A short history of the Dodgers

The Cat
The Cat

Dodgers Cricket Club came into being in the mid 1990s, formed from "Doyle's Dodgers" a team that emerged from the Personnel section of the old Department of Transport.

Based in Lambeth Bridge House, an office now demolished, but which in its time disfigured further an ugly roundabout halfway along the unfashionable side of the Thames, Dave Sealey, John Doyle and Kim Matthews (the latter two still playing for Dodgers today) sought to kill time between processing sick-leave forms by playing cricket at nearby Archbishops Park.

With two photocopying boxes as the wicket, an old bat and some composite cricket balls bought in a sale at 50p a go, few watching them would have thought that a cricketing dynasty was being founded.

Pretty soon tiring of the photocopying boxes, Dave Sealey thought the time was right to arrange some competitive games. Demonstrating admirable motivational and organisational skills - unmatched ever since by Dodgers - he binned the boxes, bought some proper cricket gear and asked John Doyle to get started on arranging some matches.

Not knowing where to start, but mindful of the need to avoid skilled cricketing opposition, John Doyle arranged the first game against a team styling themselves "Superstars", made up mainly of transport statisticians. History does not record what happened to this ragtag bunch - most likely they have taken up passtimes more suited to their skills - carpet bowling perhaps, or cribbage.

Booking the wicket for the inaugural game at Regents' Park, Doyle was asked for the name of the team. Hearing that it was a new team and no name had been decided upon, the booking clerk suggested "Doyle's Dodgers". The name stuck.

Doyle's Dodgers played two or three matches in 1990 - the first year of its existence. Most likely confused by having to aim at stumps rather than photocopying boxes, they lost them all. One of the matches would have been against BOC (Bunch of C***s) - now sadly disbanded - who were to become one of Dodgers favourite opponents, as they were a good laugh and played cricket almost as badly and slightly more drunkly.

To be fair to those playing in the early days, Doyle's Dodgers had some good players but there were rarely enough players to make up a full eleven. Salvation was at hand when John Adey and Phil McBarron (both to become Dodgers stalwarts joined the team in 1993. Doyle's Dodgers lasted another year, with an increasing fixture list, but continuing problems getting eleven players for a match. And the team continued to lose most of the matches it played.

In 1994, John Doyle, who had been running the organisational side of the team virtually single handedly, decided to take a back seat to pursue drinking and racing interests. Jim Evans took up the reins and it was decided that the team would no longer be based in Personnel, but extend its membership to other Transport civil servants. The team was renamed "Dodgers".

Pretty soon, new players came into the side - notably Henry Hilary (a legendarily drunk fast bowler) and Neil Priest (a proper cricketer). After his first year in charge, Jim Evans decided to take up a teaching post and it looked like Dodgers may fold but, for the first time, a committee was formed to run the club. With the sharing of responsibilities and the extra interest shown from additional new players drawn from across Whitehall and beyond, Dodgers started to resemble a proper team. One with a future to (almost) match its past.

Eight years on, it stands pre-eminent amongst South West London Tuesday evening limited overs clubs. It even has its own website.

Thanks to John Doyle - who was there at the start