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Derbyshire County Challenge Cup 1895

Posted by Stuart Rudkin on 12/04/2017 09:32


1895 Derbyshire County Challenge Cup

The fixture list for 1895 was published in the Derby Mercury on Wednesday 20 March.   It contained a total of twenty-six 1st XI and thirteen 2nd XI fixtures.  The 1st XI were scheduled to play sixteen home matches and the 2nd XI eight.

First Round

The first round of the Derbyshire Challenge Cup saw Darley Dale meet Stainsby on Saturday 25th May at the Darley Dale club ground with a splendid wicket and magnificent weather, according to the report in the Derby Mercury which went on:

The visitors won the toss and chose to bat, a fateful decision as they lost the first four batsmen without a single run being scored as A H Smith and C Pashley both bagged a brace, one bowled and one caught by W Holmes for each bowler.  The visitors recovery was led by C Day who reached 28 before being bowled by J Siddall.  J Hort was the only other batsman to reach double figures, finishing 10 not out in a total of 62.  B Gregory knocked over the tail finishing with three wickets for seven runs, backing up Smith who took three for nine, whilst Pashley and Siddall both bagged a brace.



econd/Third Round

The vagaries of the competition meant that seven of the places in the third round were filled with teams given a bye in the second round.  Those left in the competition at this stage were Butterley(holders), Church Gresley Rovers, Codnor United, Darley Dale, Derby Congregational, Draycott, Matlock and Melbourne.  The Dalesmen were probably hoping for a home draw to avoid the possibility of a long journey and fortune smiled as not only were Darley Dale drawn at home, but the opponents would be neighbouring Matlock. 

A local columnist for the Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald provides a contemporary insight into the state of the rivalry between the two clubs a week or so before the match.

Nothing could have better happened to arouse local cricket enthusiasts to the greatest tension than the draw in the Derbyshire Challenge Cup between Darley Dale and Matlock.  What a gate there is sure to be.  It is the third round and the fight will be of the sternest character.  Which [ever team] win this game meet Butterley, the holders of the Cup.  The round has to be played on the 6th July.  What a Jubilee Darley Dale will have, to be sure.  I should not like to be under compulsion to name the winner, although the chance is but two to one.  Darley have a very capable local eleven, and they have the advantage of being on their own ground.  Matlock, a much older club, and with a bigger reputation, think they can knock the conceit out of their rivals.  They point to their great bowler, Ernest Farnsworth, and sagaciously pin their faith in his being in the best form, and then victory is easy.  Ernest is a rare bowler, and if he comes out in his merriest mood Darley Dale will confront the ablest trundler they have met this season.  When the match is over, I hope the competitors will be none the less good neighbours.

It seems that the rivalry between these two clubs was a fierce in the nineteenth century as it is today!   The greatly anticipated match took place on Saturday 6th July in glorious sunshine.  Once again the Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald reported on the match in detail.

Perhaps never in the history of cricket has there been such a gate at Darley Dale as that which was seen on Saturday, when rival elevens of Darley Dale and Matlock were drawn together to compete for supremacy in the third round of the Derbyshire Cup.  It was a glorious afternoon, the sun pouring out its rays with a brilliancy which made the spectators yearn for cover.  I need not enter into any elaborate description of the contest and preliminaries which brought it about.  Both clubs had byes in the second round.  It was singular they should be drawn out of the hat.  Darley Dale relied on their own men, with one exception, that was young Evans from Wirksworth.  On the other hand Matlock had secured the services of Mr. Marsden and Mr. Blackwell, both from Wirksworth.  They had been tried with the County.  On paper it was as certain as anything could be before the event of a victory for Matlock.  Things do not always turn out according to popular fancy, and the reverse was the decision in this game.  A very good wicket had been obtained.  It was true and hard, entirely in favour of run getting.  The Darley Brass Band was there to play the men in and out, and it was remarkable how irregular was their employment.  Well, Darley won the toss and began with B C Gregory and A H Smith.  Travis had charge of the attack and he opened to Smith.  By steady cricket the score was run on to 21, when the younger batsman was out to a ball which broke.  He had made 15, a valuable contribution.  Ben Gregory was in a long time for his three.  Ernest Farnsworth was the other bowler but he was not in his best form.  Wildgoose was the wicket down and from the opening delivery he made a couple and the next went for a brace of byes.  Hemming, who I may remark kept the wicket very well, brought off a smart catch close to the stumps off Travis.  The next item was a big hit by Wildgoose who sent the ball into the river.  H Gregory had come to the Rowsley man and was quickly appealed for at wicket, but Hemming missed the opportunity.  However Gregory was run out.  Mr. Marsden was prominent with capital fielding.  Then Flint let off Wildgoose, a mistake which cost the side dearly.  A change in the bowling came, and should have been made earlier. Blackwell took the ball at Farnsworth end and H Farnsworth was the order vice Travis.  A chance was given by Wildgoose to Barber which ought to have been taken.  The score read 47 for three when Gregory was run out.  The innings closed for the respectable total of 94.  Of these Wildgoose had made 34 by free cricket.  He gave four chances all the same.  The fielding of Matlock was anything but good.  Travis had four for 33 and E Farnsworth four for 29, Mr. Blackwell’s one costing 16.  Matlock were set a pretty big task to win.  They were confident, and appeared to make light of the effort.  Tom Barber added 10 when Pashley found a way to his wicket.  The only batsman to exhibit any sort of form was E Farnsworth who was not out 26. He batted freely and stylishly.  Such a collapse of the Matlock team was not anticipated.  I must compliment Darley in their hour of joy.  They played up like winners from the first.  The greatest credit belongs to Pashley who had seven wickets for the small cost of 20 runs.  Matlock total was only 51.  B Gregory had 3 for 13, a good performance.


Semi Final

Both semi-finals were played at the County ground on Saturday 20th July and the Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald report read as follows:

Darley Dale in the Final

Darley Dale occupies the proud position of finalists in the Derbyshire Cricket Challenge Cup, an achievement upon which they deserve to be most heartily congratulated, their victories having been won by pluck, determination and sound cricket,  Moreover the club has relied on local talent.  The semi-finals in the competition were played on the County ground, Derby, on Saturday.  They were between Darley Dale and Butterley, the holders of the trophy; and Draycott aganst Codnor United.  Darley and Codner winning will have to meet for the championship, and the chances are entirely in favour of the former.  There was a capital attendance of spectators, chiefly comprising the partisans of the competing teams, but unfortunately the weather was of a threatening character, and rain interfered with play.  A start was made as 2:39, and Butterley, winning the toss, sent Darley Dale to the wickets.  A disasterous start was made, B C Gregory being clean bowled with only two on the board, and three wickets were down for half-a-dozen runs, and half the side dismissed for 22.  With 25 for six wickets, Ben Gregory and R B Wright became associated and made a splendid stand, Gregory scoring rapidly.  About four o’clock a heavy shower drove the players to shelter, and on resuming after a quarter of an hour’s absence Gregory and Wright still defied the bowlers and raised the score by leaps and bounds.  At 55, however, Gregory lost his partner, and J Wright helped him to carry the score to 70.  Gregory eventually being last out with 41 out of 91 to his credit.

Without Gregory’s contributions Darley’s score would have been very poor.  He played the bowling at a critical time with the greatest confidence, and hit one five, a four and six threes and never gave a chance.  Fowler secured five wickets for 39 and Wrigth four for 40.  Butterley began disastrously losing two wickets for one run.  Brown and Goodall altered the complexion of the game considerably, and T and R Wright lent valuable assistance.  When Gregson joined Foster, who was batting very steadily, ten were requied to avert defeat, but Butterley failed to come within three of their opponents’ total amid great excitement.



The final was to be on 10th and 12th August over two innings.

[Details of the first day needed]

Play resumed on Monday 12th August with Darley on 163 for five.  The innings closed at 188.

Codnor fared badly against the bowling of Pashley and B Gregory, and were dismissed for 74.  Pashley took seven wickets for 35 runs and his bowling was backed up by some excellent fielding.  On going in, Darley started badly, but subsequently Wright and Willgoose batted well, and at 4.45, when rain stopped play, they had scored 124 for six wickets, Willgoose, 22, and Holmes, 16, the not out batsmen. 

With Darley 229 runs ahead, the captain and players wanted to close their innings.  However the Darley Dale Committee did not agree and when play eventually resumed, Willgoose scored a further 19 runs and Siddall chipped in with 11 as Darley reached a total of 165.

This meant Codnor required an improbably 280 runs to win, more than three times the total they mustered in their first innings.  Victory certainly seemed a long way off at the close of the days’ play as they reached 28 for one, Pashley removing Fowkes for a duck through a catch by Homes.

A third day’s play was arranged by the two clubs to take place a fortnight later, on 24th August.  Before the day arrived Codnor however, decided, as their position was “pretty hopeless”, to scratch, and the cup therefore passed into the possession of Darley Dale for the next 12 months.


The Celebrations           

On Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald carried the following story about the complimentary dinner and the presentation of medals and photographs for the cup winning team:

On Saturday evening a complimentary dinner was given to the Darley Dale Eleven in honour of their winning the Derbyshire Challenge Cricket Cup.  The dinner took place at the “Square and Compass” Darley Bridge.  Host Rutland, who is an ardent supporter of the club, providing an excellent repast.  The president of the club, Major H. Brooke Taylor, of Bakewell, presided over proceedings, which were of an interesting character, and amongst those present were Mr. Tom Wright, J.P. (hon. Secretary of the club), the Rev.  E. A. Hadfield (Vicar of South Darley), Mr. A. Clay, J.P., Mr. M. A. Sleigh, Mr. E. W. T. Richmond (Warrington), Mr. H. Deeley, C.C., Mr. J. H. Dawson (vice-president), Mr. A. H. Smith (assistant secretary), Mr. Fred Smith, Mr. J. R. Wright (Derby), Mr. B. C. Gregory, Mr. M. Atkins, Mr. John Gregory, Mr. H. Gregory, Mr. S. J. Deeley, Mr. J. J. Wildgoose, Mr. T. Barker (Matlock), Mr. G. Smedley, Mr. G. Knowles, Mr. C. Pashley, Mr. J. Wright, Mr. A Grafton, Mr. W. Elliott, Mr. T. Handley, Mr. W. Taylor, Mr. Gould, Mr. Wall, Mr. Walters, Mr. Jackson, Mr. J. F. Evans, Mr. G. F. Porter, etc.,

The cloth having been removed, the Chairman proposed  the “Health of the Queen” which was loyally drunk.  Then the Challenge Cup was filled with “fizz” and passed round as the “loving cup”.

The presentations were next proceeded with, Mr. Clay, J.P., kindly providing the bat for the best batting average and Mr. B. J. Bedall a ball for the best bowler.  Each bore a silver plate on which was a suitable inscription.  In making the presentation Mr. Clay said, as the honour fell upon him last year, he should have liked Mr. Bedall to have been present and performed the duty.  He trusted that the giving of those presents did some good – (hear, hear) – and he was sure he should always be pleased to render what assistance he could to encourage the players.  (Applause.)  He had great pleasure on handing Mr. Walter Holmes the bat.  (Applause.)

Mr. Wall stepped forward, and in the name of Mr. Holmes, who has left the neighbourhood to take up a position in London, received the bat.  Mr. Holmes, he said, has asked him to tender his most heartfelt thanks to Mr. Clay for the very handsome manner he had rewarded him for his success, and also that so long as they had three such gentlemen as Messrs. Clay, Bedell, and Paget, and such sterling players, with “Owd Ben Gregory as captain,” they must succeed.  (Applause.)

Mr. Clay then handed to Mr. C. Pashley the ball, and in reply Mr. Pashley said he was such encouragement was appreciated by them, and it certainly caused them to take more interest in the game.  (Applause.)

Mr. Tom Wright, J.P., who was given a hearty cheer, said he believed he was heard to say at the commencement of that wonderful competition that if the Darley boys won the cup he would certainly be at the expense of having them photographed and would give to each player a picture.  (Applause.)

He need hardly remind them that they had won the cup – (laughter) – because he believed that fact was known far and wide.  (Applause.) 

But he might be just touch on the manner in which they had won the cup – (hear, hear) – because they knew that it was thought that when Matlock bought their team to Darley Dale they would be “snuffed out” right away. (Laughter.) 

On paper the Matlock team looked a very strong one, and they brought with them gentlemen partly unknown, but it was not so with Darley.  They had been playing together for a season or so, and he thought that they had under those circumstances a great chance against the wonderful Matlock team.  (Laughter and hear, hear.)

Well, the game came off on that beautiful bit of turf, kindly and generously lent to them by Lady Whitworth – (applause) – one of the nest supporters the club ever had – (applause) – as was also her late husband, Sir Joseph Whitworth.  (Applause.)

Well, instead of Matlock stuffing them out, the Darley boys had stuffed them out properly, and in his opinion there was no fluke about it, but Darley won on their merits, by superior play on the field as well as with the bat and general smartness.  (Applause.)

Then there was poor old Codnor.  (Laughter.)  The big score built up by Darley fairly took all the heart out of them, and without even asking the permission of the County Committee, they gave Darley the cup.  The cup, they would remember, was presented to them by Mr. Boden, President of the County Club, one of the best authorities on cricket they had in the county, in the presence of some 8000 people – (applause) – and to crown all their success there was a victory the same day over a County Eleven.  (Load applause.)

They had had a really successful season, they had won the cup on their merits, and he believed that no team in that county had ever attained such a high position in village cricket as had Darley Dale.  (Applause.)  They were the envy of all Derbyshire. (Applause.)

He concluded by saying he had now only to keep his promise, and he had before him 11 splendid pictures of the team, which had been the work of Mr. Statham of Matlock.  He had only made  one slight distinction, and that was to have his old friend “Ben’s” framed.  (Applause.)

Mr. Wright then handed to the following one of the photographs:- B.C. Gregory, B. Gregory, H. Gregory, A.H. Smith, C. Pashley, J. Wright, J. Siddall, F. Evans, F. Smith, and R.B. Wright, and Mr. Wall received Mr. Holmes’.

The Chairman, who was given a hearty welcome, remarked that they would proceed to the presentation of the medals.  The medals they had heard from the secretary had been won in a fair fight. And would therefore be all the more appreciated by the recipients.  (Applause.)

He desired to thank them for kindly asked him to preside over that meeting, for he could assure them that it gave him great pleasure to come there, for he had always a warm feeling towards Darley Dale – (applause) – and he was proud of his connection with that club.  (Applause.)

He went on to deal with the history of the club since he was connected with it, which extended over 20 years, and remarked that since they had put up the pavilion, or box some might call it, the club had prospered.  (Laughter and hear, hear.) 

A good deal of the success had been due to their admirable secretary, Mr. Tom Wright – (applause) – and he never for a moment anticipated that when 22 years ago asked him to undertake the duties of hon. Secretary that he would that day find him still in the same position.  He had had to work hard every year, and no doubt he felt amply rewarded by seeing his club in such a proud position of being the champion village team in the county.  (Applause.)

Some time ago a suggestion was thrown out by them that the County should from time to time send two good bowlers out to the village club, which, in his opinion, would have a good effect, but, strange though it may seem, the Darley Dale Club possessed Pashley and young Ben Gregory the very two bowlers they sought for.  He did hope that they would stick to cricket, and before long they trusted to see their names figuring in the County Eleven, and doing good service for the County.  (Applause.)

There was nothing like cricket.  Lord Wolseley, speaking in the presence of the Bishops – he did not think he need apologise to the rev. gentleman who was with them that night for repeating the words – said that “Volunteering had done more for the morality of the nation almost than the Bishops.”  (hear, hear.)  He himself was a great believer of cricket being a useful and valuable thing for the English race.  (Applause.)

He thought it did more good than people thought.  A man who played the game fairly and straight as a better man in every respect.  He learns to control his feeling.  It required a great amount of control for a man to receive the ball on his knee and be told to go out without anything on his tongue not to be repeated – (laughter) – and it required a great amount of presence of mind to receive the ball in their stomachs and then drop it only to be laughed at.  Cricket was a good thing for discipline.  He believed in the grand old game of cricket.  It was far before golf or football or any of those kind of games.  (Hear, hear.)  He trusted that the Darley players would stick together, and the club would continue to prosper.  (Applause.)

He then handed to the cup team a splendid gold medal, the cost of which had been borne by the County Committee and the Darley Dale Committee.  On the back was the name of the recipient , and the following inscription: “Darley Dale C.C., D.C.C Challenge Cup 1895.”

Mr J. Siddall said they all welcomed their worthy president amongst them that night, and felt sure that if the spirit of cricket were ever going down at Darley Dale, Major Taylor had only to show his face amongst them to revive it.  (Applause.)  He trusted that he would come amongst them oftener, and before long he would have to preside over a similar occasion to that they were honoring that evening.  (Applause.)

The Hon. Secretary then read letters of apology from several gentlemen who could not be present.

The Rev. J.W.W. Booth, a former captain of the Darley Dale Cricket Club, in a long letter, stated – “May I, as a former captain, say          how heartily I congratulate them on their well-deserved success.  They have indeed good reason to be proud of their victories over such formidable teams as they have vanquished, and past and present officers may also be proud of their connections with the club.  (Applause.)  The success I think is to be credited to you (Mr. Wright) for your long and energetic work as secretary.  (Applause.)  You have done your upmost for the club for many years, and to you at one time its very continuance was due.  (Applause.)  You always infused a little of your energy and hopefulness in it when circumstances were by n means encouraging.  I think a word of warm praise is due to the veteran captain, who, in spite of years, loses none of his enthusiasm and determined action, and who is able to bring to the assistance of the team an experience and knowledge of the game which I have never found equaled in any country club.  (Applause.)

Dr. Moxon and Mr. B.L. Barrow also wrote in warm praise of the club, as did Mr. J.D. Cannon, Mr. Allsop, Mr. Wright, Canon Atkinson, all of whom regretted that they could not be present.

The cup was once more filled, and the health of Mr. W. Holmes (London), a member of the club, honoured.

The Rev. A.E. Hadfield humorously proposed the health of the Eleven, and complimented the club on the successful season they had had.

Mr. A.H. Smith, on behalf of the captain and the team, briefly responded.  He thanked the Committee for entertaining them that evening, and hoped that the cup would be won by them for three years in succession.  (Applause.)

Mr. Tom Wright gave the toast of “Our best friends, the honorable members.”  They could not he said d much without a little money, and he was sure the club very highly appreciated the honorable members who so liberally supported them.  (Applause.)

Mr. Deeley, in reply, said he was sure he was very pleased to give his mite, and should circumstances ever crop up they would not find him backward in increasing his subscription.  (Applause.)  He gave some advice to the players, and concluded by expressing a hope that the Cup would be won by the club next year,  If they did happen to win it three times in succession he should only be too pleased to give the players a little present on his own behalf.  (Applause.)

Mr. J.H. Dawson also responded, and in an interesting speech he gave some poetic advice to the playing members of the club.

Mr. Richmond, in Mr. Atkins’ name, thanked the company for toasting the honorary members, and he complimented the team on winning the cup.  He also announced his willingness to give a prize to the man who made the most catches, and would leave the choosing of the prize in the hands of the committee.  (Applause.)

Mr. Clay also spoke, and expressed a hope that cricket made them better men, better servants, and found them better wages.  (Applause.)

The Chairman gave the health of the honorary and assistant honorary secretary and committee, and remarked that all old Darley people highly appreciated the loyal manner in which one and all had worked for the good to cricket in Darley Dale.  (Applause.)

Mr. Tom Wright replied in a humorous speech.  That, he said, was not a meeting where they could discuss the finance of the club, but he might inform them that they should be out of debt even after they had defrayed the expense of that dinner.  They had about 80 members, which for a village club was a big thing to say. (Applause.)

He could say that he should ever continue to give satisfaction, and he knew the committee would work in the same direction.  (Applause.)  They were purely an amateur team, they had not a professional amongst the players.  (Applause.)

Mr. J.H. Dawson proposed the health of the Chairman.  (Applause.)  He said he had perhaps worked with Major Taylor in more matters than anyone in that room.  When first he came into the parish he assisted in many important works, notably amongst which was the reading room out of which originated the Whitworth Institute.  (Applause.)

He was always endeavouring to do something for the welfare of the parish.  When he removed to Bakewell he immediately proceeded to improve matters there, and principally among his good works at Bakewell was the Technical School, which was approaching completion.  (Applause.)  The toast was drunk with three time three and the singing of “He’s a jolly good fellow”.

Major Taylor, in replying, referred to professionalism, and said he hoped they would never introduce it into the Darley Club.  If they did they would soon find that the interest in the game would die out.  (Hear, hear.)

During the evening the following gave songs, etc.:-  Messrs. H. Deeley, Richmond, Pashley, Walters, A. Grafton, W. Elliott, Wood.  The proceedings, which were of a most enjoyable character, terminating at 11 o’clock with the singing of the National Anthem.

The Winning Team

Pictured are back row left to right: T Wright (Hon Sec), F Evans, B C Gregory (Captain), A H Smith (Sub Captain), J Siddal and W M Holmes; front row left to right: Ben Gregory, J Gregory, C Pashley, R B Wright, H Gregory, J J Wildgoose, J Wright and W Gregory.