Piece of history at Sidmouth Cricket Club

Neil Gamble is presented with the painting by Robert Lo, secretary of the Boffins. They are surroun

Neil Gamble is presented with the painting by Robert Lo, secretary of the Boffins. They are surrounded by players from both clubs. - Credit: Archant

SIDMOUTH Cricket Club got a blast from the past when it was presented with a rare piece of history on Monday.

A touring team handed over a special painting dating back more than a century that will be proudly displayed at the Fortfield.

The watercolour depicts a game in August 1877 featuring players from the town and the former Emeriti Cricket Club, writes Stefan Gordon.

Visiting side Boffins CC - which has links to Emeriti - gathered with their Sidmouth opponents after a match to celebrate the handover.

“The watercolour is a real piece of history for us and will certainly have a prominent place on the pavilion wall,” said Sidmouth Cricket Club’s Neil Gamble.

“The painting is a special find and records a rare snapshot of Sidmouth CC history. The club is delighted to receive it.”

The watercolour shows respective teams with Fortfield Terrace in the background and a marquee situated on what is now the croquet lawn next to the pavilion.

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Surprisingly, the pitch was oriented diagonally compared to its present location.

In the 1860s and 1870s, Sidmouth began to build up an impressive fixture list of touring teams from different parts of the country.

Emeriti CC was one of the very well-organised sides that came regularly from the 1860s onwards.

The Emiriti – originally formed by old boys from UK Roman Catholic public schools around Britain - no longer exists, but many Boffins have close connections to the former organisation and their committee holds all its records and memorabilia.

The Boffins have come down to play Sidmouth, as part of a West Country tour, every year since 1949.

The 64-year connection is not long by Sidmouth’s standards - The Nondescripts have been touring every year since 1870, except for the two world wars.