The Fondu Cricket Club:1951-1967


FONDU C.C. 1954
Standing: Fred Pavitt, John Etherton, Dave Skipper, George Leach, Lofty Sach, Len Payne, Peter Leach
Kneeling: George Riley, Alan Webb, Alan Shulver, Bernard Bridge, Clifford Dean

The Lafarge Aluminous Cement Co. Ltd. (trademark ‘Ciment Fondu’) had a head office at 73 Brook Street, London W1, their works being at London Road, West Thurrock. The Company provided a sports ground in North Road, Uplands, Purfleet. It had a bowls green and a baseball pitch, a sports pavilion being erected in 1936. After the war the company started to develop the remainder of the field. Part of the work involved picking off a vast amount of stones, the stone picking being done by employees, their families and friends over several weekends.

The seeds of the Fondu Cricket Club were sown early in 1951. There were several men in the workshop who were very keen to start a team and often used to play during their dinner hour outside the workshop with a home-made bat. With so much cricket being played during those days by local firms it was only natural for them to ask themselves “Why not form a cricket team?” Harold Shulver was on good terms with Mr Claughton (Sports Secretary) also with Mr Soar (Works Cashier), so he put forward the idea to them, which was approved.

So it was that in mid 1951 the team was formed. Harold Shulver was chairman of the section and Harry Soar was captain. Mr Claughton’s secretary Margaret Gilbey was also very helpful in the administration of the cricket section and right from the start a fixture card was printed. The formation of a cricket team didn’t go down too well with the bowls and baseball teams and a little opposition was felt by the cricketers. Bowls and cricket matches were played at the same time during the 1950s, with the teas being taken at different times. However, baseball and cricket were never played together and by 1953 the baseball section had folded up.

The ground at North Road could be accessed by Stonehouse Lane or via the Purfleet bypass and Uplands Estate. Players walked or cycled there and sometimes caught the bus, especially when children came along; very few players had a car in the early days.

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