OD Cuaco was formed in December 2001 by the very successful merger of two clubs with a rich history, Old Dunstonians and CUACO, to create a new club with membership open to all. In the subsequent years the club has made great strides, developing the playing membership each year, in both the adult and colts sections.
The original Old Dunstonian Cricket Club was founded in 1922, since when it has continuously fielded Saturday and Sunday sides with the exception of the war years. The ODs Beckenham Hill ground was the Club’s home from its foundation until the move to Park Langley in 1959. The ODCC was a founder member of the North Kent Cricket League (1973) and was a member of the South Thames Cricket League from 1989 until 1995, when it joined the Kent Cricket League.
The Club’s tour to Warwickshire and subsequently Suffolk/Norfolk was originally established in the 1970s by the infamous OD Ramrods XI and was revived during the 1990s. Recollections from surviving members of the Ramrods vary from it being essentially a rugby based team, with touring manners to match, to those who recall touring with entire families and taking tea on the local vicarage lawns. The truth no doubt lies somewhere in between and all who were there surely treasure their own memories.
The origins of the Club’s flourishing Colts Section go back to the late 1980s when regular coaching sessions were established. The Section was formally constituted in the mid 1990s, since when it has been a member of the North Kent Junior League.
However, the merger with Cuaco CC proved timely. Despite a potentially large pool of players and a strong Colts Section, the OD club had slipped down the Kent League structure and continued League status was in doubt owing to problems meeting the League requirement to field full 1st and 2nd XIs for each fixture.
CUACO Cricket Club, was founded in 1880, and played its first matches on the ‘Leg of Mutton Field’ in Brixton, South London. Immediately following WW1, the Club purchased its own ground at Elm Lane, Catford, where it remained for the next 50 years. 1970 saw a move to Copers Cope Road, Beckenham, where the Club remained until midway through the 2001 season.
CUACO Cricket Week has been run continuously since 1923, while 1953 saw the first Club Tour
– to Hambledon CC, the home of cricket, where the home side appeared in 18th century kit
and the visitors in the dress of the fire brigade of the day. Since then UK tours have continued
alternating between Southport in the North West and Bath in the West Country. Centenary
year, 1981, was celebrated with a special cricket week and prestige fixtures including that against
the MCC and, more recently, successful overseas tours have been taken to Sri Lanka (1992),
Zimbabwe (1995) and South Africa (1998). We were also honoured to play a game at Lord's in 1998.
The Club was a founder member of the Kent Cricket League in 1975 and a member of the South Thames League until 2000.
A potentially fatal blow to the Club came during the course of the 2001 season when its ground was sold as a result of the take-over of its ‘parent’ organisation, Commercial Union, by Norwich Union, which proved unwilling to underwrite company sporting activities, including cricket. The club completed its 2001 fixtures, but could not retain Kent League status without a permanent home ground and thus the merger with the ODCC was equally timely.
T H E M E R G E R
A ‘merger of equals’ was achieved in late Autumn 2001, with a unanimous vote in favour from members, on an identical motion put separately to members of each club. ODs and CUACO each had assets which together would produce a viable club with its own ground, strength at both junior and senior level and, more generally, the prospect of securing genuine progress within Kent cricket. By tradition, the offices of President and Club Captain are filled by ODs. Otherwise, all members of the club enjoy equal status in all respects and are eligible for election to office.
Since the merge there have been many people that have represented
the Saturday First XI, along with lots of great achievements with the
bat, the ball and in the field.