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History

Below is an article about Yelverton Bohemians 25th Anniversary from the Evening Herald in 1985.

A Natural Alliance
by WALTER GAMMIE

THE FORMATION of Yelverton Bohemians 25 years ago was born of a natural alliance. Yelverton desperately needed new players; Plymouth Bohemians just as badly wanted a permanent home.

The join is now almost invisible, and at last week’s 25th birthday match, memories were at full stretch in conjuring up the old days.

The beer, an excellent buffet and the seriousness which past skipper Brian Chetwynd brought to bear on the task, helped fill the gaps.

Chetwynd himself was an old Bohemian, a club which itself sprang from Plymouth St Barnabas’ Church games in the 1930s.

Humped

Leather cricket bags humped onto two charabancs hired from Stevens of Modbury soon became a familiar sight as the side toured the villages.

From the war to the merger, the Bohemians were skippered by Neil Perkins, a Nottingham man who had played for Sir Julian Cahn’s famous country house side.

They were known by many as Plymouth "Blowhemians" after their leading player Norman Blowey, a Devon off-spinner who once took eight wickets at the Oval.

The Yelverton club that the Bohemians joined (after a brief flirtation with a ground at Elburton) was long established.

W. G. Grace was once bowled (and walked) in an exhibition match by the club’s leading bowler Sydney Solomon, who was presented with the mounted ball.

It disappeared into a Bristol branch of the family, but Sydney’s great nephew Nigel, of Honicknowle, looks fondly at his ancestor’s photograph every time he visits the club with Old Sutts.

He said "This year, I scored 50 there but the ball wasn’t mounted. I couldn’t help thinking how nice it sounded ... Grace W. G. b Solomon!"

Old Bohemian and present second XI skipper, Cyril Treweeks, has a contract dating to the beginning of the century which hired a professional called "Robinson".

Expenses

He had to play every game from May 1 to the end of September, for £12, travelling expenses and food

The meals were consumed with the "gentlemen" in the spacious surrounds of the "Rock Hotel", owned by the club’s patron Algy Langton. The rest of the lads ate their bread, cheese and cider "under the hedge".

Yelverton’s ground is now in the hands of Algy’s sons, George and Guy but the club’s watering hole has shifted to their own "Odd Job Bar" installed five years ago in the comfortable, battered pavilion that dates back to 1933.

Happily Chetwynd was able to persuade back John Blake, Mike Brain, Derek Prince and Ron Bailey, early Yelverton Bohemians stalwarts, to play his side.

Chatting to them from behind the stumps was a living legend from the early days: Graham Couchman.

Tearaway

Chetwynd recalled Couchman, the tearaway young fast bowler. "Graham used to tear the branches off the trees around the boundary when I took him off," he said.

The man himself gently corrected Chetwynd when he told of the day he bowled Somerset opener Roy Virgin, then in his pomp, second ball. "It was my first ball," snapped Couchman.

The arrival of the Devon League in 1972 saw Yelverton rise to the top flight under the inspiration of the likes of Peter Sloane, the Major brothers and Paul Monk.

Six years ago they dropped down into the B Division and at the moment life is a struggle - but never mind. "The club is about good English village cricket and long may it continue," enthused Chetwynd.

As a souvenir of a happy celebration of Yelverton and its traditions, Chetwynd gave current skipper Martin Smith an "Anniversary Shield" for its future annual presentation.

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