Grounds for optimism

PUBLISHED: 12:57 09 August 2007 | UPDATED: 15:12 12 May 2010

Groundsman Rodney Symes, his wife Ann, chairman Ed Collins, and vice captain Brian Symes – Pic: 2521DW4

Groundsman Rodney Symes, his wife Ann, chairman Ed Collins, and vice captain Brian Symes – Pic: 2521DW4

BARLEY Cricket Club is looking for success on and off the pitch as the club celebrates its 125th anniversary. Winning its first trophy in 1924, the club has risen from the lower leagues of local cricket to Cambs Senior Leagues and enjoyed a number of suc

BARLEY Cricket Club is looking for success on and off the pitch as the club celebrates its 125th anniversary.

Winning its first trophy in 1924, the club has risen from the lower leagues of local cricket to Cambs Senior Leagues and enjoyed a number of successful seasons in the 1980s and early 90s.

Chairman Ed Collins said: "It's remarkable to think what this little club has achieved over the years, and for how long it has been going. It's a fantastic club that really is one of a kind."

Chairman for 23 years, Ed has seen the club change over the years and lists the club's match with MCC in 1991 to celebrate the opening of the Albert Gale Memorial pavilion as his personal highlight.

"That was a very memorable event, in which a wonderful day of cricket was played," said the 62-year-old.

Barley also boasts one of the most impressive playing surfaces in the county, with the picturesque ground in Smiths End Lane also one of the highest.

And Ed puts it down down to Rodney Symes and his family.

Rodney, 67, has worked as the club's groundsman since 1954.

He said: "This ground was covered in thorn bushes and sheep when we first moved here.

"But I can't take all the credit. I've had a lot of hard-working people helping along the way.

"The ground means a lot to me and I like to see it in good shape - it's been a big part of my life."

Brian Symes, the club's vice captain, who helps look after the ground with his dad Rodney and mum Ann said: "There's not many better grounds than this around. Barley is a great club.

"We're having a good season and hopefully we can do as well as a few of the previous teams did."

From 1985-1992, Barley won three junior cups and six league titles after joining the Cambs League.

Ed, who chalked up 21 centuries during his Barley playing days added: "We've worked our way up through the leagues.

"The club has produced a lot of very good players, including Alf Sheehan, Pete Markham, Tim Cannon, and Mick Croxall.

"Royston captain Craig Holson also started out here, and was our skipper in 1991.

"Hopefully, the current side can be successful. At the moment they're having a very good year and are currently third in Division 1 South behind Linton and Great Chishill.

"It's the tightest it's been for a long while and if we win our next few games who knows what could happen?"

On Sunday the club will celebrate with an exhibition match against Cambs over-50s at Smiths End Lane at 2pm.

Ed said: "It promises to be a brilliant day and everyone is welcome to come down and enjoy the event.

"It should be a fitting game to celebrate such a fantastic landmark."

- Barley are looking at starting a second team next season, and anyone interested should contact Ed Collins on 01763 848788 or Brian Symes on 07791293433.


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