Ch 6

CHAPTER SIX

Sports

Both Borough Green Football and Cricket Clubs have played on the Recreation Ground since 1901. A tennis club also used the ground with grass courts. People enjoyed swimming and water polo at the school pool between 1912 and 1942. Borough Green Parish Council, formed in 1934, purchased the ground in 1935. The Borough Green Working Mens’ Club was running a marathon race in 1912. In 1950 whilst the recreation ground was being levelled, football was played on the field by the A227 next to Tolsey Mead. Eight volunteers cut the entire pitch with hand lawnmowers! Before the war a team known as the Albions played there. It was once a hop garden and had a great many ridges.

In 1956 a total of sixty-two people gave voluntary labour to build the War Memorial Sports Pavillion on the Recreation Ground. Special mention should be made of names to represent all the volunteers: Harold Woodhams, Alfred Large, Dilla Higgins, Bill Broadmore and Frank Griggs. It is regrettable that neither the Churches nor the Parish Council have fully recognised the status of this building and have largely ignored the spirit in which it was engendered. It represents the thanks of those who returned safely and serves to remind us of those who gave their lives in two world wars. The bulk of the money was provided by the Borough Green Women’s Institute. In 1957 some of the same people slaved on to build the Bowling Green. As a working secretary for both schemes, the author knows well the sacrifices involved and the satisfaction of seeing these large scale do-it-yourself tasks reach completion.


Marathon race

The Cricket Club held a fete on 2 August 1926, with surprisingly high prize money for the winners of 8s, 5s and 9s. For the mile race prizes were 10s, 6 s and 4 s. For the marathon race they were 1 10s, 1s and 10 s. This was open to a radius of five miles from Platt Memorial Hall and the associated trophy was called the Platt Cup. There were also four horse races round a large arena, open to contestants within a three mile radius of Borough Green itself. The likely damage sustained by the cricket outfield does not bear thinking about! The Children’s Fancy Dress had an entrance fee of 3d. The author who was seven years of age at that time never had 3d in his pocket.

The Brothers – a cricketing ballad 1915

All the boys of Borough Green

Were playing at the ball

And Dan the captain of the team

Was smartest of them all.

The bowler sent the ball right up

At a tremendous pace

The bail flew and hit poor Dan

A fine smack in the face.

And while he bowed unto the ground

And hopped about in woe

Which time the team looked on to see

The blood began to flow.

And while they all did ask of him

If he were better yet,

His brother George did turn about

And light a cigarette.

But like a valiant captain bold

Dan clean forgave his brother

Long may they live in Borough Green

Long may they love each other.

This poem was written by Miss Oxley. The Crowhurst family, the subjects of the poem, lived at Whiffens Farm and were stalwarts of the Cricket Club from the 1900s to the 1960s.

Borough Green F.C.

The team list for the photo from 1907 is as follows:

Back row: W. Lidstone, A. Higgins, F. Iggulden, C. Day, W. Ladd (Capt.), G. Fancett (Treas.), W. Mist, W. Pink (Hon. Sec.)

Middle Row: F. garland, F.Stedman, J. Higgins, A. Broad, H. Burren

Front row: R. Lowes, T. Ladd, C. Woodhams.

Outfits supplied by E. Atkins of Borough Green.

Early extracts from the Sevenoaks Chronicle

26 October 1901

G Company Volunteers (Westerham) vs Borough Green Blues

Imagine the journey to Westerham in those times by horse and cart!

(And the return journey after a few beers … and more on the way)

8 April 1905 Swanley United 2 – 1 Borough Green in the final of the Bradley Cup at Kingsdown.

Weds 29 September 1909

C. Day (goalkeeper), J. Higgins and T. Ladd played for Sevenoaks Representative League team against Arsenal Reserves: lost 8 – 0!

1 April 1929

Borough Green F.C. beat Otford United 4 – 2 in Sevenoaks Charity Cup Final. In the team were H. Woodhams, A. Bowen, A. Higgins, T. Seamark, E. Cooper, F. Higgins, J. Higgins, W. Higgins, J. Sharp, G. Hubble and G. Fuller.

29 responses to “Ch 6

  1. ‘Anglicisation’. Following on from David Hicl, the speedy, former Potters F.C. right winger. To those who remind me that David’s name should be pronounced ‘Hichl’. My computer does not include the hacek/ ‘little v’ over the ‘c’.

  2. 1 April, 1929. A great team! All unforgettable, but I’ll just mention Harold Woodhams, the BG ‘moving man’/ known by everyone – who played in goal. And George ‘Bandy’ Fuller, often the ever-reliable first reserve, who would ,play a blinder’ when called upon. Both ‘unsung heroes’, whose spirit was indispensable to the team.

  3. During the late 1940’s to the mid 50’s Boro’ Green, Otford Utd, and Town Malling Utd were the dominant teams in the area. Frank Bangay was a marvelous committee man and supporter of Boro’ Green F.C. During Boro’ Green versus Otford games, a fair amount of the crowd did not realise that the big ‘stopper’ centre half for Otford was Frank’s brother. Oh! how I used to wish that Frank’s brother was playing for Boro’ Green.

  4. Re: Football in 50’s. It mentions with the BG FC, 1955 photo that Fred Weller was Hon. Secretary from 1946-56, and that the team won 22 Cups during that time. Fred is standing at the right, next to his Committee-member brother, Perc. They were also associated with Cup-winning BG teams, before and after that period of time. For a blast further into the past, see them in the 1935 Boro’ Green Albions photo, with the Smith’s Charity Cup. As a schoolboy, I spent many hours with Fred and Perc discussing games,while they repaired shoes and other leather goods in their Sevenoaks Road shop. They are in quite a few photos, but see them with the BG FC 1949-50 team which trounced Eccles F.C. in the Group “A”, Kent Junior Cup Final. Standing in front of Perc., wearing his impressive supporter’s hat and scarf is Frank Bangay. I recollect another photo at this time with Frank executing a jubilant diagonal leap!

  5. During the 1954/55 season (if I remember rightly), both Boro’ Green 1st X1 and the Reserves, won by a score of 20 goals to 2 on the same day. I think there was a later kickoff at BG, because as the team playing away were getting off of the coach at BG Cross Roads, many of the crowd from the Recreation ground were arriving to buy fish and chips at Swinbourne’s. Practically nothing was said about the identical scores, except when enquiring how the others had fared the reply to them had been, “no not our score, how did you do?” And after that Saturday absolutely nothing was said – those one-sided games are so uninteresting. I apologise if you are not very enthused hearing about this.

  6. Are those Higgins ever related! Like 4 brothers on the same team – and they were mustard. They did have regular BG christian names for the most part. However, they did include Dilla who was mentioned in the building of the Recreation ground pavilion. And Elmo, who was named after the wrestler, Elmo the Mighty. The Higgins clan have supplied outstanding players to local teams since the very beginning.

  7. The 1950 Borough Green Primary School Conker Championship, was an everlasting memory.
    It was contested during playtimes over a period of one and a half weeks.
    The two eventual winners were Stephen Russell and Robin Hodges. They had selected special trees into which they hurtled sticks to bring down their nuts. Stephen’s were close to where his father market-gardened, by Basted House – and Robin’s were just off of a lane at the other side of Oldbury, in the direction of Stone Street (he lived in Ightham).

    Prior to the tournament commencing, Robin and Stephen cycled to Meopham to practice there together.
    They said it was to breathe in the air of John Tradescant the Younger’s birthplace – he had been responsible for the introduction of the horse chestnut tree to our Isles in 1633. Robin and Stephen were serious about their sport.

    There was controversy that Stephen’s conkers were pickled with a mixture of malt, apple cider and Balsamic vinegars – while Robin’s were natural (or almost). As they each had half of the majority of the popular support, they were declared joint-champions – Stephen with his “elevener”, and Robin with his “sevener”. If it had been several years later than 1950, some might have wondered if their conkers had been injected with epoxy.

  8. campbell higgins

    It was 60 years ago that Alan ‘Flash’ Fuller, of Claygate Cross, won the Grand Prix of Horsmonden, cycling Sprint Championship at Horsmonden sports ground.
    Peter ‘Squeak’ Gosden of Crow Hill was also competing there – they were both members of Sevenoaks Wheelers Cycling Club,
    Other participating clubs included, San Fairy Ann (Maidstone), Southborough & District Wheelers, Royal Tunbridge Wells Albion and Tunbridge Wells Road Club. Also clubs from East Grinstead, Crowborough and Uckfield.
    Expecting to see the World, Alan spent his 2 years stationed at RAF West Malling. When he wasn’t away, representing the Station’s cycle racing team, he would ride home to get his nights sleep in his Claygate Cross bed.

  9. campbell higgins

    Ian :
    Re : Yours of February 12th, 2013 [sometimes I procrastinate a little].
    I didn’t recognise those 1911 Census names.
    I think they probably lived in Wrotham village.
    In the 1940s e.g., there were families of Higgins living in Wrotham, St Mary’s Platt and Boro’ Green that were unrelated (well, not closely related anyway).

  10. campbell higgins

    Re : April 1911 Census/ The Higgins Family/ Photo and Sevenoaks Chronicle extract, above.
    I wonder if Arthur, the head of the family, could be the gentleman (A.Higgins) standing 2nd from left/ back row in the 1907/ 08 photo? He would have been approximately 25 years of age.
    And if A.Higgins, a member of the victorious 1928-29 BG Sevenoaks Senior Charity Cup Final winning team, was his son Arthur? He would have been 20 years of age.
    http:/ /bgphotos.x10.mx/photos/img 12 1911.jpg

  11. campbell higgins

    Re : Alan “Flash” Fuller comment – March 25,2014.

    Upon retiring from cycle racing at the ripe old age of 18, Alan became a keen spectator of motor cycle and car racing events at the Brands Hatch circuit.
    A decade or so later, the Wiggins Teape paper company were about to sponsor a new car entry into Grand Prix events, and held a contest to ‘name’ same.
    Alan came up with “The paper-backed thriller”, and won an all-expenses paid trip to the American Grand Prix, being held that year at Watkin’s Glen, New York.

  12. campbell higgins

    More about “Flash”.
    The trip to NY was for 2, and he was accompanied by a friend – Colin Thorneycroft.

  13. campbell higgins

    Alan started racing on track and in road time trials when he was a few months shy of 15.
    At the age of 18, his girlfriend aged 17 had a 16 years old sister who was married with a child.
    Shirley felt that she was getting ‘left on the shelf’, and within a few months a BSA Bantam motor cycle and then one of those Bond 3 wheel cars, had replaced Alan’s racing bike.
    They were married by the time that Alan was almost 20 and Shirley almost19.
    Perhaps that Sevenoaks Wheelers Cycling Club, Coach for Stamina, can inform us about Alan’s fitness level during that time.

  14. campbell higgins

    Re : The night that “Flash” met Miss Shirley Goldsmith.

    Several years earlier, Shirley’s then home [known locally as “the doll’s house”] and situated by ‘The Hurst’ road in Crouch, had been clearly/ impressively visible from Alan’s house in Claygate Cross [then also considered a part of Crouch].
    At that time, each of them had not known of the other ones existence.
    When Alan stepped into The Chequers, Crouch, that Saturday night and saw Shirley for the first time, he “knew instantly” that she was the one for him.

    Following their marriage, and a few distressing miscarriages, they adopted a young girl.
    In a comparatively short period of time, Shirley then gave birth to delightful twin boys who won several prizes/ trophies in local baby contests.

  15. campbell higgins

    Peter ‘Snopper’ Hopgood has mentioned his experience in cycling.
    In the late 50s he had a bike which looked like Brian Robinson’s.
    He doubts if performance enhancing drugs had been invented, let alone taken, at that time.
    Apparently sheer grit and determination were highly significant factors.
    Then I read reports going back to the 1800s which differed slightly.

  16. campbell higgins

    Snopper Pete Hopgood celebrated his 75th birthday last Saturday (19th).
    He says he is in good nick – feels no different to 20 years ago – and with too much to live for, he doesn’t want it to end.
    I wonder if he refers now and again, to that Dr Norman Vincent Peale best-seller?

  17. campbell higgins

    So even if he were to gradually feel like a teenager again – one never knows what might happen unexpectedly, to upset the apple cart – does one? So in case any unforeseen major danger should strike, it would probably be advisable to have a copy in his backpack at all times – just in case, right? And with that insurance, remain continually exhilarated.
    Dekuji opct.

  18. Hi, my husbands grandfather, James Henry Lowe was a foreman and later Director of the paper mill and I am trying to figure how he fit into the community. How easy would it be to find records?

  19. campbell higgins

    Emma :
    Advancing from the position of foreman, to that of Director, at (if it was) Basted Paper Mill – I’m also trying to figure out how your grandfather-in-law fit into the community.
    With the class system/ distinction as it was, that would have been quite a change for him and his family.
    If you acquired further information, not only would it be interesting, but also a requirement for basic understanding.
    It would be good to hear from you!

    • Campbell : I did find him on census returns for 1911 and before. Others are not yet available. Then resident in Wrotham and later in ightham it might seem that the “fitting into the community” thing might get a “Which one?” as a response.

  20. campbell higgins

    I have been wondering for some time now if BG Parish Councillor, Cliff Dobson, is related to Tony Dobson.

    Tony lived at Quarry Hill – in the [no longer there] row of single-storey, semi-detached houses – approximately opposite to where the Doctor’s Surgery is now.

    He played as a goalkeeper for a season with St. Mary’s Platt FC, during the mid-1950s.
    Including him, nine of that XI were teenagers, who moved on to play for St. George’s (Wrotham FC).
    Following several seasons with the Saints, he played for BG FC during the mid-1950s.
    While still fairly ‘youngish’, he retired from the game.

    Tony appears in 3 photos at THEMED – Sport – Football in 50s.
    (i) 1955-56 Sevenoaks Senior Charity Cup Final,
    (ii) BG FC Annual Dinner – George & Dragon, Ightham,
    and (iii) 1957-58, Sevenoaks & District League game.

    The last occasions that I chatted with Tony were on Saturday nights at the Star Ballroom, Maidstone.
    We were wallflowers and would get out on the floor for the Last Waltz.
    Some young performers included :
    Long John Baldry, with the Alan Elsdon Jazz Band,
    Davie Jones and The Manish Boys/ David Bowie and The Lower Third,
    and Noel Redding with a couple of groups from Folkestone (Jimi Hendrix was still with the Isley Brothers and Little Richard).
    The last time I saw him at The Star Ballroom he would have been about 30.

    He was one of the nicest people that I knew in BG.

  21. campbell higgins

    1952-53 would have been that season with St. Mary’s Platt – and 1957-58 his last with Boro’ Green.
    Man, it sure seemed a longer period of time than that – especially with a few years of National Service included.

  22. heather woodhams

    john woodhams ex Borough Green ,footballer,cricketer,pitch master and general all-rounder would very much like a copy of the book…..if anyone has a spare, please get in touch…..thank you heather

  23. Heather : Some slight de-fogging has occurred!
    It seems to me that John and Janet were not twins, but very close in age – as if they could have been born different ends of the same year even.
    Was his eldest sister named Brenda? I recollect that she and her husband had a house built by F. P. Caine Ltd., round about 1957, in Maidstone Road. The main carpenter on the job was Norman Maycock.
    John probably remembers Norman as a football referee, who needed a half acre field to turn around in!
    And also remembers facing the bowling of Norman’s brother Bernard, for the odd over or 2, when Boro’ Green CC played Basted.
    Hope you have been successful in your book search.

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