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Cricket Club With Long History Now Faces Uncertain Future

Published on: 26 May, 2020
Updated on: 29 May, 2020

The chairman of Shalford Cricket Club, Alastair Lidster, looks back to its formation in 1864 and its current funding worries that have been compounded by the Coronavirus crisis.

With archive pictures and extra history details from David Rose’s collection.

Shalford Cricket Club was formed in 1864 and cricket has been played in the village almost every year since that date.

When the club was formed Queen Victoria was on the throne and Lord Palmerston was prime minister. Charing Cross railway station opened, and the Clifton Suspension Bridge opened to traffic in the same year.

The green at Shalford seems to have always been known as the ‘common’. In this picture postcard view from about 1910 it appears those playing sport there had to share the open space with cattle!

Shalford was a well-established village by then with more extensive boundaries than now.

The present church dates from 1847, although two previous churches stood on the same site, the first built in medieval times and the second in 1788.

The railway had arrived in the parish in 1849, contributing to the focus of the village moving away from the church and towards the common. 

In the world of cricket, 1864 was the year in which overarm bowling was legalised. Prior to that bowlers bowled underarm or round arm, where the hand is between shoulder and waist height.

Roundarm originated when cricketer John Wiles practised with his sister Christine, who could not bowl underarm because the width of her skirt impeded her arm.

It was the year that Wisden, the famous cricketers’ almanack was founded. Like Shalford, it has been going strong ever since!

Shalford Cricket Club pre-dates test cricket. The first such match was played in 1877 between England and Australia in Melbourne, although international cricket began in the 1840s with a match between Canada and the USA.

Shalford in the 1920s with Kings Road to the left and the common to the right. The village sign dates from 1922, although restored several times since, most recently in 2007. It was designed by Christopher Webb, better known as one of the 20th century’s finest artists in stained glass, and eminent church and cathedral architect W.H. Randall Blacking. The two shared a studio in Quarry Street, Guildford. The sign was the result of a competition to create village signs run by the Daily Mail, Shalford being one of the winners. It depicts St Christopher carrying the Christ Child through a ford – hence the ‘shallow ford’.

At Shalford, apart from a hiatus in 1974 when no cricket matches were played, the full period of the First World War and two years of the Second World War, cricket has been played in the village every year. That makes for a score of 148 out of 155! Sadly, the Coronavirus may add a year to that number. 

A team from Shalford pictured in the late 1940s or early 50s.

As with every other part of life that involves social interaction, it is unclear when cricket will resume.

It is possible that no cricket at all is played this year (2020), which for many will leave an English summer incomplete.

Players pictured in front of the pavilion in around the 1950s.

We are preparing so that we are ready to play as soon as we are allowed and you may have seen our groundsman, hard at work maintaining the square.

This preparation is both so that we can once again enjoy the game and good company, and for the financial stability of the club. Our income depends on playing matches.

Shalford Cricket Club has expenses that go with running a pavilion and maintaining a cricket square.

Our bills include pavilion maintenance, insurance, utilities, and groundsman’s time.

Guildford Dragon NEWS editor Martin Giles batting on Shalford common. Photo – Mike Bennett

For the present year we have cut costs wherever we can and have applied for a grant from Sport England that we very much hope will be successful.

We have set up a “go fund me” page which has brought generous donations from members, local supporters, and past players, and we would welcome any further kind donations, no matter how small. The page can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/shalford-cricket-club-covid19-appeal

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test One Response to Cricket Club With Long History Now Faces Uncertain Future

  1. John Schluter Reply

    May 26, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    I wish Alastair Well. I played for Hascombe in the late eighties and nineties. We had many enjoyable games against Shalford. Latterly, we played at Shalford on Wednesday evenings when the “we” was Ye Olde Ship Inn CC.

    I hope to see cricket again there shortly and will certainly make a donation.

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