131 Not Out: A History of Mobberley Cricket Club 1876-2007 | Knutsford Times

131 Not Out: A History of Mobberley Cricket Club 1876-2007

By on June 29, 2009

Mobberley Cricket Club is an important part of this village, and you can imagine how Saturday afternoons have changed little for its members over the years.  131 Not Out: A History of Mobberley Cricket Club 1876-2007 is a meticulously-researched account of the Club spanning more than a century, and would be of huge interest and importance to cricket lovers, history enthusiasts and local residents alike.

The Club was formed in 1876, and the book follows the Club’s progress and membership over 132 years.  Its author, Peter Chapman, has been a member of the club since the 1950s, and his father was also a member, making him ideally placed to write the book.  Not only does he have his memories and the memories of his friends from the Club to draw on, but his love of the game, of the Club and, most of all, of its members, shines through.

The Club’s first president and captain was the Reverend George Leigh Mallory, grandfather of the famous explorer.  A great number of photographs and records from these early years survive, and are reproduced in the book.  Some of the same surnames appear in the lists of members and photographs through the decades, as fathers introduced their sons to the game.  The oldest photo dates back to 1879, and remarkably, most of the people in the photographs have been identified. 

The records also include batting averages and bowling analyses from matches against teams which no longer exist, lost in the mists of time, many of the records written in fountain pen with a careful and practised hand.  This is the kind of information which could easily have been lost over the years, but which will now be immortal in this definitive historical record of the Club.  And this is the beauty of this book- how incredible it will be for future generations to have such a detailed knowledge of what life was life in the early 1900s, or how well their great-great- grandfather played cricket, and what he looked like in cricket whites. 

This history is also a record of social change- Sunday play, for example, was only approved in 1956.  And modern day commercialisation of every sport might lead you to believe that everything was different and less money-orientated in the old days- but in 1893, two of the players were paid a sum equivalent to £100 per game in today’s money. 

Anecdotes involving memorable club members and other snippets of local interest add colour to the book.  The anecdotes don’t just help the reader to understand the Club, they provide a window into the way of life in the Club’s early years.  Mobberley’s rivalry with Ashley Cricket Club in the 1920s and 1930s is one example.

Knowing how much the villagers were keen to find out the score when the clubs were playing each other, during the game, someone would run to the local station- Ashley or Mobberley, wherever the game was being played- and tell the signalman the score.  He would telegraph it to his colleague at the other team’s station, who would then relay it to the rest of the village.  How much simpler life seemed then, without the complications of mobile phones. 

The Club’s history isn’t confined to Cheshire.  Some glamour was injected into the club when in 1983, it was challenged to a game by a Malaysian prince.  This was the first game against another country and it started a run of international tours, including Thailand, Malaysia, Kenya and Singapore.  The book includes details of all of these tours, and the entertaining characters and friends the Club members met along the way. 

All in all, the impression the book leaves you with is that Mobberley is no ordinary cricket club- kept afloat by the enthusiasm and dedication of its members through three different centuries, this village club is still going from strength to strength.  

‘131 Not Out: A History of Mobberley Cricket Club’ is available from Knutsford Heritage Centre Mellor Braggins and Technotype, priced £10.  All sale proceeds will be donated to Mobberley Cricket Club. To speak directly with the author, Peter Chapman please call 01565 873 352

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