|About the Cricketer Cup|
|Written by Frank Russell|
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The Cricketer Cup was conceived over a glass or two of port by Tony Winlaw and the late Henry Lewis during a game between I Zingari and South Wales Hunts in 1966. On their return to London they chanced upon Ben Brocklehurst in the bar of the Bath Club and after a few more drinks, during which the idea was kicked around, the competition was born.
Originally for the old boys of 16 Public Schools, the competition proved so popular in its first year that it was extended to 32 teams in 1969. Forty four ffnals have so far produced 14 different winners, led by Old Tonbridgians with no fewer than 14 successful campaigns to their credit. A further eight clubs have fallen at the final fence, Harrow Wanderers suffering the greatest misfortune, having lost in four Finals, three of them to Old Malvernians.
In his introduction to the Silver Jubilee yearbook, Ben Brocklehurst, then Chairman of The Cricketer magazine, wrote: ‘The Cricketer Cup now represents some of the best amateur cricket played in the land. By and large, it also represents cricket played in the best spirit of the game.’ The quality of the players is confirmed by the impressive number of county cricketers who have appeared in the competition, some before they made the grade and others after retirement from the rigours of the weekly grind on the county circuit. In addition the participating schools have produced 26 Test match players, including six captains, who between them have won over 500 Test caps.
From 1967 to 1983 the Final was played on The Household Brigade’s ground at Burton Court and from 1984 to 1994 at the Westminster School ground in Vincent Square. In 1995 it became necessary to find a new home for the Final and it was with great good fortune that the Bank of England’s magnificent facilities in Roehampton were secured where Old Wellingtonians triumphed for the first time, overcoming Old Malvernians. The Bank also proved popular with Bradfield Waifs who, after failing to reach a Final in 29 years, defeated Uppingham Rovers in 1996 and Old Tonbridgians in 1997, thus becoming only the third club to defend their title successfully. Following the merger between The Cricketer and Wisden Cricket Monthly the 2003 Final was contested at the late Sir Paul Getty’s idyllic private ground at Wormsley and from 2004 to 2009 at Richmond Cricket Club in Old Deer Park. In 2010 the final was played at Shenley which was first mooted as the ideal venue for the fianl back in the 1980s.