THERE are a handful of members who have very special reasons to enjoy every moment of the centenary celebrations planned this summer by Carsons & Mangotsfield.
Just 15 years ago, this proud Bristol & District club was struggling to survive, as chairman Andy King well remembers.
He said: “Our numbers began dropping away and there were several weeks when we had only seven players for our seconds.
“We knew that if went down to just one team we would be in real trouble so four of us got together and decided that we had to get our youth section up and running again to make sure we had a proper future.”
Fast forward to 2021 and the results are incredibly impressive as wave after wave of youngsters and new arrivals have transformed Carsons & Mangotsfield into one of the most vibrant clubs in South Gloucestershire.
Numbers have increased to such an extent that they are now able to field four Saturday sides with the hope of soon naming a 5ths, a regular Sunday XI with an occasional 2nds, a midweek team along with a full set of youth squads, from U19s competing in the GCB Blast for the first time right down through to Dynamos and All Stars.
Andy, who is in his 35th season with the club, added: “The big thing this year has been establishing a girls section to cope with the interest in cricket. It’s been fantastic.
“We’ve also put a lot of time and effort into publicising ourselves, on social media and in the local press, and that has really paid off.”
The Carsons and Mangotsfield clubs merged in 1999, and the centenary celebrations honour the formation of Carsons in 1921 to provide cricket for the factory workers on a ground at the bottom of Rodway Hill.
Mangotsfield could trace their history back even farther, to the 1840s when Dr Henry Mills Grace, father of the legendary WG, established the club on facilities at Rodway Common before it moved, probably in the 1920s, to Cossham Street, close to where the football club are now based.
That the merged cricket club should move in 2011 to new facilities so close by at Pomphrey Hill seems perfect. And, fittingly, current president Colin Angell keeps alive the proud connection with Mangotsfield during this special year.
A match with the MCC is scheduled for July 11, with former youth team player Richard Trotman set to captain the world’s most famous side.
And there are also plans for the club to face a team of former players, including Glen Cambridge, Asif Bala, Graham Knight, Paul Dagger and Mark Frost, on August 29.
Carsons Mangotsfield will further be taking 30 players on a four-match tour of South Wales in August, and also hope to host a centenary dinner in September.
For details of how to join the club, visit https://carsonsmangotsfield.play-cricket.com
Pictured, back row, left to right: Girls coach Chloe Micklethwaite, president Colin Angell, first XI captain Sam Brayley, chairman Andy King, vice chairman Ian Coles. Front: Under-17 players Jack Woodland and Oli Clatworthy.