The Early Years
There are no records to show exactly when cricket was first played at the Godinton ground. However, it is known that JOHN DAVIS organised the foundation of the Club.
Born in 1822, he moved to Great Chart in his mid-thirties and became a well respected resident of the Parish. Having set up the Club, he arranged matches and also captained the side. He died at the age of 86 and members of the Cricket Club acted as pall-bearers at his funeral.
The side, at this early time, was made up of players from mainly four local families. John Davis was joined by his two sons and it is known that in 1856, GEORGE TANTON and much of his family played for the Club, so it's from that date that the Club has set the founding year. There were also two STROUTS brothers and two BROWN brothers.EDWARD (TED) BROWN played for the club for 50 years, much of it as Captain and also chaired the majority of committee meetings over that period. H.J.(DICK) BEANEYhad a playing career spanning 58 years. He played from 1878 until 1936 and was vice-captain to Ted Brown for most of that time and also groundsman. He died one year after retiring from playing.Games were played on any day of the week - except Sunday, although Sunday games were eventually organised but proceedings had to be over in time for the evening Church service.Initially, matches were played with two innings each and were generally completed in a day. An innings total of 100 was regarded as an excellent score.There were understandably few games played during both World Wars, although some fixtures were arranged for military men stationed in the village.The Club struggled between the Wars and was on the verge of folding at one point. LESLIE HUGHES was a prominent player during this time. A devastating bowler - he achieved 8 for 0 in one game and followed that with two 10 wicket hauls later in his career.
Even after the Second World War, it proved difficult to find eleven players and it wasn't unusual to persuade the coach driver to take the field. This era saw the emergence of COLIN MERCER who was to play for nearly 30 years and held the office of Treasurer for a further 25 years. BOB GODDARD made his debut at the same time and went on to become President of the Club until his death in 2008.
The Great Chart Ladies Cricket Team was founded in 1948 under the guidance of MARJORIE BRISSENDEN, currently a Vice President of the Club and the daughter of long standing member, GEORGE BRISSENDEN. She captained the side for many years and a number of ladies went on to play for England. The Ladies team were to leave G.C.C.C. in 1991 to play at the small ground adjacent to Ashford Cricket Club in Kingsnorth. The team has since been disbanded.
Great Chart CC's Worst Defeat
During the season of 1957, the club suffered it's worst defeat at the hands of Willesborough as Great Chart C.C, were dismissed for 3 runs within 8 overs! This was the first game that ROGER BAKER played in. He was to go on to become Chairman.
In 1995 Roger Baker (as Chariman) and Bob Goddard (President) negotiated the formation of the Great Chart Cricket and Recreational Trust from MAJOR ALAN WYNDHAM-GREEN who was the late owner of the Godinton Estate. The Trust was set up to ensure that the ground, which forms part of the Estate, could never be sold or used for anything other than recreational activities.
The Club continued to struggle over the next decade and if it wasn't for the determination of one man, would probably have folded. MAURICE SWAFFER made his debut in 1928 as scorer and occasional player. After the Second World War, he took on the captaincy to help get the Club back on it's feet. He ended his playing career in 1952 but then proceeded to umpire for the next 41 years. His strengths came in managing the Club. Over the years he took on the roles of Secretary, Treasurer and Chairman and for eight years was both Chairman and Secretary at the same time. He died in 1997 but lived long enough to witness the opening of the current pavilion which bears his name.
It was in 1972 that Great Chart C.C. became one of the founding members of the Kent Village League. Originally called the Weald of Kent League, G.C.C.C.began playing in the second of the original two divisions. Over the intervening years, many Clubs have joined and currently 84 teams play in seven divisions.
Membership continued to grow throughout the Eighties and Nineties, allowing the Club to field a Sunday Second XI for the first time. Currently the 1st XI play in the 2nd division and the 2nd XI in the 6th Division.
1975 heralded the debut of the most prolific batsman the Club has ever had. DAVID DANIELS was introduced to the Club by his uncle Geoff who had been playing for the Club since 1957. Dave has amassed over 24,000 runs - and still counting - nearly 3 times his nearest rival. He is also an accomplished bowler having taken nearly 900 wickets. Dave captained the side for 15 years and also prepared the wickets at the Ground for many years.
JOHN WISE was instrumental in bringing on the young players of the Club. It is recognised that with a strong Colts squad, the long term standing of the Club would be assured. We now have three trained coaches to ensure that standard is maintained.
For over 100 years, the Club had used wooden pavilions. In 1960 Ashford Police C.C. sold their pavilion for the princely sum of £25 - provided it could be collected. Although it didn't provide proper toilet facilities, this was a vast improvement on the shacks of old.
By 1975, a pavilion of concrete construction had been erected. The opportunity was taken to site this new pavilion in a different part of the ground. This pavilion finally provided proper toilet facilities and a kitchen, allowing teas to be arranged at the ground for the first time.
In 1991, plans were put into place to build a brick pavilion on the same site. Planned to open by the year 2000, NIGEL CHAMPION and his team worked hard to secure financing from the Lottery Fund and the Sports and Arts Foundation. The new pavilion was opened by Chris Penn of Kent C.C.C. in 1995 - five years ahead of schedule.
The Present Day
In 2006, the club celebrated it's 150th Anniversary. The highlight of this memorable year was a match against an Old England XI featuring Derek Randall, John Snow, John Lever and Alan Wells amongst others.
The Club currently has over 50 playing members and runs one Saturday and two Sunday teams. The Colts section has many young players ranging from 8 years to 18, many vying for places in the senior teams. With a thriving Social Programme and excellent facilities, Great Chart Cricket Club looks forward to celebrating another 150 years.
Compiled by Keith Hillyard (c) 2006