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.
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.
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.