John (Jack) Neville Thorne
Interviewed in August 2014 shortly after his 90th birthday
I played for Arkley C.C. from 1946 – 1952 when I was in my early 20s. My introduction to the club was purely by chance. One early summer evening I had cycled from my house in Union Street in Barnet to my good friend, Peter Jackson who lived in Fitzjohn Avenue, we set off for a ride up past the Arkley Hotel, turning right at the memorial and there over on the left was this idyllic cricket pitch with a few players practising. We joined in and that’s how we started playing for the club.
From my memory the club house was just a small shed for changing in. We didn’t have much in the way of team kit. Personally, I had whites and a really heavy pair of old canvas boots. I probably paid about a shilling for annual fees. In those days, after the war, there was little money and food was rationed so there was no such thing as a cricket tea. I used to take some sandwiches and someone would make us all just a cup of tea.
I was a pretty good batsman. I opened the batting at Number 1 and I bowled a bit too. I was happy to field anywhere but was usually placed on the boundary because I was young and a fast runner. I scored 50 a few times but never 100.
We’d play on a Saturday or a Sunday but I can’t ever remember playing an away game. We played local teams and often they’d turn out really good players. One chap I remember was about 50 – 60 years old. He had been a county professional and had been at Oxford or Cambridge. We couldn’t get him out and in the end we had to run him out.
I can’t remember any social side after the match. I’d just get on my bike and cycle home again.
Since those Arkley days I’ve always loved cricket. My hero was Denis Compton, the ‘Brylcreem Boy’. (He played for Arsenal and England at football too.) I saw him play for Middlesex and England. I use to go to Lords quite regularly. I remember watching the Australians with Bradman. Nowadays I watch cricket on TV – and I mean a lot of cricket – in any form of the game. I love it and that’s all thanks to Arkley C.C.
Proud to wear his Arkley C.C. cap when playing in St. Leonard’s in the 1960s
Still proud to be wearing his Arkley C.C. shirt in August 2014