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Fiddlers Cricket Club Dinners

 

The first Fiddlers dinner was held on 25th January 1954 in the Red Lion Stoke Green. The Fiddlers cricket club endeavour to hold a cricket dinner at the start of each new season usually at the end of March or start of April to raise funds for the club. Clubs that they play against are always welcome to attend and bring guests. In 1994 the Fiddlers held their 50th Dinner with Bernard Hamilton having attended every one. It was suggested that he had drunk more pints at these annual cricket dinners than he had scored runs for the club.

These dinners have always been occasions to tell of great deeds carried out on the field of play from previous seasons. Each year the cricketing stories of yesteryear are further exaggerated.

Entertainment has been laid on in the past with some playing members able to play the piano (Jimmy Platt) which normally involved a sing-a-long.

Speeches were always short thus allowing more time to drink. Gerry Kirby for many years organised the “Famous Fiddlers Raffle” no one knows for sure why it was so famous but everyone came with a raffle prize including invited guests. No one was allowed to win more than one prize which made for the unusual fact that everyone went away with a prize (usually taking back home what they had brought along!)

The long-suffering Fiddlers wives always helped serve the meal and typically acted as their spouse's taxi home, often commenting in the car something like “That’s the last time I'm doing that” (or words to that affect!)

On one occasion Bernard Hamilton told the attending members and guests that he had a new playing member for the coming season who was sitting on the top table.

Guest and members turned around to notice that the new member had a dog collar. Bernard introduced the Reverend and said he was strictly tee-total and players must refrain from swearing in his presence. The Reverend said grace after which he made a short speech saying how wonderful it was of Bernard to invite him to join the club. He then announced that before and after every game for the coming season he would hold a shortened Sunday Service at the hosts ground and all playing members must take part. Everyone one thought Bernard had gone mad.

As the evening went on members noticed that the Reverend was taking sneaky swigs from a hip flask hoping no one would notice. Then as he became drunk the odd swear word crept into his conversation followed by very rude jokes. The members thought Bernard had invited a swearing and drinking (Alcoholic) vicar to play for them. Eventually the Reverend collapsed outside the venue and Bernard and Tom Lawford placed him into a waiting taxi swearing and shouting quickly whisking him away.

Bernard kept his powder dry, so to speak, and it was not until the first match of the season when the players were preparing for their first Sunday Service that it was revealed that the Reverend who swore and drank would not be joining the club. This drew a big sigh of relief. In fact Bernard had hired an actor from an agency in place of a speaker to take on the part of a ficticious swearing drunken Vicar. Years later no one ever believed Bernard when he said he was introducing a new member to the club, even when they were genuine.


31st March 1989
D Jessup, D. Drew, I Burgess, G. Kirby, C. Essex
Burnham Village Hall


April 1986


1982


28th March 1979


"Fiddlers Dine"
Slough Sports Pavilion - 7th April 1978


22nd April 1977
Bowls Pavilion - Slough Sports Club

' It probably only seems like yesterday when you bowled your quicker one with the late inswing, but with rather too much air, which was smartly despatched over the square leg boundary, or having executed your fashionable Amiss-like shuffle across your wicket, glanced behind to see your leg stump flattened. You are invited to join us to talk over past glories and triumphs of the Golden Age of cricket in the congenial company of your friends and adversaries.'

Cost per head £3.00


25th April 1975
Bowls Pavilion - Slough Sports Club


This year was the 21st Anniversary of the first annual dinner. This was intended to be "an opportunity for the Fiddlers to let their hair down, that is if it is not already in that position."
' The Club will provide an ample, well cooked meal, including substantial cheese board and coffee and, as in the past, Wines and cigarettes will be provided by the Club. Cost to you £1.50'

It was also noted in the pre-dinner handout, that "the youthful Gerry Kirby was in the same team as veteran Reg Ford, an age differential of nearly 50 years; it hardly seemed so when they ran between the wickets"!


April 1974
Cost per head £1.25



"Fiddlers Stag Night"

27th April 1973


"Pre-Season Warm Up"
21st April 1972
Members of the Fiddlers Cricket Club contemplating a little fielding practice prior to their dinner on Friday Evening. An official of the club said: "It's the first time I can remember so many Fiddlers leaving the bar while it is still open"
The Club perpetuates village green cricket, combining its talents on the table with its capacity to drink its rivals under the table afterwards. Fitting therefore that this year the club trophies - a "medal" and a cup made from an old tin can - should go to David Measures who excelled on the pitch and Tony Suter who excelled in the bar. David who won the cup for his fine season of 780 runs during which time he honoured the tradition of the Fiddlers Jug - a plastic watering can filled with ale and passed round - no less than eleven times. Tony's efforts in drinking a yard of ale in two minutes were rewarded with the medal.



'They're Still Fiddling after 25 Years!'
16th April 1971

'Those incorrigible characters, the Fiddlers, celebrate their 25th anniversary this year and three of the original members were present to make sure 'fings' were exactly what they used to be. George Bennett, Tom Lawford and Eric Grant may be a little slower between the wickets these days, but the perfect action of the drinking arm remains unaltered. Bernard Hamilton pointed out that of the 65 guests present, 44 have played for the Fiddlers, and 24 have yet to score! The dinner went with a resounding bang, when a flourescent light and its fittings exploded. Despite several narrow escapes from flying glass and fragments of fittings, no one was hurt'


1970

'Our old friend Arthur Fazackerley who has played at all our dinners, has already booked the date and once again is prepared for an evening's punsihment as he listens to your unmelodious voices'

'The seventy odd guests were unanimous in giving this year's "do" the "better than ever" tag with bernard Hamilton's "new member" hoax one of the best stunts even the Fiddlers have pulled off. The only note of sadness was the tribute to Mike Brining, Club President and founder Fiddler, but I could not help but feel that Mike would have so heartily approved of Friday's junketings. '

Cost per head £1.00



'Fiddlers Twenty Years On'
1969

G Wigginton (umpire) Tom Lawford, Bernard Hamilton, Mike Brining, Frank Dyke, C Short and D Ashby
It is always a night of song when the Fiddlers gather, and Friday was no exception with Mike Brining leading the company in harmony and the singing which compared favourably with 'the after match choirs' of the local rugby clubs.'



'Fiddlers come of age'
April 1968
George Bennett, Harry Quantrill, Frank Dyke, Tom Lawford, Bernard Hamilton (Capt), Mike Brining (Pres), Clive Essex, Mike Brown

'Twenty-one years ago, a few cricketers gathered in the bar of the Slough club and over a 'pinta' decided to form a wandering side to play on Sundays. They recalled how Tom Grace had come to the rescue and provided the gear when they found they were due to play their first game and had no equipment'



Red Squirrel, Burnham - 13th March 1964
Tom Lawford, Bernard Hamilton (Captain), Angus McKinnon, Mike Brining (President), Frank Dyke (Past Captain)

'Paddy' Lanigan flew back from an Irish holiday specially to attend the dinner. Mike Brining suggested that if only a little bit of the Club's good fellowship could be spread around there would be no need to worry about the future of cricket. Mike led the entertainment and singing after the dinner, with Arthur Fazakerley as accompanist, the local press reporting that the singing seems to get even more enthusiastic each year.



'Fiddlers Celebrate at Burnham'
Red Squirrel, Burnham - 15th March 1963
(Front) M Wagstaff, G Wigginton, Bernard Hamilton (Capt & Sec), Paddy Lanagan, R Passefield.
(Back) M Brown, C Essex (V Capt), W Thomas (Match Sec), Tom Lawford (Treas)

'Guests were met with the news that Mike Brining, their popular president, had been taken ill with influenza on the train travelling to the dinner and would be unable to attend. Bernard Hamilton quickly stepped in, and the evening went well. Plans were announced for a tour of Kent.'

The Welcome note contained the following:

When you cease to get enjoyment out of your cricket, then is the time to get out.
Our Aim: The Fiddlers will be a striking force during 1963.
The Outcome: Onwards! Back to the Pavillion.



Red Squirrel, Burnham - 19th March 1962
Eric Boulton, Bert Stripp, Frank Dyke, Wally Gage, Mike Brining, Bernard Hamilton, Tom Lawford, Frank Lees.

The usual custom of no speeches was striclty observed, and after the dinner a first-class smoking concert filled the bill.



'No Bows for the Fiddlers'
The Crown, Burnham - 10th March 1961

The 54 guests, instead of listening to various toasts and addresses settled down to an evening of informal entertainment. On smoking concert lines they sang their own songs, and told their own anecdotes, and then settled down to an evening of light refreshment and swapping cricket yarns.



Slough Cricket Club - 22nd July 1960
(On the occasion of their new Club Ties)
(Back) F Lees, F Forward, D Ashley, D Collins, M Brown, N Shave, G Kirby
(Front) P Lanagan, Bernard Hamilton, Tom Lawford

Slough Cricket Club - 22nd July 1960
(On the occasion of their new Club Ties)
F Forward, D Collins & Bernard Hamilton



The Crown Inn, East Burnham - 10th March 1957

'The Club has guaranteed 18 gallons of Best bitter whether sold, or not, so we hope that those not in strict training will immediately get some hours in at the nearest pub. We have been fortunate in retaining the services of our pianist Arthur Fazackerley who strove so nobly last year to follow the bawdy songs from our members. The cost this year should be in the region of 10/- '
The attendees were limited to 60 people, so we have worked out that these brave men would have drunk 144 pints of bitter! (2,5 pints each)



The Red Lion, Stoke Green, 1955
Ted Hare, Bernard Hamilton, Ernie Oxley, Ray Knock, Tom Lawson, Stan Little
Neville Shade, Ted Scanes (Licensee) Bill Thomas


The Red Lion, Stoke Green, 1955

The Red Lion, Stoke Green, 1955



First Fiddler's Club Dinner
The Red Lion, Stoke Poges, 22nd January 1954

This was the year of the Fiddler's first dinner; and their founder, returning from Cardiff on the London Express after the Rugby International, pulled the communication cord at Slough, and paid the £5 fine in order to attend the function.


'The Eight-pint man's own Cricket Club'
The Red Lion Hotel, 22nd Jan 1954
Bernard Hamilton (Sec), Frank Dyke (Capt), Gilbert Husband, Eric Boulton, and Reg Ford.

'Intoducing the Cricket Club without any rules; the cricket Club without a ground; the cricket club with 50 members whose average age is about 35. In other words, the Fiddlers - the men who play for the game (and the socials afterwards)

In attendance, Gilbert Armitage, Dennis Ashby, Eric Boulton, Cecil Bernard, John and Jack Bartlett, Bob Boad, Paddy Barker, Mike Brining, Jeff Brown, Frank Dyke, Alec Forbes, Reg Ford, Ted Hare, Tim Hughes, Eddie Harrison, Gilbert Husband, Bernard Hamilton, Gerry Kirby, Ray Knock, Les Limer, Tom Lawford, Paddy Lanagan, Neville Little, Frank Lees, Angus McKinnon, Tom Poore, Frank and Mike Smith, Doug and John Stott, George Smith, Peter Steadman, Stan White, Mike Wagstaffe.