BROCKHAMPTON are already looking forward to further success after a remarkable first season in the Birmingham League.
But the villagers, who presented their awards at a superbly organised event compered by club treasurer Roger Da Cunha at The Green Man in Fownhope last week, were celebrating much more than the achievements of just one of their teams.
The first-team, after threatening a top-four place with a handful of games remaining, eventually finished a highly-creditable seventh but all of their remaining senior sides topped their divisions.
“It’s been a fantastic season,” said proud chairman Roy Wargen.
“After the previous season, we were just hoping that the first team would stay in the Premier Division but for the seconds, thirds and fourths all to win their leagues and for our youth section to do so well makes it a really tremendous season.”
He added: “I don’t think it could have been any better; it has been absolutely brilliant.
“There is some luck in it, but it is not all luck; we have worked very hard and attracting Chris Boroughs to the club was the turning point.”
The Herefordshire Minor Counties skipper has been a key figure in the club’s remarkable rise from the Worcestershire County League to the Birmingham League’s top flight.
Each season, he has excelled with bat and ball but much of the support he has received has come from team members who have come through the county system.
“We have always said that through Edward Price, our major coach, and Glyn Harrhy, our other coach, we want to promote in-house,” said Wargen.
“Our boys from age 12 onwards must see that there is a pathway – that they can go on and play cricket in the Birmingham League. “That is very important and that is what, from the age of 13, has attracted quality players to come to Brockhampton.
“The GB Liners Marches League this season have done a great thing where anyone under the age of 16 can go and play anywhere.
“So most weeks we have sent four or five of our lads to go and play at Woolhope and Stuart Williams, the captain over there, has been brilliant. He has batted them and bowled them – they know they are going to get cricket when they go there. “That’s our idea at Brockhampton, too. “It is not all about seniors, it’s about bringing the youngsters through; if you come and play at Brockhampton and you are good enough, you are going to get a game.”
The club’s on-field success has been achieved with a lot of hard work off the field, admits Wargen whose own vision, effort, energy, hard work and commitment have been key elements in the club’s success.
“It is about having the right people in the right place at the right time,” he said. “The easy part is playing cricket, the hard part is organising the club.
“When I went up to the ground earlier in the week, there were seven people there and I was the youngest at 62 – the following day, my grandson George Cook, who is 15, was up there helping me. That cross-section of age-groups is vital.
“Adam Hewlett is priceless – he is one of the reasons why we are where we are, he is a fantastic clubman, absolutely brilliant. You could not replace him.
“And we have players like Jonny Walker who has been at the club for 15 years and people like that make a real difference.”
“What we set out to do at the start of the season was just to remain in the division,” said the 30-year-old former skipper Walker, who is now one of the first-team’s experienced heads. “Halfway through the season we got a bit of belief that we could compete and perhaps even finish in the top four.
“Unfortunately, the season petered out a bit and in the end we were disappointed that we finished seventh - at the start of the season we would have snapped anyone’s hand off who had offered us that. Everyone is immensely proud of that achievement.
“I remember Roy Wargen saying some years ago that he wanted Brockhampton to be the first Herefordshire side to play in the Birmingham League; as much as I wanted that, too, I never really believed it but he has made it happen along with a fantastic committee.
“Next season we will be looking to improve on seventh as well as consolidating what we have achieved in past years but we really know that deep down there is a chance that we can finish in the top four.”
He added: “Hand on heart, I think we are still a way off competing for the title but there is no reason why we cannot upset a few of the big sides.”