Wivenhoe: New book traces history of cricket in riverside community

First published in Looking Back by

TODAY’S cricketer would decline, no doubt most politely, the offer of a waistcoat, a hat or even a wig for turning out for his local team.

But in the years after 1765 - the year of Wivenhoe’s first recorded cricket match - that is exactly what a player received as a fee.

And he would have to pay, too, for the honour of representing his home town.

A book, just out, throws light on the game’s long history in the riverside community and the characters and families who helped ensure that the club, which was founded in 1840, still thrives today.

Jon Wiseman, now in his fourth year as club president, chose to take on the job of documenting, for the players of yesterday, today and tomorrow, the sport’s highs and lows, changes and development.

Dipping his toe in literary waters for the first time, he completely underestimated the length of time it would take to research and write the 218-page book: 18 months instead of the anticipated eight or nine.

And he little realised that the finished article would encompass more than his favourite sport.

“I set about doing this saying I would write a book about cricket - a book about wickets, grounds and victories - and getting it all on the page,” said Mr Wiseman.

“But although it is mostly about cricket, there is more about the social history of Wivenhoe than I first envisaged.

“But I am as proud of that aspect as I am of the cricket side of the book - perhaps even more so.”

• The Story of Wivenhoe Cricket by Jon Wiseman and published by Oxford Publishing Services is available from Red Lion Books, High Street, Colchester, the Wivenhoe Bookshop and www.amazon.co.uk priced £20. All proceeds go to Wivenhoe Cricket Club.

* Read this feature in full in this week's Essex County Standard.

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