Cricket at Stanmer

(more from Frederick’s notebooks. Interesting passage on how cricket became a major past time at Stanmer. Also note how Frederick refers to Mr Francis as Frank. Despite the class difference real friendships did get made. Why Reuben wasn’t allowed to play for his county, presumably Sussex, is not recorded, but it seems a great pity.)

When the young gentlemen home from Repton (sic) and University, cricket was played on the turf infront of the house every evening. My brothers and I were ordered to the front of the house every evening soon after four o’clock. If absent Mr Francis was soon on our track. Mr Francis, Mr Tom and Mr Arthur were all brilliant players and worked like demons  to impose their practice. Frank was the acme of a non-professional. Tall agile, active and a brilliant bat. Mr Arthur played for the gentlemen of Sussex but Frank was the captain both at college and home. My brother Reuben was one of the best of wicket keepers and a fair bat.  When a young man his local celebrity caused him to have the offer to play for his county but my father was obdurate.

The young gentlemen soon trained a good team out of the Stanmer lads. They were Reuben, Jude, Potter, Penforth a foreman for Turle, Sayeor, Gladman and myself were the usual ones selected. One day Mr Francis sent me to Rottingdean with a challenge. I saw the Revd Thomas at the Rectory after stataing my errand he made answer “What!”. The audacity of a little hamlet like Stanmer challenging a Town like Rottingdean! Yes we will send some lads over to see about you. They came played two matches a year, often borrowing a flannelled striped jackefed (sic) young player from Brighton, but for seven years they never won a match! How the mighty arrogant fell! We played many matches during the summer. Mr Francis helping Potter, Penforth by paying for their dinners. We were young and strong and wanted no conveyance like the present generation. I must admit I was never a cricketer. My mind was never in it and as a consequence I was invariably last man. A few times I won a match by a surprise that astonished not only my companions but myself.  The last match I played in was between East Hoathly and Stanmer when Pelham and Jones played. We borrowed two from Waldron, Revd Humblecrofts and Mr Beech. My boys Tom and Alex both exceeded vastly their parent in the good old English past time . Playing for East Hoathly, York College and Alex played for the gentlemen of York winning an association badge: to tis he contributed materially both in batting and bowling – his mother kept a record from newspaper cuttings of these interesting games.

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One Response to Cricket at Stanmer

  1. Pingback: Elusive Relatives | D A C Jones Blog

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