Category Archives: Sport

Tom Sherman, the fastest bowler of his time

Cricketer who made 82 appearances in first class matches in the 19th century.

Born in Mitcham on 1st December 1825, his father James Sherman was also a cricketer. He died 10th October 1911.

A letter dated 30th November was published in the The Sportsman of Thursday 1st December 1904:

TOM SHEARMAN.

Sir.,

I thought it would be of interest for you and others interested in cricket to know that Mr Tom Sherman attains his seventy-ninth birthday to-morrow. He is the oldest Surrey cricketer, and has the unique distinction of having played continuously for fifty years. His health haring quite failed him, and circumstances for this reason being anything but comfortable, I would be glad if something might be done to make his position a little more comfortable during the winter months. I feel quite sure that some of the older generation who knew him in his famous bowling days would willingly help him if they knew his position.

— Yours, etc.,
Arthur B. Wilkinson.
Studio,
Carlton-gardens,
Lower Green,
Mitcham, November 30.

Source: The British Newspaper Archive

His obituary was reported in the Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette of Saturday 14th October 1911.

TOM SHERMAN DIES AT CROYDON.

A Famous Surrey Cricketer.

The Inquest.

The death of Tom Sherman, of Mitcham, who succumbed at Croydon Hospital, Tuesday, after breaking his leg at Mitcham, leaves William Caffyn the only survivor of a great band of professional cricketers who were in their prime nearly sixty years ago.

In “Scores and Biographies,” Sherman, who was born 1827, is described the as the fastest bowler of his time, and himself recalled the fact that in one of Surrey matches against Yorkshire at Sheffield he broke stump into five pieces. For this feat an admirer gave him a case of razors.

For the greater part of his long life, says “Unknown” in the “Morning Leader,” he lived at Mitcham, one of the famous nurseries of the game, and it was on the village common nine years ago that I last saw Sherman, on the occasion of his annual benefit. It may the vanity of old age to compare the present with the past to the disadvantage of the former, but I remember the wrinkled veteran as very emphatic in expressing an opinion that the bowling in his time was a great deal faster than that of modern days. In the matter of physical power, he believed that Alfred Mynn and himself were considerably ahead of latter-day bowlers when it came to question of pace. “This right knee,” he said, ” was put out as result of a scorching ball from Mynn. and it has never been right since.”

Sherman played for Surrey during eleven or twelve seasons with Julius Caesar, Caffyn, Lockyer, Martingell, and Mortlock. Sherman never bowled against Dr. W. G. Grace, but the man for whom he had the greatest respect as a bat was Fuller Pilch. Sherman dropped out of county cricket when his county were at their best, taking scarcely any part in the great things achieved by the Surrey team under Mr. F. P. Miller, who led the side to victory against All England in 1861. Appearing at Lords in 1846, Sherman met with most success in season the of 1850 and 1851, taking 99 wickets in the course of ten matches during two years. This was before bowling analyses were taken. Described as one of the fastest round-arm bowlers, he earned fame as a contemporary of Alfred Mynn, Fuller Pilch, George Parr, William Caffyn, Felix, and Martingeil. Two months older than Caffyn, Sherman was the oldest professional cricketer living.

Laburnum Park Estate

Laburnum Park was the name used for the housing development on the former Mitcham Stadium site. It may have been the name given by Wates Ltd, the developers, who bought the site in 1955.

In the Mitcham Borough council minutes of 14th June, 1956, the road names were recommended:

Mitcham Borough minutes, volume 23, 1956 to 1957, page 67

From OpenStreetMap, 2018

Newspaper Items

Norwood News, 15th May, 1959, via the British Newspaper Archives.

MITCHAM, Laburnum Park Estate – Two-year old luxury, modern, terrace house, three bdrms., bthrm., open plan downstairs, central heating, Marley floor, large kit., garage; £3,300 freehold – Box N0790, News, Upper Norwood.

Norwood News, 29th April, 1960, via the British Newspaper Archives.

Members of the Laburnum Park Estate Residents’ Association, Mitcham, presented one of their neighbours – England and Surrey Cricketer Ken Barrington – with a golf trolley at a dance held in his honour at the White Hart Hotel, Mitcham, on Friday. Pictured with Ken, who recently returned from the West Indies with the M.C.C., are officials of the association and Tooting and Mitcham players Brian Bennett, Paddy Hasty and Ted Murphy, who were among the guests.

Mitcham Stadium

Sports stadium, which occupied around 8 acres, north of Eastfields Road and opposite the football ground in Sandy Lane, was built in 1935 and was sold to property developer Wates Ltd in 1955.

1952 OS map

1953 aerial photo showing football and rugby posts on the field. Fernlea Road is on the left, with Sandy lane at the top.

Mitcham Borough council minutes of 6th December 1934, volume 1, page 89, record a letter received from Mr S.E. Parkes:

26. LAND, EASTFIELDS.

Read letter from Mr. S. E. Parkes stating that he had had under consideration a scheme for the
utilisation of the disused gravel pit in Eastfields Road for the purpose of a Rugby football ground, and asking whether any objection would be raised by the Council in connection with
the user of this land for the purpose under the provisions of the Town Planning Scheme.

Resolved, That Mr. Parkes be informed that no objection will be offered by the Council.

A detailed history of the stadium can be found at the Gandermonium blog.

Mitcham News & Mercury, 18th May, 1935

Norwood News, 6th September 1935, showing construction of one of the two stands. 300 tons of steel was used in each stand, and by comparison, the Majestic cinema had 350 tons.

Norwood News, 6th September 1935 advertising the opening of the stadium the next day.

In addition to rugby, Irish games such as hurling were played at the stadium.

In 1954, the stadium was called ‘A White Elephant’ in this article in the 1st July issue of the Mitcham & Tooting Advertiser:

The site was sold to Wates Ltd who built housing with Guyatt Gardens, Ormerod Gardens, Fowler Road, Priestley Road with Roper Way connecting to Eastfields Road.

Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser, 26th May 1955, page 1.

House for sale ad in 1965 referred to the former Mitcham Stadium.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Mount Rovers F.C.

Football club, Mount Road and area.

From the Norwood News, 22nd July, 1960

MOUNT Rovers F.C. have decided in future the players’ shorts and socks will he provided by the Club to improve smartness on the field.

There are still one or two vacancies for good class players to join the club, whose first eleven is in the Premier Division of the Morden and District Sunday League.

The Reserve XI is the only second-strmg team to be placed as high as the first division of the same league.

Applications should he sent to the secretary, Mr. H. T. Mount,
7, Mount Road, Mitcham, Surrey.

From the Norwood News, 10th August 1962

Mount Rovers annual meeting

At Mount Rovers annual meeting at the Bath Tavern, Mitcham, the officers were elected as follows: Mr A. Hanney, chairman; Mr H. Mount, secretary; Mr A. Brier, assistant secretary; Mr E. R. Mount, treasurer.

Three teams will be put out next season, all competing in the Morden and District Sunday League.

A letter was read from the president (Mr G. Arnold) stating that he intended to award annually a trophy to the player or official whom by secret vote was deemed to be outstanding.

The secretary H. Mount suggested that a committee be formed to cater for any increase of membership that might arise in view of the area in which their football ground was situated (Phipps Bridge) being redeveloped. This was agreed.

1939 : All Women Cricket Match

From the Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Friday 28 July 1939 via the British Newspaper Archives, which requires a subscription.

WOMEN CRICKETERS ON MITCHAM GREEN

An all-women cricket match was played on Mitcham Green, on Wednesday, for the benefit of the Mitcham Cricket Club funds. The teams were Surrey v. Herts, and District. Surrey won the game easily. Their innings was notable for a fine batting display bv Miss Molly Hide, who retired after scoring 54 runs. Miss W. Lambert was the second highest scorer, with 27. Miss M. MacLagan, the captain, contributed ten in a total of 137. Herts, scored 57.

The early part of the day was gloomy and comparatively few spectators were present. In the evening about two thousand people ringed the green. They were generous with their applause of the performances and they thoroughly enjoyed the game, which was played in first-class style and in the best sporting spirit.

Lunch was eaten at the White Hart Hotel, where the visitors were welcomed by Mr. Jack Pillinger on behalf of Mitcham Cricket Club, Mr Charles Sanders and Mrs. Sciaretta were other members of the club present. A spray of Mitcham lavender, the gift of Mr. Tom Francis, and a copy of the Mitcham Club handbook were presented to each player. The umpires were Mrs. Tabor and Mr. H. Thompson. An excellent pitch, a bit sticky at the beginning of the game, was prepared by Groundsman Tom Sturtivant.

Early morning cricket in 1877 : the Peep o’ Days v the Early Risers

From the Croydon Advertiser of Saturday 21st July 1877, from the British Newspaper Archives, which requires a subscription.

Cricket – “Peep o’ Days” v. Early Risers.

These clubs met again on Lower Green, Mitcham, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings last, between the hours of 4 and 7, to play the return match.

The “Peep o’ Days” played (with the exception of two) the same men as in the previous match, but as the Early Risers were defeated last time, they naturally thought it advisable to take a little stringer team. But the battle is not always to the strong.

Having won the toss, the “Peeps” went to the wickets, which at first fell rather quickly, but a little stand was afterwards made by A. Turner (41), and A. Gibbard (42). The “Peeps” were soon afterwards disposed of for a total of 88 runs. The “Earlys” were soon in, but were disposed of for 49 runs.

Play being resumed on Thursday, the “Peeps” played a comfortable innings of 104. Time did not permit the “Earlys” to complete their second innings. It is hardly necessary to add thgat the game was very exciting, especially as the “Peeps” have been successful in their determination to give the “Earlys” a “drubbing.”

The game was gained by the “Peeps” as the result of the good bowling of A. Gibbard and S. Hubbard.

Mitcham Argyle Football Club

From a postcard dated 1907

News Articles

MITCHAM ARGYLE v. CLAPHAM R.

The Mitcham Argyle club opened their Balham and District League programme on Saturday, with a match against the Clapham United at Gorringe Park, and after a a very exciting time, the game ended in a draw of 5-5.

The Argyle, who were again. unfortunately, unable to have the services of their goalkeeper, won the toss, and play kicked off for the Rovers at 3.30, who immediately made tracks for goal, but were sent back by Prentice. Clapham kept up a persistent attack, and it was not very long before their efforts were rewarded by a mistake by the Argyles’ left back letting in Clay, who with a clear goal made no mistake with his shot. Shortly after the same player nearly added another goal with a fast shot at short range. which Mullins, who was playing goal in place of Hillier. just managed to put over the bar. After this the Argyle had a turn, and the United’s goal had some very narrow escapes, but eventually Ayling managed to obtain near goal and made the score even with a nice shot. From the kickoff the ball was sent well up towards the Argyles’ goal, and a race for the hall between Mullins and Clay ended in the latter securing and scoring in easy fashion. The Argyle were not long in drawing level, a line pass by Carey being neatly converted by Craib, and almost immediately after the whistle went for halftime.

On resuming the United attacked strongly and scored twice, both goals being by Waddam, the first was a good effort, but the second was an absolute present. Mullins letting the ball through his hands in a most unaccountable manner. Clapham’s large lead seemed to increase the efforts of the Argyle players. A nice run by Carey was finished with a lovely shot, which had the goalkeeper beaten all the way. Following this Ayling got clear away and sent to Craib who slammed the ball into the net and made the score level again. The game was now getting somewhat exciting, and the referee had to caution Clay, the United’s centre for ward for unfair tactics. The next goal fell to the Argyle, and was the best effort of the match. Craib obtained from the kickoff and travelled right through the United’s defence and ended with a shot which gave the goalkeeper no earthly chance. The Argyle made great efforts to keep their lead, but towards the end Noble obtained and shot from 20 yards and beat Mullins, who was handicapped by the centre-half getting in his line of sight. The score was again level, and both teams made determined efforts to obtain the lead, but nothing further was scored, and the game ended as above.

The Argyle showed improved form, and on Saturday, when they play their first home match on Figgs marsh, hope to have their best side out, and register their first win of this season.

Source: Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette – Saturday 09 October 1909 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

MITCHAM ARGYLE v. WATERFALL

The Mitcham Argyle Football Club opened their fifth season on Saturday last, with a match against the Waterfall F.C. on the latter’s ground, and after a very good and even game, the Argyle were beaten by one goal to nil. This result can be reckoned satisfactory by the supporters of the Argyle, considering that several new men were included in the team, which naturally did not allow of smooth working and complete understanding at the first time of asking, but on the whole, the form displayed was distinctly encouraging. and after a week or two the Mitcham Argyle F.C. should develop into a very decent combination.

The match on Saturday was fought out in a very friendly spirit and the first half should have seen the Waterfall leading, several good attempts by their inside forward, being cleverly frustrated by the Argyle goalie, W. Hillier, and towards the finish of the first half, J. Relf, the Argyle capt., in attempting to clear from the Waterfall centre, headed through his own goal, but the referee’s whistle had just previously gone owing to an injury to Hillier. Half time arrived with neither side claiming any advantage.

The second half was fairly even, although both sides missed easy chances, and twenty minutes from the finish a penalty was given against the Argyle for an obviously unintentional infringement by the right back. The penalty was taken by the Waterfall centre, who shot hard and true, but Hillier was there and cleared well. Two minutes from the time the Argyle was subjected to a strong attack, and after a scrimmage in front of goal, Roots obtained and sent in a fine shot which cannoned off the goal post into the net. One minute later the final whistle went, and the Argyle retired beaten by a goal to nil, after a very fine game.

For the losers, Hillier gave a display in goal, and Prentice at left back was great. Relf also played well, and the same must be said of Kemp and Roots for the winners. On Saturday next the Argyle will be entertained by the Caithness Rangers.

Source: Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette – Saturday 25 September 1909 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)