Cricket

The cricket team, which in 1949 was captained by Mr. Cecil “Tut” Downs, initially played a full season of friendlies against local teams such as Hoton[1]. On one of the firm’s outings they played a match in London, against another engineering firm[2], possibly F.J. Edwards.

1950 Season

In 1950, they, again, played a full season, including matches against Cotton’s “B” (lost; J. Roach scored 17, Tollington 15, Long 11), W. Moss Sports (lost; Long 4 for 33, C. Downs 3 for 29), Meridian II (played at Nottingham on a Sunday, Won; J. Roach 42, C. Downs 39 and 3 for 21, J. Donnelly 14, G. Archer 10 not out), Walton-le-Wolds (won; C. Downs 34 and 6 for 19, J. Roach 33, J. Donnelly 12, H. Toyer 4 for 11), Rempstone (won; C. Downs 36 not out, J. Donnelly 5 for 25). When they played against Walton-le-Wolds “A” team in early July and won by 26 runs, with H. Toyer taking 7 for 39, the team comprised of M. Jones (1), J. Roach (20), B. Green (1), D. Brislin (1), C. Downs (39), K. Downs (4), H. Long (2), D. Smithard (0), E. Bettsworth (23), H. Toyer (9), H. Bunker (1)[3].

1952 Season

During the 1952 season, the firm’s team played in North Leicestershire Cricket League Division 3, comprised of 8 teams: Bardon Hill, Barrow Reserves, Cropston Reserves, Heathley Reserves, Ibstock Baptist reserves, Syston Town 2nds and Woodhouse Eaves Reserves[4].

With a relatively small pool of players to choose from, the core of the team, unsurprisingly, remained relatively constant. At the end of May, they played two matches in close succession one the Saturday, away to Heathley Reserves and the second on Monday home to Woodhouse Eaves Reserves[5]. The Saturday team was chosen from E. Bettesworth, C. Downs, L. Earl, H. Foster, W. Green, D. Jenkins, L. Jenkins, M. Jones, H. Long, F. Simpkin, E. Smithard and D. Spencer. The Monday team was chosen from B. Berrington, W. Cubberley, C. Downs, L. Earl, W. Green, D. Jenkins, L. Jenkins, M. Jones, H. Long, F. Simpkin, E. Smithard and D. Spencer.

In the early June, they won match again Syston 2nd team, 77 to 45, with F. Simpkin[6] scoring 46 and taking 3 wickets for 16 runs; Bettsworth scoring 18 and D. Spencer taking 6 for 18[7]. Several weeks later, in a very low scoring match they beat Bardon Hill 38 runs to 29, with D. Spencer taking 5 for 13 and Downs 5 for 14. Top scorer for Messenger’s was C. Trigg with 10[8].

In a friendly match against The Foundry in early July the team was chosen from: E. Bettesworth, C. Downs, L. Earl, H. Foster, K. Downs, W. Green, P. Marriott, F. Simpkin. E. Smithard. G. Spencer, C. Trigg and F. Doyle[9].

At the end of August, they were sixth on 11 points having played 11 matches, winning 4[10].

One of their last league matches of the season was at home against Cropston Reserves winning 96 to 72[11]; D. Spencer scoring 18, F. Doyle 17, C. Downs and M. Jones 13 each; with C. Downs and D. Spencer taking six and three wickets respectively.

At the end of the season the firm had three players in the top averages. M. Jones finishing 3rd in the batting with an average of 10.88 having played 10 innings, scoring 99 runs, with 1 not out and a highest score of 19. They also had two players in the top 5 of the bowling averages. G. Spencer finishing 1st with an average of 4.86, having bowled 95.3 overs, with 2 maidens taking 38 wickets and 185 runs scored off him. C Downs, finished 4th with an average of 5.44 (70.5 overs; 13 maidens; 27 wickets; 147 runs)[12].

1953 Season

For some unknown reason, the firm’s team played in Division 2 during the 1953 season playing against Barrow Town, Ibstock Tile, Long Whatton, Mountsorrel Castle Reserves, Quorn Reserves, Rothley Park Reserves, Sileby Town Reserves, Syston Town and Woodhouse Eaves[13].

They were obviously out of their league, at the end of August they were bottom of the league having won just 1 match, losing 13 and drawing 1.

Their only win came several weeks earlier at Mountsorrel[14], when they won by 6 wickets; dismissing the home team for 24 runs, with H. West taking 8 for 15, including a hat-trick. In reply L. Earl scored 1, T. Doyle 0, C. Downs 5, F. Simpkin 13, C. Trigg 2. L. Sharpe 3 not out, H. West 1 not out; with 1 extra. M, Jones, A. Exon, B. Berrington and H. Buckby did not bat.

1954 Season

Having finished bottom of League 2 the previous season, again for some unknown reason they played in Division 4 for the 1953 season, playing against Desford Colliery, Bardon Hill Reserves, Syston town Reserves, Diseworth, Loughborough Falcon and Barrow Town Reserves. In another disappointing season, they finished equal bottom with Barrow Town Reserves, both on 3 points, having played 14 matches, winning only 1, losing 12 and drawing 1[15]. Desford Colliery topped the league with 24 points.

The same core of players that played the previous season continued to play. In late May[16], the following team played against Cropston, probably in a friendly: L. Clarkson, C. Downs, L. Dutton, L. Earl, A. Exon, M. Jones, C. Moore, M. Sewell, F. Simpkin, G. Spencer and C. Trigg.

In late June[17], they played two matches over the weekend, firstly against Woodhouse Eaves Reserves when the team was: H. Buckley, L. Clarkson, C. Downs, T. Doyle, L. Earl, A. Exon, M. Jones (Capt), C. Moore, M. Sewell, F. Simpkin and G. Spencer. The following day they played Bardon Reserves, away, with a largely different team: J. Caldicott, A. Dutton (Capt), P. Fox, K. Langton, P. Marriott, J. Murphy, H. Redfern, F. Smithard, C. Trigg, J. Wyles and ANO.

Over the weekend of the 7th and 8th August[18], they again played twice: firstly, against, at home, Bardon Hill Reserves with H. Brickley, A. Dutton, L. Dutton, M. Jones, N. Marshall, H. Redfern, H. Simmonds, F. Simpkin, G. Spencer, C. Trigg and ANO: secondly, on the Sunday away to Woodhouse Eaves with H. Brickley, C. Downs, T. Doyle, A. Dutton, L. Dutton, A. Exon, M. Jones, N. Marshall, H. Redfern, H. Simmonds and ANO.

1956 Season

In the 1956 season, they again played in Division 2 of the now four division North Leicestershire Cricket League[19]; playing against Bardon Hill, Cropston, Ibstock Baptist, Mountsorrel Castle Reserves, Quorn Reserves, Sileby Town Reserves, Syston Town and Woodhouse Eaves. Their home matches were played at Allsopp’s Lane, Sports Ground.

It appears that the team on numerous occasions they again played two sometimes three matches over the weekend; a league match on a Saturday and a league or friendly on a Sunday and occasionally a Monday evening march. This obviously required a larger pool of players and it appears that only a few of those who regularly played in the 1953 season were apparently still playing. At the end of April, they were scheduled to play Woodhouse Eaves, away on the Saturday and Brush 2nd eleven, away, on the Sunday. The Saturday team comprised of D. Burden, L. Clarkson, A. Dutton, L. Dutton, P, Fox, M. Jones, G. Loose, B. Simmons, T. Stapleford, J. Walton and H. West. The Sunday team comprised of six from the Saturday team – A. Dutton, L. Dutton, P. Fox, M. Jones, J. Walton and H. West with B. Dutton, D. Haines, D. Hazell, J. Powderley, M. Sewell and S. Caldecott (reserve) joining them[20].

They won the match against Brush[21] by 8 runs, 64 to 54, with J. Walton taking six wickets, and J. Powderley taking three and scoring 22 runs, the only player to reach double figures[22].

The following week they again played on both Saturday and Sunday[23]. The Saturday team, away to Bardon Hill included of W. Boydell, P. Burden, S. Caldecott, L. Clarkson, A. Dutton, I. Dutton, A. Hargreaves, G. Loose, M. Sewell, B. Simmons and W. Moore. The Sunday team, away to Woodhouse Eaves included W. Boydell, S. Caldecott, B. Dutton, A. Hargreaves, G. Loose, M. Sewell, J. Powderley, G., Spencer and J. Walton.

At the beginning of June, they played three times over the weekend, a league match against Sileby Town Reserves on the Saturday, a friendly against Shepshed Town on the Sunday and another friendly against the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (R.E.M.E.) on Monday evening, starting at 6pm. At the time, they were lying seventh in the league, having won one of their five matches[24].

They eventually finished in sixth place with 12 points, having played 16 matches, winning 4, losing 8 and drawing 4. Cropston won the league with 24 points with 1o wins, 2 losses and 4 draws[25].

1963 Season

The 1963 season was another disappointing season, finishing bottom of Division 3[26] with 19 points, having won just 1 of the 18 played in the league[27].

Over the Spring Bank Holiday[28], they played Mountsorrel 2nd eleven away on the Saturday with the following team: D. Alexander, L. Belcher, D. Burns, A. Church, D. Garrett, G. Loose, D. Mitchell, M. Sewell, N. Sewell, T. Parker, A. Roadley and reserve, M. Jones. The team for the following Tuesday afternoon against Bardon 2nd eleven was D. Alexander, L. Belcher, D. Burns, A. Church, M. Francis, D. Garrett, M. Jones D. Mitchell, K. Mitchell, T. Parker, A. Roadley and M. Sewell.

In mid-June, they were heavily defeated by Ibstock Town Reserves, who eventually finished third in the division, losing 80 runs, 132 runs to 52. D. Alexander scored 13 runs, P. Avent 12 and G. Loose took 4 wickets for 44 runs[29].

Towards the end of August[30], they played a league match Long Whatton, who finished 8th. It was a close match with Long Whatton winning by 4 runs, 94 to 90. P. Avent scored27, D. Garrett 15, L. Belcher 14, A. Roadley took 5 wickets for 26 runs and G. Loose 3 for 11.

1964 and Beyond

The cricket team appears to have been the most enduring of all the teams. By 1964 they were playing in Division 4 of the North Leicestershire Cricket League and after 11 matches, they were lying top with 29 points, having just beaten Diseworth by 7 wickets; Diseworth scoring 83 all out and Messenger’s replying with 87 for the loss of 3 wickets. M. Jones scoring 39 runs, T. Wortley 29 not out, H. Perks 13 with L. Belcher taking 5 wickets for 24 runs and K. Mitchell 4 for 12[31].

When in mid-July they played against Barrow Reserves, the team included F. Simpkin (Capt.), H. Edwards, R. Oram, A. Oram, P. Russell, A. Church, N. Marshall, T. Parker, M. Francis and M. Jones[32].

At the end of August, the had another emphatic win, this time over Coalville Co-op, again winning by 7 wickets. Coalville Co-op scoring 55 all out and Messenger’s replying with 56 for 3. D. Cozens scoring 27 not out, H. Edwards 15 and L. Belcher taking 8 wickets for 29 runs[33].

At the end of the season[34], the firm had 3 players in the top 12 in Division 4 batting averages. T Wortley was first, with an average of 21.56 having played 14 innings and scored 258 runs, with 2 not outs and a highest score of 32. L. Belcher was third with an average of 18.36, having played 15 innings, scored 202 runs with 4 not outs and a highest score of 62. M. Sewell was twelfth with an average of 11.50, having played 14 innings, with 2 not outs, scoring 138 runs with a highest score of 34. They also had three representatives in the top 13 of the bowling averages. A. Roadley was fifth with an average of 5.43, bowling 106 overs, with 38 maidens, taking 36 wickets for 204 runs. T. Thompson was tenth, with an average of 7.93 having bowled 148.2 overs, 33 maidens, taking 40 wickets for 317 runs. L. Belper was thirteenth with an average of 8.57 having bowled 92.3 overs, with 29 maidens, taking 33 wickets for 300 runs.

At the beginning of the following season, having been promoted into Division 3, they were known as Shepshed Messengers.

Today, still known as the Shepshed Messengers they play at Pudding Bag Lane, off Ashby Road, Shepshed from as early as 1978, when they applied for planning permission to use part of the field as a cricket pitch[35].


References:

  1. The Loughborough Echo, 10th June 1949.
  2. The Loughborough Echo, 24th March 1950.
  3. The Loughborough Echo, 9th June 1950.
  4. The Loughborough Echo, 3rd September 1952.
  5. The Loughborough Echo, 30th May 1952.
  6. The report references F. Simpson.
  7. The Loughborough Echo, 13th June 1952.
  8. The Loughborough Echo, 4th July 1952.
  9. The Loughborough Echo, 4th July 1952.
  10. The Loughborough Echo, 29th August 1952.
  11. The Loughborough Echo, 3rd September 1952.
  12. The Loughborough Echo, 3rd September 1952.
  13. The Loughborough Echo, 4th September 1953.
  14. The Loughborough Echo, 14th August 1953.
  15. The Loughborough Echo, 17th September 1954.
  16. The Loughborough Echo, 21st May 1954.
  17. The Loughborough Echo, 25th June 1954.
  18. The Loughborough Echo, 6th August 1954.
  19. The Loughborough Echo, 1st June 1956.
  20. The Loughborough Echo, 27th April 1956.
  21. The match report states that they played Brush 3rd team, although the week previous it was down as the Brush 2nd team.
  22. The Loughborough Echo, 4th May 1956.
  23. The Loughborough Echo, 4th May 1956.
  24. The Loughborough Echo, 1st June 1956.
  25. The Loughborough Echo, 7th September 1956.
  26. At the time the North Leicestershire Cricket League consisted for 4 divisions with 10 teams in Divisions 1, 8 in Division 2, 12 in Division 3 and 10 in Division 4.
  27. The Loughborough Echo, 20th September 1963.
  28. The Loughborough Echo, 31st May 1963.
  29. The Loughborough Echo, 21st June 1963.
  30. The Loughborough Echo, 30th August 1963.
  31. The Loughborough Echo, 10th July 1964.
  32. The Loughborough Echo, 17th July 1964.
  33. The Loughborough Echo, 28th August 1964.
  34. The Loughborough Echo, 25th September 1964.
  35. Charnwood Borough Council Planning Application P/78/2740/2