Cricket and Streatham

The Daily Advertiser reported that a cricket match was played on Streatham Common between Clapham and Streatham for a payment of 11 guineas a side on 26 July 1731. The is the earliest mention of cricket in Streatham.

Streatham Cricket Club is the oldest cricket club in Streatham and was founded for the “Gentry” of the Village in 1805. As Streatham grew in the mid-19th century the game became popular with all the classes in the area and by the end of the Victorian era, Streatham boasted a total of 72 clubs including tradesmen’s teams such as the Streatham Early Closing Cricket Club and the Streatham Wednesday Cricket Club. Both played on Wednesday afternoons when it was traditional to close shops. Other clubs either represented a church, school, police, a family or the gardeners and coachmen who worked in the grand houses of the area.

Streatham Cricket Club initially played on Streatham Common and later moved to the area which is today Angles and Pendennis Roads.  Gracefield Gardens was named to celebrate one of England’s most famous cricketers, W G Grace, who on 10th July 1901, played on the ground on the first of several times for London County. The ground also saw Jack Hobbs (22) play in 1904 when he was run out for 73 and took the single wicket of Cyril M Thomas, the headmaster of Cheltonia College, 45 Tooting Bec Road. A Zeppelin bomb fell on the ground in September 1916, killing a donkey.
Streatham Cricket Club merged with several clubs over the years and in 2003 the last merger saw it become Streatham and Marlborough Cricket Club, which today plays in Dulwich.

Many Streatham cricketers played County cricket including Sir Kingsmill James Key, C.B Fry, Neville Miller, K S Ranjitsinhji, Arthur Stoner and Andy Sandham.  Sandham was born in Streatham and played 14 Test matches between 1921 and 1930. He made the first triple century in Test cricket; 325 against the West Indies in 1930 and scored over 40,000 first-class runs.

John Major, the former PM played a few games for Streatham Cricket Club’s Colts in the 1960s when living in Thornton Road SW2.

Image of an issue of Wisden, the cricket magazine edited in StreathamRaman-Subba-Row was born in Pendennis Road in Streatham in 1936. He played for Surrey and Northants and between 1958-61 played 13 tests for England. He became Chairman of Surrey CC and Chairman of the Test and County Cricket Board and the Cricket Council.

Other local cricket connections include:

  • Three editors of Wisden, the Cricketers Almanack; Charles Caine (66 Braxted Road), Hubert Preston (29 Wyatt Park Road) and Norman Preston MBE (29 Wyatt Park Road).
  • Antony Dufort, whilst living in Streatham Hill had a studio in a room in the Streatham Hill Theatre and sculpted the bronze statue “The Bowler”, commissioned by the MCC for the Lord’s Cricket Ground.
  • Charles Alcock, known as the “Father of Modern Sport”, was the Secretary of the Surrey County Cricket Club and the Football Association. He lived briefly at 16 Stanthorpe Road in 1887/8
  • David Rayvern Allen was born in Streatham. A TV and radio presenter he wrote over 20 books on cricket
  • Clifford Bax (Pendennis Road) brother of composer Arnold Bax, wrote W.G Grace in the Cricketing Lives series.

By: Mark Bery Streatham Society

Source Colin Hutton- Streatham and the Summer Game. Streatham Society)

WG Grace team in the cricketing Lives series