Welcome to the Archive page — this new feature will highlight items culled from Blundell’s extensive archive.
Cricket at Blundell’s
The earliest discovered Blundell’s cricket match took place on September 14th 1844 against the Tiverton Club on the Town Ground, and resulted in a win for the town.
In the Blundell’s match against the Twenty-Two Tiverton Tradesmen played in 1869, John Aynsley, for the School, took 15 wickets in the first innings and 11 in the second - 26 wickets in the match. Furthermore, he was top scorer in both Blundell’s innings.
Net practice first took place at Blundell’s in 1878.
In 1881 Tiverton and Blundell's School Cricket Clubs decided to appoint a professional, who would share his time between both teams.
In 1888 School House scored 593, beating North Close by an innings and 453 runs. The School House total included 282 by Conway Francis, who shared in 3 century stands. He later played for Gloucestershire in just a single match, scoring 8 runs against Kent, while his team-mate, W.G. Grace, scored 257.
The Blundell’s ‘average ball’ awarded to Arthur Birkett in 1892, for the best bowling average of the season – taking 30 wickets at a cost of 359 runs. He was one of the four Old Blundellians in the England team that won the Olympic Gold Medal for cricket in 1900.
Ulick Considine boarded in Westlake from 1915 to 1919, and proved an excellent cricketer and rugby player. In his final term at Blundell’s he won the average bat for the third year in succession, and scored a massive 342 out of Westlake’s total of 481 in a house match against the Day Boys – this still remains the School’s highest individual score. In this same term he made the top score in a trial match for Somerset. On leaving School he was soon playing both rugby and cricket for Somerset. In 1925 he played on the wing for England against France, but a knee injury in that game ended his rugby career, but he continued to play cricket and scored nearly 3,000 runs during his first-class career. He died in 1950, aged just 49 years.
Royston Gabe-Jones (OH 1918-25) was a member of both the Blundell’s 1st XI and 1st XV teams. While he was in the Middle Vth at School, aged just 15 years and 9 months, he made his County Championship debut for Glamorgan against Leicestershire at Cardiff Arms Park in the last week of August 1922 - becoming the youngest county cricketer of the 20th century. Although he made a stubborn 6 n.o. and excelled in the field, this was to be his only first-class match. He continued playing for Blundell’s until he left for Cambridge University, and later went into business in Cardiff. He played rugby for Cardiff R.F.C. more than 100 times, and became captain in the 1933-34 season.
Cyril Wilkinson was in the Blundell’s 1st XI in 1902 and 1903. He made his first-class debut for The Gentlemen of England in 1908, and subsequently played for Surrey between 1909 and 1920, captaining them in their Championship year of 1914. He also played hockey at international level, and was a member of the England Gold Medal-winning team at the 1920 Olympics. He played his final game of cricket for Sidmouth at the age of 67 in August 1952, scoring 50 and taking all 10 wickets. He was President of the Old Blundellian Cricket Club from 1960 to 1970.
On the Wednesday preceding Old Blundellian Day in 1926 the new pavilion was used for the first time - for a luncheon enjoyed by the Past vs Present cricket teams.
In 1935 Edward ‘Ned’ Lloyds was the captain of cricket at Blundell’s. He was to become the father of another famous Old Blundellian cricketer, Jeremy.
Francis House went on a cricket tour to Holland in 1949 as guests of The Hague Cricket Club.
The first Old Blundellian Cricket Week was held in 1951, with Ted Crowe as Secretary.
In a match played in May 1956 the Tiverton Cricket Club included 4 Blundell’s masters – Ted Crowe, Chris Reichwald, Mike Comer and Geoffrey Lucas – while the Blundell’s 1st XI had as its top scorer a young man who would achieve lasting fame as an England rugby player, Richard Sharp.
Milestones scored 10 (yes, ten!) in a Junior House League match in 1957, with Brindle scoring 7, and the remaining 3 runs coming from extras. Perhaps, not surprisingly, Westlake in reply made 12 without loss.
In 1969 Robin Harvey (OH 1955-9) won the Wilfred Rhodes Trophy for the highest batting average in Minor Counties Cricket, playing for Cornwall.
Tom Jennings (left) arrived as cricket professional and groundsman in 1924. Although born in Tiverton, Tom had played for Surrey from 1921 to 1924. Three of his brothers played first-class cricket, and his father, David, had played for Devon as Tom soon did after his arrival. His duties at the School were to be varied; as well as his cricketing, he became tuck shop proprietor, air-raid warden during the War and he ran the Sports Shop. Tom retired in 1962, and died 10 years later.
Two Old Blundellian brothers achieved fame in the 1960s: John Davis (FH 1952-57) went on to play for Oxford University and Glamorgan, and his younger brother, Roger (right) (FH 1959-64) was a key player for the Welsh county. Roger is best remembered for almost spoiling Gary Sobers’ record-breaking six sixes in a single over, when he caught the ball but fell back over the rope, thereby giving the West Indian another six.
Cricket at Blundell’s cannot be considered without mentioning Vic Marks. He showed great promise from the beginning; in 1969 he captained the Junior Colts to an undefeated season, and in the following year was picked for the Public Schools Under-16 XI. He also excelled at football, rugby and Fives – in his last year he reached the final of the Schools Fives Championships at Whitgift. He played cricket for Oxford University between 1975 and 1978, being captain in 1976 and 1977. He made his first-class debut in 1975 for Somerset, and in 1980 played his first One Day International match for England against the West Indies, and two years later was in the Test side. Meanwhile, he had joined the Blundell’s Common Room in 1978, teaching a variety of subjects, including Classics. He left in 1981 to pursue his cricketing life. After retiring as a professional cricketer Vic has pursued a successful career in broadcasting, and is a regular figure on Test Match Special.
Hugh Morris was one of the most prolific batsmen produced by Blundell's. He scored his first century for the Under-14s, and went on to score several more. Possibly his finest season was 1982, when he became the first Blundell’s batsman to score 1,000 runs in a season, and also topped the bowling averages. He made his county debut for Glamorgan in 1981 while still at School, and became the county’s youngest-ever captain in 1986, aged 22. Yet, despite his achievements he earned just 3 Test caps for England in 1991. He has worked for the England and Wales Cricket Board for many years and in 2007 was named Managing Director of the England team.
Jeremy Lloyds was a contemporary of Marks at Blundell’s. He was on the staff at Lord’s before joining Somerset, and later played for Gloucestershire and the Orange Free State. In all he played 267 first-class matches, scoring over 10,000 runs, and taking 333 wickets. He later became an umpire; making his first-class debut in 1996, and in 2000 he umpired his first one-day international game. In the first ball of his first Test match, Bangladesh vs West Indies in 2004, he gave the Bangladeshi batsman out l.b.w. He stepped down from international cricket in 2006.
Graham Gooch, the England Test player, held a cricket clinic in the Blundell’s Sports Hall in 1989.
A girl’s cricket team was established during the summer of 1999 and ended in an unbeaten season, thanks to the coaches Mrs Klinkenberg and Charles Noon.
Blundell’s Under-13A cricket XI were unbeaten in 13 games during the 2004 season.
Ian Gompertz of Blundell’s won both the batting and bowling cups in the Daily Telegraph Schools Cricket Awards for 1994.
On June 13th 2008 Blundell’s was graced with the presence of Sir Garfield ‘Gary’ Sobers, who came as an ambassador for his international cricket tournament held in Barbados each year. This great gentleman of cricket was treated to a much-deserved standing ovation on his arrival in Big School as well as at the end of the witty and humorous evening.