Leaving School and ‘Wandering’ About Your Cricketing Future?

Leaving School and ‘Wandering’ About Your Cricketing Future
Leaving School and ‘Wandering’ About Your Cricketing Future
©Patrick Latham

Selection for the school ‘A’ team should not be seen with such importance as it often is. There is a lot of pressure on children to represent their school ‘A’ team at any age group in any given sport. This pressure comes from peers, families, teachers, but most of all from the children themselves.

Cricket has far more to offer than just the high-pressure, cut and thrust of league and county cricket. As school coaches, we often see huge excitement and enthusiasm for all sports at the start of the school term, which, after selection for the initial training squads and first teams of the season can, to an extent, fall away as realisation dawns that the ‘A’ team seems out of reach. Too regularly, we focus on the high performers and interest in the development of the top players in the top teams can become a priority, rather than celebrating the success and relevance of players who are not particularly interested in cricket as a career or pursuing to higher levels after school, but who have a deep love for the game. Whilst opportunity for ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ teams is there to participate in inter school and inter club matches, arguably we do not consider enough the future development and interest of what will become the life blood of recreational cricket. For the top school players, we offer plenty advice and create links to clubs, district, county and other well-trodden pathways, but for those super keen cricket lovers who may not wish to follow the club or county pathway, we possibly fall a little short in advising them about alternative cricketing opportunities after leaving school.

Every year, there will be cricketers leaving school for whom club cricket is not a realistic option. This may be down to commitment in playing a large number of fixtures every weekend, a feeling of inadequacy, pressure of league cricket and the desire to play socially rather than having to consider league rankings, promotion and relegation, etc. Some of these players will play a little through university but sadly may ultimately be lost to the game if they are unable to find an alternative to club cricket.

On leaving school, I learned of an intriguingly named cricket team called ‘The Stragglers of Asia’. Traditionally, although rules are slightly more relaxed today, to play for this team one was required to have played cricket east of the Suez, which tells you a little about the wonderfully colourful history behind such teams. ‘The Stragglers’ offer wonderfully traditional cricket in idyllically quintessential settings, predominantly in London and surrounding counties. There exists a chance to play with and against like-minded people who are there for the enjoyment of the game, revelling equally in success and failure with the opportunity to play a smaller number of fixtures over the summer combined with opportunities to tour around the world playing cricket. Add to all this the amazing networking opportunities with some exceptionally well-connected people, the odd mountainous cheese board, fine wines and a glass or two of port over a long lunch and the whole scenario becomes a rather attractive prospect. Wandering Cricket Clubs, those traditionally without a home ground, ‘wander’ around the country being hosted by schools, clubs, military and other sides, is a genuine alternative to club cricket which is affectionately termed ‘jazz hat’ cricket on account of the brilliantly eccentric coloured and patterned caps and sweaters on show. 

It is important to note at this stage that whilst this article is directed at players who may not feel able to play club cricket for whatever reason, the mix in abilities and ages amongst wandering cricketers is what makes the whole experience so welcoming, and fun. Part of the challenge of the majority of wandering games is to ensure that the day sees a ‘perfect’ game of cricket leaving all results possible as late into the game as possible. Ideally, the winning runs will be scored, or the last wicket will fall in the last few balls of the day. This takes a little bit of imagination from the captains, who also need to ensure that all players get as equal an opportunity as possible in the games. What you can guarantee from playing for a wandering side is a plenty of laughs, relatively little pressure and generally a close match of encouraging inclusive cricket, spreading the message of a lifelong love of the game where the whole family is welcomed to a day of cricket.

Wandering cricket will take you to any number of fabulous locations and give you the opportunity to travel around the world touring with your chosen side should you wish. Among the grounds you can find yourself arriving at can include the beautiful Ascot Park, The Hurlingham Club, The Royal Household, The Honorable Artillery, and any number of top Independent School grounds around the country.

The Wandering Cricket culture is quite remarkable, and offers something to cricket lovers that club and county cricket does not. Cricket is a game that holds a future for everyone, so if you are someone who feels that the end of the cricketing road comes as you leave school, please do not forget to explore off the beaten track, as this is precisely where Wandering Cricket will take you.

Good luck, and I hope this list of wandering clubs and their founding dates (source: nomadscc.com/wandering-cricket-clubs) is useful in your search for what will prove to be hugely enjoyable and rewarding cricket.

PL & WD

I Zingari Cricket Club 1845

Gents of Worcestershire 1848 

Incogniti Cricket Club 1861  

Free Foresters Cricket Club 1856

Emeriti Cricket Club 1872 

Wanderers Cricket Club 1873 

Butterflies Cricket Club 1862  

Harlequins Cricket Club 1852   

Gents of Cheshire c.1850 

Lords and Commons 1850

Stoics Cricket Club 1877

Band Of Brothers CC 1858  

Yorkshire Gents CC 1863  

Quidnuncs 1851   

Bluemantles 1862  

Gents of Leicestershire 1868   

Hampshire Hogs  1887 

Northern Nomads 1892   

Craven Gentlemen 1892   

Borderers c.1892 

Somerset Stagglers 1900    

Devon Dumplings CC 1902    

Berkshire Gentlemen 1895   

Romany(Yorks) 1895/1902 

Nomads Cricket Club 1903 

Frogs Cricket Club 1903

Gents of Staffordshire 1904   

Glamorgan Nomads 1904   

Cornish Choughs CC 1906 

Gents of Shropshire CC 1906

Dorset Rangers CC 1906

Sussex Martlets 1905    

Gents of Essex 1907    

Yellowhammers 1907   

Cryptics 1910   

Invalids 1919   

Gentlemen of Suffolk 1921   

Gloucestershire Gipsies 1922    

Durham Pilgrims 1922   

Penguins 1923   

Thames Valley Ramblers1921 

Grasshoppers 1923

Stragglers of Asia 1925

South Wales Hunts 1926 

Lincolnshire Gentlemen 1928

Jesters CC 1928    

Romany 1929   

Souwesters 1930  

Buccaneers  1930 

The Stage 1931 

South Oxford Amateurs 1933  

Wiltshire Queries 1933 

Gaieties CC 1937   

Flycatchers 1934  

Arabs 1935   

Woodpeckers 1936   

Forty Club 1937 

Bushmen 1942 

Cricket Society XI 1949

Boffins  1949

Lord's Taverners  1950

Almondbury Casuals 1952   

Ravers Cricket Club 1954

Grannies 1956  

Badgers Cricket club 1958     

Privateers 1958

Saints 1959  

Jack Frost XI 1961

Lord Gnomes XI 1963 

Mandarins 1963 or 64  

Old England 1968  

Thames Valley Gents 1968  

Heartaches 1973

Touring Theatres 1974   

Weekenders 1970s   

Fleet Street Strollers 1976  

Captain Scott Invitation XI  

Kensington 1982(1848)  

Chelsea Arts Club 1984

Hetairoi 1980   

Journeymen 1988

Harry Baldwin Occass' 1986     

Sydenhurst Ramblers 1946 

Gents of Shropshire 1906   

Law Society 1929  

Brighton Brunswick 1870 

Paralytics   

London Theatres     1957 

London Erratics 1974 

Butler XI 1988 

Spasmodics  1935 

Nondescripts           1870s 

Gents of Herefordshire 1850s 

Paddington 1920 

Moose 1979 

Fleet Street Wanderers   1989 

The Philanderers 1986 

Eclectics CC20 

 

This and other coaching session plans and ideas for winter training for all ages and abilities are available as free downloads from www.aleadingedge.co.uk/products/

The first book in a series, entitled, ‘Cricket - A Leading Edge for Captains’ is now available on www.amazon.co.uk