The Club played in the old South Wales and Monmouthshire League with teams in the First & Second Divisions, we were the only Monmouthshire side in the league, so that every other match was a pilgrimage to West Wales - except for the match against Hills Plymouth who play at Pentrebach in Merthyr near the present Hoover's ground. There were no motorways and the Heads of the Valleys Road hadn't been built, so that most away matches involved a long coach journey of at least two hours. The Clubs in the League at that time included Swansea, Llanelli, Neath, Gorseinon, Dafen, Briton Ferry Town, Briton Ferry Steel, Pontardulais and Pontardawe. It's interesting to note how the League has developed into the South Wales Cricket Association with sides such as Ammanford and Ynysygerwen now firmly established.
In those days there was no such thing as limited over cricket, so that the side batting first could in theory bat as long as they liked - it was not unusual for a side to continue to bat after tea. Five points were given for a win and two points for a draw - and several Clubs were quite content to come to Ebbw Vale for just the two points - this to a high percentage of drawn matches but they were not always boring finishes, especially if you were at the crease during the final overs.
Most sides had a professional in their ranks, I remember Ted Whitfield (ex Surry), Bill Andrews (ex Somerset) and George Bernard Shaw (Glamorgan) playing for us. Bill was an amazing character, who always supervised nets accompanied by his huge wireless from which he got all the County scores at 6:30 pm irrespective who was batting at the time. He was known to have sold the same basket of pigeons on three consecutive Taunton Market days and was sometimes known to mislay his wallet in the pubs after matches - he was also a fine opening bowler and a hitter of huge sixes.
Naturally any youngsters in the team loved to do well, but above all we were petrified of dropping a catch off the pro's bowling, Bill Andrews was on a bonus for 5 wickets!!
On a personal note I recall him giving me a King-Sized bollocking for daring to throw in a leg-break in the middle of an over after he had taken great pains to help me set my field, later in the innings he told me I was the best off spinner in Wales - I wasn't the best spinner in Fitzroy Avenue and we both knew it!! Never the less, a kindly man.
George Shaw was a fine bowler who had considerable success in County Cricket and a lovely man who later died tragically in a car crash at an early age when he was living in Australia. I can see him now, fielding down on the third-man boundary and rubbing the new ball vigorously on the cinder path that surrounded the ground - who thought ball tampering, was a modern phenomenon? George had an amazing appetite and another fond memory of him is to see him emerging from a Neath fish and chip shop carrying a fish, a shillings worth of chips (six pence was normal), a meat pie plus a flagon of pop to be consumed on the journey home. George was in those days a baker in Pontypridd, regularly rising at 4 am. For work, so perhaps he needed a little more sustenance than the rest of us.
The ground hasn't changed much, you've got a very fine Cricket School and a Bar which we didn't have............