School, brought his Notts team mates including Gary Sobers.

February 13, 2008