Congresbury toast 175 years of village cricket with Old School Rooms book launch

PUBLISHED: 16:00 21 June 2019

Front Cover of Congresbury Cricket Club by Clive Burlton

Front Cover of Congresbury Cricket Club by Clive Burlton

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Friday will see the first of a series of events to celebrate cricket in the village of Congresbury.

Flyer for launch

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The Old School Rooms in Congresbury will host a book launch to look at the development of cricket in North Somerset from the middle of the 19th century to the present day, with extensive use of newspaper archives since the 1850s.

Author and local historian Clive Burlton will put together a presenation to look at 175 years of Village Cricket. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start and Burlton is excited.

"Really looking forward to Friday, we thought we ought to have a little gathering to celebrate," he said.

"This is a joint publication with the local history group, because one of the things that surprised me during my research and I've been working on it full time for about four months, 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."

Congresbury XI v Somerset County XI in the Frank Lee Benefit match on the 29th May 1947Congresbury XI v Somerset County XI in the Frank Lee Benefit match on the 29th May 1947

Congresbury club vice president Burlton explains how he came to write this story, adding: "We started off thinking it would be a small booklet but in the end it's turned out to be 112 pages, 60,000 words and 250 images.

"We think it deserves a little bit of a book launch and celebration for the cricket club and the wider village," he added.

"It would be good to bring the village together."

When putting together the book, Burlton explains some of the things they have uncovered.

Justin Yau, Congresbury 1st XI captain with Chris Davidson, Weston super Mare captain holding the cricket scorebook from 1919Justin Yau, Congresbury 1st XI captain with Chris Davidson, Weston super Mare captain holding the cricket scorebook from 1919

"Among the many nuggets we've found is a photograph and an account of a 1907 men v women's 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."

Another item found was a scorebook from 1919 in the first match after World War One which saw Congresbury take on Weston.

In April earlier this year the two clubs met again in a pre-season friendly to celebrate the 100th anniversary.

In 1907 a Mens who played lefthanded with broomsticks v Womens match took place in Congresbury saw the Men win by one runIn 1907 a Mens who played lefthanded with broomsticks v Womens match took place in Congresbury saw the Men win by one run

The book was designed and produced by Bristol Books and is on sale online at www.bristolbooks.org.

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