By the time this is read, our Summer Game will be upon us and those two wonderful scents of an English summer - newly-mown grass and linseed oil - will pervade the air. The ball-by-ball commentary on the radio is a national institution and it is surprising but true that it is not a male preserve - thousands of ladies find much interest in it. For the sake of all those of you who delight in the game but are sometimes confused by 'square leg' and 'third man' show here some of the field positions referred to by commentators: there are others but they fit into the general pattern shown on the next page. It may help the mind's eye to know where the ball has gone when the batsman cuts the ball to the right hand of gully or is caught off the edge at third slip.
Cricket comes into our local history round here: in 1676 the rector of Spernall (Henry Teongue), acting as chaplain on one of Charles II's ships, wrote in his diary 'Aleppo - at least 40 of the English, with his worship the Consul, rode out of the city to a fine valley by a riverside to recreate themselves ..... and we had several pastimes and sports, as duck hunting, fishing, shooting, handball and cricket, etc'
In 1861, Thomas Elvins of Great Alne wrote in his diary, 'Richard Hemming said he should put my name down to join the new cricket club' As well as Great Alne, Kinwarton seems to have had its own club -- the Rector's four sons were all keen players. But the team they made their names with was Alcester's: the Rector of Kinwarton's diary in 1850 tells of clubs coming from a wide area to play Alcester. The Alcester Club, however, was still looking for a permanent ground ii 1871. In I885 the Arrow and Ragley C.C. took the place of the Alcester one, with a venue, still used, in Ragley Park - but 'Arrow and Ragley' changed to 'Alcester and Ragley' The roll-call of names of Alcester's players 90 to 100 years ago contains many associated by everyone with the town; such as Dowdeswell, Devey, Cox, Gardner, Blackband. Pop into the Birmingham Road cemetery and see the Dowdeswell grave with sculptured stumps and the bails flying'. Other cricket clubs in the vicinity still flourish, e.g. Astwood Bank is over a century old. we would like to have potted histories of any others known to our readers.
Summer 1990 Index
© Alcester & District Local History Society 1991