Bessborough Cricket Club History

Club History

Founded in 1908, the club played its first game against Harrow St. Mary’s on 23rd May with the team selected exclusively from residents of Bessborough Estate. Known as the ‘Bessborough Social Association Cricket Club’, and playing to a reasonable standard, the club even managed to play at Lord’s against the Cross Arrows on the 23rd September 1911.

Following the end of World War One, the club reformed in 1919, amalgamating with another local club to be known as Bessborough Cricket Club, opening up membership to all-comers for the first time.

Whilst all home games had previously been played at Harrow Recreation Ground, the club moved to its current location at Headstone Manor on 28th May 1939 (Known then as the King George V Memorial Ground). Despite the outbreak of war that year, to their credit the committee managed to maintain a full fixture list for the First Eleven on both Saturday’s and Sunday’s. The club also managed to play regularly throughout the war (despite many other clubs either folding or combining).

Notable fixtures of the time included matches against the British Empire XI in 1943, 1944 and 1945, as well as against an All-Star Woman’s XI including Molly Hide in 1948 and an Australian Women’s Touring XI in 1949.

However, declining membership throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s (at worst, the club was only just able to get out a First Eleven). This led to a decision to start a colts section in 1967. The first competitive Colts matches were played in 1970, although only at Under 17 level.

Men’s Cricket at Bessborough

Whilst the early matches played by the club were largely regarded as social occasions, the club duly built a competitive fixture list which included matches against some of the strongest opposition

throughout the county. These games however were still classed as ‘friendlies’ with nothing more than pride riding on it.

The first competition the club played in was the Mayor of Harrow 20 Over Knock Out Competition which began in 1952, and could be entered by any club in the Harrow area. Bessborough were finalists in 1952 and 1953 and it was not until 1989 that the trophy was finally lifted. This was followed by success in 1990, 1991 and 1993, together with victories in the County Cup (a prestigious 20 over competition entered by all Middlesex clubs) in 1989, 1991 and 1993, making Bessborough the only Harrow Club ever to have won it.

Incredibly, it was not until 1977 that Bessborough started playing league cricket, when it registered a First and Second XI in the Middlesex Cricket League. Bessborough now puts out three league sides on each Saturday and two on a Sunday. In addition, a squad is sent to Vienna each March to play in a prestigious five-day international indoor tournament. In 2002 the team managed to finish third losing to English National Indoor Champions Pudsey with two balls remaining in the semi-final.

The club celebrated it's centenary in 2008 and were awarded a game against the M.C.C. in July. The MCC were captained by former Bessborough Legend Graham Sainsbury. An Ian Barrie hundred led Bessborough to a thrilling win on a gloriously warm day in July.

2008 also saw the first 'Legends Day' when two sides of former Bessborough players came back to take on the current side. It was a huge success both on and off the field.