A Phoenix has risen from the ashes as the first weekend of June marked the beginning of a new chapter in the history of cricket in Bentley.

The village had not seen a cricket club for more than 20 years.

But the efforts of a group of sports-loving people came to fruition with the first game pitched against Rowledge Cricket Club at Binsted.

Rowledge batted first and scored an impressive 227 for four after a solid early bowling performance from Bentley.

Jim Hannon said: “In truth Bentley’s inexperience saw lots of runs leak at the back end of the innings.

“We were under the pump when we were batting with a very difficult target to chase down, and some excellent work in the field from Rowledge saw Bentley being bowled out for 109.

“But this is just the beginning for the Bentley Archers Cricket and Sports Club with plans afoot to improve the recreation ground facilities, with junior and youth cricket and football as the main focus.

“There is lots of hard work ahead but we have lift off!

“It all started because for the past ten years Bentley has held a charity cricket event, now in aid of Cardio Rehab.

“The tournament has the village shop, the church, The Star and The Bull all putting sides out to fight for the Albert & Bill Wheatley Memorial Trophy.

“Off of the back of this, a few of us kept talking about why there was no club in Bentley and what a crime it was to not see young kids using the facility at Bentley recreation ground.

“Finally last year we decided to get one up and running!

“We have been in protracted discussions with Bentley Parish Council about getting a lease for the ground, which we are pleased to say has come to a positive outcome and we have agreed terms. This has taken the best part of a year.

“In this time we quickly realised there was a huge demand and need for both cricket and football in the area and we decided to form the Bentley Archers Sports Club, where we have a goal of both youth and junior football and cricket as well as league cricket.

“This is now well under way and we hope to make some announcements soon on both fronts.

“With this monumental task we have expanded from originally three founding members to, at last count, ten – but we need more individuals to devote their skills and time to the project.

“We have finalised our constitution and organisation roles are to be announced for fulfilment in the coming weeks at a general meeting at the village hall.

“We have created a feasibility study for the ground with the assistance of the parish council who, I must add, are passionately behind us.

“This year we hope to have social cricket matches home and away and in 2024 we have plans for a new clubhouse and to enter competitive leagues in cricket and football.

“By 2025 and 2026 we hope to have the clubhouse built and for our club to have expanded the number of teams.”

For information of how to get involved, see the website or search ‘Bentley Archers Sports Club’ on Facebook.