Press Notice 1

Olde rivals return

On Sunday 5 July at the Anglo American Playing Fields, an historic match will take place as part of the club’s cricket week.  The week has been organised to mark the clubs 150th . year – but cricket in Walden dates back to at least  1758.  The records suggest that nearly all of this cricket hwas played on the Common until 1954.
Old adversaries include Finchingfield and Sampford although with the rise of league cricket since the 1960s there are have been few opportunities for the club to play local village teams.  In 1785 we find the following reference in  Leslie Thompson’s Cricketing in Essex Then and Now (1963).

On Tuesday last a Match of Cricket was played at Finchingfield in this county, by the gentlemen of that place, with the assistance of two gentlemen from Old Sampford, against a company of gentlemen from Saffron Walden; the spectators were numerous and splendid; at the beginning of the game bets were offered ten to one in favour of Walden; but towards the end of the game bets were much in favour of Finchingfield, who won the game with great ease, altho’ the Walden players picked their company from the Windsor and Chelmsford clubs, a gentleman each.

A decade later the tables were turned. Strongly worded challenges were commonplace and in 1794, again in Thompson’s book, the men of Finchingfield and Sampford bit off more than they could chew.

On the 5th September it was reported that, after receiving a good hiding from Saffron Walden, the losers had refused to play the return.  The report concludes – it is hoped that Great Sampford and Finchingfield will, for the future, be cautious who they challenge to play with”.  Walden won by an innings and 81 runs (Official History of Essex CC by Davis Lemmon and Mike Marshall 1987).

Indeed, the villagers were cautious and it has taken over two centuries to set the record straight.  The return will be played 5 July 2009 as part of SWCC’s sesquicentennial celebrations!  Visitors will be welcome for a 2pm start at the Anglo American Playing Fields.  You will find the directions on the club website The result will appear in next week’s issue..


Press Notice 2

Ye Olde Cricket Tournament

This event will be held on the Common on Saturday 4 July at 10am.  It is part of Saffron Walden Club’s Cricket Week.  The week is the highlight of the Club’s 150th Anniversary year.

The event is being supported by Saffron Walden Town Council and the Primary Club, a national charity which supports cricket for the blind and partially sighted cricketers.  A “primary” is when a player is out first ball in cricket and all those getting out in this way are eligible to join. Chris Larlham, the club’s honorary secretary who lives locally and manages one of the many Saffron Walden junior teams is delighted to be associated with the event.  “  I hope there won’t be many primaries on the day but if there are the youngsters will know they can be involved with a worthy cause – so it won’t be too much of a tragedy!”  A collection will be held to support its work.

The tournament will be held on the Common and played to old rules.  There will be underarm, sidearm and overarm bowling with no boundaries – all runs will have to be run.  Each team will include 10 players under the age of 10 with each team fielding one of their oldest members to make up the number to 11.  Local teams who have a long association with the Club will provide teams.  Ashdon, Elmdon, Finchingfield/Great Sampford and Stansted Hall will compete against Saffron Walden Butterflies and the Saffron Walden Swifts.

These Saffron Walden names have been taken from our archives – it may be that the Butterflies were a nomadic team always playing their games away and the Swifts were an early junior side.  We hope the visitors will arrive in Saffron Walden on foot or by horse and cart in keeping with how it would have been years ago – and giving a decided advantage to the home teams!

Organiser, David Barrs, said that the event would remind young and old alike in the Town and local villages what cricket must have been like in years gone by.  “Cricket was played on the Common from at least 1758 until 1954 and there are still those who feel it should still be played there!”