Now a Co-op with flats above, and a Chinese Restaurant in the between years, a succession of landlord’s: Ray & Pauline Howard, Peter & Carol Hood, and Bernard (Bernie) Laverty – along with the resident ghost – hosted bands at the colloquially monikered The Cricks or The Crix most Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Courage, the brewers, obtained planning permission in February 1934 to build a new Cricketers public to the side of the original public house that faced Westfield Common. This was what locals would know as the Mace store, but it had operated since 1869 as a beer house.
In ’78/’79 the Cannon Sounds transit van was a regular feature of the pubs car park, loaded with sound equipment, often helping bands out with the loan of an amp or speaker cab. On Valentines day ’81, The Jam played The Cricketers, Westfield (A gig this writer witnessed from afar), supported by The Jam Road Crew. “Every mod who could get on a scooter was there,” said Steve Carver. “It was a disaster – just mud, blood and beer at the end. It was terrible and there were massive fights”. Ann Weller had a pint poured over her head; it was rumoured that Paul Weller’s girlfriend Gill Price was thumped; Bruce Foxton was pulled over the bar by a barman who reportedly said “You wouldn’t look very good on TOTPs with a black eye, would yer?” it is also purported that Foxton jumped over the bar and smacked Ray . A phone was ripped off the wall and crates of glasses broken under foot and the police were called, all while Pauline was stood protecting the kids with a bat – all in all a quiet night at The Cricketers. The Human Beings also graced the carpet on 25 September ’81, as did Sammy Rats Big Big Blues Band in July ’86.
In October ’87, Backlash were “banned for life” from The Crick, while being supported by The Twist. Sugar Mountain were earmarked to play Showcase ’88, but they were unable to play the date that would have been their first appearance in Woking. They appeared at The Cricks on 17 September ’88 instead. That same month saw the Herbacous Borders debuted at The Cricks, a gig reviewed in Soundscene. A Steel Bill and the Buffalos gig at the Cricketers, Westfield in ’88 was the catalyst for members of Dark, Wise Child and The Button Factory to form X-It. Around this same Killing Faith were reportedly banned from the Cricks for alleged blasphemy. Forrester and the Choppers featured a rotating list of band members that maxed out at 11 for one memorable Christmas gig at the Cricketers, Westfield in ’88, where they all managed to squeeze into the bay window stage area. An appearance at The Cricketers, Westfield, betwixt Christmas ’88 and New Year, was not – as rumoured – Calamity Sax‘s last according to the band; instead they were taking a break and they did appear again at the the ABC Music sponsored Showcase ’89 on 15 July. In August of ’89 Backlash’s life ban at was lifted for a memorable gig, supported by Mr Ed. Calamity Sax however never managed a proper re-grouping and on the groups ‘official’ demise, in January 1990, Phil Brookes joined London based Scarlette, first appearing with the London band at his old Westfield haunt: The Cricketers.
Frantic‘s headlining debut at The Crick in January ’90 left the band’s manager, Bjorn proclaiming “We’re going to be massive”. Big Wednesday and The Staggerance put their best foot forward, eye to eye with The Cricks crowd on 26 April ’90. Late that same year Three Times The Crow appeared at The Cricks on 19 October & 9 November. Bernie once paid Vox Pop, who played The Cricks many a time, to stop playing so he (along with the regulars) could watch a Eubank fight on the TV. In April ’91, The 68 Floods, a favorite with Elizabeth Lofting, wife of Woking’s incumbent mayor at the time, raised 150 quid from a whip-round at a Cricks gig for the Mayor’s Hospice Appeal. Girls On Dextrose have the dubious honor of getting turned off at two pubs, The Sovereigns, Woking and then The Cricks within a week in October ’91. X-It were appearing almost monthly at The Cricks in ’91, but called it a day and played a farewell gig there on 7 December. Also calling it a day in Dec’ 91 were The 68 Floods, who also closed out their long run in January 1992 with a final gig at The Cricks. Later in the year, The Ha Ha Men packed the joint on 25 September ’92, a feat they were to repeat on their return visits for another two years. On another night, Summersalt were paid handsomely for playing, then told it was unlikely they’d be rebooked. ‘Bernie’s Fun Palace’ hosted the post-punk indie rock n’ roll triumvirate of Backlash, Pretty Green and Peachrazor on 19 March ’93. The very first Friday of ’94 had The Ha Ha Men play and Who Moved The Ground? included The Cricks in the promo tour for their 2nd single: “The Chase”/”What’s That” on 1 October. That same year Summerbee got a Christmas period slot. 13 May ’95 saw the Under Cover Sex Gods entertaining the punters.
A veritable who’s who of local bands played the Cricks: Blue Velvet, Eat The Sofa, Geneva, In Flight, Inter, Lower Levels, Napalm Groove Squad, Panther, Precious Few, Senno Reflex, Seven Ann’s Eye, Something Religious, Razor’s Edge, Sweat, Tel Aviv Quartet, The Ant Hill Mob, The Mighty Strypes, The Sack, Van Gogh and the Earlobes, Womb, and XLR8 among them.
On nights without bands and once the live music ended Neil Barker, Steve Lewis, Paul Connett and Roger Hannaford could be caught DJ’ing there! The Cricks also featured a host of characters behind the bar: Tracey “Tracker” Blay, Marcus, Nobby, this writer, and many others. When the The Eastern & Oriental Restaurant moved in they retained The Cricks signpost for their own use. The Co-op took it down in December 2021, the last vestige of the old pubs existence.