Lincolnshire Cricket History Website

I’ve spent the past few months carrying out archival research, meeting a number of club  and county representatives, and carrying out some fascinating interviews. It’s been great to meet some of those who have such long involvement in Lincolnshire cricket.

We’re now looking to pull all this information together into a Lincolnshire Cricket History website, and once again we need your help:

We’d like you to send us: Club histories and Nominations for the CricketLincs Hall of Fame.

1. Club histories
We would like all clubs in the county to have a page on the website, which outlines a little bit about the history of the club. It doesn’t have to be too long or detailed, but it would be great to have as many clubs represented as possible.

Things which would be good to include:
– The date your club was founded
– Which grounds the club have played on
– The leagues the club have played in
– Key events in the club history
– A link to your club website and contact details for someone in the club

Also any old photographs of players, grounds, pavilions, trophies, and / or the club badge, which we can put on the website alongside the club history.

We are aiming for the website to be “live” by the end of April, so please aim to email me ( your club history by Wednesday, 13th April.

2. Hall of Fame entries
We are launching a Hall of Fame which aims to recognise the achievements of the legends of Lincolnshire cricket, both past and present.

This can be anyone who has devoted time to cricket in the county and you feel is worthy of inclusion – players, administrators, tea ladies, groundsmen, umpires…

If you’d like to nominate someone for inclusion, please email me their name, along with a short profile (c.500 words) and include the following information:
– Year they were born
– Clubs they have been involved in
– Roles they have carried out

Please also include a photograph of the nominee.

The first round of nominations for the Hall of Fame closes on Wednesday, 13th April. Please email me ( all nominations by that date.


We look forward to hearing from you!

Cricket on Good Friday

Happy Good Friday! I’ve already seen plenty of tweets from cricket clubs today about pre- season cricket nets – and surely a public holiday is the perfect time for a spot of perfecting that cover drive?

Apparently the members of the Waddington village team thought the same thing in 1860, when they decided to have an impromptu practice match amongst themselves on Good Friday.

Sadly the village’s controversial Archdeacon, George Gresley Perry, who was Rector of Waddington between 1852 and 1897, had other ideas.

This was the same Rector who expected all children to acknowledge him if they met him in the village – girls to curtsey and boys to pull their forelocks – and if they failed to do so, he would rap their shoulder with his walking stick.

His attitude to cricket seems to have been equally puritanical. When he discovered that the village team had held a practice on Good Friday, he accused them of being unchristian and said that they were “setting a bad example” to the rest of the village.

Goodness knows what he would have made of Sunday league cricket!

Not all clergy felt the same way about the sport. Many 19th century clergy were Oxbridge educated, and were good cricketers . In one of the first recorded games played by a Lincolnshire side, against the MCC in August 1884, the Reverend CE Chapman – vicar of Scrivelsby – scored 53 runs for Lincolnshire in the first innings and 13 in the second; he was also a football blue, and supposedly had a very muscular physique! There was even a Lincolnshire Clergy Cricket Club, formed in 1923. They played their first match at Trent Bridge in July that year against the Southwell Clergy.

Also, the majority of teams in the early days of the Lincoln League (which was formed in 1900) were run from mission halls and church halls. Cricket was evidently felt to be a morally improving activity – though not, apparently, when it was played on Good Friday!

Lincolnshire Cricket’s Strangest Matches

Recently I wrote about the rather unusual spectacle of Clown Cricket in Lincolnshire back in the mid-19th century. It might surprise you to know that there are instances of cricket being played in far stranger circumstances than this. Here’s three examples…

1. Broomstick Cricket

In 1874 the Lincoln Cricket Club held a game between the first eleven and second eleven in which, while the seconds could use normal cricket bats, the first eleven played out their innings using broomsticks. The idea, presumably, was to “even the playing field” and make it a fairer contest. A contemporary newspaper report suggests that the match “caused considerable amusement among the spectators”…although presumably the Lincoln second eleven weren’t so amused, as they made only 40 runs in reply to the “Broomsticks’” 135!

2. One-Armed v One-Legged Men

In 1863 the Stamford Mercury reported that: “A two days’ match was played last week in Kennington Oval between eleven one-armed and eleven one-legged men. The play was witnessed by some 3,000 persons, and after a number of ups and downs, which afforded a vast amount of amusement to the spectators, the game terminated in favour of the one-legged eleven.”

3. Cricket On The Ice

In his memoirs of sport in Grimsby, Bob Lincoln recalled one match which took place during the severe winter of 1878-9 – hardly cricket weather or cricket season, but they didn’t let that stop them!

“During the severe winter 1878-9 skating was naturally the order of the day, and it suddenly occurred to me that a novelty in the shape of a cricket match on skates would be an attraction, and with this idea in view arrangements were made for one to be played on the pond in the West Marsh, which is now a portion of the Alexandra Dock, for the benefit of the Grimsby and District Hospital.”

Sadly the weather didn’t last quite as long as Bob and his friends were evidently expecting:

“Unfortunately on the eve of the match a decided thaw set in, with the result that not only was the attendance materially affected, but there was also about one inch of water on the ice. This doubtless caused any amount of fun, but was decidedly unpleasant for those unfortunates who were the unwilling cause of it.”

Nonetheless the match did make a decided profit for the Grimsby club, as 3000 spectators turned up to watch (and were presumably amused by what they saw!)


Has your club ever played a match under unusual circumstances? Get in touch and let us know!

Conference: The Impact of Sporting Heritage

Last week I travelled down to Nottingham to attend the Sport in Museums Network conference, “The Impact of Sporting Heritage”. As part of the focus of the “Our Lincolnshire” project is the heritage of cricket, I was excited about getting the chance to hear how other people are going about sharing the history of sport in their own communities in an engaging and interesting way.

The emphasis throughout the day was very much on what those of us working within sports heritage and sports history can learn from each other. Those attending are working on a whole variety of different projects:

  • The Ruddington Framework Knitters Museum. I had never heard of this before but it looks like a fantastic museum. I was fascinated to learn that one of the reasons why Nottinghamshire produced so many great cricketers in the 19th century was due to the working flexibility provided by framework knitting. Visit their website to find out more!
  • The Hockey Museum in Woking. Started in 2011, this still largely volunteer-run project aims to preserve, share and celebrate the heritage and history of hockey, both in the UK and internationally. They have undertaken huge amounts of work, including what sounds like it was a very successful exhibition at the 2015 EuroHockey Championships.
  • The Ipswich Town Football Archive Project. This was launched in 2012 and since that date, those involved have catalogued the Club’s collection of football memorabilia, captured oral histories, and organised exhibitions. It’s certainly a thriving project and Tim and Elizabeth Edwards are excited about possibilities for the future.

So what did I learn from the day?

  1. People often don’t think of sport as heritage, but – as many of the conference speakers highlighted – it absolutely is! Your club’s history and traditions are very much connected to the heritage of your local area and it is important to preserve them. This is really why we have chosen to include cricket in the “Our Lincolnshire” project.
  2. There are plenty of unique aspects about sports heritage. One important aspect is that it is intergenerational. We are already seeing this in cricket in Lincolnshire, with plenty of clubs being made up of several generations of the same family – just think about those in your club whose fathers and grandfathers also played there!
  3. Another important aspect is that sport is very much about local identities and rivalries. Just think about the many ways in which your club is linked to the life of your village.

I also spent much of the day thinking about the importance of sporting memories – capturing them and sharing them. Many of the above-mentioned projects involve collecting oral histories from those who have been involved in particular sports or clubs. A large part of the “Our Lincolnshire” project is interviewing those with a long history of involvement in Lincolnshire cricket – and we eventually hope to share those interviews on our website. Hearing about how others have done this really spurred me on with this aspect of our project!

The day ended with a tour of Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, which looked spectacular in the early evening sunshine.



My personal highlights included the library, which is absolutely stuffed to the rafters with old cricket books, papers, magazines and even (recently donated) the trunk which Bill Voce took on the Bodyline tour of 1923/33 – and the museum, which memorably contains Harold Larwood’s blazer, cap and boots from the Bodyline tour…and a kangaroo foot!


Larwood’s cap and sweater from the Bodyline series.

Overall a great day. The very fact that the Sport in Museums network now exists, with its aim being to better understand, protect, and provide access to the nations sporting heritage, is testament to the ways in which caring for our sporting heritage is so important – something which has transformed in the past 10 years or so. At “Our Lincolnshire” we hope to make just a small contribution to that, in our endeavours to document and share the heritage of cricket in the county.


Clown Cricket

No doubt there are many occasions in village cricket when you might consider the opposition to be a bunch of clowns…but what happens when they actually are?!

As part of my research into cricket heritage in Lincolnshire, I recently came across a book full of newspaper clippings in the Central Library, which contained the following match report from 1870:

“Martini’s troupe of fourteen clowns v Eleven Gentlemen of Lincoln

A novel cricket match came off on the New Cricket Ground, Wragby-Road, on Friday and Saturday last, arrangements having been made for Martini’s troupe of Clown Cricketers (fourteen in number) to play against eleven members of the Lincoln Club. The clowns appeared in their grotesque costume, and at times, in the course of the game, especially at the fall of an opponents’ wicket, they indulged in various droll antics and gambols. The game commenced about noon on Friday, and in the course of the afternoon and evening there was a fair attendance of spectators…

The innings of the Clowns was commenced on Friday evening, but the stumps were drawn at six o’clock, after which the Clowns gave a special entertainment, described as a ‘grand gala’.”

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The report went on to describe a 4000-strong crowd on the Saturday afternoon, and – intriguingly – stated that many of these were ladies.

As for the result, Lincoln made 202 in their first innings, bowled the Clowns out for 125 and had accumulated 77 in their second innings before time ran out.

And this wasn’t the only cricket match from this time featuring a team of clowns. A certain Bob Lincoln, in a book on memories of sport in Grimsby, recalled in 1912 that in 1874 as a young schoolboy he went to watch Grimsby play “Casey’s Clowns”:

“The latter were a far more powerful team than some imagine, and generally consisted of about eight cricket professionals, the remainder being music hall professionals. Although we had outside assistance we should have got an awful whacking if time had allowed, the Clowns scoring 173 against Grimsby’s 78. After all it was a most enjoyable match, in grand weather, the Artillery Band played in the afternoon, and for dancing at night.”

He went on to relate that one of the clowns, for a joke, went out to bat handcuffed, which caused “hearty laughter” amongst the crowd but which nearly ended in disaster:

“he proceeded to the policeman and asked him to release him. Much to the Clown and everybody else’s surprise, he absolutely declined to do so, and actually would have locked him up if one or two JPs, who were on the ground, had not interfered.”



In fact, it seems that Clown Cricket may have been quite widespread in the late 19th century – a team called “The Clowns” toured England in the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s, and actually played at Lincoln in 1867 – and were apparently quite well-known (see more here).

There is even a Pathe News reel available, which shows men dressed as clowns playing in c.1914. Go have a watch, and imagine what that match in Lincolnshire might have looked like, back in 1870 – I certainly wish I’d been there!