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Superstars Cricket Club was formed in 1987 and can trace its origins back to the late 1970s and early 1980s and a team called the Marsham Street Casuals which was mainly composed of staff from DOE's (Department of the Environment) Royal Parks Division. Evening twenty over and occasional afternoon forty over matches were played at Regents Park and Wandsworth Common. Opposing teams were from other DOE/DOT (Department of Transport) divisions such as GLRT (featuring future Superstar Phil Patten) and Highways, and from other Government Departments and Agencies who had a working relationship with Royal Parks. These included amongst others Ancient Monuments, Saville Row, DTI and Home Office..
Players from these early years included Mark Rolls (captain), Bob Treacher, Keith Hamer (wk), Frank Blewer, Neil O'Connor, Rick Kennedy, Brian Oatway, Ray Denham, Neil Stanworth, Rene Daniels, Barry Fitzgerald, Steve Brandl, Andy Wilkinson, Steve Crossthwaite, Ray George, Steve A'Court, David Levell and John Doyle. Other MSC regulars who went on to play for Superstars included Pete Frost, Steve Carter (wk) and Mike Kamellard.
The name Superstars was coined because most of the team participated in a year long 30 event multi-sport competition loosely based on the Superstars TV show, which explains the rather arrogant sounding name! This completion ran annually between 1980 and 1990 and featured such athletic sports as Cribbage, Yahtzee, Monopoly and Drinking!
In 1987, seven formal fixtures against BOCs (Bunch of Counts, or something like that, this is a family friendly website and my hearing isn't great) were arranged by Pete Frost and he became Superstars CC first captain and organiser (because nobody else wanted to do it). Games were played at Greenwich Park (as we had a contact called Vince Rossiter) with the occasional return to Regents Park. Future club icons Ken Block and Steve Meyler joined at this time. Fixtures against BOCs became an annual contest. By 1988 statistics were regularly compiled and a club resembling the one we have now was taking shape.
The club grew becoming more organised, recruiting better players like Barry Gigg, Mike Taylor and Matt Conway to name but three [Ed - if these were better players how bad were the previous lot?!?!!] and establishing a rota of new opposing teams. Regular opponents in the late 1980s and early 1990s included the aforementioned BOCs, John Doyle's Dodgers (I wonder what happened to them?..) , DoE Stats (who if they had continued your correspondent would have played for), Highways Agency, and sister club OSD - who merged with Superstars in the late 1990s because players were retiring. Home matches were played first at Greenwich and then later at the Chiswick Sports Ground.
The players from this time included Rich Baker (touted as our best player ever), Gary Tavender (the great white hope), Tom Wilson (a very slow bowler who the team took bets on which ball, 1-24, he would lose his run), Steve Carter (an entertainer, but not due to the high quality of his cricket), Tony Whitrod (a footballing superstar who is (at time of writing) the only person to score a 100, 50 and take 5 wickets for the club), Gary Batholomew and Linden Francis.
In 1992, Pete left London to work in Hastings and passed the captaincy to Ken Block. Ken threw himself into the organisational responsibilities of the job expanding recruitment and arranging new fixtures (including one against the Met Police after being stopped on the way home from a cricket match!) and thus began a new and golden era for the club.
The club first toured in 1996, raising money for the Civil Service Benevolent Fund. The tour was to Lancashire and stories from when these fine gentlemen visited ooop north are still part of Superstars' folklore. The first tour line up was-
1996 line up
Tour became a regular feature of the season with early tours to Yorkshire, North Devon and Worcestershire. We even went abroad when in May 2000 we visited Wales - which well as a cricket tour was a good opportunity for players to realise how lucky we are here in the developed world and to have things like electicity etc (ho ho Steve!).
Record breaking
Barry Gigg was voted club captain in 1997 and continue to be so for over two decades (if someone could tell us what he did so badly in a previous life to deserve such punishment we'd love to know). The responsibility clearly sat well as Barry scored the club's first ever century in the same year v OSD. The second century was scored by legend Tony Whitrod against Dodgers in 1999.
1998 was a record breaking year for the club. The fixture list was greatly expanded to 32 games and many records were set. Barry Gigg compiled 690 runs, Ken Block took 37 wickets, Mike Taylor grasped 15 catches and Neil Benn took 15-5-40-6 against Lord Tankards. There were also numerous other milestones in the same year, including 6 players making their 100 appearence.
During the early 2000s the club went from strength to strength, mainly due to the efforts of Ken Block behind the scenes and Barry's leadership on the pitch. 2003 was a high point for the club with a visit to the Newcastle Corporate Games as well as Ilyas Malick breaking the club's highest individual score record with a stunning 126 not out.
The club was now packing in around 38 games per season and opponents were found from far and wide. This included a popular annual match against Jason Marchant's Dartford Harriers Athetics Club XI. Alongside future Secretary Jason new players were joining the club including future Chairman Chris Mountain, future Fixture Secretary Paul Gaught, another future Chairman Will Walker, fast bowler much feared by Dodgers Simon Gundry and the ever popular auditor (a rarely used phrase) Richard Abigail.
In the late 2000s with Ken unfortunately unwell Paul Gaught took over much of the work Ken had done arranging fixtures. The club began to struggle for teams occasionally, especially for afternoon matches and so the fixture list was slightly trimmed but still at a pretty impressive 30 matches.
In 2010 the friendly rivalry that exists between the club and Dodgers was 'formalised', when a trophy was first presented to the winners of the series between the two clubs. The trophy (below) was named the Ken Block Trophy, after the Superstars Legend and was (unfortunately) first won by Dodgers in 2010. Thankfully Superstars have won the trophy occasionally since!
Ken Block Trophy
Ground Breaking
2012 was the wettest season in Superstars History with half the matches rained off and the first ever completely washed out tour, cleverly named the Dampshire tour by Jason. Luckily we were able to return to Hampshire in 2013 under sunny skies and played probably our most glamorous fixture ever against Hambledon a team who have beaten England 29 times. Although we lost that match the team (and weather) was inspired in 2013 with a long unbeaten run at the end of the season and Will Walker scoring 2 centuries in 5 weeks (against Dodgers and Weasels).
The club florished in the 2010s with new players joining the club and full teams being sent out in most occasions. The club was playing around 30 games against a wide spread of teams including the popular LT Dinos, DEFRA Allstars and Hounslow Leisure. Over this period there were a suspicious number of tied matches with some named suspects and a legendary April Fool effort.
At this time Alok Singh became a record breaking bowler, by matching (2014) and then beating (2015) Ken Block's 37 wickets in the 1998 season and producing two 6 wicket spells, in successive tour matches, against Halstead in 2014 and Bishop's Cannings in 2015. Some the great innings of this time were made by hard hitting batsman Vijay Anand including a memorable 61 not out (in 34 balls) in the club's most glamorous ever game versus Hambledon. There were two rather different proud moments for the club in this time, firstly the charity 6-a-side tournaments originated by Paul Gaught and his partner Penny which have raised a lot of money for good causes while Superstars were mentioned on national institution Test Match Special's Ask The Umpire slot.
In 2017 Superstars played their first ever "test match" with a two day match, against a rather familiar looking opposition, in West Malling. The highlight of the 2019 season was a hat trick for legendary spinner Mike Duggan. Unfortunately the 2020 season was greatly affected by the COVID global pandemic, but despite this Superstars still managed to get onto the field 15 times which was a great effort by all concerned.