The arranging of cricket matches was one of the earliest social functions of the Bank; the minutes of the first Staff Socials Committee recording that a fixture with the Bank’s Auditors was to be held on July 19th 1928. That committee requested that Mr F W Parsonage should make the necessary arrangements. Fred Parsonage was to figure largely in the Bank’s cricket teams, as a player, official, and supporter, over the next thirty-odd years.
This first game appears to have been hosted by the Auditors (Agar, Bates, Neal & Co), as a subsequent Staff Socials Committee resolved that an application should be made for the sum of £7-10s-0d from the Staff Welfare Fund “to cover the expenses of hiring a suitable ground and providing hospitality in the way of tea, it being the Bank’s turn to entertain”. This return fixture was held on August 8th 1929.
The match against the Auditors appears to have become an annual fixture, but there is no reference in the minutes of the Socials Committee to any other games being arranged. However, the 1929 minutes refer to the “Bank Cricket Club” with reference to a Welfare Fund grant of £5: “that application be made for two sums of £2-10s-10d each to provide a prize for the leading batsmen and leading bowlers at the end of the season”.
At this time, a Sports Club existed for employees of Birmingham Corporation, and inter-departmental golf matches and tennis tournaments were being held, so it is likely that the Cricket Club’s season consisted of matches against other Corporation departments. However, at the Socials Committee meeting of May 8th 1933, Mr Parsonage reported that: “there was some doubt as to whether or not the Cricket Club would continue”.
Fred Parsonage (with the occasional assistance of Horace Corles) organised the annual matches against the Auditors. Except for the 1930 match (held at the Gas Department’s Cricket Ground in Erdington), no venue is known. The match dates were: July 19th 1928; August 8th 1929; July 10th 1930; July 9th 1931; July 7th 1932; and July 6th 1933. All these dates were Thursdays, the day of the week when branches closed at noon.
More details of the Cricket Club after the Second World War exist due to the survival of the Club’s Minute Book. This comprehensive record of the Club’s seasons from 1947 to 1978 was commenced by Horace Williams (Secretary from 1947 to 1954) and ultimately preserved by Rob Wilden. The minutes for the Club’s 1947 Annual General Meeting have not survived, but it appears that post-War competitive matches began in 1947. The principal competition was the Corporation’s Inter-Departmental Evening League, a 20-overs per side series of matches generally played from May to July, at the Municipal Sports Ground, Sedgemere Road, Yardley. The BMB/BMTSB team played in all 31 seasons from 1947 to 1978, until a resolution was passed at the Annual General Meeting of the Club held on March 26th 1979 that “the Club withdraw from the Evening League”. Only the Water Department and MEB Engineers also played in all of these 31 seasons.
Most of the Club’s Secretaries maintained the same high standard initiated by Horace Williams, in recording the details of league matches played. These League Records are summarised on this website, as are the results of a number of Friendly and Cup matches. Although unsuccessful in winning Cup Competitions, the Bank won the Evening League on five occasions: 1955; 1970; 1974; 1975; and 1976. Second position was achieved in 1960; 1964; 1969; and 1972.
The minutes also recorded limited details of the various Prizes that were awarded annually to individual players.