The Cricket Professionals of Oxford

Round & About

They have been playing cricket in Abingdon for a long time, as local author Michael Stimpson tells us in his new book The Cricket Professionals of Oxford

The first Abingdon Cricket Club was established in 1821 and played at a ground in Shippon. It was very much a club for gentlemen of the neighbourhood and not for the riff raff.

Throughout the Victorian period, cricket was played at many places in the town, including the Race Course on Abingdon Common, in the grounds of Caldecott House, and on a meadow in Rye Farm.

It was not until 1892 that a new cricket and football ground was opened, just over the bridge on Culham Road, and cricket has been played there ever since.

In the 1920’s and 30’s, all sorts of cricket teams sprung up in the town. The Abingdon Pavlova Cricket Club was the most successful, winning several trophies. Other teams at this time included the Abingdon Police, Abingdon GPO, MG Athletic, Abingdon Imperials and RAF Abingdon, as well as sides from different churches.

Some notable cricketers have played at Abingdon, including future England captain Plum Warner, who turned out for the town club whilst at Oxford University.

Michael also tells us how in recent times, the Abingdon Vale Cricket Club has nurtured the development of young players passing through its youth section. Of these youngsters, six have gone on to become professional cricketers, with two sets of brothers, Ben and Luke Charlesworth, and Tom and Ollie Price, joining Gloucestershire, whilst Harrison Ward and Zach Lion-Cachet now play for Sussex. All of these young cricketers are showing promise, with Ollie Price having played for England Lions on a tour to South Africa last winter. Oxfordshire Head Coach Rupert Evans said: “Abingdon Vale have good coaches, but it is just amazing that one cricket club has produced all of these lads.”

Abingdon has a long cricketing history, but looking to the future, some of its former youth players could go on to make a name for themselves.

The Cricket Professionals of Oxford by Michael Stimpson is available in local bookshops and Ebay pp £14.