Buscot House was built in 1780, but it was more than a century later before cricket was played in the grounds. The Henderson family bought the estate from the Campbells in 1889, and the seeds of Buscot Park Cricket Club were sown. It is thought that the pavilion was built in 1892, although a beam was discovered bearing the date 1888 when the pavilion was rethatched a few years ago. The first recorded match played at Buscot was in 1895, but it is thought that the formation of the Club coincided with the building of the pavilion in 1892. Mr Henderson, a distinguished engineer, is thought to have been involved in the first World War project to develop the tank. He was rewarded at the end of the Great War with a title, thus becoming the first Lord Faringdon, the great grandfather of the present Lord Faringdon.
The estate workers and gentry used to mix freely in the early days, although the former used to care for the kit of the latter. Lord Faringdon himself did not play, but his sons enjoyed the game immensely. The estate workers, if selected to play, used to ensure that they started work early so that they had finished their duties in time for the match. The estate cared for the ground, and the square was laid with proper drainage, although it was less than half its present size. The outfield received less attention, and many a game was halted whilst fielders and batsmen searched for the lost ball in the long grass. The outfield was cut for special matches, usually involving the Old Berkshire Hunt who used to enjoy a full week`s cricket. In 1931 a touring side from South Africa, guests of Lord Faringdon, played at Buscot Park, with the proceeds being donated to the Cottage Hospital in Faringdon.
Just before the Second World War, subscriptions were two shillings and sixpence, with teas costing nine old pence. Kettles of water were boiled over a fire in a ditch near to the present car park to provide tea. Bicycles were the only means of transport for most players, including the club kit.
The herons, now the adopted club emblem, used to reside on the other side of the Faringdon-Lechlade road until the trees were felled to help the war effort. The lime trees surrounding the ground were planted shortly after the First World War by the Girl Guides, whose leader was the aunt of Lord Faringdon. The pavilion, originally thatched with Norfolk reed, was maintained by the estate workers. It has repeatedly required renovation, and it was rethatched in 1950 thanks to a contribution of £30 from the National Trust and a generous donation from author and playwright Philip Mackie, the Club Captain at that time. This was to be the beginnings of the club as it is today, with players coming from a wider area and all walks of life.
Buscot Park entered the newly formed National Village Competition, sponsored by Haig, at its conception in 1972, and played in the Berkshire section. Their first match in the competition produced a victory at local rivals Letcombe. Their most successful campaign was in the very hot summer of 1976. After beating Donnington in the County semi final, Buscot Park were away to Shrivenham in the final on one of the hottest days of the year. Buscot Park restricted Shrivenham to 139-8 from their allotted 40 overs, with 25 runs coming from the final over. A cultured innings from Dave Honeywill of 85 not out saw Buscot home for the loss of only two wickets.
In the first round of the National section, Buscot Park travelled to Blackheath (Surrey), but failed to score enough runs batting first and never recovered. The game was delayed for a while when a discarded cigarette butt set the arid heathland alight, but this was quickly stamped out, and Buscot`s one chance of saving the game had gone. A large bottle of whisky, donated by the sponsors, was consumed after the match, and captain Brian Talbot fell backwards into a ditch as he said farewell to the opposing captain. Unfortunately it was dry!
The team throughout the County competition was Des Williams, Geoff Edgington, David Honeywill, Brian Talbot, Bob Deane, Peter Goodenough, Brian Barnett, Roger Williams, Dave Booth, Ian Elsdon and Maurice Smith, with Lloyd Morgan replacing Peter for the fixture at Blackheath.
Buscot Park continued to play in the Berkshire section of the competition for a number of years after the change to the county boundaries, and seemed to regularly play either Aston Rowant or Kidmore End. They were transferred to the Oxfordshire section in the 90s.
The Wiltshire League was formed in 1981, and although the Buscot Park committee were initially reluctant to play league cricket, they felt that they had no choice. Most of the Saturday friendly fixtures at that time were against sides from the Swindon area, all of whom had decided to enter the new league. Faced with losing most of their regular fixtures, Buscot Park applied to join the League at its formation, and were placed in the Division Three North. Having been top of the league for most of the season, a disappointing August saw Buscot Park finish third and narrowly miss promotion. They soon made amends and became league champions the following season, and have played in Division Two for most of the time since then. They have twice been promoted to Division One, but were relegated back to Division Two within two years on both occasions, and they will play in that division in 2008.
With an increasing membership, Buscot Park formed a Second Team in 1982 playing friendly fixtures, and they decided to join the Wiltshire League in 1984. They were placed in the newly formed Division Six which contained only six teams, but they progressed to Division Four in subsequent seasons, and will be playing in that division in 2008.
The Morse Shield was a 20 over competition organised by Swindon Cricket Club and sponsored by the Evening Advertiser who gave the matches excellent press coverage. All games were played in the evening at the County Ground, Swindon. Entry was by invitation only, and Buscot Park were unable to gain admission to the competition, being regarded as `country bumpkins` by the bigger sides. The influence of the much respected Fred Coleman, a Swindon schoolteacher and former Buscot opening batsman, eventually resulted in the club being invited to join the Morse Shield in 1969. They proved worthy competitors, reaching the final in the first three seasons.
Buscot Park were beaten by Plesseys in their first final, but went one better in 1970 when they won the trophy, beating the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham, in the final under the captaincy of John Morbey. A hat trick of final appearances saw Buscot beaten by Wootton Bassett in 1971. Buscot Park went on to reach four more finals, but never managed to get their hands on the shield for a second time. Buscot lost in the final to Stratton (Cirencester) in 1973, and again finished runners up to Swindon Civil Service in 1976 and to Shrivenham the following year. Their seventh and last appearance in the final was in 1983 when they lost to Purton. The club also reached the semi final stage on two other occasions to become the Morse Shield`s most consistent side throughout the 70s.
The team which won the trophy in 1970 was Des Williams, Ian Elsdon, David Honeywill, Brian Talbot, John Morbey, Teddy Howell, Ken Allnatt, Tony Allnatt, Graham Frape, Tom Newman and Maurice Smith. Two regular players were unavailable. Francis Cox was on holiday, and left handed opening batsman, Geoff Edgington, was unable to play because of a hand injury. In an attempt to confuse the opposition, the only other left hander, Ian Elsdon, was promoted from number 10 to open the innings. The illusion did not last long