Taunton cricket picture mystery solved

The photo of Taunton St James Cricket Club, circa 1964

The photo of Taunton St James Cricket Club, circa 1964

First published in News
Last updated

COUNTY Gazette readers Ashley and Dorothy Boobier have revealed all about the black and white cricket team photo we published in last week’s paper.

Peter Walker, who was the executor of the will of Les Turner, who was featured in the line-up, contributed the photo but didn’t know any more about who was pictured.

Just a few hours after publication last week, the couple, both 69, gave the full line up of Taunton St James Cricket Club, taken at Galmington Playing Fields, as follows: From left, back: Ashley Boobier, Steve Hutchings, Tony Collins, brother Lawrie Collins, Dave Westcombe, Reg Oaten, Ken Knight, John Dibsdall, Tom Packman, Neil Hancock and Les Turner; front, Ron Quance (who used to work for the County Gazette), Brian Tuck, Vince Pizzi and Wilson Horrell (owner of Bridge Sports in Bridge Street).

Mrs Boobier said the club didn’t have a ground of its own and used council pitches and other clubs’ grounds. She said the club disbanded in the late 1960s and the photo was taken in about 1964/5.

“All the players came to our wedding at Carhampton and we walked through an archway of cricket bats,” she added.

Mr Boobier went on to play for Staplegrove alongside then Viv Richards protégé Richie Richardson.

Mrs Boobier said: “When he left Staplegrove, Ashley told Richie he would one day captain his national team but he didn’t believe him. Years later when after captaining the West Indies he played against Somerset and stayed at the Castle Hotel, from where he sent us a message saying ‘you were right Ashley!’”

On Friday Brian Tuck called us to say he was captain that day and said Ken Knight and Tom Packman were from the opposing team on the day, Taunton Nomads. He recounted how, during the Second World War when the club was unable to play, president Les Turner and a number of players were in service, president Les Turner organised a series of whist drives, the proceeds of which he gave to the players when they came home.

He also told how players formed a skittles team under the name Bridge Sports which played in the Taunton Industrial League and won the cup in their first year, beating Outcasts in the final.

Brian recalled celebrations long into the night courtesy of a lock-in and being removed from the opening bowling attack the next day by Mr Turner and being sent to the boundary after bowling three wides in four balls due to a stonking hangover.

Peter Fry, son of Charlie Fry, who played for the club and became its secretary, also phoned to recall long days away supporting his dad. He also said Dougie Alley, son of Somerset County Cricket Club icon Bill Alley played for Taunton St James for a few seasons.

Neil Hancock emailed to say: “I think it was when we won the Taunton 18-over evening league in around 1968.”

If you have a photo of Richie Richardson playing for Staplegrove, send it in so we can share it with readers – drop photos into our offices in St James Street offices or email them to alex.cameron@countygazette.co.uk

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