THE EARLY DAYS
Martley Cricket Club was formed in the middle of the 19th century.
The exact date is not known but there was certainly a Martley team playing in 1860; see the scorecard on this page, taken from the Berrow's Worcester Journal of the time.
This makes our club older than Worcestershire County Cricket Club who were not officially formed until 1865!
In the early days it was pretty much the “gentry” who played, and matches were often in mid-week.
Travelling was of course a major problem, Martley was not, and has never been, on the railway system, so it would have been carriages to get to away games.
Thus most of the games were against local villages. Hallow, Great Witley, Clifton On Teme and other nearby villages were the regular opponents, with the occasional trip to Worcester to play Claines and Worcester City.
Stourport were also regular opponents, as were Dunley and there were also games against Powick Asylum (later of course Powick Hospital where Martley played until the 1970’s)
There was also a good deal of “country house” cricket at the time, and matches against Spetchley Park and Brockhampton are recorded, the game at Brockhampton according to the Berrows Journal report being played in “Mr Barnebey-Lutley’s beautiful grounds”.
The Hastings Family was very much involved with Martley Cricket Club at this time. In the report of the meeting in 1879 to elect officers; The Reverend J.P. Hastings was the president, and on the committee were H.J.P.Hastings and T.F. Hastings.
H.J.P. was the son of the Reverend J.P. (the then vicar of Martley) who met a sad end, when he was drowned in the River Teme in September 1880. It was said he had gone there to “bathe” but other reports say he was fording the river on his way to Clifton to arrange a cricket match. The latter sounds a far more romantic story.
He was 22 and an Oxford Undergraduate.
The oldest scorebook in the club’s possession is from the 1883 season, (see below) and the first game in the book is a match against Clifton On Teme, played on 23rd July 1883. Martley didn’t do too well in the local derby, being bowled out for 36 in their first innings.
Clifton replied with 70 and Martley were 14 for 8 in the second innings and it appears hung on for a draw.
Top scorer in the game was the Hon and Rev R.C. Moncrieff who hit 27 in the Clifton innings. He also played several games for Martley in later seasons. He was the Vicar of Clifton-on-Teme from 1875-85 , he succeeded as 3rd Baron Moncreiff in March 1909. One of the top amateur players of his day, and he played a lot of cricket, for Worcestershire, and for Herefordshire, and in the Eton v Harrow game at Lords in 1862. He even fielded his own team R.C. Moncrieffs Xl against Shropshire in 1879.
He was it seems an excellent golfer as well, and was the captain of the Worcestershire Golf Club in 1880 and 1881
Details from the scorebook of 1883 for the match v Clifton On Teme
Who Were They ?
We believe we have found out who most of those listed in the scorebook of 1883 were.
Reverand James Francis Hastings, born in Arley Kings in 1862, and was in Martley by the age of 9 in 1871 when his father became rector or Martley.He spent 53 years in the parish – 16 as curate and 37 as Rector between 1907-1944, he died in Aldershot in Hampshire in 1947. He was he club’s opening batsman for many years and played a lot of representative cricket for the Clergy and the like.
Michael Coleman, born in Leicestershire he was the head teacher at Martley School and was 35 at the time of the game. He was Martley’s leading bowler of the day and several times took seven wickets in an innings. He later moved to New Milverton in Leamington where he died on the 7th December 1913. His younger brother Henry also played for Martley against Hallow in a two-innings game in August 1883 probably as a guest while on holiday. In the second innings the Coleman brothers bowled Hallow out for 45, Michael took seven wickets and Henry three. Michael also took five in the first innings, so 12 in the game.
Arthur Palay Battersea, born March 14th 1832 , he was baptised in Tower hamlets in London, where the registered address was Winter’s Cottages, Side Road, Old Town although according to the census of 1861 he was born in Northamptonshire. He was the master of the Martley workhouse and later lived in Lansdowne Road in Worcester. He died in Worcester in 1940. He lost his job at the Workhouse in 1901 after an enquiry. For more details click on http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Martley/
Franklyn Battersea, younger brother of Arthur, he was born in Newbridge in Ireland in 1855, he later lived in Warwick. He became a storekeeper and died in Warwick in August 1931. He may have been spending the summer with his brother as there is no record of him in any census of Martley, and he only played in 1883.
Joseph Rogers, was the son of John Rogers who is listed in the 1860 team above. He was born in Kidderminster in 1840, and inherited the Court Farm from his father in 1875, this was of course the ground the club played on at the time. Joseph Rogers died in 1900 at the age of 60
A.Holliday, probably Allen Holiday who lived in Berrow Green with his grandfather Charles and his grandmother Amelia who kept the Admiral Rodney. He was 23 at the time of the game, and later moved to Stapenhill near Burton on Trent where he worked in the brewery. He had 14 children 10 of whom survived. In 1911 he was working for Allen and Sons. He later became a shopkeeper and died in Burton in 1925 aged 68.
John Jones Jnr, was almost certainly a farmer living in Pudford Lane who was 39 at the time (not so much a junior)
F. Williams, a mystery, there were no F.Williams listed in Martley in the census of 1883, and he only played in this one game in the whole season. Maybe a guest or holidaymaker. He only batted in the first innings and made a duck.
James Rowley, was a cordwainer, he lived at Scar Cottage and would have been about 44 when the game was played. In later life he moved to Stoney Bridge, also in Martley by which time he was listed as a shoemaker. He died on the 12th January 1919 and his gravestone is in Martley Churchyard, he would have been 79 at the time.
John Jones snr, letter carrier and shoemaker, aged 59 at the time of the match, lived in Berrow Green.
Charles Holliday who lived at Lingens Farm with his parent and was 18 at the time. In later life he moved to the Laurells (sic) in Martley. He was a butcher and after the First World War he moved to 38 Comer Gardens in Worcester, He died in Comer Lodge in 1938 aged 74.
The old Martley Workhouse, now a housing estate, stood some 100 yards from the Jewry Field and about 50 years from the club's former ground on the Crown Meadow, on the left hand side after the sharp bend by the Crown. See the story of A.P. Battersea above.
The gravestone of James Rowley in Martley Churchyard, see above.