1891 Onwards

The main focus of my research is on the years up to 1891.  However, I am occasionally sent items concerning later years.  This page collects those up together.

March Grammar School

   The earliest reference to March Grammar School I have found so far is from 1863: 

“3 July 1863 at March.  March G S v Eleven Young Men of Chatteris.  March G S 85 & 63; Chatteris 28 & 56 (Cambridge Chronicle 11 July 1863 p 8.”

There may be an indication of the school having some sort of a reputation already in this item from the same year:

“In reference to a challenge…..to the March Cricket Club, from the second eleven of Wisbech, we beg to say that it is not the practice of our club to accept challenges from second elevens; but if you think it worth while to come over to March, the members of March Grammar School Cricket Club will be quite ready at any time to oblige you…”

John Phythian asked me to share the following concerning cricket at March Grammar School:

’An interesting cricket match has been arranged’


Cambridgeshire Times 4 July 1919.


GRAMMAR SCHOOL MEMORIAL – An interesting cricket match has been arranged to take place on Tuesday next at 11 o’clock on the Grammar School field between teams representing the newly formed Grammar School Old Boys Association (Captained by W Nurse) and the present masters and boys of the School. Free Admission will be given to the field, but a collection will be taken during the interval, the proceeds of which will be devoted to the proposed Old Boys’ war memorial. The Secretary informs us that £100 has already been subscribed for this purpose, but it is hoped that amount will eventually be doubled.




Report from the school magazine the Mercian Summer 1919:


The match was played on a day when one might have been thinking of football rather than cricket. During the morning it was doubtful whether the rain would hold off throughout the day, but it was decided to play the game. The match began with the Old Boys batting. They looked a pretty burly team, but thanks to excellent, steady bowling of A Newton and A Butcher and the smart fielding of our team, their wickets came down one after another, and they finished their innings with a score of 28. Then the School team began their innings, but had to face some very unexpected bowling by W Johnson. Nevertheless, the team as a whole acquitted itself very well, and stood up manfully against the bowling. On the 2nd innings the Old Boys made 87 and the School 52. It is to be hoped that these matches between the Present and Old Boys will take place each year and form a link between the present and bygone days. RS



Report of the cricket match from the Cambridgeshire Times 11 July 1919:


On Tuesday a match was played on the Grammar School field between the Old Boys and Present Boys of the Grammar School. During the first innings the Old Boys’ team batted first and the last wicket fell when the score was 28. This reflects very credibly on the bowling of the present boys. The School then went in and made a total of 16 against very severe bowling by W. Johnson. In the second innings of the Old Boys, a score of 87 was made, 30 runs of which were contributed by E.H. Gee. The School made 52 in their second innings. The fielding and bowling throughout were very consistent and the batting good considering the poor light during the whole day. A very friendly spirit was noticeable all through the game, which it is to hoped will be the beginning of a series of games between the Past and Present Boys of March Grammar School. First innings scores:


Old Boys Present Boys
E H Gee c Young b Butcher 2 Mr W H Claypoole b W Johnson 0
E Johnson b Newton 1 M C G Wilson b W Johnson 1
I Web b Newton 1 Mr H C Hooper b W Johnson 0
R Golden b Newton 0 H Butcher b W Johnson 0
W Johnson b Newton 7 K Kemp b W Johnson 1
W Nurse b Newton 12 A Newton run out 5
B Aveling b Newton 1 E Young b R Golden 0
E Phillips c Mr Wilson b Newton 0 B Shaw c T Cave b W Johnson 0
T Cave c Kemp b Butcher 2 G Newton c E Johnson b R Golden 0
A Burton not out 0 H Rains c and b W Nurse
R Jelly (substitute) b Butcher 1 A Fox not out 2
Extra 1 Extra 1
Total 28 Total 16


Of Coarse
Spike Hughes, author of “The Art of Coarse Cricket” and other comic takes on sport, turns out to have played for Cambridgeshire in a friendly match against Huntingdonshire in June 1926 at the delightfully named Turnip Piece, Huntingdon.  Patrick “Spike” Hughes batted at number 10 and scored a duck – but Cambridgeshire won.  It is always fun to find new connections.  Thanks to Matthew Wright for opening this one up.
Matthew has also written a book entitled “Jazz and Cricket: An Unlikely Combination”, which is an interesting read. See Email me and links page.
Thanks to Robert Coe for this article on Jack Hobbs.

The Master remembered

During Essex’s Alastair Cook and Middlesex’s Andrew Strauss mammoth 188-run opening partnership in the recent first Test of the Ashes in Brisbane they past a record many believed would not be broken. When Cook uncharacteristically snicked one through a gap at third slip he carried the pairing to the highest aggregate by any England opening partnership, eclipsing the figure of 3,249 amassed by Cambridge’s number one sporting son Sir Jack Hobbs and his partner Herbert Sutcliffe.

Born Brewhouse Lane, off Gwydir Street, in 1882, the eldest of 12 children, Hobbs learned his cricket on the hallowed greens of Jesus College and Fenner’s, where his father was on the ground staff, and Parker’s Piece where he later played First Class cricket for Cambridgeshire.

Largely self taught, Hobbs would practice cricket with his father’s work colleagues in the morning and then watch cricket at Fenner’s in the afternoon, where at the time the great Ranjitsinhji played whilst studying at Cambridge. Together with the wristy Indian, Hobbs other idol was a Cambridge man, Tom Hayward, then at Surrey, and to Hobbs’ delight it was Hayward who recommended Hobbs to Surrey at the tender age of 17.

In Hobbs’ first game for his new county he made 88 and was watched by another cricketing legend in W.G. Grace who wryly surmised: “He’s goin’ to be a good’un.” Little did Grace know that Hobbs would go on the smash Grace’s world record of 126 centuries, making 199 tons by the time he retired at the grand old age of 52 and still holds the record for the oldest man to score a Test hundred.

Like modern-day great of English cricket, Freddie Flintoff and and Kevin Pietersen included, it was the battles between the old enemy Australia that Hobbs saved his greatest performances where he scored over 3,600 runs including 12 centuries, which are both still records and probably will never be broken.

In a time when cricket was still dominated by the gentlemen amateurs, Hobbs was a professional, receiving his first payment of half a guinea per game whilst at Bedford Grammar. He would go on to the the first paid cricketer to be knighted.

Of course the enduring memorial in Cambridge is the Hobbs Pavilion on Parker’s Piece, built by public subscription in 1925 to celebrate Hobbs beating Grace’s record of centuries. To commemorate this and demonstrate his strong Cambridge roots, Hobbs brought a star studded team to play, including Sutcliffe and numerous internationals to play against a Cambridgeshire XI, raising £292 for Addenbrookes hospital.

It was fitting therefore that at the end of the current season a series of games were played on Parker’s Piece by Cambridge NCI, the current custodians of the cricket on the famous city centre green, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Pavilion, and a collection was also made for the hospital.

The customary red-tape was cut by the Lord Mayor of Cambridge, unveiling a detailed display of Hobbs’ life and cricket career assembled by local historians, and was followed by two Twenty20 games of cricket, enthusiastically played by NCI players.

Despite the current accolades being paid to England’s Cook and his opening partner Strauss, Hobbs and Sutcliffe batted together for England on only 38 occasions, less than half of what it took the current incumbents to break the record, and the masters from yesteryear partnership average is over double their modern day counterparts (87.81 to 42.68).

There can be no better fitting tribute to Sir Jack that one of the 21st Century’s icons of cricket, the illustrious Indian Sachin Tendulkar was nicknamed the ‘Little Master’ in homage to the stylish Hobbs who was and will be forever known as the ‘The Master’.

Robert Coe