1898 – Poor Pitches Prevail

Pitches continued to be diabolical and no side made 100 this year, although Fred Watson, opening against Arkley, carried his bat for 30 out of a total of 73 – no mean achievement, that.

There are currently no details about the following season, 1899.


1897 – New Thatched Pavilion

Bad results or not, they did work quickly in Victorian times. At the AGM in 1897 – the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – the Club shelved the new tent idea and opted for a thatched pavilion. Six months later, funds had been raised and the pavilion built.

It was small – about 20ft x 30ft – built on stilts with steps leading up to it and lit by oil lamps and candles. No bar, and for a long time players went to play ready-changed. There was an outside privy, though.

Radlett had a bumper jubilee season – played 19, won 12, lost six, drawn one – and it had to wait until 1908 before bettering this. The high point was the Mill Hill game and this time there was not time for extras. Radlett’s Wright and Forfeitt took all ten for 12 runs.

Local News

A water feature was added to the recreational area donated in 1896 by Charles Part to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.


1896 – T Deacon is the New Captain

In 1896, under a new captain, T Deacon, Radlett had seven wins and eight losses, two of which were against Arkley.

In the first of these, Radlett were all out for 18 and in the return match at Newberries, Radlett’s bowlers were so hit off the park by Arkley’s Middlesex amateur Pawling that Forfeitt could not resist the lines:

Once again ill luck befalling
Radlett shows results ‘ap-pawling’!

Local News

Charles Part donated to the parish an area of land to be used for recreational purposes. This area is the current memorial gardens adjacent to Watling Street between the current Barclays Bank and the garage.


1895 – First Colt’s Match

Good form continued in ’95 with an annihilation of London Colney, all out for 20, although Radlett were trounced on the same score later by a strong Watford Permanent Way side.

Colts cricket took its first recorded step that year when the choirboys of Radlett and Aldenham parishes fought it out in a four innings match. Radlett were on top until they were 10 for five in their second innings, only to be saved by the batting of one Jimmie Livings who received a prize bat for the highest individual score.

Hopefully no choirboy modelled himself on Radlett’s fielding against Mill Hill, who won that year because Radlett conceded 32 extras in Mill Hill’s total of 86 – Radlett made 56. Or heard about the Watford Brewery team who after losing at Radlett by one run, ‘found’ another run on returning home and reported a tie in the local rag.

Results slowly improved, as did accommodation. By now that much vandalised tent had worn out. Musicians suddenly appeared among the Club members and a string of concerts were held in aid of a tent fund.


1894 – Radlett Topple Harrow School XI

Under Fred Watson’s captaincy in ’94 and ’95 results improved after Radlett had started ’94 by losing its first seven games. This inspired the following lines from the Club poet, ‘Dicky’ Forfeitt:

We’ve had our seventh game
They’ve all proved the same
At best our performance was tame, tame, tame,
A set of old dames
Getting old, blind and lame,
So say all our critics in blame, blame, blame.

But the club suddenly improved, winning five and drawing one of its remaining eight games. Radlett notched up 86, its highest score that season against St Albans Grammar Old Boys and Masters. H Wright, Letchmore Heath’s postmaster, skittled them out for 61, taking 5-18. Radlett also beat a Harrow School XI, quite the event of the season.


1893 – Fortunes Waiver

The opening match in ’93 was lost against Aldenham at Wall Hall and there was an utter disaster against Watford in June. Despite dry weather, the Watford wicket was described as “sopping wet”. After a heavy defeat, Radlett’s captain asked when the wicket had been watered and the first reply was, “after breakfast”. Then another slow-witted character piped up, “before dinner, sir”!


1892 – Good Under-Arm

Availability however did not get better, mainly because of Saturday working among the ‘village’ or tradesmen members as opposed to the ‘Club’ or gentry members.

But although plans to amalgamate with Shenley and Elstree clubs were discussed, they never matured and Radlett CC has remained separate to this day.

Amazingly enough, the Club has not always been alone in Radlett. A few hundred yards towards Elstree and still in Newberries Park, the staff at the mansion used to play on a rough, sloping pitch on the Borehamwood side of Craigweil Avenue above the crossroads with Newberries Avenue. They kept their equipment in an old wooden chest under a tree.

Here one of the Club’s oldest vice-presidents, Harold Knee, saw “the last of the under-arm bowlers performing – and he was mighty good at it too!” Harold’s father scored for John Burrell’s XI, playing in a field just west of Gills Hill Lane. And Radlett United comprising of young men and boys in their teens played annually in Smith’s field, north of the Ridgeway off New Road. (In the early 1900s Radlett also boasted four golf courses, including Porters Park and Newberries).


1891 – Surely Not Vandalism!

The ground was re-laid in ’91 (not that results improved much) and suffered the very first bit of vandalism: the ground’s owner, Henry Lubbock, complained about the damage to his tent which he had loaned the club for the past few seasons, blaming ‘mischievous boys’. The Club, like all (dis)reputable Englishmen, blamed it on the weather.

Local derby games began to be rather serious affairs and St Albans was singled out early as a force to be reckoned with. In fact, in May ’91, the Club committee admitted in the minutes that because it was “sorely afraid of defeat” it would cancel the fixture against St Albans Juniors, and this despite good results that season, winning half of all games played.


1890 – The Vicar Succeeds

1890 saw new blood at the top with Forfeitt taking over as captain and F Clarke, the station master, as vice-captain. Navy blue and a black and white stripe were agreed as Club colours and they were not changed to the present purple, yellow and blue mixture until it was suggested by Jimmy Shields in 1967.

Again no records of results for this year, although what could have been a financially disastrous precedent for the Club was set. The year’s accounts log the item, “Finding ball – 1/-.”

The vicar was keen enough to insert match reports in his parish magazine ‘The Banner of Faith’ and once published ‘Some Useful Hints to Young Cricketers’:


1. Always wear pads – neglect of this rule leads to slovenly cricket.

2. The most important requirement in good batting is to play with a straight and upright bat.

3. Do not swipe at a straight ball.

4. Play cautiously at first and do not attempt to hit hard until you have got used to the ground and bowling.

5. In order to hit a ball to leg, put your left leg well forward and ‘mow’ round to leg with your bat.


1. The batsman should not run down the middle of the wicket. It spoils the pitch and may result in a collision.

2. Always run the first run hard and never run beyond the wicket.


1. Keep your legs together when the ball is hit straight towards you.

2. Throw at the bails – either a full catch or on the bound – and not at the wicket-keeper’s feet.

3. Keep your hands out of your pockets and never where a coat when fielding except in wet or very cold weather.

4. No one should be allowed to smoke while fielding.