Club History

Club History

Club History

One of the oldest clubs in the world Rickmansworth was founded the same year as the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and also the same year as the founding of Australia as a nation - 1787. There are brief references in the press of a match having been played by the Club at Pinner in 1760 and then again in 1790, and also of some information in the Uxbridge pavilion of a match in the early 1780's. There are, however, no documents supporting these references so 1787 is the agreed date.

From 1787 to around 1800 Rickmansworth played Cricket at a ground just at the bottom of the Hill where Rickmansworth Golf Club is now and near the White Bear Pub.

A first class venue

In 1803, Rickmansworth hosted its only first class game during the 1803 English domestic seasom. The key player in the match was Lord Frederick Beauclerk. He was a descendant of King Charles II and one of the best single-wicket cricketers of his time. His under-arm bowling was very slow, but extremely accurate - and he could get the ball to rise abruptly off a length. Lord Beauclerk became the second president of MCC in 1826.

After some researches n the Lords archives, it is stated that the Rickmansworth Club played an England team at the Lords ground in 1807, almost 200 years ago.


It is believed that In the middle of the 19th century the club moved to its present ground which at the time belonged to the local landowner who lived at Rickmansworth Park House. This was a substantial Georgian property located just above where the Girls Masonic School stands today.

The Ground was generally used by the workers from the local Salters Brewery, mainly for cricket but also other pastimes such as athletics.

England and the Ashes

Around the 1870's and 1880's, Rickmansworth were considered one of the the top club sides in the South of England. In 1881 they played an England XI and won by 9 wickets, despite the England team containing Billy Midwinter, famous as being the only player to represent England and Australia in Test matches.

In 1882 Rickmansworth again hosted an All England team of professional players preparing to face the touring Australians 9 days later. Rickmansworth (fielding 18 players against the England Eleven) were defeated by 128 runs, but the England team went on to lose the most famous of matches, the original ‘Ashes’, at the Oval just over a week later. The same Ashes which are so keenly contested to this day.

After the Great War

By the end of the Great War the main house was falling into disrepair and the main part of the grounds - 204 acres, were purchased by the Masonic organisation for the consolidation of their girls schools. The cricket ground was bought by a local philanthropist who gave the grounds in perpetuity to the cricket club providing sports should always be played upon them.

Originally there was a wooden pavilion which provided accommodation only for serving refreshments and for teams to change their attire. There were no storage facilities for documents, and consequently no records, other than a score book dated 1881-3, have been preserved. In this score book, in addition to details of matches played against several clubs, including Abbots Langley and Pinner, there are details of a match with an England team. The overs were 4 ball overs at the time and teams rarely scored more than 100 and often batted twice in a day.

Celebrating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee

The late Mr FBH (Frank) Goodyear, a member and office of the club for some seventy years or more, remembered the celebrations held at the Club in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

"The celebrations concerning this event were held on the cricket ground and in the adjacent Rickmansworth Park. On that occasion a portion of the fence separating the properties was removed near the position of the old pavilion to allow the public to circulate.

"The cricket ground was actually the property of Salters Brewery, which was situated on both sides of the road near where the Joan of Arc Roman Catholic School now stands. Access to the field was by a road where the Roman Catholic Church now stands and continuing on the left of the old Malt House, now known as St Augustine's Hall.

"The old wooden pavilion, situated where the Cricket nets are now, had a small lawn in front of it, enclosed by an iron fence and only males were allowed to enter. There was a special enclosure for ladies in the centre of the willows bordering on the present playing fields by the stream, and on match days this enclosure was festooned with multi-coloured bunting. The boundary fence on the main road side of the ground ran in front of the position of the present Club House and connected with the hedge which now borders the Catholic property. The field between the cricket ground and the main road properties was often under water. The level piece of the cricket field immediately in front of the present Club House was used when not required for cricket, as a bowling green. Sometime between the end of the Boer War in 1901 and 1914 an English grass green with four rinks was laid behind the old pavilion (ie on what is now the 3rd team pitch) and was used continuously until the Council Bowling Green behind Basing House was constructed some time in the thirties.

In the pre-1914 days the Club drew members chiefly from the professional classes, who had been coached either at a public school or a university, and multi-coloured blazers were disported by most at every cricket match.

In 1919 the cricket field was again put into condition for play to be resumed, In early 1920 Salters Brewery was taken over by one of the large Brewery firms, and the threat of the Club losing the ground it had used for such a long time was very real. It was then that Mr Francis William Reckitt, an artist, who had lived in the town since 1904, stepped in and bought the whole property. He then had a modern club house erected as now, a hockey field laid out on what is now the 3td team pitches, replacing the bowling greens, and hard and grass lawn tennis courts constructed. The hard courts were where the car park is today and you can still see the brick built surrounds. Of course there were few cars in those days so no need for a car park.

The Rickmansworth Cricket and Sports Club

The Club now provided facilities for cricket, bowls, lawn tennis and hockey and when the club house was officially opened on 2nd February 1924, it then assumed the title of the Rickmansworth Cricket and Sports Club.

The cricket club fielded only one team and played matches with high class opponents on Saturdays and Sundays. There was also a very efficient Wednesday XI.

A cricket team functioned throughout the second world war of 1939-1945 and the cricket field was kept properly cut and the actual playing pitch of the hockey field was not allowed to grow wild. This was only possible because of an arrangement with the Hertfordshire County Council giving them sole use of the greater part of the club house as a children's nursery, and the financial arrangements made with the County during the war, and compensation when the war was ended enabled the Club to pay its way and accumulate a small surplus.

The decline

Since the Second War the club started a steady decline from being a Premier County side to, by the 1970's a club in a downward spiral. In the early 1980's the club house was altered to accommodate an upstairs changing room and the downstairs kitchen and garden, which had existed for the use of the club professional from the 1930's to the 1960's, was removed.

By the mid 1980's the club languished in the bottom division in Hertfordshire Cricket and the two Saturday and two Sunday teams was reduced to barely one team on each day. The Club considered a move to the Chiltern League but decided to stay in the Hertfordshire set-up.

Back to back premierships

In the 1990's the club started to attract new players again and won the 3rd Division and 2nd Division in successive years. The 2nd team were promoted also in 1995 and 1998. The wickets were still 'slow and low' and scores above 200 were rare, but the club membership grew and a 3rd XI was started in 1994.

The top field, which was exactly that, had an artificial wicket put in it and this served to give the 3rd team a home. In time this would be added to by putting in new wickets as well. Today it has 6 grass wickets as well as the old astro surface.

As Hockey played ceased at the Cricket Club, and moved to an artificial surface elsewhere in Rickmansworth, the club was able to grow membership even further and a 4th team came into being during the middle of the 2000's. Initially Rugby was played at the club and now it now shares it's grounds with Croxley Green Football Club

225 Anniversary

In 2012, when the club celebrated its 225th anniversary, there were four senior teams playing Hertfordshire League Cricket and 2 Sunday teams. Since then the club have concentrated on homegrown talent as much as possible. with players from Rickmansworth, Croxley Green and Watford.

The club has invested in facilities and the youth section, started in 2004 with 12 boys, has grown to accomodate upwards of 120 boys and girls. This has has produced Young County Cricketers as well as winning County Cups. The First team were champions of Division 6 in 2018 and Division Five in 2019, when the 2nd team also won promotion to Division 6. In 2021, the First XI gained promotion again as champions back to Division 3A of the SHPCL. The club also played it's first Girls only League fixtures in 2021.

After many years of investment the grounds are now resplendent and the Pavilion has taken on a new lease of life as a Live Music venue and Tap Room. The wickets play well and the club record for highest runs scored in 50 overs was broken 4 times in the Summer of 2021. The club is back on it's way to the higher reaches of Cricket in Hertfordshire.

Lord Beauclerk would be pleased to see Cricket still played at Rickmansworth over 200 years after he graced the stage himself and maybe he is looking down with a hint of envy that he can't be playing on a ground that is 235 years old in 2022.