Where the Seeds were Sown
Next year Saffron Walden Cricket Club will be 150 years old and we want to involve the town in a celebration of this event. The year will see the publication of a book which will cover the history of the club as well as the history of a number of local clubs. The archives on the club are significant and include reference to many local families and companies. The existing manuscript includes reference to over 500 local names. Companies such as Cheffins, Cheffins, Cleales, Adams (and Land as it was) Solicitors and Harts as well as more, recently, Ridgeons and Pelly’s solicitors.
The history of the club is well documented and was first set in published form by C.B. Rowntree in 1954.
There is evidence that cricket has been played in Saffron Walden since 1812 when “Eleven Gentlemen of Saffron Walden played eleven Gentlemen of Cambridge at Cambridge”. Cambridge won by 64 runs. A week later, in a return match at Saffron Walden, Cambridge won again by nine wickets. There was 100 guineas on each match
In 1837 Alfred Adams scored 279 against Bishops Stortford, the highest ever score recorded in minor cricket at the time. Stortford fielded all day as Walden amassed 474, with James Adams scoring 55. Walden had also played BS on 4 July, presumably at Stortford. The scorebook records that Stortford relinquished the game and went home. The score of 279 beat, by one run, the previous record highest score set by W. Ward for the MCC v Norfolk in 1820. Adams record stood until 1868 when E.F.S. Tylecote scored 404 no for Classical v Modern at Clifton College. The first such recorded score was by J. Minshull in 1769 for the Duke of Dorset’s XI v Wrotham. In 1899 A.E.J. Collins scored 628no for Clark’s House v North Town – again at Clifton College. In 2005, the newly-formed SWCC Academy introduced a batting award named after Alfred Adams – the Alfred Adams Trophy, the first winner of which was Jamie King (b. 19??)
By 1855 the town was ready to establish a formal club but the early attempts failed and in 1856 it was decided to terminate the agreement to play on Mr Clutton’s Field. The Town had to wait until 1859 for the club to be established under the Presidency of Joseph Lecand Taylor.
The first scorebooks from 1862 are still in existence. The Walden team was, in batting order, N. Harris, J.R?. Parfitt, J. Bellingham, G.B.Frye, F.Leverett, S? Myhill, N.Stokes, N. Freeland, J. Baker, J. Thurgood, D.Archer.
At the turn of the century there were 4 cricket teams in the Town – the Early Closers who played on Thursdays, the Swifts, the Victoria Club and, of course , the Town Club. It seems that they all played on the Common and may all have used the Pavilion which was built in 1871 and sited close to the present playground.
In 1954 the club moved from the Common to the Anglo American Playing Fields which is one of the finest grounds in the county. The 1871 Pavilion on the Common was taken down piece by piece and re-assembled. It is still there today.
Most of this is well known but we have unearthed much, much more which we believe the town will find fascinating. The Club would like this history to reflect the history of the town. We want YOUR help.