Loyal Fred is one of club’s chief fix­tures

Mer­sham Cricket Club has been a cen­tral part of the vil­lage for more than 70 years. And one man has been a part of it for all that time. Kirsty Parkin spoke to him

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION -

IT MAY be 70 years since he first stepped on to the pitch, but for the old­est mem­ber of Mer­sham Cricket Club, there is still noth­ing quite like feel­ing the grass un­der your boots.

Fred Fagg, 80, joined the club as an ea­ger 10-year-old. That was in 1936. Since then he has been a player, bowler and um­pire and is still in­volved to­day.

Ear­lier this year he won the BBC South East Un­sung Hero award.

He also fea­tured in a doc­u­men­tary, Sport’s Un­sung He­roes, aired on the Com­mu­nity Chan­nel last week.

This pub­lic in­ter­est is some­thing of a sur­prise to the grand­fa­ther-of-two.

“I just love the game,” he said.

“I think I will al­ways be in­volved in the club. I hope so.

When Mr Fagg be­gan play­ing all those years ago, things were quite dif­fer­ent.

“When I was a boy, the club played at a farmer’s field down the road. Be­fore and af­ter the match we had to move the sheep on and off the farm.”

This ground was in Blind Lane where play­ers could be seen with a bucket and shovel, re­mov­ing the cow-pats be­fore the game.

The pavil­ion was so small that tea had to be taken in the vil­lage hall.

The cur­rent ground, in Stone Green, was bought in 1950 when the cricket and foot­ball clubs joined to form Mer­sham Sports Club.

The club was one of the found­ing mem­bers of the Kent Vil­lage Cricket League in 1973.

Now, faded team shots of teams through the years hang in the pavil­ion, with Mr Fagg ap­pear­ing in many of them.

There are many other ways the hon­orary life vice-pres­i­dent has left his print on the club.

Not only has the bar been named af­ter its most long­stand­ing mem­ber, but his sons Ian and Ge­of­frey and grand­sons Matthew and David play for the team.

Mr Fagg now de­votes his time to keep­ing the ground, a labour of love he takes very se­ri­ously.

“Af­ter I re­tired from play­ing, I um­pired for a while but when I was get­ting on for 70, the ball seemed to be com­ing a bit quick and it was harder to get out the way.

“You can get quite pro­tec­tive over the ground. The square has to re­cu­per­ate dur­ing the win­ter and I have to seed and re-seed it.

“I’m down here most days, some­times twice a day.”

It is lucky that his wife Irene, who played for Ald­ing­ton Ladies Cricket Club, is a bit of a fan her­self.

“There is a lot of cricket talk at our house,” said Mr Fagg, who worked at Crouch’s Garage, in Sta­tion Road, for 50 years.

“My wife has be­ing do­ing the teas al­most ever since we met 52 years ago.

“She might moan a bit that I am al­ways down here, but she’s got used to it!”

Pic­ture Barry Good­win pd1202560

Fred Fagg, who has been a mem­ber of Mer­sham Cricket Club for 70 years

The 1960s team with Fred Fagg back row, cen­tre

The 1990 team with Fred Fagg as the um­pire on the left

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