Southgate Adelaide shares with many other clubs of a great age the difficulty of accurately placing its birth. This is because it was not unusual many years ago for cricket matches to be played in a less formal way than in the present day. The earliest recorded cricket in the vicinity of the Walker Ground is associated with the Walker brothers who lived in the Arnos Grove area. Indeed to this day it is still the trust left by the Walker brothers which enables Adelaide to enjoy the first class facilities offered by the Walker Cricket Ground.
For those of us who love the Adelaide and the Walker, it is hard to believe that the area was anything other than a Cricket Ground, but it is likely that up until the early 19th century it was open pasture known as Chapel Fields. The land was acquired by the Walkers in 1853 and by the 1860s was considered as one of the "principal Cricket grounds in England". The ground at that time was used by the private club of the Walkers, of which there were seven brothers, all brothers, all bachelors, and this club was the forerunner of the Middlesex Cricket Club. In 1907 the ground was placed in trust by R.D. Walker for the playing of games forever and duly named "The Walker Cricket Ground".
THE BIRTH OF THE ADELAIDE
It is recorded, that as early as 1859 members of a local friendly society "The Loyal Adelaide Lodge" celebrated their fifteenth anniversary with a dinner at the Cherry Tree Inn, which is recorded as the venue of the clubs first meeting and functions. This dinner was followed by a game on the ground of the Walkers who had given orders for a tent to be erected for their accommodation. Both V.E. Walker and A.H. Walker acted as umpires. It can only be a matter of conjecture that this may have been an isolated, and that when games representative of the village of Southgate became more frequent the name "Adelaide" remained to differentiate the club from the private club of the Walkers known as "Southgate Cricket Club", who played in the same area as today's Southgate.
ADELAIDE AT THE WALKER
Although many facts about the club remain uncertain, one fact that remains definite, is that the club have only had one headquarters and one home pitch, The Walker Ground. Until 1890 the Adelaide played on the site currently occupied by Southgate Cricket Club.
The History of the Adelaide Pavilion
The first Adelaide “Pavilion” was simply a tent erected for players to change in before each game, it was not until the turn of the century that the club acquired a small changing room measuring 20 x 8 feet by 8.5 feet high. At the time local conditions meant that there was neither water nor drainage facilities. This small pavilion lasted, with minor alterations until 1926 when a pavilion was bought from the Avenue Tennis Club for £85. This formed the nucleus, with alterations, for the previous pavilion which was replaced by the current accommodation.
It was not until 1929 that a water main was extended as far as the Adelaide pavilion from the main on (Southgate CC). In 1936 an extension to the pavilion was built to house the new washing facilities and extended changing rooms.
So when you next complain about the changing and bar facilities, think back, if you were playing 100 years ago you would have been changing in a tent.
Presidents and Secretaries
We all know who today’s Secretaries and Presidents are, but what do we know of their forerunners at the Adelaide? In fact, unsurprisingly the first four presidents came from the famous Walker family. The first President was V.E Walker, and after the brothers the next President was their nephew John Bradshaw who was to hand over to his brother R.S. Bradshaw. The longest serving President to date was R.W. Ricketts who oversaw proceedings from 1984 until the early 1970s. He also found time to hold a similar position with Edmonton Football club. Modern day presidents include Rene Closuit and more recently the irrepressible Derek Mead.
The first known secretary of the club was Mr James Cuthbert, who held the post for 5 years, starting in 1894. C.F. Miller replaced him, however, the longest serving officer was J.E. Fryer who enjoyed two periods, covering 1912-1914 and 1922-1934. Other secretaries have included famous Adelaide names of R.W. Smith, S.W. Owers who held the post for a decade starting in 1936, his son A.S. Owers and P.B. Stewart, who held the post during the late sixties.
A Southgate village club is referred to in historic books of the area and it is clear the Walker brothers took an active interest. There is however no record of the name “Adelaide” until the name appeared as a fixture on the fixture card of Enfield Amateur Cricket Cub, the forefathers of the current Enfield Cricket Club. The earliest records of Southgate Adelaide Cricket Club show bats sold at 7/6d each, caps at 18/- per dozen and balls at 16/6 per half dozen. An early rule also required the captain to be elected on the ground prior to the start of the match, and another for the expulsion of “obnoxious members” although no definition of what that may entail followed. It was also common place to pay players with 2/6 a game being the usual fee.
The name Southgate Adelaide first appeared in 1870 when it was seen as a home and away fixture on the fixture list of Enfield Amateur cricket club
ENFIELD AMATEUR CRICKET CLUB LIST OF MATCHES 1870
Date Match Where Played Time
May-12 Cheshunt Enfield 11:00 AM
May-25 Edmonton Enfield 11:00 AM
May-28 Forest School Walthamstow 2:00 PM
Jun-04 Bank Of England Enfield 2:00 PM
Jun-17 Bow Old Ford 11:00 AM
Jun-25 Hornsey Enfield 2:00 PM
Jul-07 Southgate Adelaide Southgate 11:00 AM
Jul-16 Forest School Walthamstow 2:00 PM
Jul-21 Cheshunt Cheshunt 11:00 AM
Jul-28 Edmonton Edmonton 11:00 AM
Jul-30 Bank Of England Enfield 2:00 PM
Aug-13 Hornsey Crouch End 2:00 PM
Aug-20 Bow Enfield 11:00 AM
Aug-25 Southgate Adelaide Enfield 11:00 AM
There are a few records of scores made in the early days, but those that do exist indicate that games were low scoring affairs. In fact, it was not until well after the First World War that a player scored over 1000 runs in a season. That player was A.J. Munton who scored 1004 at an average of 41. This feat was only repeated on a few occasions up until the mid 1980s. Amazingly since then scores have risen considerably, no doubt due to one of the best batting surfaces in the area. Andy Britton, Darren Close and Richard Hale scoring well over 1000 runs on several occasions. However, all such feats paled into insignificance when Richard Hale set an all time record scoring 2182 runs at an average in excess of 80. This included club records of 8 centuries and 12 fifties.
THE CHANGING FACE OF ADELAIDE CRICKET
How different it is now with the Adelaide regularly fielding five XI’s a weekend between the end of April and the end of September to when Southgate Adelaide first began its existence. In the 1880’s seldom were more than 20 games a season played. Therefore home fixtures would be irregular as only one XI was fielded by the club each weekend. Prior to 1939 no games whatsoever were allowed to be played on Sundays at the Walker Ground, due to ecclesiastical interests. How different this is to today’s practice, with games every Saturday and Sunday and colt’s games throughout the week.
SOUTHGATE ADELAIDE COLTS SECTION
Southgate Adelaide Cricket Club at present run one of the largest and well structured colts section anywhere in the local area. The section consists of players regularly competing in leagues at under 11, under 13 and under 15 levels.
The colts have a very full and competitive fixture list in all three age groups stretching from early April to early July culminating with the Colts v Parents match, which always provides great entertainment. We are fortunate to have a number of colts who have won representative honours for both the area, London Schools and indeed Middlesex. The section is a vital breeding ground for the future of the club, this fact shown by the number of now senior players who have come up through the ranks.
Under effective chairmanship in the id 1990’s the club went from strength to strength, and the first eleven captained by Daniel Whiting were promoted to Hertfordshire Division 2 in 1996, missed out on promotion by just one point in 1997 and then finally achieved their dream of promotion to Division 1 in 1998. Regularly coming up against Minor County players in this division they claimed notable scalps against bigger clubs such as Dunstable, and were rarely beaten at the Walker Ground. These feats were all the more notable that the team all home grown Adelaide colts, having come through the club’s thriving youth system.
The early millennium years were marred by a relegation, although the under 13 side in 2003 won the Middlesex county competition beating county league sides Winchmore Hill, Potters Bar, Teddington and a strong Eailing team in the final.
In 2007 Adelaide were again relegated but bounced back just two years later to Herefordshire division three, and with a young side coming through the future is looking bright for the next few years.
On and off the field, the club continue to make great strides forward with a brand new bar area attracting families and ensuring that Southgate Adelaide retain their special status as one of North London’s friendliest cricket clubs