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
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.
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
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
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.