Ongar Cricket Club is proud to be amongst one of the oldest clubs in the County. The Club was formed at a public meeting held in the Town Hall on 17 June 1845 by a group of local tradesmen, headed by Henry Bullock.
In those days, games were played on a Thursday and commenced at 3.00pm. The season commenced on the first Thursday in May and ended on the last day in August. Annual subscription was 10s 0d, whilst honary members could pay the pricely sum of 1 guinea. Club colours were amber and black but since then, although unknown why, it has changed to amber and navy.
Records reveal that since being formed, the club has used four different grounds within the Town with it's current home being at Love Lane. Unfortunately, it is unknown where the initial location of the ground was situated but it is recorded that a timber pavilion served each of these grounds having been dismantled and reassembled on each occasion. It provided changing facilities up until the mid 60's when it was finally demolished by the members. The building was well over 100 years old by this time and the only remaining parts is the bat that was placed on top of the old bell tower as a weather vane and an Essex shield with the three seaxes carved on it. The bat is passed on to each president when they assume office, although the present Chairman has requested that the bat remains in Ongar.
As with many other clubs throughout England, matches were played on a friendly basis. In the 1960's, league cricket began to take shape and it was not until 1976 that Ongar tasted their first season of competitive cricket in the Essex Senior League, subsequently to be known as the Lillywhite-Frowd Essex League as a result of sponsorship. Due to a change in sponsor, it later became the Morrant Essex League. The Club played in this league until it was successful in it's application in 1994 to join the top league in the County commencing from the start of the following season, the Colour Assembly Essex League, now known as the Shepherd Neame Essex League.
Although the Club has never won any league honors, it has won local knockout cup competitions, namely the Vernon Cocking Cup and Max Taylor Trophy each on several occasions and the Proudlock Cup.
To mark the Clubs' 150th anniversary in 1995, as well as being proud to compete in then Division Two of the Shepherd Neame Essex League for the first time, it was successful in it's application to stage a match against an MCC XI at the Love Lane ground.
During the mid 80's, Ongar also staged benefit matches for current Essex players at that time, namely Ken McEwan, Graham Gooch (then current England captain) and Keith Pont. These matches were also played at the current Love Lane ground and attracted large numbers of spectators. Not only did the Essex beneficiary receive a large sum of money but these matches also helped to raise much needed funds for the Club itself. During the benefit match held for Graham Gooch, the club was visited by ITV television cameras anxious to interview Graham about his decision whether or not he was to continue as the England captain. Graham duly made his phone call to the England selectors at a quiet moment during the game and a small clip of the match being played at Ongar was shown on TV that evening.
Former Essex player Keith Pont, later became club coach at Ongar where he not only took training responsibilities for the senior sides but moreover the colts section. On these nights, well over 100 boys of varying ages would flock to the ground to be coached by the former professional player. Sadly, since the loss of a senior school in the Town, the Club has experienced a lack of interest by the younger people as they choose to play at the same clubs where their friends play with whom they go to school with, predominantly in the Brentwood area.
It is sad to see the demise of the colts section, started in earnest many years ago by the late President and Chairman, Phil Page. As well as organising youth cricket for Ongar, Phil was also one of the County's predominant figures in developing youth cricket at that time.
Another 'first' for the club was during the 80's when it toured North Devon. These were extremely popular and well supported as well as being great fun with large amounts of alcohol being consumed! The tours took place between a Monday and Friday where a total of four games were played, subject to weather conditions, against some very strong local sides. Although attempts have been made to resurrect a club tour in recent years, sadly this has never received the backing and support it did so during the 80's. A Colts tour also took place during the 90's, to the Isle of Wight, during the Easter Bank holiday weekend and was organised for several seasons.
The first overseas player to play for the Club was Adam Williams from Hobart, Tasmania. Adam played 'A' grade cricket back home for his club side New Town, primarily as a top order batsman who was keen to experience cricket in England. Although Adam initially found it tough on some of the slow, wet pitches in England during the 1998 season, he proved to be more than useful with the ball and went back to Hobart as an all rounder. Since then, several overseas players have played for the club, all from Western Australia and in particular, Willetton CC, based in Perth. The first to arrive from Willetton was Jeremy (Jez) Stewart in 2000 who also played for Manypeaks CC at his native home in Albany, WA. Jez enjoyed his time with the Club so much that he returned for a further two seasons and as well as becoming a popular figure and captaining the 1st XI, he undertook various roles including arranging the clubs' annual dinner and dance. Other overseas players are Keith Tipping, Anthony Brown, Matt Maguire, Luke McCarthy, Brad Stewart (younger brother of Jez) and currently, Blake Hall.
Over the years, the club has had a number of local businesses who have generously supported the club financially. There are too many to list individually, but the Club is extremely grateful for the help it has received. However, special thanks must be made to Travis Perkins for donating the materials to build the scorebox, Ian Goodman, landlord of the Cock Tavern for his regular annual donations and last but not least to our current sponsors The Co-op Pharmacy in Ongar.