SPORTING MEMORIES (under construction)
WBB Sports & Social Club Memories
It was back in 1965, a time when the WBB workforce at Preston Manor dwarfed the present day Sibelco complement, when three employees, George Hewings, Derek Harvey and Dave Waldron reckoned that the company had enough football playing employees in its various sections to form a club of its own. So, with the management’s consent, WBB AFC was born. At first it played at Heathfield but following WBB’s takeover of Devon & Courtenay & Co, it moved to Homers Lane, the former home of Kingsteignton Athletic. Devon & Courtenay & Co had planned to open up land nearby for a new quarry and use the site for tipping, forcing Athletic to vacate Homers Lane for pastures new. However, with the WBB takeover of Devon & Courtenay, these plans were put on hold and, with WBB’s blessing, Homers Lane became the new home of the fledgling WBB AFC. The pitch was marked out by George Hewings and company director Mr John Watts assisted with its mowing.
left: Reg Pascoe, Derek Harvey, George Hewings (photo courtesy of Lin Sharland).
Councillor John Close, who worked for the firm, helped in the acquisition of two redundant pre-fabs from London which were brought down and reassembled at Homers Lane. These provided the shell of a clubhouse in which changing rooms were built. Soon the club was joined by Ron Sharland who was to play an active role in the football club.
A rrifle club was set up and a purpose built range was added to the Homers Lane site in 1973. Under the guidance of Ron Harris, the Rifle Club saw numerous members selected for the county team and achieve considerable success in the National Industrial League.
Nineteen seventy three saw a pigeon club added to the sports clubs which benefited from WBB patronage. and over the next few years various other sporting & interest sections were formed. Homers Lane became the chosen venue for a whole range of events for local organisations including, on one occasion, the Herald Cup Final.
By 1978 the club had outgrown the facilities at Homers Lane and when WBB set about creating a training centre at Abbrook Farm it was decided to convert some of the outbuildings into a new social club for the company and to layout a new pitch for the football team
A tasteful conversion of the outbuildings saw a marvellous new social club opened in in May 1980 by Claude Pike OBE, Managing Director of WBBand the following year a new pitch and changing rooms were completed.
To mark the occasion a match was organised against their village rivals Kingsteignton Athletic.
Above:- Claude Pike opening new changing rooms at Abbrook 1981. Pictured left to right- Claude Pike, John Watts, Tom Brooks, Roger Winser, Pat Winser, Barbara Johnson, Ron Harris, Keith Sykes, Ron Sharland, Eric Ash, (n/k). (Photo courtesy of Lin Sharland).
Above: Malcolm Wildman (no 9) introducing John Watts (director of WBB) & Ron Sharland to the Kingsteignton Athletic team (photo courtesy of Lin Sharland)
Malcolm Wildman & WBB Captain exchanging plaques. Alan Rowe to the right ready with his whistle (photo courtesy of Lin Sharland).