Rye Cricket Club cricket week

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Next week, Rye Cricket Club will be celebrating 270 years of cricket in Rye, making Rye Cricket Club one of the oldest clubs in the world. To celebrate, the club is hosting a week of cricket with nods to the past:

  • Sunday, July 30 v Lydd – Recreating the first ever fixture played at the Rye Cricket Salts 2pm
  • Monday, July 31 v Ingham – A club Rye and Marden in past years played when touring Norfolk 2pm
  • Tuesday, August 1 v MCC – Since 2003 Rye has hosted the MCC in this bi-annual fixture 11:30am
  • Wednesday, August 2 v Authors XI 11:30am

The story goes back to:

1754: On July 18 a game of cricket was played for 5/- a man at Rye in East Sussex, between the gentleman of that place and the gentleman of Romney which afforded great diversion to the spectators. Neither of the hands exceeded 45 runs, nor less than 35 and ended in favour of Romney by 14 runs. This game was played on a field near Camber Castle. Games had already been played at New Romney ten years earlier v Tenterden, High Halden, Warehorne and Battle.

It seems that during the late 1700s the game of cricket moved to “Polemarsh”, now known as Gibbets Marsh, where the game was played until the 1830s, when the construction of the railway forced a change of venue. In 1834, the town corporation gave the Salts to the town as sporting field for ever. We have found a report from Sussex Agricultural Express dated August 3 1844 about the first match played at Town Salts:

“On Thursday, the 25th ult, the return match of cricket between the Rye and Lydd Clubs was played on the Town Salts, near the Fishmarket, being the first match ever played there. The day was exceedingly favourable and the game well contested. The bowling on both sides was very good, especially that by E Bromham which elicited the praise of the bystanders, who were very numerous. We cannot close our observations on the game without one word in praise of the old veteran Gilbert, who, in spite of time, still makes the young folks fear for their stumps. A dinner and supper was provided at the Red Lion Inn, by Mr Bignall, both of which were numerously attended – and notwithstanding the success of the Rye Club, such was the good feeling evinced by all parties, that it might be difficult to have learned at the convivial board who had won and who lost. This is as it should be, and betokens of another game between these “mighty ‘levens.”

Thus, on Sunday, July 30 Rye will host Lydd CC as a nod to the past. Rye on Sunday will field a team of six pairs of fathers and sons, representing the future of Rye Cricket Club.

The other three games next week, feature players from all three of Rye’s league sides, with the key fixture being the MCC match, which has been a bi-annual fixture since 2003 when Rye Cricket Club celebrated 250 years of cricket. Not forgetting the MCC is younger than Rye, founded in 1787. As always with cricket, throughout its history, next week will feature food and drink with barbecues, lunches, teas and on Tuesday and Wednesday, suppers provided by two of our key sponsors, Diamond Koz and Mahdi Lounge.

The bar will be open throughout the week, and an invitation is open to people in Rye to come and enjoy time on a wonderfully historic ground that has seen so many famous cricketers, such as Jack Hobbs, Richie Richardson, Ted Dexter and Barry Richards and provided enjoyment for so many local people, young and old. Evidence of Jack Hobbs playing at Rye can be seen in photographs of the day in 1926 in the pavilion, but we have now been given his autograph, which was signed on that very day.

Image Credits: John Izod .

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