Langdon Hills Cricket Club

Team Photographs from 1924 to 1953

Whist in the process of researching other topics relating to Langdon Hills, I came across some photographs that may be of interest to local cricket enthusiasts.  I’m afraid that I personally know very little about this subject but thought they should be available to those who do. In fact, if anyone would like to expand on this subject, I would be very happy for the content of this page to be incorporated into a new article.
All the team photographs come from a collection put together by the Langdon Hills and District Conservation Society. The Society was formed by residents who wanted to preserve and protect the history and heritage of a much loved village that was rapidly being engulfed by the creation of Basildon New Town. I’m uncertain of the year this society was formed but records show that they registered as a charity in 1975; however I suspect that the Society was active many years before this. In 1992 Langdon Hills and District Conservation Society merged with Basildon Natural History Society, the two societies sharing much in common, love and respect of the countryside, its wildlife and history.

I’m sure that many of the player’s names will be familiar to the readers of this website: Mr Gray Snr a local farmer whose family still farm in Langdon Hills. Peter Toomey, who started a car sales and repair service in Laindon High Road, a business which blossomed and grew into the huge car sales complex located in Southfields. Stan Hollands, a founder member of Langdon Hills and District Conservation Society, Stan also played an important part in gaining protection for Dunton Ridge when the South West Area Plan was proposed by Basildon Development Council.

The Langdon Hills Cricket Club 1965 fixtures card comes from an album compiled by the Langdon Hills Women’s Institute to celebrate its Golden Jubilee in 1965.

The albums also contained photographs of Westley and St Marys Cricket Clubs, I will publish these on separate pages on the website.

Please note: Click the back tab on your browser to return to the page after enlarging a photograph.

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  • How wonderful to see the picture of the 1953 team. As children my sisters and I would regularly head off after Sunday lunch (we lived in Lee Chapel Lane, just down the road from the ground) and watch the team. It is just wonderful to see their faces re-emerge from very old memories.
    The Toomey family featured heavily. The Toomey businesses (garage, coal merchants and perhaps others) had in fact been started by Mr Toomey senior, the father of Peter, who appears in the picture (though I cant remember ever seeing him play). His younger brother Mike sometimes did. Bill Pay, also in the picture, was married to one of Mr Toomey’s daughters. He worked in a theatrical agency in London and was the one who arranged for Vera Day to open the fete one year. He bowled military medium but his brother Bob Pay was quite fast. Bob worked as a coal delivery man for the Toomey coal merchants business. Jack Brooks was married to another of the Toomey daughters. Very nice lady called Molly who taught at the school. Jack ran the car sales side of the Toomey garage.
    Don Smith and his brother Charles together ran the grocery/green grocery on the High Road at the bottom of the hill from the cricket ground. Weekly deliveries to your door if you lodged your order book in early enough.
    And there they all are. In their prime of long ago.

    By Chris Ryan (23/11/2021)
  • Hallo Alan, I am unable to see the relevance of whether the team was missing a player would have on who took the photo. However I cannot remember any incidence of Laindon CC fielding an understrength team as we always had a twelfth man but reminded me of an incident where this happened. We were playing away to Ilford Catholic who were short of a player and asked if our twelfth man would care to make up the number. Laindon operated a rotation scheme to give everyone games and our twelfth man was not necessarily a lesser player. On this occasion it was David Youell a strong left hand bat and we were comfortably in charge of the game until David batting at No.6 really took on the bowlers and almost cost us the game and was undefeated but the Catholic tailenders succumbed. Moral. Never lend out players to play against their own club.

    By W.H.Diment (18/10/2013)
  • Bill, I bow to your superior knowledge of cricket. One final thought however. Were local teams ever forced to play a man short? Illness, sudden emergency, players on holiday or otherwise unavailable? Could it simply be that there is no mid wicket in the photograph because the fielding team was a man short? All speculation of course but speculation is supposed to be good for the mind. Or so I have heard.

    By alan davies (17/10/2013)
  • Hallo Alan, I am still unconvinced that this photo was taken by a fielder for the reason you state that of unprotected areas. I give below how I analyse the photo starting from left to right. No.1. Non striking batsman. No.2 Bowler following through. No.3 Cover. No.4. Short mid off. No.5. Point. No.6.Short mid on. No.7.Receiving batsman. (obscured by No.6.) No.8. Second slip. No.9.Wicket keeper. No.10. First slip. No.11. Square leg. (There appears to be another person obscured by him whom I suggest is the square leg umpire). This accounts for 9 fielders with none of the boundaries covered. Of the two remaining I suggest one would certainly be at deep fine leg and one at deep mid wicket with none behind the bowler. The mid wicket to cover the area behind the bowler on the on side and the cover to cover the boundary on the off side. While this would be unorthodox in county games it is noticeable that captains often do this in 20/20 when power play conditions in respect of fielding are in force. Perhaps the captain in the photo was a man in advance of his time.

    By W.H.Diment (16/10/2013)
  • Bill, correct me if I am wrong, but if the photo was taken by a spectator then the entire mid wicket area in front of him constitutes a huge gap in the field. Most unusual I would have thought. Conversely if the photographer is indeed the mid wicket fielder this would make for a more usual field placement.

    By alan davies (15/10/2013)
  • Bill, you are correct. I missed the receiving batsman who is partially obscured. It almost appears that the photograph was taken by a fielder at mid wicket. This might account for the absence of deeper fielders on the leg side. Quite why a participant on the field would be taking a photograph is another question! Since wide angle lens were not available this might also account for the long off, long on and deep fine leg positions not being visible. Does this seem reasonable to you?

    By alan davies (14/10/2013)
  • Yes Alan, I agree with you that the photo was taken from the mid wicket area, but suggest it would more probably have been someone standing on the boundary rather than a fielder. Further to the fixture list shown, I was pleased to note that Laindon CC were victorious both home and away and on further reflection, I cannot remember the Hills ever beating us.

    By W.H.Diment (14/10/2013)
  • Hi Alan, you have raised a very interesting point. If you look at the area behind the player crouching down you can see that the low shrub layer is in leaf, this leads me to wonder if the large trees that are bare of leaves are in fact diseased. The tallest tree in the centre of the picture certainly looks like an English Elm; now although the main and most devastating outbreak of Dutch elm disease did not occur until the mid to late 60’s, there was a milder outbreak in 1927. Today, the cricket field is covered in dense scrub but the hedge line still remains intact, in fact the trees are so tall that they completely hide the wonderful view that is shown in the photograph. I will endeavour to find out a bit more about the possible reasons for the lack of foliage and will update this page with anything that I find.

    By Colin Humphrey (13/10/2013)
  • Hi Alan and Colin, The cricket season on the fixture list of 1965 starts on 25th April,we have watched many an early season match on t.v. where the players are looking decidedly chilly, hand warmers etc! so although we consider it our Summer game not all trees are in full leaf in April,and on a photo such as this it wouldn’t show any buds. Also beyond the playing area the landscape dips away quite dramatically.

    By Ellen English nee Burr (13/10/2013)
  • Further to Alan Davies comment of 12/10/2013. In the photo, I count 11 persons. The receiving batsman is obscured behind the short mid on. I suggest the fielders not in view would be : long on, long off, deep fine leg and deep mid wicket.

    By W.H.Diment (13/10/2013)
  • In regard to the fourth photograph from the top entitled “Langdon Hills Cricket Club Crown Hotel Meadows 1950’s.” Our national summer game is underway but there does not appear to be a single leaf on the trees in the background. Ten individuals are in the photograph. Presumably two batsmen, two umpires and six fielders. Are there really another five fielders not within range of the camera? Very odd!!

    By alan davies (12/10/2013)

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