Brocklesby Park Cricket Club

EARLY 1900's

G F Collins ( Nimrod ) dropped a few names, but , having said that, his book gave a good insight into country life as lived by sporty people at the turn of the century. It took him 345 pages of mainly foxhunting, to arrive at three pages of cricket, condensed here into two, all mainly about people. It shows the Yarboroughs quite involved in cricket, but also in hunting, shooting, and any sport, like golf and archery. So who were the team of 1906, of which we have a fixture list?

There are thirty fixtures, and they are mostly against local teams who we play today; whilst some of them, like Wilson's, St Aidan's and G C R Clerks no longer exist. But it is most unlikely that the hunt team would take on this fixture list, and the Captain, in any case was F Holdway, with the Vice-Captain J W Winn, father of Percy Winn, Chairman in 1949, who loved, "ploom bren booter", which was a feature of our teas at that time.

Did we have two separate teams to play a Hunt fixture list and a Club fixture list on the same ground, as Escrick and Yorkshire Gents still do?

Whatever the answer, we had an inter-hunt match last season, the first for many years. This was July 1994 between Southwold who made 150 and Brocklesby who made 125. It was an overs match, played in the evening and lacked a little in atmosphere because of this, some good cricket was played, but the club was only represented by an unfit Phil [Abrams], The answer in future matches is for some of our members to get mounted and qualify.

The other book that came to light was, "The Life of a Great Sportsman, J Maunsell Richardson", by his sister Mary Richardson. Disappointingly, the only reference made to cricket in a book of 280 pages, is to the Eton-Harrow match of 1864. Although the Richardsons lived in Limber, which in those days had it's own cricket team, Maunsell was listed as a Hainton player when he played for Lincolnshire for two years, but he did play for Brocklesby as well. He was probably the best all-rounder the county has produced. At Harrow he won the hundred yards, the mile, the long-jump, the hurdles, the national foils championship, the Grand National at Aintree on Disturbance in 1873, on Reugny in 1874; he also rode over 50 National Hunt runners in a season, played cricket for Cheshire, Harrow, Cambridge University, I Zingari, Lincolnshire, and was Captain of Cromer Golf Club, for which he built a special house. He was also master of the hounds on occasions. The book doesn't say what he did for a living. The Cricket Pavilion at Harrow School and the Lych Gate at Limber Church are dedicated to him.

1939 was not a good time for a growing boy of fifteen with an ambition to play cricket, as the war now approaching seemed to affect it much more than other games, and whereas local soccer games kept going on Churchill's orders, probably the amount of petrol needed to cut the grass went against it. although Brocklesby had a large horse-drawn mower of about six-foot cut. The horse also pulled the roller, wearing rubber shoes as it did so.

In the village schools, there was cricket once a week, played on a part of the field which had been grazed closely, preferably by sheep, there were no gloves, no pads, no lines and it only lasted two hours at the most. There were a few inter-school matches and when one boy scored forty, he was hailed as a genius, quite rightly.

On to a better equipped school, with well cut grass wickets, a practice wicket and nets, which made one wonder if it were not better to be a batsman than a bowler. In the grass paddocks on the farm, we still played coarse cricket, the only equipment being a bat of some kind, even home-carved from a block of wood, which made the handle a bit rigid. The ball was usually a "corker' from Woolworths costing 6d, no seam, but on the type of wicket we played on, it only needed to be bowled to get movement. We had no stumps so we used thatch pegs, ( pronounced thack pregs ), and the match was usually a single wicket. Occasionally there were matches between like teams from rival villages, but cricket survived the War rather badly, and when one thinks that Lords was used as a recruitment unit, and lorries were parked on the hallowed turf, no wonder.

When the invasion scare started, we spent most of our time digging trenches, filling sandbags, and moving huts in Dad's Army. We forgot about cricket and practised rifle-shooting and throwing dummy hand grenades, our best thrower didn't even play cricket. My next year or so was spent in two heathen countries, as far as cricket goes: America and Canada. We forgot it. Back to England and Scotland, but it seemed to have faded away in spite of a beautiful summer.

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