CLUB OF THE MONTH: Orpington Nomads

Here at CRICKETher, we’re passionate about women’s cricket at all levels, including club cricket. It’s our mission to offer coverage of women’s (and girls’) club cricket wherever we can! Our ‘Club of the Month’ feature will focus on one women’s or girls’ club every month, giving you the lowdown on their highs, lows, and everything in between.

If you’d like to see your club featured here, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!

Kent Nomads WCC were formed way back in 1948, by a group of women who wanted to play organised cricket matches. They were originally a wandering side, before finding a home at Orpington Cricket Club over 40 years ago. In the 1990s they merged fully with Orpington CC, and changed their name to Orpington Nomads WCC. One of their founding members was Cecilia Robinson, former captain of Kent and England.

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One of the oldest women’s cricket clubs still in existence, Orpington Nomads have a whole host of former members who were leading lights of the game in the Women’s Cricket Association days. The list includes Norma Izard (England Manager and last ever Chairman of the WCA, who oversaw the merger of the WCA and the ECB in 1998), Sheila Hill (Member of the MCC Laws Committee until very recently, who oversaw the last rewriting of the MCC Laws of Cricket), former England captains Sue Goatman and Mary Pilling, and too many other internationals and county stalwarts to mention in a short article.

At their home ground they have two squares, with the likelihood of a third being added soon, meaning that they are always able to get a pitch on a Sunday. They have a fantastic 4-lane enclosed outdoor net facility, replacing two decrepit nets destroyed by the snow a few winters ago. They have sole use of the facility on Tuesday nights from 7pm until dark, when they can also use the practice wicket on the square and the roll-on cage. They also have a great bar lady who will open up whenever they ask her to!

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Though they do not have a girls section, they welcome all ages and all experience to the club, with members ranging in age from 17 to 50+.

They currently play in the Women’s Cricket Southern League, and have played in all leagues since women’s cricket introduced them. As current secretary Caroline Barrs puts it, “We play competitive cricket but always for fun. We like to win, but it is not the end of the world if we do not!” They always try to give everybody a go at either batting or bowling in their games.

The club also enjoys club outings and socials; Caroline tells CRICKETher that “the last social was to Greyhound racing, suggested by one of our members who said ‘shall we go dogging – it’s great fun’!”

Caroline herself has been involved in women’s cricket since the 1970s and represented England between 1988 and 1990. She says that women’s club cricket has changed immensely in the time since Orpington Nomads was formed: “We used to play friendly cricket both days of the weekend, most of the season – up to 30 games in a season! Now with league cricket we are lucky to get 14 games. The demographic of those playing has massively changed too: there used to be many adults in their 20s and 30s playing, but teams often mostly consist of 15 – 18 year olds now.” However, “in the early days there were very few clubs,” she says. “There are a lot more now.”

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Back in the days when women’s club cricket was played in skirts…

Sadly Orpington Nomads are currently struggling for players, so if there is anybody out there looking to play cricket with a friendly group of women who enjoy a good laugh, of any age of experience, get in touch with Caroline Barrs (cjbarrs@yahoo.co.uk). They’d love to hear from you!

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