The Refreshers were founded in 1935, and have since then been the Bar of England and Wales’ pre-eminent cricket club. We have played at some of the loveliest grounds in England including Holkham Hall, Tilford, Sheffield Park, Parham House, Marlborough College, Sandroyd School, Hampshire Hogs (Warnford) and Armoury House in London. A full and varied fixture list includes long standing rivalries with Tilford (now in its 83rd year), the Law Society, the Australian Bar (in the form of the Wentworth Wombats), Castle Rising and the HAC, and newer ones with the likes of the Hampshire Hogs, Chelsea Arts Club, Holkham Hall, East Woodhay and the Armadillos. Touring features prominently in the calendar – in 2017 we visited Corfu and previous tours have included Australia, Cornwall, Croatia, Jersey, Bordeaux and Porto.
Predominantly barristers, the odd ringer or two has been known to make an appearance, and we have a sprinkling of authors, film producers, pilots and some very talented teenagers to call upon. Our home grown regular players include a former England Under 19 international at one end of the scale and a clutch of judicial sexagenarians on the other, with a range of talent and ability in between. But in general we encourage young barristers who have played a bit at school and University, and may now be playing League cricket, to turn out on (mainly) Sundays for competitive, but strictly amateur, wandering club cricket.
It goes without saying that the point is to have fun, within the spirit of cricket. We are always delighted to hear from cricketing barristers who’d like a game, whether regular, occasional or even one-off.
Philip Cayford QC
HH Keith Hornby
David Alexander QC
Lord Faulks of Donnington QC
Sir Jonathan Cohen
HHJ Charles Atkins
Charles Hale QC
David Alexander QC
|March-28||Annual Dinner||Philip Cayford||07768 12 12 12||Garrick Club, London||Click here||7pm|
|May-05||Castle Rising||David Alexander||07884 113 311||Castle Rising, Norfolk||Click here||12.30am||Click Here|
|May-18||Falconhurst||Chris Smith||07976 634 239||Falconhurst, Kent||Click here||2pm||Click Here|
|Jun-02||Greys Green||Charles Hale||07778 050 889||Greys Green||Click here||1.30pm||Click Here|
|Jun-08||Holkham||Richard Saunders||07795 010641||Holkham, Norfolk||Click here||11am||Click Here|
|Jun-09||Nocturnes||Richard Saunders||07795 010641||Salle, Norfolk||Click here||11am||Click Here|
|Jun-15||Hampshire Hogs||Philip Cayford||07768 121212||Warnford, Hants||Click here||11am||Click Here|
|Jun-23||Tilford||Chris Bell||07831 435261||Tilford||Click here||2pm||Click Here|
|Jun-27||Law Society||Dan Burton||07939 120547||Turney Road, Dulwich||Click here||6pm||Click Here|
|Jun-30||Checkendon||David Alexander||07884 113 311||Checkendon||Click here||2pm||Click Here|
|Jul-02||CIPA CTTMA||Mike Edwards||07725 952526||Alexandra Palace||6pm||Click Here|
|Jul-06||Chelsea Arts Club||Joe Cannon||07769 695421||Harrow School||Click here||11.30am||Click Here|
|July-13||Arcadian Casuals||Philip Cayford||07768 12 12 12||Marlborough College||Click here||12 noon||Click Here|
|July-14||President's Match||Philip Cayford||07768 12 12 12||Marlborough College||Click here||12 noon||Click Here|
|Jul-20||Philanderers||David Alexander||07884 113 311||Warborough||Click here||11.30am||Click Here|
|Jul-21||Felsted||Sam Burrett||07969 566972||Felsted, Essex||Click here||2pm||Click Here|
|Jul-28||Slinfold||Jerome Silva||07891 240834||Slinfold||Click here||1pm||Click Here|
|Aug-11||Kew||Marcus Haywood||07803 283378||Kew Green||Click here||1pm||Click Here|
|Aug-31||Victoria & Albert CC||Anu Mohindru||07835 117798||Stonor, Oxon||Click here||11am||Click Here|
|Sep-15||Turks||Michael Edwards||07725 952 526||Matfield, Kent||Click here||12.30pm||Click Here|
|Sep-20-23||Malta Tour||Joe Cannon||07769 695421||Marsa, Malta||TBC|
According to legend, it all began in the early 1930s on a foggy winter day when Walter Monckton (later Viscount Monckton of Brenchley), Charles Russell (later Lord Russell) and Claud Duveen (later Judge Duveen) happened to meet in the Temple and one of them suggested that it might be fun to organise some not too serious cricket for the following summer. Accordingly one or two fixtures were arranged, the first of them at Tilford in Surrey and a second at Poynings in Sussex. In our first ever match (at Tilford) we dismissed them for 90 (Walter Frampton 4 for 23), but could only manage 85 in reply (Frampton 35, King-Hamilton among five noughts!). Our then Captain, Walter Monckton K.C, put himself in no. 11, and was soon immersed in the Abdication Crisis of the following year. Our no. 6 on that day, another “duck”, was P.G. Tanner whose father, Dr Tanner of Tilford, gave the Silver Cup in his memory (for which we still compete, 83 years later). Grey’s Green was added in 1937, when, on 21st July, the Refreshers side included such names as C. H. Duveen, M. A. B King Hamilton, J. Latey, C. Russell and S.C. Karminski, all of whom were destined for judicial office. A total score of 145 (J. Tonge 48, J. Latey 41 not out) was ample to defeat Greys (75 G. de Winton 7 for 20). It is said that after the match the players patronised a pub that was little more than a cottage alehouse, (I remember it, just), and enjoyed fish and chips sitting on a wall outside. It is clear that this fixture was arranged by Charles Hodson (later Lord Hodson), whose name appears as No. 11 for Greys in their 1937 scorebook (not out, 0.).
Who suggested the club’s name is not recorded (like much else), but its element of double entendre (when seen against the club logo of a pint mug bearing the numbers 1.3.6) has provided much bafflement to our oppositions over the years.
After the 1939-45 war, Refreshers Cricket was revived, and some new fixtures appeared. Hugh Griffiths (Cambridge Blue, opening bowler for Glamorgan, and later Lord Griffiths, a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, President of MCC and Captain of the R&A) was a most effective fast bowler against the villages. The redoubtable C.T.A Wilkinson (of Surrey CC) appeared from time to time and continued to take wickets up to an advanced age. He had captained Surrey when they took the County Championship in 1914 and scored a quick fire century against the Australian Forces in 1919, taking part in a famous stand with J.N. Crawford. Two fixtures stood out during this period, those versus Barristers’ Clerks at the Oval, and versus the Law Society at Hurlingham. Oliver Popplewell (Cambridge, now a retired High Court Judge and former President of MCC) and other “aces” used to appear on these occasions. It was in May 1959 that I played my first match for the Club, at Sonning when I captured 5 for 37 and J.L. Arnold (later President of the Family Division) kept wicket. Apart from the two games mentioned above, there were only four or five fixtures in those days, including Tilford and Ebernae (near Petworth, run by Dick Beddington), but with John Rogers (later HHJ Rogers QC) as a new and enthusiastic secretary the fixture list expanded in the decade which followed.
Raising any cricket side, let alone one comprising barristers, is scarcely a bed of roses, and the task of a match manager is always made easier if he can rely on a nucleus of regular players. During the 1960s and early 1970s five names appear with consistency in the club scorebooks: Michael Mustill, Bob Alexander, Brian Pollock, Ian Payne and my own. A brief sketch of their abilities could be as follows: Mustill ( later Lord Mustill, a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary): Took his batting seriously, attending Alf Gover’s school in the winter, and scored many useful runs for the club. Usually travelled to matches by train, so that he could read papers coming and going. Could also perform usefully as a change bowler, and was a competent slip fielder, though relegated to mid wicket at Stebbing where the grass was long and he was termed “The Catcher in the Rye”. Not at his most reliable when umpiring. Alexander (later Lord Alexander of Weedon, President of MCC and Chairman of NatWest PLC): A valuable all rounder, he could stick in or attack the bowling according to the state of the game. Against Burntwood on 7th July 1963 his score of 31 not out from 8 balls (184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11) helped us to win a high scoring match by 3 wickets. As a bowler, his useful off spinners were helped by the height from which they were delivered. Pollock (now a retired Circuit Judge): As the club’s opening bowler over many seasons, he was able to generate appreciable pace and was feared by village batsmen, one of whom (after being the middle man in a hat trick) observed to me “you’ll have to leave Lofty behind next time”. Could also hit hard and score quick runs, as at Greys in 1962 when his 44 not out went as follows: 18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 (the last three off successive balls). Payne: The club’s regular wicket keeper over a long period, he pulled off many catches and stumpings besides scoring useful runs. On one classic occasion, his trousers split catastrophically and we all had to gather round while running repairs were carried out. Kent: Did not miss many matches from 1959, and by 1995 had 726 wickets to his credit. His Cambridge College magazine said in 1953: “Many batsmen, on seeing T.A Kent at the other end, imagined their centuries to be within easy reach, only to be disillusioned a few balls later … his success was only limited by the catching ability of the side, which was inclined to be erratic”. Plus ca change … ! In earlier days could score some runs: top score 75 not out v. Checkendon in 1967. Didn’t often drop catches off his own bowling although the same could not always be said of his time at mid-on.
The above “hardy annuals” provided a nucleus which, when supplemented by “aces” such as Ted Hobson, Ian Payne’s West Indian pupil in 1963, enabled us to win many matches.
On other occasions, sides could be weak and incomplete. At Wraysbury on 4th May 1963, after dismissing the home side for 120 we were all out for 8! Eight batsmen failed to score. At Crondall near Farnham I was overjoyed by taking 7 for 10 as we put the home side out for 28, only to succumb ourselves for a total of 24! The scorebooks record many exciting close finishes. Victory by one run at Woodcote, by one wicket versus the Law Society (1981) and by the same margin at Bentley in 1976, when I went to the wicket with our score at 120 for 9, needing one run to win with five balls to go. My efforts to make contact were totally ineffectual, so that it was all on the last ball and my partner, Julian Gibson Watt, announced that he was going to run, come what may. Once again I failed to make contact; the ball bounced off my posterior and we won on what was formally recorded as a “leg bye”.
At Greys in 1962 (when the concept of deference still held some meaning) J.E.S Simon was playing, very soon after his appointment as President of the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division (as it then was). When the ball was hit high in his direction, our captain, a junior barrister, didn’t know whether to shout “President”, “Simon”, or “Jack”, and eventually compromised with “yours”! He held the catch. A few years later in the same fixture, the home wicket keeper was hit on his nose, and blood flowed so freely that a Refreshers player had to offer his shirt for mopping up purposes. On return to London, the player’s wife refused to wash the shirt so it went to the local laundry. The following day C.I.D officers were on the doorstep, “we have received information concerning a bloodstained shirt, etc”. Against Peppard in the late 1970s, Julian Gibson Watt recruited an alcoholic Australian in an Earl’s Court pub, thereby (as he hoped) strengthening the side. The trouble was that this Australian (who had played once or twice in a Sheffield Shield side) arrived with a monumental hangover and was left in the dressing room when we went out to field, head between his knees. Michael Burrell (good opening bowler) delivered the first ball from the far end – a full, toss which the batsman hooked round for what would have been six to fine leg, had not the Australian tottered down the pavilion steps and stood blinking in the sunlight. His reflexes were still good enough for him to make the catch. The batsman departed, but later asked to return when he heard that the fielder had not actually been on the field of play when he took guard. This request was not received at all sympathetically!
The scorebooks are littered with the names of players who have risen to eminence (other than those already noted): Christopher Staughton (1. n.o when we totalled 8, also hit a ball through a window in Paper Buildings when we played the Inner Temple Boys’ Club in the garden), Charles Mantell (accurate medium pacer), Basil Wigoder (I once ran him out at the Oval, and he was not pleased), Donald Farquharson (held a good catch at long on off my bowling to give us a victory at Stebbing by six runs), Alan Ward (good opening bat), Nick Wall (useful all rounder), Derek Spencer (sound opening bat), Richard Rougier, and, in one game, no less a figure than L.N. Constantine, past his prime of course but a very charming man.
Inevitably, with the passage of time the older generation (bar one) has dropped out of the game, to be replaced with a new roster of enthusiasts. The pattern has remained the same, with a nucleus of regular or fairly regular players, and others, sometimes very good, appearing less frequently. Among the “hardy annuals” during the 1980’s and 90’s were Henry de Lotbiniere (attacking left hand bat and medium paced bowler capable of bowling a sharp leg break which once knocked over the first three Peppard batsmen in the opening over. I can still see their black-bearded skipper gazing in astonishment at his off stump lying on the ground); Keith Hornby (enthusiastic and vocal wicket keeper, whose umpiring on occasions created diplomatic incidents, and who, to my knowledge has only ever bowled one ball in a match – at Harrow – they are still looking for it); Justin Wigoder (Basil’s son and a useful bat, holder of a brilliant slip catch at Farley Hill in 1993), Jonathan Cohen (dependable bat), Oliver Sells (useful spinner and hitter of many sixes), Paul Emerson (brisk and wicket taking bowler, powerful hitter), and our former secretary of at least 20 years, Charles Atkins (undoubtedly our most reliable bat – someone said to me during 1994 that the Refreshers batting seemed to consist of “Charlie and whoever can stay in with him for a bit”). Other batsmen of serious club ability such as Edward Faulks, Howard Palmer and Nigel Meares could turn matches, as it has traditionally been our batting, rather than our bowling, that has let us down. We frequently used to dismiss opponents for moderate totals, but then find we could not score the runs. Centuries for the club during that period were infrequent, but I recall two by Edward Faulks (both v. H.A.C), two by Michael Burrell (Tilford and The Oval), and others by Martin Gibson Watt (Tilford) and David Garland (Bradfield). The highest score for the club in those days was recorded by P. Prodger (a guest) – 132 at Essendon in 1962. M. de Navarro and T. A. Kent have both taken eight wickets in an innings, v. H.A.C and Bentley respectively.
Thirty five years of playing Refreshers cricket with all the continuity that implies, does provide one with a certain perspective. There have been changes: many of our opponents have less of a “Village” character than was formerly the case. In the old days, after the pace of Pollock had blasted out the first three or four batsmen, the remainder would be bamboozled by my spin and there were some real rabbits around. “Crafty old bugger, ‘e done me”, a defeated batsman observed at Parham after I had bowled him! Recently I had the unusual experience of bowling to a young man whose father and grandfather I used to play with. He was out in the usual way, caught out at long on after hitting one four. One thing has not changed. Refreshers Cricket has always been very enjoyable and not too serious, with plenty of humour an ingredient. As we celebrate what can fairly be described as our sixtieth anniversary, let us look forward to more fun!
Tim Kent: April 1995
Tim Kent writes (during Summer 2018) to bring matters up to date. Enjoyable cricket continues (indeed the club is flourishing, playing better cricket and with a larger fixture list than ever), but obviously there have been some important changes, as the Great Reaper has not been idle. Bob Alexander’s illustrious career drew to its close in 2006, Ian Payne, our old wicket keeper, in 2005, and our gallant and much-loved Henry de Lotbinière in 2002. Philip Evelegh also died suddenly, in 2009. Hugh Griffiths and Michael Mustill declared in 2015. Regular players continue to achieve eminence – Edward Faulks received a life peerage as Lord Faulks of Donnington. The latter is still, at 60+, well capable of hitting centuries. Keith Hornby, Charles Atkins, and Nick Coleman (not forgetting his wife Izzy) all became Circuit judges, while others like David Alexander (son of Bob), Charles Hale and Philip Cayford (our Captain from 2000 and who has done so much for the club), have taken silk and become leaders in their field. Alan King-Hamilton, an original founder in 1935, remained with us until 2010, aged 105, and not only spoke at our Dinner when over 100, but produced the club’s very first and original scorebook.
Since the turn of the century, under Philip Cayford’s stewardship, we have enjoyed some good new fixtures including the HAC, Hampshire Hogs, the Armadillos at Sheffield Park, Chelsea Arts Club, Holkham in Norfolk, an Australian Bar XI (the Wentworth Wombats, whom we have played here and in Sydney), and several others. One of those others is Falconhurst, where in 2002 we dismissed them for 95 and then made 96 for 8 to win after being 38 for 7. “Cricket is a rum game”, I noted. In 2004 David Alexander, Bob’s son, made his first century at Falconhurst, much to Bob’s evident delight. We also for several years visited Boconnoc in Cornwall, as well as instigating a Dorset Tour and other tours to Vis, Jersey, Australia, Portugal, Corfu and Bordeaux. We restarted our fixture with the Hurlingham Club, where in 2005 we totalled 206 and then bowled them out for 145, the umpire (Kent) giving Owen Roach, bowling very sharp off-cutters, three quick LBW decisions – all plumb, but we have not been invited back since. “An enjoyable day” says my diary.
Over the past decade we have been putting out some strong sides, with some attractive cricketers. Of note have been Owen Roach, a team in himself, Richard Saunders, left-arm seamer and dependable bat, Anu Mohindru (“the Master”) a polished bat and accomplished spinner – and now Club Captain, Joe Cannon, useful off spinner and hard-hitting number 6 batsman – and now our fixture secretary, the dependable Paul Stewart, Jonathan Cohen and Oliver Wise, the Faulks brothers (Edward and Sebastian) and younger players like Leo Buscombe, Richard Warlow, Michael Edwards, Harry Nosworthy, Chris Smith, Marcus Haywood, Jerome Silva, Sam Burrett, Charles Hale and many others wanting to play. Charlie Atkins is still dependable (102 at Greys Green in 2008) and Philip Cayford is still bowling well and captaining astutely. Of the matches I recall was a good win at Tilford in 2010 making 252 – 2 (Paul Stewart 80, Tim Thomas 89 not out), after they had declared at 250 for 7. In 2011, despite a brilliant century by Marcus Haywood, the Tilford match was a high-scoring draw and in 2012 we had to fight hard for a draw, with Graham Rose winning the De Lotbinière trophy for his dedicated and successful resistance during the last 16 overs. Marcus Haywood has had flashes of brilliance, a forcing bat, useful bowler and top-notch fielder, as he showed us at Holkham in 2010 when he caught the uncatchable (a full-length dive on the mid wicket boundary) off the very last ball to give us the match by 4 runs, following Anu Mohindru’s very cultured century.
The above account is really a series of vignettes, derived from my diaries. Since I retired from active play with 836 wickets for the Club, I have umpired quite a lot, becoming known as “Hawkeye” or “The Finger”, but have not been present on sundry occasions, and have not been on those overseas tours, where excellent cricket has been played. But I do have some other favourite cameos which stick in the memory, including Peppard (now abandoned) where in 2009 Philip Cayford (now our President), bowling off-spin, claimed the home team’s last 4 wickets in one over for just one run – a wide, and Checkendon, where in 2011 Hornby (whose enthusiasm remains in abundance) caught their last batsman off the bowling of Bob Alexander’s 7 year old grandson. Recent centuries have been recorded by Eddie Faulks , Owen Roach, Charlie Atkins, Marcus Haywood, Anu Mohindru (several), Michael Edwards, David Alexander, Sam Burrett, Richard Saunders, Leo Buscombe (2) Joe Cannon and Will Eden.
I know myself to be wide open to the old tag “Expressio Unius est exclusio alterius” but have avoided too much specification in my text. Many not mentioned have wrought nobly. Blessings upon them all! We have, I believe, played the right kind of cricket, serious but not too much so, eminently suitable for those with a busy professional week who need some enjoyable relaxation at the week-end.