Barwell Cricket Club was founded in 1807.
Barwell and Coventry North Warwickshire hold a famous record by playing yearly the oldest continuous club cricket match.
History of these matches:
Wakes Week was something more than holiday in Barwell. It was a time honored institution dating back for many years. The coming of the second world war in 1939 saw the demise of this annual "Week Long" affair, but up until then, the yearly "Match at Cricket", had taken place every Wakes Tuesday since 1807. Of recent times the match takes place on the first Saturday to follow September 19th each year and is reputed to be the Oldest Continuous Club Cricket Match in the world. There is no fight for League points: but the rivalry is of razoredge keenness, and it has been the ambition of rising young cricketers to participate in this historic match, we say historic because it's beginnings are lost in the mists of time. It is thought to have been instigated by the resident incumbents, Rev George Mettam of St Mary's at Barwell: and Rev Robert Simson of St Michael's at Coventry. These two Vicars had completed their studies in the late 1790's Mettam at Merton College and Simson at St John's College, we think they had become cricketing associates in the Oxford University Cricket Teams and subsequently, becoming near neighbors, in the early 1800's, they continued this friendship through their Church Teams.
In those early days, it must have been almost a whole day out to travel from Coventry, by Horse drawn vehicle, play a match at Cricket, be entertained by the local hosts, visit to the Wakes Fair, and return home .. Around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries both teams were a force to be reckoned with, and from amongst their squads there began to appear names which ultimately rose to international status. Appearing for Coventry St Michael's - the Rotherham brothers had outstanding careers, R E S Wyatt, who was 16 times Captain of England and made 40 Test match appearances. The barwell team can boast with Albert Lord and Sam Coe and of course George Geary, who was born in Barwell, and always remembered affectionately his family connections locally and during his career playing for England he bowled out the great Australian, Don Bradman, for only 29 runs. The 123th match in this Wakes series saw both Wyatt and Geary playing against one another here at Barwell in 1930 this must have created an extremely fascinating game of cricket to watch. The two world wars failed to cancel the matches, although on one occasion during the second world war the fixture was carried through with a single wicket intact. Still remembered by many, Henry Smith, now in his 82nd year, had a magnificent spell of bowling as a sixteen year old, in 1940 against Coventry and North Warks. He took 5 wickets for 7 runs in only 7.5 over’s.
The first centenary match in 1907 was not one for Barwell to be over proud of, when the captain of the day put Barwell in to bat first, they were quickly followed by Coventry, and the first 14 wickets to fall that day scored only a total of 38 run. The 199th challenge in 2006 was somewhat better, with Coventry scoring 185 for 9, and Barwell responded with a match winning score of 186 for 6.
From past records and spoken memories from a variety of sources this particular game is not only a match of cricket but also a splendid social gathering of cricketing friends to finalize the cricket season, let us hope that this Bicentenary event will set the sights for the forthcoming 100 years.
The pages on the following link are taken from the book ‘Lancashire Hot Pot’ written by T C F Prittle, and published in 1949, about Lancashire County Cricket Club and recount a match played at Barwell CC in 1946 between Leicestershire CC and Lancashire CC.
Cricket at Barwell - Leics v Lancs