Cricket club renames home in memory of groundsman

A plaque was unveiled in Stoke Row to commemorate a cricketing stalwart. 

Les Clark, who died in May last year, spent 27 years as groundsman for Peppard/Stoke Row Cricket Club. 

The gold-coloured memorial plaque is on the back of the club’s scorer’s hut and was unveiled by his sons, Chris, 36, and Jonny, 33, on Friday. 

It says that it is “in memory of an outstanding servant to cricket here”. The club’s ground in Newlands Lane has also been renamed the Les Clark Oval having previously been known as “The Rec” or “the Newlands Lane Ground”. 

Mr Clark, who was 64 when he died, is credited with keeping cricket going in the village during the Eighties and Nineties. Jonny, who plays for Woodcote Cricket Club, said: “He used to drag people out of the pub when a side only had 10 players. He was very keen on sportsmanship and giving people a chance.” 

Team-mate Chris added: “He was the sort of person who wanted to give everybody a chance to play.” 

The ceremony, which was attended by about 75 people, took place between two matches — a fun 10-overs-a-side game and a competitive T20 game between sides captained by Mr Clark’s sons. 

The teams in the first game comprised mainly of people who had played with Mr Clark in the Eighties, from Peppard Stoke Row and Woodcote Cricket Clubs. 

The winning runs in the second match were scored by Mr Clark’s 17-year-old grandson Archie for Chris Clark’s team as they chased 114 with eight balls to spare. 

Rich Ashton, who has taken over as groundsman, said: “Les gave nearly 30 years and without him cricket in the village would have ended. 

“He had an ability to get teams out and would get people out of the Cherry Tree to play. 

“He would give everybody a chance and that is something we like to keep doing. This is a fitting tribute to him.” 

 

First published on www.henleystandard.co.uk, 9 May 2016