First Matches Played on the Heath from 1815

We have a photocopy of a page from a book written sometime just before the First World War. This details cricket on the Heath before our club was formed in 1883 and here is an extract from this book.

“Some of my young readers may suppose that the newest thing at Ascot is its cricketing; but that is only a revival; nearly a hundred years ago it was more famous for the game than it is now. On the 20th July 1815, in the midst of the rejoicings and bell-ringings of the villages round after the great victory of Waterloo, there was played on Ascot racecourse a great match between the Gentlemen of Berkshire and the Gentlemen of Buckinghamshire for two thousand guineas. High stakes were the fashion then. The game generally lasted two or three days; they met at Sunninghill Wells at nine o’clock, and the wickets were pitched at ten. They played near to the spot on which the grandstand is now, and there we are told by a writer in the Windsor and Eton Gazette for April 1889, he well remembers a great match played between Sir John Cope’s Bramshill eleven and the Sunninghill Club.”

Amongst the club’s old papers and letters is a booklet, The Ascot Quarterly, published in August 1885 and priced 6d. It’s a jolly read including such topics as “How should Sunday be kept?”, “Co-operative Farming” and a short story “Her First Offer – A Sketch from Nature”. Importantly for the club, the last two pages give a report on the first two matches since the formation of the club two years previously. There is a long detailed score card for both matches, so I have only included a few particulars from them here.

Ascot Cricket Ground

The new ground on Ascot Heath was formally opened on July 4th [1885] by a match between the Ascot CC, and an eleven of the 2nd Life Guards. The weather was beautiful and warm, and the spectators were numerous. The Life Guard’s Band was in attendance, and added to the attractions of the day. The play resulted in a win for the Home team by one innings and 32 runs.

Ascot

P.J de Paravicini…….c Peplar, b. Robinson……………2

H. de Paravicini …….c. Peel, b. Whitburn……………95

Crutchley ……………..c. Whitburn, b. Robinson …….13

2nd Life Guards

Corporal Lindsey…..c. Freeman, b. P.J Paravicini…….0

Capt. Neeld…………..c. Blackett, b. Freeman …………….1

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The second match on the ground took place on Tuesday August 4th. Play commenced just before noon. The weather was very sultry and at 3.30 a heavy shower came on which stopped the play until 4.30. Ascot in the first innings scored 132. Prince Victor Christian’s eleven resumed play after lunch and in a very short time brought up the score to 74 runs, four wickets only having fallen. After the enforced cessation during the rain, Mr C J Murdoch’s under-hand pitches dismissed four wickets in quick succession. Total of the innings at 6 o’clock was 178 runs. Ascot then went in again and scores 50 runs for two wickets.

Ascot

G.B Studd…………..   c. Collins, b. Perkins……….32

Murdoch…………….. b. Parker …………………………4

Prince Victor Christian’s Eleven

W.G. Raphael …………..   b. Studd …………………………30

H.S. Arkwright …………   c. Capt. Blane, b. Studd ……12

Prince Victor Christian…st. Bruce, b. Murdoch ……..52

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