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Reminisces of the 1950's by Gordon Oakley

I first played for the Club during the September of 1949. Howard Taylor was captain and in that year and 1950, he played fairly regularly. He was living in Henley, so he had quite a difficult journey. He was also having personal troubles. He had, of course, been a very good player - high quality batting and goodish fast medium bowling. In 1949 and subsequent years (he was, of course, the over 40) his batting had fallen away completely and although he still opened the bowling, it was mostly without bite.

The outstanding player in the post-war years as RC (Bill) Williams. He was a very good player, high scoring, batsman and a more than useful off-break bowler. In addition, he was a fine fielder anywhere and as keen as mustard.

No doubt the records show that Taylor as captain in 1953, but he resigned before the season started, and we never saw him again. The vice-captain was Bill Williams, but he refused to take the captaincy on. Nobody else would, and the job in the end fell to me. I did five straight years (1953 - 1957) after which I thought I had done enough.

I persuaded Ian Moir to take over and I remained as vice-captain as I did in every year to 1963. Moir was a charming man, a good cricketer, but not happy with one or two difficult characters in the side. He resigned after one year, and left the Club.

In 1959 CB Franks was captain, but the season did not go well. We had to replace him, but I cannot remember with whom. Stuart Ross joined the Club in 1959, and became captain in 1960. In was in office for 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963 & 1964 although in 1963, he played in the first game of the season only.

I returned to vice-captain throughout the period 1957-1964 and in 1965 I became captain for the last time.

As ever
Gordon Oakley

(now over 80 years - and still playing golf)


Howard Taylor
I don't think he played very much for Kent. The county had such a long list of very talented amateurs in the twenties and thirties. He did play two games against Australian touring teams.

In 1926 the Australian touring team, captained by Collins, played a two-day maych at Lords against a picked Public Schools side (of fifteen). The account I have said "H Taylor bowled a steady length". He did not take a wicket, and Ponsford scored 97 and Woodfull 84. Not many English schoolboys have their name on the scoresheet "Stumped Oldfield, Bowled Grimmett"

In 1930, against Woodfulls Australian team Howard Taylor played in a two-day match at Lords for the Club Cricket Conference, but his scores were not good, and he did not take a wicket.

GV Pearce
GV Pearce was brought up in South Africa, and played for Transvaal as a young man. He spent the 1914-1918 war with the S.A forces in Egypt and the near East, and was demobilised in England. He went up to Oxford, and played in the winning team against Cambridge in 1919. He took 4 for 66 in Cambridge's first innings. I never heard that he played first-class cricket afterwards. It was he who persuaded me to play for Blackheath, when I played for a Cryptics team he was running in 1948.

RKG Blaker
Like his father, he was an Old Westminster, but was a very indifferent (though experienced) cricketer. He was a congenial figure, but must have suffered a little by having a sister who played cricket for England.

Johnny Kemp
Not I think a great cricketer, but a most distinguished scrum-half.

Neville Christopterson
Neville Christopterson was no cricketer, but as Secretary of the Blackheath Company until about 1950, when he became Secretary of Kent. His son, Tony (AGC) captained the extra half-day XI in the middle fifties. The Christoptersons were all connected with, or played for Blackheath and were, in the main, a serious cricketing bunch.