Over the course of British Cricket history many Wandering clubs have come and gone. Some became Wanderers with the loss of their original ground while others went from Wanderers to securing their current ground and some of these still kept their original description “Wanderers, Nomads, Ramblers” in the club name. Others failed when no new officers of the club could be found as incumbent men retired or died.
Some Wandering Clubs find excellent homes after many decades of Wandering. Hampshire Hogs CC 1877 settled at Wheely Down Warnford in 1966. Pelicans CC 1964 settled at Nag’s Head Meadow Great Missenden and added the name 1996. Armadillos CC 1987 settled in 2009 at the historic Sheffield Park ground. There are more like this.There some mainly Wandering clubs that do however hire a regular home ground for some ‘home’ games.
Among those that seem to have disappeared are- Concert Artistes CC, The Ducks CC, Carmelites CC, Caterpillars CC, Putney Eccentrics CC, Acenarians CC, Lazarusians CC(Peter O’Toole’s XI), Hampstead Itinerants CC, Dragonflies CC, Hampstead Mercenaries CC, Fencibles CC, Pratlers CC, Thames Valley Gentlemen CC, El Vino’s CC(Reg Hayter’s XI) and many others.
There have also been wandering sides raised by notable men from varying backgrounds like Sir Julian Cahn, Bertie Joel XI, Vic Lewis XI, Tom Pugh’s XI, etc which thrived in their lifetime.
Many Cricket & Sports Clubs have been founded by the Old Boys of Schools and Alumni of Universities and Oxbridge Colleges and oftern ‘wandered’ initially. Some have developed into substantial sports clubs with the Cricket sections competing in League Cricket such as Old Haberdashers, Old Merchant Taylors, Old Hamptonians, Old Tiffinians. Others have wandered for a long time with a cricket week at the school and an annual tour. In particular Eton Ramblers wandered for a century and others like Harrow Wanderers & Stowe Templars still ‘wander. However these Old Boys clubs have a regular home base at the school. Despite their associated names, Rovers, Ramblers, Hermits, Pilgrims etc only a few play away matches except in Cricketer Cup and Cricketer Trophy competition matches. So none of these clubs are genuine ‘Wandering Clubs’ though the Old Boys themselves form a substantial proportion of those playing ‘Wandering Cricket’.
In recent decades there has been a steady growth in seniors or veterans cricket. Many of these teams are just an appendage of an established local clubs even though they sometimes give themselves different names often with a ‘wandering’ ring to them. Others develop into an independent veteran Wandering Club like Old Markonians out of Harlow Vets. County Seniors cricket is now well established at over 50s, over 60s and over 70s with national competitions. In one sense all these County Senior sides are Wandering clubs with no fixed abode. However with the exception of Over 70s 3rd XIs they all play limited over cricket in National and or Regional Competitions which is not what Wandering Cricket clubs traditionally do. ECB Over 50s, Over 60/70s.
There is also a category of clubs of no fixed abode but who hire a ground for home fixtures, eg Strongroom CC. Likewise there are similar clubs who hire regularly several home grounds. There are clubs also of no fixed abode who play in mid week evening leagues, 20/20 and Last Man Stands.
If we have missed out a current Wandering Club please let us know and we will update the list. There are some Wandering clubs which are definitely active as they appear in other clubs fixtures lists and in Conference handbooks but do not seem to have a Facebook/Instagram Page, Twitter nor a Website. There is a slight Southern and definite England bias to this list.
Many of the London Gentlemen’s Clubs have cricket teams which wander such as East India, RAC, Saville, Carlton, Groucho and more. Parliament has its own Wandering Club Lords & Commons CC founded 1849. Indeed may pubs and wine bars have nurtured wandering cricket clubs which thrive for a period the most renown being El Vino’s CC. The Royal Opera House has a cricket team as does the ENO.
There are, of course, some clubs that still play only Friendly Time/Declaration cricket which is in the spirit of most Wandering Cricket but with a ground of their own are definitely not Wandering Cricket Clubs e.g. Hurlingham Club, Hampshire Hogs, Southbank , Broadhalfpenny Brigands, Royal Household and more.
In 2000 The Cricketer magazine organized a Festival of Wandering Cricket Clubs which was very successful. It had some eccentricities in its invitation list including a non wandering club and excluding some famous and ancient wandering clubs. One evening at the festival Dinner the Stage CC put on an entertainment which was repeated at a PCA event at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2019 South Oxfordshire Amateurs CC staged a Mini Wandering Cricket Clubs Festival involving SOA, Devon Dumplings, Nomads, Frogs, Gaieties and Melbourne XXIX Club.
Hot Press a Wandering Cricket Association (WCA) is in formation striving to promote and support Wandering cricket throughout the United Kingdom. If anyone has any more news of this venture do let us know
Links mostly go to clubs’ website but also Facebook or Instagram Page, sometimes to a Twitter account. At the time of original publication the links are correct but clubs do change or close websites . Apologies if you click on a broken link. Let us know and we will sort it out.