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History of Weston-super-Mare C. C. from 1845 - 1887

The first mention of a cricket club occurs in the September Issue of the Westonian in 1845. The item, very brief, is worth quoting in full. “Cricket – a friendly match between the members of the Wrington and Weston-super-Mare Clubs took place on Wednesday week in a field near Belvidere in this town, and considering that the latter club has been established only 3 months, the play was very good. Wrington scored 87 and Weston 64.”

In early years most clubs suffered a start-stop existence and a variety of home grounds. This is certainly true of Weston whose members were the principle gentleman and several leading tradesmen of the place where Weston played their games in Mr. Glossop’s field 1857 or formed of members of the Working Men’s Institute played “in a field near the railway crossing in the occupation of Mr. John Harvey junior 1860”.

In 1863 E. M. Grace played for Redcliff against Weston and, in 1864 the great W. G. Grace played for Hanham against Weston. Naturally Weston lost both these games with wickets and runs for the famous Test playing brothers “in the field at the back of Ellenborough Crescent”. In 1865 Alfred Pontifax (9 appearances for Surrey and 1for Somerset) became Weston’s first recorded centurion in scoring 103 not out in a crushing victory over Redcliff. Weston were very active in the 1860’s but not so in the 1870’s

In 1880 Weston had a full fixture list and a professional Harry Scott who made a few appearances for Somerset. Results improved markedly and in a victory over Bristol Schoolmasters Frederick Leeston-Smith became Weston’s second centurion with 115, the first of his 7 centuries for Weston between 1880 – 1890. Scott had 10 wickets in the match and Arnold Fothergill who was professional in 1881 had 11 wickets in the game (2 innings per side). Fothergill was clearly a very fine player who not only played for Somerset but was also a member of the first touring party to South Africa in 1888 - 1889 playing in 2 Test matches. In 1881 Leeston-Smith became Weston’s first double centurion when he scored 204 against Clevedon. Unfortunately, in several years of the 1890’s no ground was available but, in the closing years of the decade, the club flourished playing it home games in the Recreation Grounds. Leeston-Smith played 3 games for Somerset in 1884 – 1885. He was renowned as a big striker of the ball and once hit E. M. Grace for 2 successive sixes before being stumped off the next delivery. William Massey also played for Somerset in one game in 1882.

In 1886 E.J. Tyler was engaged as the club professional. He came from Kidderminster but illness prevented him from playing beyond the end of May having already had three 5 wicket hauls. He played for Somerset on his return to fitness but left the Weston Club. It is worth noting that Teddy Tyler took 864 wickets with his slow left armers in Somerset’s earlier years, and he played once for England. From June onwards he was replaced by the Hampshire player A. Pink who had a good deal of success with bat and ball. Pink who was previously professional at the Taunton club seems to have swopped jobs with Tyler.