Cowdrey Cricket Club is a club with a fine history and integration with the local Tonbridge community, going back almost 75 years.
The club was founded in 1948 under the name Tonbridge Printers CC by the employees of the Tonbridge printing firm. Along with eight other cricket clubs they had a summer tenancy on Tonbridge Racecourse sports ground. Facilities were basic, the changing rooms were a small wooden hut. Fielding just one team on both Saturdays and Sundays all fixtures were friendlies and mainly against local opposition.
It was in 1979 that the club became founder members of the newly formed West Kent Cricket League and tasted league cricket for the first time. In 1992 in order to progress in league cricket the club moved away from the Racecourse to a new home at Swanmead. The club moved up to the Kent Feeder League where they enjoyed several successful seasons.
With no further connection to the printing industry and our golden anniversary looming it was time for a change of the club name in 1998. The name of Cowdrey CC was proposed in honour of Baron Cowdrey of Tonbridge, one of Kent and England’s finest cricketers. In the year 2000, a second XI was added and a few years later we won promotion to the Kent Cricket League. The club has also continued putting out a Sunday XI who play regular social fixtures during the season.
2020 was without a doubt the most unusual and disruptive year in the club’s history. However, the season saw plenty of cricket and some inspiring performances. It was also the year that the club added a third XI who entered the Kent Regional Cricket League, in Division 6 Central in 2021. They tasted success in their first season as they finished runners-up which secured promotion to Division 5 for 2022. Cowdrey adopts a “whole-club” approach, with each team supporting the other, and players regularly playing for more than one XI during the season.
In recent years the club has achieved both ECB Clubmark and Focus Club recognition, a testament to our commitment towards encouraging and promoting the development of junior cricket in Tonbridge.
Thanks largely to Gary Marshall, our Director of Coaching, we have an ever-growing and successful junior section. The youngest colts start from 5 through our annual All-Stars program. They can then go on to play softball in our U9 squad, moving to hardball cricket with experience. Older colts begin league cricket in our U11 squad, progressing up to the U13s and U15s.
2021 saw the launch of the first girl’s team at the club. This had been driven by the newly formed Junior Committee which had made this a key area of focus. As a result of this dedication to growing the game, the club won the 2021 Inspired to Play award from the ECB and Kent CCC. In order to maintain and grow the junior section, a number of adult players and parents went on ECB coaching courses. The club now has a brilliant squad of coaches who are passionate about getting more kids to play cricket.
We are very proud of what the club now offers the local Tonbridge community and continue to work hard to make cricket available to everyone. A fantastic example of this was at the end of 2021 when our first Women’s squad was launched. In their first season playing together, they qualified for the 2022 Kent Women’s Softball Finals Day.
Whether you’re a junior looking to play, a parent, an experienced player or coach wanting to join a new club, someone who hasn’t played for years or ever at all! Cowdrey has so much to offer. We’re always on the lookout for new players. So if you think Cowdrey sounds like the type of club for you – get in touch!
I have been playing for and involved with Cowdrey, formerly Tonbridge Printers, Cricket Club for more than 45 years. It is a huge honour and pleasure to be Chairman of this club which has come so far in its 75-year history, particularly in recent times. This is down to the sheer hard work and dedication of the committee, coaches, players and parents of the juniors.
The junior section has expanded significantly over the past three years with the addition of the All Stars section, catering for under 8’s. This has in turn led to a much larger amount of juniors. A great deal of credit goes to our Director of Cricket Gary Marshall and my Vice Chairman Glen Warner for this achievement as well as the many coaches and parents that help with everything associated with running all these teams. A huge amount of work has gone into this side of the club, including putting 11 adult members through coaching courses in 2021 to cope with the numbers. I’m also extremely proud to say that the club now also boasts a girl’s team and a Women’s team, and indeed we were recognised for this by receiving the 2021 Inspired to Play award from the ECB and Kent CCC.
A further thank you must be given to our generous and supportive sponsors, without whom we wouldn’t be able to provide such facilities that we do. We are fortunate to have many sponsors, some of which have been with us for many years. May I take this opportunity to personally thank everybody that supports us in any way for everything you do to make this club work.
The future is bright for this club. We have strong foundations to build on and become bigger and better in years to come. This will only be achieved by the hard work and support of those aforementioned as well as the players themselves.