Barnstaple & Pilton celebrating silver jubilee with anniversary dinner

Flashback: Barnstaple & Pilton CC at the start of the 2009 season
Flashback: Barnstaple & Pilton CC at the start of the 2009 season

BARNSTAPLE & Pilton CC are celebrating their silver jubilee next month with a gala dinner at Portmore Golf Club.

There used to be four clubs in Barnstaple: namely Barnstaple Nondescripts, Pilton, Raleigh and Barnstaple.

Nondescripts, Pilton and Barnstaple all shared a ground at Pottington backing on to the rugby club. Raleigh had their own ground at Broadmead.

By the mid 1980s,Raleigh had lost their ground to a housing development and Nondescripts folded.

Founding father - Pat McEndooThis left Barnstaple CC and Pilton CC as the only two clubs in the town, both based at Pottington and both playing outside the Devon League structure at the time.

Around 1990 a proposal to build a new downstream bridge over the River Taw was first raised. When built it was likely to take land used by the rugby and cricket clubs.

Pat McEndoo, who was playing for Barnstaple at the time, said the potential knock-on effects of a new bridge prompted the two surviving clubs to start talking.

“At the time we were warned should the ground be lost to the new road, we would only get a replacement ground in line with the level of cricket being played,” said McEndoo.

“The ambitious nature of the clubs, allied to a core of players in both clubs wanting to play Devon League cricket, meant a two-club ground share became impractical.

“The talks started in 1991, the merger was agreed in 1992 and the first season as a merged club was 1993.”

Barnstaple & Pilton carried on playing at Pottington until 2004, when the club moved to a new ground near the River Yeo on the outskirts of town. The name, Raleigh Meadow remembers one of the extinct clubs.

Barnstaple RFC were hardest hit by the construction of the new bridge over the Taw and when the cricketers moved out the rugby players marked out pitches on the cricket ground.

McEndoo still plays the odd game for Barnstaple, although these days is generally found in the scorebox or umpiring.

Founding members Peter Cleave and Rob Wilkins, who came with the Pilton contingent, have managed at least one game every season since the merger.

Inaugural chairman Les Symonds, also ex-Pilton, is still involved as the regular 2nd XI umpire.

Saturday, October 13 is the date for the dinner. Tickets are £25 each and can be booked through Lee Cole 07813515445 or email bpccnews@yahoo.co.uk