Village History

20th Century Leisure


RECREATION GROUND AND VILLAGE SPORTS

Recreation Ground

It is hard to believe that the relatively peaceful 5 acres of land which is now the 'Rec' could have raised so much steam in the Village, but this was the case some years ago. After failing to obtain land on a 2 year lease (from the then War Department Land Agent), because of excessive premiums, the Parish Council was given the use of the Gala Field (behind Parsonage Farm). A Committee was formed and money that had been collected some years before was handed over, but no playing field equipment was purchased. It was some years later, in November 1952, that the present field was purchased for £450, of which £155 was a grant from the Playing Fields Association, the balance coming from public subscription. The old cricket pavilion at Snoddington Manor was given by Mrs. Stephens and was re-erected in the top corner of the field, It was subsequently demolished in 1976. Childrens’ swings, seesaw and slide were purchased at various times over the years, but were frequently vandalized unfortunately, and now only the swings remain.

[TB: A completely new, very colourful children's park was added in the late 1990's, which is maintained in line with current regulations and is very much in use!]

Football

Of all the leisure pursuits in the village, football must take pride of place.

Before television and motor-cross, a Saturday afternoon home match would attract half the village as spectators and the team coach, for away matches, would be packed with supporters, especially if it was for one of the many finals on the Walled Meadow, Andover or Victoria Park, Salisbury. Football at this time gave Shipton its identity. Visit a pub in Stockbridge, Kings Somborne, or Ludgershall today and mention to an old-timer that you live in Shipton and he will recall some fierce encounter with Shipton football team, when he was young.

The first record of football in the Village was in 1911 when the Working Men's Club formed a team. Unfortunately there is no record of their opponents or names of players.

After World War I a new team was formed and won their first trophy competing in the Avon League. A team photograph reveals only 7 players, amongst whom were Brawney Perrior, Harry Plank, Ted Vigor and Harry Dollery.

Ten years later Shipton had already won the coveted Hants Junior Cup and Harry Plank had been joined in the team by his younger brother John, and cousins Cuttina and Doug Hunt, Ted and Jim Landlord, all nephews of Brawney Perrior. Raymond Bradbury, John Venus and Frank Rasey were also in the team. At a club dinner in 1931, the secretary boasted that since 1921, Shipton had won over 20 trophies.

[PHOTOGRAPH OF FOOTBALL TEAM]

Between this golden era and World War II, Shipton continued to notch up successes with a constant stream of young players replacing the older ones. Len Plank took over from Walker Green in goal. Jim Pennry1, John Dabill and the two Andrews brothers, Bill and Donny, were often mentioned in reports in the local press.

Mention has already been made of the tremendous support Shipton always got from its followers. Alas their enthusiasm in barracking the opposing goalkeeper led to a demand to fence off the goal area from spectators. Andover Reserves claimed that in their match against Shipton, a home spectator helped the ball on across the goalmouth, enabling a Shipton player to score. Luckily the referee saw the incident, disallowed the goal and awarded a goal kick to Andover. Rumour had it that the culprit was Mrs. Dabill, who helped the ball on with her brolly. She was at this time chief shirt washer for the team with a son and brother playing. The same umbrella is also reputed to have tripped up a Stockbridge player who dribbled the ball too close to the touchline!

Many of the team went off to the Armed Forces for World War II. Donny and Bill Andrews were captured by the Japanese, and their brother Leslie was wounded in Italy. Bill did not survive the prisoner of war camp in Thailand, but Donny returned and was scoring goals for Shipton again.

In the early fifties tactics in village football took a new turn. Old-timers will remember that full backs were expected to have the kick of' a mule and were required to boot the ball up field as far as they could, leaving their forwards to forage for it if possible. Full backs or any other player would never, never pass back to their goal keeper, resulting in defenders attempting some fantastic overhead kicks when facing their own goal.

World Cup football on TV opened players eyes to new possibilities. Shipton got a new captain, P.C. Benson, and with Johnny Tait from Newcastle, blending well with local boys, passing and possession began to play an important part in team tactics.

Several successful seasons followed, especially in the South Wilts. Charity Cup, where the winners played a further match against Salisbury City for the Hospital Cup, a great honour for village teams.

In 1952, Shipton won both the Andover and Salisbury Charity Cup and were finalists in the Hants. Junior Cup and the Salisbury Hospital Cup. In the latter, against Salisbury City, Shipton were winning 3-2 two minutes from time, but Salisbury equalized and scored the winning goal in extra time.

It is interesting to note Harry Plank's son Gerald on the team sheet. He was the first of many sons to follow in their father’s football boots: Barry Bartholomew, Francis and Donald Andrews, Tony Jackman and Chris Tait. Also in the fifties teams were three Bradbury brothers and several nephews of previous players.

The school team at this time was winning several trophies and then a youth team coached by Donny Andrews (Senior) made its mark, which led to another golden period in the seventies.

The club elected to move into a higher division encompassing all North Hants', won the league in the first season and were in three separate cup finals.

These names crop up in the team lists, Vigor- Phillips - Burrell - Channon - Andrews - Farmington and Jimmy Crawford.

Throughout the last 60 years the teams have been supported by many managers, trainers, secretaries, linesmen, often old players past their prime. Mention must be made of several who had never played for the club but rendered service behind the scenes.

Walt Chamberlain, Roy Bartley, and Bill Parsons will be long remembered. Recently Sunday morning football has become more popular than the traditional Saturday afternoon, and a recent Andover Advertiser report of a school match mentions at least one grandson. Let's hope there will be many more to maintain the tradition of village football in Shipton,

Cricket

After World War I Snoddington Manor was the venue for local cricket. The local "Squire" Mr. J. P. Formby not only had his own private cricket team, his own private cricket pitch with an excellent pavilion, but also his own cricket competition with other clubs in the area. Joe Bradbury was his groundsman and resident umpire and after Mr, Formby's death Joe Bradbury, with Roy Bartley, who owned the present Hillside Garage, started cricket in Shipton.

The wicket, rough compared with the Snoddington ground, was at one time along Watery Lane, and at another time on the well used camping ground north of the Croft Road, The team sheets contained many old village names Plank - Collins - Venus - Phillips - Rasey and Tommy Baker from Home Farm Tidworth, renowned Point-to-Point rider, hitter of big sixes, and who lost his life in World War II when a returning bomber crashed on his land near the Cross Belt and he attempted to rescue the crew.

Cricket restarted again in the early fifties with John Coleman as Secretary and Taffy Flye as Umpire. A wicket was prepared on the new playing field and the sons of earlier players erected the old Formby Pavilion, a gift from Mrs. Stephens, and again the team list was full of Planks, Bradburys, Dabills, Berkerys, Vigors, Veseys and Raseys. Alas interest waned and Reggie Coleman had to help restart the club in the seventies. This again folded until old Joe Bradbury's grandson and great- grandson restarted the club four or five years ago with a new committee, new faces and a new future.

Tennis

Although between the wars six tennis courts were in use in the Village, they were all private courts, to provide sport for the owners' teenage children.

Reverend Vesey Ross started a club for the Parishioners at the O1d Vicarage, but with the outbreak of War all the courts fell into disuse and reverted back to allotments or meadowland.

The Hockey Club

The advent of the new playing field in 1951 gave rise to an increased interest in sports. Hockey began to be played on the old Gala field (which is now a Parsonage Farm Paddock) on Sunday afternoons. The players were mainly teenagers and oldies who were past their football prime.

The Club eagerly moved to the new playing field and at its peak fielded a mens team, a ladies team, a mixed team, and a girls team. Successful tournaments were held on the military grounds at Tidworth, and Wednesday matches were played against several service teams on the Plain.

Shortage of players led to more and more service personnel being recruited to the club but when they were posted the Hockey Club's meteoric existence died in 1952.

Field Sports

Shipton has never earned the reputation of a poaching village, as villages adjoining Cranborne Chase did in the last century, but with the plague of rabbits nibbling the downward grass bare on the surrounding hills, it would be surprising if the odd rabbit had not found itself inside a cottagers pot.

Ferreting with nets was the usual method for burrows too close to farmland and pre-war provided a livelihood for several villagers. At harvest time rabbits escaping from the cornfields were fair game for anyone with a good dog.

Frank Rasey had a whippet that he trained to ride on the pillion of his motor bike and he used to go out on a moonlight night to chase the rabbits with his headlight, for the dog to catch.

Paddy White kept greyhounds in the early fifties, which were race-sick from the Southampton track. After exercise and hunting on the surrounding downs, they returned to racing rejuvenated. Charlie Perrin was always accompanied by his two whippets when he exercised his horses on the Plain.

To the north of the Parish the Officers' Shoot employed game keepers who reared pheasants for the enjoyment of their sport and the Snoddington Manor Estate to the South did likewise.

Four packs of hounds have traditionally used "The Boot" as a venue during the winter.

The ''Tedworth'' pack now kennelled at Burbage was originally housed at ''Happy Land'' near Tedworth House when Assheton-Smith was Squire there in 1827.

A meet at Weyhill in December of that year was attended by 300 horsemen, ten times more than the average field at the Boot

The Royal Artillery Hunt was founded in 1911 and changed from harriers to foxhounds in 1948 when Colonel Gillman, their Master, was living at Parsonage Farm. They would hack over the Plain from Larkhill and after the meet disappear onto the Plain again.

The Parmer-Milburn's Beagles came from Lambourne and have a very short history as have the Berks. and Bucks. Draghounds, also from Lambourne.

These hounds follow a drag across the field to the Beacon and back to the Cross Belt and finally out to Dunch Hill, Nine Mile Ponds, Silk Hill and back to the Cross Belt.

Sam Hart

Remember your leisure with gratitude As you would the harvest of a summer

- Kahlil Gibran


Footnote: 1 It is possible this is Maurice Henry Penny, most often known as "Jim" Penny (thanks to Marion Pathey-Johns née Penny)

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