Interknit cricket club was formed in 1918 by William Bannister with his friends from the firm of R. N. H. Green and Silley Weir. They first played on a ground at Dock Road, Tilbury. The pitch preparation on the ground was done by the club’s own members in their spare time, as this was a time before the days when the local council began maintaining pitches.
The ground was let to them by a Mr. Bill Stickings, who, in order to avoid paying higher rates on a developed field, let cattle graze on it! Mr. Bannister recalled: “The outfield was a bit rough, but we enjoyed ourselves, both clearing it and playing on it!”
Once they had their ground, players began to think of what to call themselves when writing away for fixtures. They wanted to maintain their connection with the firms for whom the majority of the team worked, but also wanted to remain independent. They finally chose the name “Interknit” for this was the telegraphic address of R. N. H. Green and Silley Weir. This encouraged the firm to help the club and a hut, chairs and table were provided for changing and for tea. But after this initial aid and interest, no real notice was taken of the club, except for the annual Firm v Club match.
“The club has always been self-supporting” said Mr. Bannister. “More so when we moved up to Blackshots to play”. This occurred in 1936, when the Council started to develop Blackshots Playing Fields, they laid the first pitch as an experiment to see if Council maintained grounds would be a success. Blackshots, at that time, was known locally as the ‘clover field’. With their experience of preparing pitches at Dock Road, they were able to assist the Blackshots groundsman, Harry Goodrich, a great deal. At the time, there was no water supply and buckets of water had to be carried across the ground to water the pitch!
In those days, Interknit played teams like Grays Recreation CC and Chadwell CC, who had a very strong side before the (second) world war. When war broke out, many players joined the services and clubs were short of players. Interknit joined forces with Chadwell and for the duration of the war their fixtures were as one. At the end of hostilities, the London branch of Green and Silly Weir formed a cricket club….and also called themselves Interknit! In order to keep the clubs distinct, our local side altered their name slightly to Thurrock Interknit. Gradually, the team drifted away from the firm to the extent that by 1960, there were only two workers from the firm still playing. But the club was flourishing as a private, self-supporting organisation, like so many others.
The club had a bright future. In the early 1960’s, their captain was Jim Reader, one of the best cricketers in the local area and they had the services of a promising youngster, Ivor Blows, who was an aggressive batsman. Derek Carter was a fine all-rounder who was also a member of the strong Thurrock Interknit club.
Adapted from the Essex and Thurrock Gazette, 1960.