Cricket History

Records show that cricket has been played in this area since the late 1700's although it is believed that it was played much earlier.

One of the earliest records was of a match on 27 June 1761 when the Gentlemen of Bradwell and Tillingham played the Gentlemen of the Dengie 100.

The game was mainly a preserve of the wealthier residents with club professionals being employed later in the 1800's to supplement the efforts of the gentleman players.

The dress code for players was a straw hat and white jacket, trousers, shoes and socks. Clubs then often added coloured braiding to the jacket.

Cricket was normally played at a country house venue where the owner had sufficient land to be prepared for sole use of Cricket while the house was able to be used for the pre and after match entertainments.

After a while the entertainment became nearly as important as the cricket.

Down Hall

The early teams were Purleigh who played at Woodham Mortimer Place the home of the Oxley Parkers and Dengie 100, Tillingham and Bradwell who played at  Down Hall Bradwell the home of the Page Family.

Robert and Joseph Page were unusual in that not only did they provide the venue but they actually played cricket for the local Dengie 100 sides as well as teams of their own selection.

In the early years bowling was normally underarm with overarm bowling being introduced on the mid 1850's.

In August 1786 the Gentlemen of Purleigh played the Gentlemen of Maldon with Purleigh winning by 26 runs.

In July 1787 the  same teams played again.  Maldon scored 49 in their first innings and 40 in their second innings whilst Purleigh also scored 49 in their first innings but managed 94 in their second innings to win by 55 runs.

In September 1790 the Gentlemen of Southminster played the Gentlemen of Maldon at Southminster.

In two innings Southminster made 153 runs with Maldon beating them by just 2 runs with a total of 155 with 3 wickets left.

In the mid 1800'several villages such as Tillingham and Southminster were able to prepare cricket pitches on village greens allowing them to play matches making the game more accessible to local people.

By 1869 The Essex Almanac listed 49 Cricket Clubs in Essex including

Burnham on Crouch - Secretary Mr E Kemp

Southminster - Secretary W A Hurrell

Tillingham- Secretary Mr E H S Escott

Charles Escott from Tillingham and John Ballard from Burnham on Crouch were the first cricketers from this area to play for the new Essex Cricket Club closely followed by  Hugh Owen of Bradwell who was to captain Essex.

Harry Mountford Hills also played for Essex before being wounded in action in World War 1.

By the 1900's Cricket became a game played although the gentlemen/player distinctions remained on the country house circuit.

These changes brought more cricket pitches including those run by employers such as the Mildmay Ironworks Team who played on a ground next to their factory at Burnham on Crouch and from this move onwards cricket became a game of the people being played in villages across the district.

By 1937 Cricket teams were well established  to the extent that Burnham on Crouch ( Secretary Gordon Ambrose) and the Dengie 100 based at Southminster ( Secretary  W A Bishop) were listed in Kelly's Directory.

The Cricket teams page lists teams that played in the 1800s for Bradwell, Burnham on Crouch, Latchingdon and Tillingham


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