The following article was published in the Journal – Friends of Mount Edgcumbe Country Park – summer 1996
Mount Edgcumbe Cricket Club – A Brief History
Cricket has probably been played in Mount Edgcumbe Park since the early 19th century. The pasture at Barrow Park could have easily been modified and levelled when the whole park and surrounding territory was robustly re-landscaped in the early 19th century, reputedly by Capability Brown. Successive Earls of Mount Edgcumbe would have supported the cricket team. We know this to have been the case in 1934 when the Earl was approached by the team to ask if a cricket club could be formed using the estate ground as it’s home ground. The team then would have been made up of estate staff and locals from Millbrook, Kingsand, Cawsand & Cremyll stiffened occasionally by the current Earl himself. The Earl agreed and the following year in 1935 was the first season of Mount Edgcumbe Cricket Club, with the Earl as first President, having a full fixture list with local village and town sides. This is celebrated in our minutes and in our photo albums where the Earl and his old friend, Rudyard Kipling, appear in one of the early team photos.
During the Second World War, the fixture lists included contests with local service’s sides and this built up an allegiance which added distinguished ex- servicemen to the players list and established traditions that exist today. The club didn’t come through the War unscathed; a lone stick of the incendiaries dropped by the Luftwaffe that devastated Mount Edgcumbe House totally destroyed the old, romantic, thatched cricket pavilion. After the War players who had been away returned from the services and the club continued improvising for itself, from a couple of groundsman’s huts, some corrugated iron, paving blocks from the Barn Pool D-Day departure beaches, a pavilion painted green and always a little rustic from it’s earliest days. At the same time the Earl donated a boundary fence cut from estate oak, which still does it’s best to surround the ground today. One of the soldiers who returned after the War was Joe Marks who had been a founder member of the club and is currently it’s President, he is still on the playing list and is a frequent visitor to the ground.
On one occasion in the late 1960′s, when W G Grace’s grandson was playing against us, his father was watching and along side him was a small boy who was his son, never before do we believe that a cricket ground has been blessed with Three Graces at one time!
When the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe sold the estate in the 1970′s, the club adapted to its new landlords and undertook construction of a new pavilion, which is currently in use. The club’s prime objective is to have a team made up with very good local representation, this has varied over the years but at present half of the side are either local born or long time resident. It is vitally important for the future of the club to maintain it’s local connections. We have as a matter of policy over the years not been seduced by league cricket and we only play highly competitive, friendly cricket.
Currently the club entertains opponents from across the south of Wales and the south of England, as well as a full local club list. The ground is acknowledged by those who visit us as the most spectacular known to them and in the most beautiful of surroundings. A great annual event is the Charity match against the Halfway House at Kingsand- this year’s is on August 11th. In the wind, there is the prospect of the revival of the Millbrook All-stars Challenge.
Plans for the future will bring about better pavilion facilities without jeopardising our pastoral picnic atmosphere and after 50 years, the Earl’s old oak fence may be put to rest.
Written by John Dalton – Chairman of Mount Edgcumbe Cricket Club & Steve Boyd Club Fixture Secretary.