Since 2006, the 'Flower Show Cricket Match' has been an annual fixture between George Sherston's X1 and Matfield Cricket Club, and is usually played on the village green in Siegfried Sassoon's native village of of Matfield, Kent. There is some poetic licence involved, since the original match depicted in Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, was based on one that took place in the neighbouring village of Brenchley.
This year's Flower Show match took place at Brenchley Cricket Ground starting at the slightly earlier time of 11am, to allow for the possible distraction of a more recently arranged sporting event (The World Cup Final) a little later in the day. The weather was perfect for cricket and the George Sherston X1 won the toss and elected to field. Matfield Green CC scored 219 for 5 wickets (top scorer Iwan Shotton - 89 not out) in 36 overs. The George Sherston X1 then replied with 178 for 8 (A.Chapman - 44 not out) in the 33 overs before close of play. Consequently the match ended in a well contested draw. During the lunch interval a Sassoon themed plaque was unveiled on the Brenchley Pavilion. See the SSF Flickr page.
The 2017 Flower Show Match took place on Sunday 16th July in quite pleasant weather. A gripping match won by the Sherston X1 in a thrilling finish as 7pm approached. The match was followed by readings and eloquent speeches at the brief presentation ceremony, including moving tributes to Laura Lawson who sadly passed away recently.
On Sunday 17th July the 2016 Flower Show Match took place on the village green. The weather was warm and sunny with the occasional threatening cloud. The George Sherston X1 batted first and scored a magnificent 222 in their 20 overs including a century from 'Man of the Match' Chris S. Matfield CC struggled to match this score and some superb catches ensured that their total fell well short of the Sherston X1 . Their skipper Jeremy Lawson received the Victory Plate from SSF President and match umpire Dennis Silk. There are more photos on the SSF Flickr page.
The 2015 match was held on Sunday 19th July. Matfield batted first and scored 238-2 declared , then the George Sherston X1 replied with 215 for the loss of five wickets at 'stumps' . A well contested draw was the result. Man of the Match was Sherston's Jeremy Lawson, who made a dashing 64 in very short time and then sportingly retired to to let others have a knock. Derek Underwood, the Matfield club president and record Test wicket-taker for England, gave Jeremy a bottle of champagne with the SSF 'Man of the Match' inscribed 'bottle label', which was much appreciated. (Sam Gray)
The 2014 match was held on Sunday 20th July. The Matfield Village Fete having taken place the day before ensured that a marquee remained up for the game, furnished with a couple of barrels of real ale and accompanying tempting burgers . A good crowd gathered in front of the recently re-built pavilion on a bright but cloudy day. Matfield CC batted first and scored runs at a good rate. In fact one of their leading batsmen Ian Scott, scored a century - eventually they declared near the end of their allotted overs at a challenging score of 232. Anna Keeble fielded superbly for the George Sherston X1 and one particular stop with her shins would have impressed Sassoon enormously! Following a delicious tea in the new pavilion (with a fascinating Sassoon exhibition in the background) the George Sherston X1 took to the crease under an ominously darkening sky. Remarkably the Sherston team included two of Siegfried Sassoon's great-great nephews (Tony & Jeremy Lawson) and Edmund Blunden's grandson, Ted Miller. They scored 116-6 before the rain became too heavy to continue - an honourable weather affected draw was the conclusion. Back in the pavilion there were fine words from the two captains, Sassoon poems read by Dennis Silk, a passage from Sassoon's 'The Old Century and Seven More Years' read by Jeremy Lawson, and Edmund Blunden's daughter Margi, enthralled us with extracts from her father's 'Undertones of War'. The 'Man of the Match' award of a bottle of champagne went, quite rightly, to the Matfield centurion, Ian Scott. A wonderful day in a glorious setting - we look forward to meeting up again next year.
The revival of the Flower Show Match was the idea of the renowned Bob Miller, who sadly died in 2014. It was Bob who recruited players for Sherston’s XI and ensured the match took place. He joins the ranks of those immortals – Blunden, Sassoon and Silk – who personified a love for the game of cricket combined with an appreciation of great literature. Bob's post match readings were always a joy, and helped remind us all why we were present by emphasizing the many and diverse ways in which Siegfried Sassoon has been an inspiration.
Deb Fisher see full article