In March 1945, a group of local voluntary organisations, including the Home Guard and the Women’s Voluntary Service, agreed ‘to form an association or club' to be called Shalbourne Services Club. The aim of the club was ‘to foster and maintain the comradeship and team spirit so evident during wartime, and to harness that spirit for post-war social well-being and the good of the village generally…’ Later that year, a large field at the Rivar end of the village, with glorious views out towards the North Wessex Downs, was presented to the club for use as a recreation ground (the ‘Sports Ground’).
Since then, the Shalbourne Club, or its successor the Shalbourne Recreation Society (the ‘Club’), has been responsible for maintaining the Sports Ground for the benefit of villagers. Shalbourne has fielded enthusiastic and successful cricket and football teams continuously since the 1940s, and the Sports Ground has also provided a tennis court (completely renewed in 2013) and more recently a petanque court, as well as a large and well-equipped children’s playground and a cricket net. Use of the Sports Ground has been growing: the Shalbourne Tennis Club, formed in 2013 to coincide with the new tennis court, already boasts over 70 members.
As well as maintaining the Sports Ground and its facilities, the Club has historically organised a number of village events, many of which take place at the Sports Ground. These include a MayDay Fair and a Bonfire Night, both of which have been held annually for at least the past thirty years and attract large numbers of villagers and visitors from the surrounding area.
The all-conquering Shalbourne village football team season 1949-50