Rogerstone CC – the inter-war years

As life returned to normal after the Great War, cricket in Rogerstone resumed with a new team playing games from 1921 in the field near the Old Nail Works and the path to Rhiwderin. However, it was far from being an ideal location for either cricket or soccer, so during November 1923 an approach was made by the Parish Council to Lord Tredegar, the principal landowner in the area and a generous patron to other clubs, about the possibility of land being provided for recreational activities.

In 1927 Lord Tredegar agreed to donate 11.5 acres, plus Tydu House (seen below) to allow the creation of the Rogerstone Welfare Scheme and the creation of purpose-built facilities for healthy exercise and ball-games. The fields were handed over to the Parish Council in 1928 and, the following year, the football and cricket pitches, plus a children’s playground, were formally opened.

Tydu House. Photo Credit – Derek Picken / Andrew Trinder.

The local cricket club were invited by the Parish Council to play at the Welfare Grounds, and consequently changed their name to Rogerstone Welfare Cricket Club. Below is an image of their 1929 team – the first to play at the new ground. Sat front left is Cliff Goodwin, who was nicknamed “The Prayer Bowler” because of his unusual and unique bowling action whereby one of his legs was almost in a kneeling position as if he was seeking divine assistance!

Photo Credit – Derek Picken / Andrew Trinder.

Lord Tredegar also agreed to act as the Club’s President and he may well have lent a helping hand with the finance of the series of improvements which subsequently took place at the Welfare Grounds. The first enhancement took place during 1930 with the cricket club acquiring the pavilion which had previously belonged to the Bethesda Tennis Club. Whilst it may have been ideal for the small numbers playing the racquet sport, it was quite cramped for the two teams of cricketers and comprised two small changing rooms, each about 3 metres square and lacked water or electricity. Consequently, showers still had to be taken in the stable block adjoining Tydu House.

The Rogerstone cricketers, plus the ladies of the Tennis Club in front of the pavilion at its original home near the Bethesda Chapel. Photo Credit – Derek Picken / Andrew Trinder.

Teas continued to be available in the ground floor room of Tydu House, with the food and drink provided by the wife of the caretaker who lived in the adjoining two-bedroomed house. During the early 1930s a hut was also installed at the ground for the two scorers with a basic scoreboard alongside. Dropdown wooden sightscreens, plus a light and heavy roller were also purchased – all of which can be seen in the photograph below of the Welfare Grounds.

Photo Credit – Derek Picken / Andrew Trinder.

A public shelter was also erected alongside the pavilion, together with a flagpole and a series of benches allowing people to watch the games being played. All of these enhancements are clearly visible in the photograph below which was taken in 1932. Given the rather stilted delivery action of the left-arm bowler, the casual stance of the non-striking batsman and two stationary fielders quite close together at long-leg, this appears to have been a specially posed image rather than an action shot.

Cricket at the Welfare Grounds – 1932. Photo Credit -Derek Picken / Andrew Trinder.

As well as Lord Tredegar being a kind benefactor, the cricket club also had the support of the Forestier-Walker family, including Sir Leolin Forestier-Walker, who was the Conservative MP for Monmouth and Sir George Forestier-Walker who lived at Castleton. The image below shows Sir George’s wife sat with the Rogerstone team of 1932.

Photo credit – Derek Picken / Andrew Trinder.

Running parallel with the improved facilities at the Welfare Grounds were better performances on the field, and 1938 saw Rogerstone Welfare CC enjoy an outstanding summer as the 1st XI remained undefeated throughout the season.

The people in this photograph are Back Row:  J. Davies, A. North, L. Jones, S. Birchall, G. Dixon, S. Walsh, C. Goodwin, G. Hillman
Front Row:  E. Price, A. Mellish, J. Birchall, T. Thompson. Photo Credit – Derek Picken / Andrew Trinder.

Click here to read more about Rogerstone Welfare CC during the post-war period.

Once again, many thanks to Derek Picken of Rogerstone Welfare CC for his kind help in compiling these notes.

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