Cricket started on Godstone Green in 1749, the Cricket Club was founded in 1868. Lord Alverstone and C.W. Alcock record in ‘Surrey Cricket’ that Godstone was one of 20 clubs which came into existence in the county between 1700 and 1750.
Very few detailed scores are available of any 18th Century cricket. The principle of recording scores on paper was not generally accepted until late in the century. Prior to that the method of scoring was by cutting notches on sticks. The bowling was all underarm and not until 1835 was the bowler allowed to raise his arm as high as the shoulder and in 1864 overarm bowling was legalised. Pads and gloves had come into general use by about 1850.
It is interesting to note that a local cricketer helped to shape the Laws of the game when, in 1771, one ‘Shock White’ of Reigate appeared in a match at Hambledon with a bat wider than the wicket. After this incident the laws were amended to restrict the dimensions of the bat. Another Surrey cricketer, ‘Lumps Stevens’, who’s bowling was so accurate that he continually beat the bat only to see the ball go between the stumps, was largely instrumental in the third stump being added in 1775.
H.T. Waghorn’s ‘Dawn of Cricket’
For the earliest reference to a match involving Godstone cricketers we are indebted to H.T. Waghorn’s ‘Dawn of Cricket’, where it is recorded that, in 1749, two Godstone Cricketers played two of the leading cricketers of the day, Long Robin and George Smith, in a return match on the Artillery Ground, the first match having been won by Godstone with great ease. We can assume that this was played on the Green. Long Robin, apart from his reputation as a cricketer, had other claims to notoriety. According to the Connoisseur of 1746 he was a young fellow of family and fortune who was born and bred a gentleman but taken great pains to degrade himself. He had studied and practised all the vulgar arts under the best masters, had cultivated an intimacy with Buckhouse, a renowned prizefighter of the day, and was well known among the hackney coachmen. All the while he was reckoned by his friends to be a might good natured gentleman and without the least bit of pride in him and he was, without a doubt, the best all-round cricketer of his day.
George Smith was the proprietor of the Artillery Ground but, unfortunately, there is no record of the names of the two Godstone cricketers. Suffice to say that they must have been men of some standing and cricketing ability to have beaten two of England’s best with great ease.
On 18 June 1868 the newly formed Godstone Cricket Club played Edenbridge. The game was lost by an innings and 90 runs, Edenbridge scoring 198 and Godstone 30 and 78. In 1870 a village youth team was formed called ‘the Godstone Hobblehoy Club’.
An extraordinary General Meeting held on 5 January 1903 was held to discuss the purchase and convert an old tramcar for a pavilion. This was subsequently agreed to. The tramcar was bought for £8.00, a thatched roof was erected on it and the whole conversion made for a total of £35.00. It stood on the north side of the Green by the Bletchingley Road and roughly on the spot where the bus shelter now stands.
In 1912 the famous match took place on the Green in which Jack Hobbs and Andrew Sandham put on 300 for Surrey Club and Ground’s first wicket. Hobbs scored 172 and Sandham 175 not out, out of a total of 421-4 declared. Alan Peach took 3 of 4 wickets. In his memoirs Jack Hobbs wrote ‘Although I scored many centuries in very important matches before vast crowds, it was a special joy for me to knock up that particular century on that ancient village green’.
In 1928 the Club colours of chocolate and gold were adopted.
Godstone Cricket Club is still going strong today.