A poignant photograph of Watlington Cricket Club players from 1914
The early years
The 11 men of Watlington
In July 1832, the first known reference to Watlington Cricket Club appeared in The Jackson's Oxford Journal, a predecessor to the Oxford Mail. It may well be that we one day discover we were founded before this date, but records beyond this are very sketchy.
While we don't know much about how many WCC members there were or who they were, but by 1835 there were enough players to play a 'married versus single men' club fixture.
The original ground was located in the grounds of Shirburn Castle. The Earls of Macclesfield and the Parker family have long had a strong relationship with the club.
The castle long played host to the Watlington Cricket Ball, which was one of the highlights of the social calendar, with the great and good of Oxfordshire and well beyond gracing the event with their presence.
The story goes that one Earl gifted our current ground to us, but after his death, the succeeding Earl disputed the ownership. A match was played between a team the Earl raised and Watlington CC on a field near the ridgeway to settle the dispute.
The field is now 'Old Cricket Ground Plantation', it is unclear if WCC or any other club played on it regularly.
The Earl's Select XI was undoubtedly a very strong team and needless to say we now rent the land!
The war years
Heroes on the cricket field and the battle field
The outbreak of the world wars brought temporary suspensions to cricket, while far greater sacrifices were made in fields far away, for which we honour and remember every year.
Cricket at Watlington resumed between the wars and by the start of the second world war, players were enjoying full fixture lists.
General Sir John Mogg
General Sir Herbert John Mogg, GCB, CBE, DSO* (17 February 1913 – 28 October 2001) was a senior British Army officer who also held the NATO position of Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
He was educated at Malvern College, and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. At Malvern, he paid more attention to cricket than to his studies, with the result that, instead of taking the entrance exam for Sandhurst, he chose the alternative route of a Y-cadetship in the Coldstream Guards. After three years in the ranks, he was selected for Sandhurst, where he gained the Sword of Honour in 1936, being commissioned into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in August 1937. He was a distinguished commander of the 9th battalion Durham Light Infantry from the Invasion of Normandy to the defeat of Germany.
He was interested in many sports including boxing, cricket and equestrianism and promoted these inside the army, as well as more generally. He was a president of a number of sports, army and veteran's associations.
'The General' was a player, Committee Member, Vice-President and then President of Watlington Cricket Club. He organised some lively if not memorable President's fixtures, with good players and plenty of very good beer.
He is portrayed here by Carlos Luis Sancha (1920–2001) in front of a cricket match at Malvern College (***NEEDS CONFIRMATION***)
Today, his son Brigadier JNB Mogg DL and his wife are Vice-Presidents of the club.
The next hundred years
Normal service resumes
After the second world war, things once again returned to normal