Purley Lacrosse Club History - February 1938

No. 78 SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1938

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CLUB HISTORIES No. 7 : Purley Lacrosse Club

In comparison with the majority, Purley must be considered one of the youngsters of the clubs playing lacrosse. Indeed, one has only to go back as far as 1907 [sic] to date the formation of this Club. Curiously, the circumstances which brought this about was a sudden idea of Mr. T. D. Marshall, an Old Dunstonian, who at that time was Secretary of the Purley Cricket Club. The cricket season had just completed, the gear put away and, the squares roped off until the approach of the next season, and Tommy Marshall, coming away from the ground, thought it a great pity that such a fine ground, with its pavilion and amenities, should be wasted for so many months of[sic] He therefore approached Mr. Morton Dovey, also an old Dunstonian, and member of the Purley Cricket Club, the outcome of which was the formation of the Purley Lacrosse Club.

Now, when Morton Dovey takes up anything he does so with enthusiasm, and that season the Club was playing its first game, with Morton Dovey the first captain, which honour he retained until the War, except for a season or two.

It is rather unfortunate that details of the Club’s pre-war activities are not available, the Club’s original minute book having been lost some ten years ago. Nevertheless, the club attained a fair measure of success, and in 1911 created great enthusiasm by winning the Junior Flags for the first time. This success was followed by winning the Intermediate Flags in 1928 and 1932. Of these later years much more detail is available.

More ground changes

On the re-formation of the Clubs in 1920-21 the Club was unfortunately compelled to find new quarters and consequently moved to the Croydon High School ground in Ratcliff Road, Croydon, a ground which will no doubt bring back many memories to the number who read this. How well I remember the day Henry Thornton School paid their first visit - how glad Purley Club were to entertain a team from a school just commencing the game. From Radcliff Road the Club moved to Pampisford Road where they stayed for five seasons until they moved to their present ground in Sandilands, Addiscombe, where the surroundings revive the atmosphere of its early days.

For many years after the War the Club had rather a struggle to keep two teams going, but on the advent of Fred Pamment as Secretary the Club membership increased considerably, and it can now safely be said that the recent happy state of the Club is due in its entirety to his keenness and enthusiasm during his years of office, coming as they did at a time when the Club had suffered a severe loss through the death of L. O. Thornbery.

In 1930-1931, when the London Centre Championship was inaugurated, Purley entered the Second Division, but in 1933-1934 they won the Championship and the following season found the stronger clubs in the First Division. Their first year in this realm was far from encouraging from a match-winning point of view, but the following year the team fared much better and has steadily, improved each subsequent season. During the whole of its history Purley has always endeavoured to meet provincial teams, and they have been frequent visitors to Bristol, Leicester, and finally to Manchester, where for the first time the Club carried out a highly successful Easter tour in 1937. At no time has the social side been overlooked, for each season a Dinner is held in the Croydon district, where the attendance of past and present members reaches the highly satisfactory figure of over 50, while the Annual Dance, usually held at the end of the season, is also a successful social event - at any rate it gives the ladies a chance to indulge in the club's activities - a very necessary thing it seems these days ! !

In conclusion, reference must be made to such old players as Messrs. Sutton, Dolleymore, Keech, Pike, Greene, Roberson and a host of others who have given such good service to the Club in the past, and to Ewen and Alan Hodgson, who are still doing yeoman work.