Chapter 11 - MCC and other opponents
Chapter 11 - MCC and other opponents
Although since 1892 Collegiate's main cricket has been in the best league available to them, they have always considered it an essential part of the club's commitment to play as much non-league, 'friendly' in one sense of the word, cricket as possible. There are happy old-time pictures of teams setting off to Clumber in a wagonette and many matches gave tremendous pleasure, even if the cricket might be variable in character.
On the coach at Welbeck or Clumber, circa 1890. Standing on coach: F. Atkin, E. Newman, G. H. Aizlewood Sitting on coach: G A. Parker, W. Robinson, Lee, Coachman, Frank Baines, T. Jowitt, H.B. Willey. Front: F. H. Colley, W. F. Beardshaw, F. Booker, Fred Baines, Dr. Lockwood.
The general pattern of friendly matches altered dramatically when the club became established at Abbeydale Park, because it was soon realised by others that this was a ground well worth coming to. Efforts were made to try and get a match against M.C.C. for 1921, but apparently M.C.C. would only agree if Collegiate found a Manager to organise the match. The next year Collegiate properly pointed out "in this District we look to the M.C.C. to encourage cricket" and played the ball firmly back to them, but the first match was not played until 1925, with H. D. Swan as manager, a job he did until M.C.C. abandoned the match after 1938 "for lack of support". 'Swannie' was a remarkable character, who gave endless time and trouble to organising cricket sides and loved being in the company of cricketers, but who never at any time had been any use as a player. As E. W. Swanton has written: "'Swannie', a large and heavy man, used to field at mid-on very straight, so that he was almost behind the bowler's umpire. There was no question of his running after the ball and he used to convey the impression that it was well out of reach even when it was whistling past his boots. He went in, when he had to, at No. 11, and I never heard or read of his making double figures". After the early years 'Swannie' never actually played at Abbeydale, but, lest it be thought that he was just a figure of fun, he went out of his way to help and encourage several generations of young players and Collegiate owe him a great debt.
Collegiate v. M.C.C., 1929. Outside Abbeydale Hall. Back: E. R. B. Drummond, K. Lister-Kaye, T. E. W. Brinckman, C. A. Rowland, R. M. Wilson, R. T. McGaw, J. P. Hunt (C), T. D. Barker (C), K. A. Wilson (C), W. M. Dixon (C). Seated: C. E. Anson, S. M. Toyne, T. A. W. White (C), Major A. W. Lupton, R. Hargreaves (C), L. C. Barber (C), F. C. Bedford (C) Front: Beet, C. L. Crawley, W. Elliott (C), C. G. Buck (C), F. C. Scorah (C)
Though the M.C.C. sides were usually pretty strong and contained one or two of the Lords Ground Staff, they were always given a good fight by Collegiate over two days, so much so that of the 14 matches played M.C.C. won only one, Collegiate won two and 11 were drawn. In 1930 5 centuries were scored in the match: Collegiate 529 for 6 declared (K. A. Wilson 101, W. Elliot 116 not out), M.C.C. 555 (S. M. Toyne 103, A. W. Lupton 113, C. L. Crawley 135). As part of the centenary celebrations a match against M.C.C. will be played in 1981.
In 1930 'The Frogs' first played at Abbeydale, a one-day match which later became two days and continued to be played until 'The Frogs' sadly abandoned the match in the 1970s. In that first match 506 runs were made in 5 hours (Frogs 290 for 5 declared (E. A. Fawcus 141 with 6 6s and 17 4s), Collegiate 216 for 9) and this set the pattern of enjoyable matches over the years.
Other sides, who have been played for a long time, include Yorkshire Gentlemen, Lincoln Lindum, Derby Friars and Notts Amateurs. There have also been occasional welcome visitors such as The Hague C.C. from Holland, The Australian Country XI and Jim Swanton's 'Arabs', a match which left its mark on Arthur Connell, who severely damaged a finger trying to catch a fierce drive from the 'Emperor' himself.
The mainstay of friendly matches were, of course, clubs in Derbyshire and others in North Notts, which have given great pleasure to all types and ages of members in the 'B' side over the years. Many of the Derbyshire sides are now included in the Yorks. and Derbys. Club Cricket League, in which Collegiate's 3rd XI take part, but some of the long-established friendlies have had to disappear now that the club's 2nd XI plays in the Ridings League.
Like the Devon Tour the fun and curiosities of 'B' side matches were without number. There was keen rivalry, particularly with Hathersage, Baslow and Bakewell, as well as copious drinking afterwards and some of the umpiring was liable to be rather bizarre. There was the famous 'Joe' of Baslow and a tale is told of another umpire, who consistently favoured his own side until suddenly he gave one of 'his' batsmen run-out, when even Doctor Watson, let alone Sherlock Holmes, would have seen that he was well home. On enquiry of the home side afterwards the reply was given: "Oh, that batsman's not really one of us, he's just a visitor!"
The captains of the 'B' side needed considerable diplomatic skill to deal happily not only with the opposition, but also with the vagaries of their own teams of very mixed ages. The club owes much to these captains, particularly, since the last war, Robert Gray, John Reichwald and Gordon Hall.
With three teams playing in the various leagues and a sufficient number of members wanting to play cricket, friendly matches were started in 1979 for a 4th XI, whose fixture list was considerably expanded for 1980.