A new book celebrating 175 years of village cricket opens up a window on life in Somerset through the Victorian and Edwardian eras to the present day.
The book, published by Congresbury Cricket Club in association with Congresbury History Group, tells much more than the story of cricket in the village over the generations.
“The more research I did, the more people I spoke to, the more I realised how the fabric of village life and the development of cricket were intertwined,” said local historian and author Clive Burlton.
The book, with 112 pages, 60,000 words and 250 images draws on the archives held by both the cricket club and the history group as well as recounting the memories of villagers and players, past and present.
Clive, a club vice president, explained: “Among the many nuggets we’ve found is a photograph and an account of a 1907 men v women cricket match in the village with men batting left-handed with broomsticks!
“We also found recipes for all sorts of cakes and pies written by village ladies with known links to cricketers of the time which sparked the idea for a cricket tea bake-off at the Congresbury Fete on June 29.”
The oldest document uncovered is the scorebook from 1919. The first match after World War One was against Weston-super-Mare – the two clubs met again in April this year in a pre-season friendly almost 100 years later.
The book tells far more than the story of Congresbury CC, looking at the development of cricket in North Somerset from the middle of the 19th century with extensive use of newspaper archives since the 1850s.
175 Years of Village Cricket will be launched at The Old School Rooms in Congresbury on Friday June 21 with a presentation by Clive Burlton starting at 7.30pm. Doors open at 7pm.
The book was designed and produced by Bristol Books and can also be obtained online at www.bristolbooks.org