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‘Gilligan’s Island?’: The Club Cricket Conference, Amateurism and the Evening Standard in Post-War Britain.

By Duncan Stone


1948 had been a very grim year for the average English cricket supporter. Glamorgan had won the English County Championship, and Don Bradman’s ‘Invincibles’ had played over 32 first-class matches without being defeated.\ud \ud In light of this poor showing in the Test arena, the media first questioned, and then offered suggestions as to what the cure for English cricket was. One newspaper ideally placed to highlight southern cricket’s absence of Northern style competitive leagues was London’s Evening Standard, and the paper’s Sports Editor Bruce Harris instigated a ‘campaign’ for league cricket to be adopted in the South. \ud \ud This paper examines the Standard’s role in reporting three attempts to form leagues in Surrey, Essex and Sussex, which challenged the strictly amateur and non-competitive cricket enforced by the Club Cricket Conference (CCC). The CCC being a socially elite organization which, by 1949, had overseen and strictly controlled Southern club cricket on ‘non-competitive lines’ for over 30 years. \ud \ud The paper concludes that the Evening Standard itself, undermined at least one of these challenges, and chose not to report upon one challenge’s success, due to the undue deference the Standard gave to the socially exclusive CCC and its member clubs; a decision which delayed the official ‘introduction’ of competitive league cricket to the South for at least another 20 years

Topics: D204, GV
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