Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

CELEBRATING 155 YEARS OF WORCESTERSHIRE COUNTY CRICKET CLUB

It’s 155 years ago this week that Worcestershire CCC was formed at the Star Hotel – now under the name of the Whitehouse Hotel – in Foregate Street, Worcester.

A meeting was called “for the promotion of the much required Worcestershire County Cricket Club” under the chairmanship of the Lord Lieutenant for the County, Lord George Lyttelton.

It led to Worcestershire CCC being born on March 3, 1865 with Lord Lyttelton becoming the club’s first president.

There had been a team representing Worcestershire for around 20 years previously, twice playing an England X1 at Powick Ham and in the Tything at a ground behind the Talbot Inn.

There is a record of Worcestershire and Shropshire meeting in a match on Hartlebury Common in 1844 and a series of matches were played at Ombersley three years later.

But then the ‘City’ and ‘County’ clubs amalgamated in 1855 and played predominantly on Pitchcroft until Worcestershire CCC was officially formed 10 years later.

The first match under the official Worcestershire CCC name was staged on April 29, 1865 against Bromsgrove School and two members of the Lyttelton family played major roles in the county triumphing.

It was at this juncture that the county moved to the Pleasure Gardens ground, Boughton which was to be their home ground for the next three decades.

From 1895 the cricket became more competitive and Worcestershire shared the inaugural Minor Counties Championship and won it outright in 1896, 1897 and 1898.

As the 20th century approached, it was the launchpad for Worcestershire to apply for and secure first class status – and the rest, as they say, is history.

From the days of being called ‘Fostershire’ in the early 1900s to a golden period of five County Championship titles – and many more one-day trophies – in a 25 year period from the 1960s to the 1980s, and the current white ball success, there is much to admire.

There is much to be proud of since that meeting at the Star Hotel and the future is looking bright on and off the field with relatively new facilities such as the Hick Pavilion and The View, and plans in the pipeline for more development, and a talented squad blending youth with experience.