Still Going Strong Cricket Club

A history of the club

The S.G.S. C.C. was founded in 1929 on the initiative of a group of 13 cricketers with A.J.H. Eyken playing a leading role. He was president of the club until 1941. Another 11 players were found prepared to join them and with that group of 24 it all started.

Although the club was founded years before the British and Danish Forty Clubs it is strictly speaking not the oldest Forty Club because the minimum age to qualify for the membership of S.G.S. was 50 years! Such a restrictive condition in the already small Dutch cricket-community proved to be a handicap in the years to come. Until 1940 the yearly number of matches ranged from seven to twelve but for almost every match guest-players had to be invited, more often than not 5 or 6. Those (younger!) guests were most of the time the better players.

In 1940 R.G. Ingelse, a very well known cricketer who was eager to play veteran cricket (he was 43 by then),convinced the SGS-committee to lower the minimum age to 40 years. Ingelse became a member and brought 16 other players with him so that the number of members jumped to 54. Thanks to Ray Ingelse’s activities 88 members were registered in 1944. Now teams of eleven real SGS-players could be brought onto the field and in spite of the German occupation the club could regularly organise their games although Dutch cricket in general was at a very low ebb at that time for obvious reasons. After the war Dutch cricket revived, partly because of the help of the Save Dutch Cricket Fund, an initiative of “Plum” Warner. The year of 1946 saw the beginning of a regular expansion of S.G.S. with the number of members and matches growing steadily. R.G. Ingelse became president and stayed in the chair for 20 years. It is always dangerous to mention only a couple of names because the club had and has many valuable members and executives but during more than 25 years Ray Ingelse was “Mr. S.G.S.”.

But also in the next 25 years under the presidency of I. van Herwaarden, W.J. Geertsema (a high-ranking politician and a Commissioner of the Queen) and K.K. Vervelde (who did so much to bring the Dutch to the international cricket-scene) the club continued to flourish and expand. More and more matches had to be organised, international tours were made, mainly to Denmark and Great Britain, the Triangular Tournament was created and in 1995 S.G.S. left the Continent for the first time to tour Sri Lanka; this tour was repeated in 1997 and later we went to South Africa and Barbados and there are probably additional exciting events to come in the future.

Especially under the regime of Henk van Weelde the programme extended to more than 70 matches in the Dutch season, which is relatively short because soccer and hockey occupy the grounds from 1st September uptil 30th April (and sometimes 1 or 2 weeks more). His successor Duco Ohm succeeded to maintain this big amount of matches but nowadays we have to do with a bit less because unfortunately the smaller clubs out in the country have problems to survive and a number of them could not maintain themselves which means less opponents for S.G.S.

S.G.S. is the biggest club in the Netherlands with about 550 members of which 160 actively take part in the matches. We have two sections in the club, one (115 participants) that plays the usual matches against Dutch clubs, foreign tourists or S.G.S.-teams versus S.G.S.-teams. The other group of 45 members play cricket at a lower gear, because of their higher age, lower ambitions and stiffer muscles, in matches amongst each other (at least 12 a year) at venues in various parts of the country. Their joy is as great as that of the other group and especially after the match their capabilities are at par with the “youngsters”.

A second aspect of the club-activities is the promotion of cricket amongst the young Dutch boys, that started many years ago already but got a great boost under the presidency of Karel Creutzberg who came in the chair in 1992. We especially support, financially as well as physically, the cricket for boys under 14 where we work closely together with the Royal Dutch Cricket Association. Unfortunately Karel Creutzberg died in 1999 before he could finish his term and Duco Ohm is occupying the chair since then. Under his regime we have kept up the intensivity of these promotion-activities.

Apart from cricket we have other activities such as the Senior Golf Society and a sub-committee for off-season events like excursions, museum-visits, bicycle-tours(we are in Holland you know) etc. Many members who have given up playing cricket appear there thus continuing and fortifying the ties of friendship between old cricket-friends. As you may conclude from the above information the club is alive and kicking (to use a modern phrase). The baby that was born in 1929 and had to be nursed intensively in the pre-war years, reached his boyhood in the years after the war and has become a real man and that man is still going (and growing) strong.

Written by Jaap van Noortwijk † (our former general secretary) in 2002