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William Yalden

Another prominent member of the Chertsey team in the 18th century was William Yalden who kept the large riverside inn, the Walnut Tree in Chertsey. The Walnut Tree later became the Cricketers, which is now closed. Yalden also managed the Burway ground, which was not far from his home. For some more important matches, stands were erected at the ground and refreshments were provided at the Walnut Tree.

 

An anecdote which linked William Yalden with George Morland, the famous painter, appeared in F.S. Ashley Cooper's book of "Cricket's Highways 'n' Byways". One of Morland's well known cricket paintings is said to have been produced at the Cricketers in Chertsey, in interesting circumstances. The artist was presented with the bill at a decidedly unfortunate moment, when he was financially embarassed. He bolted himself in his bedroom and, on one of the sheets, he painted a scene of a cricket match in progress and in this manner he settled his account.

 

I was told, many years ago, that it was the inn sign that Morland had painted. In a letter, signed J.P.B. which is held in Chertsey Museum, the writer relates that he interviewed the landlord of the inn about forty five years after the sign had been painted. He was told that the sign had attracted a great deal of attention - so much so that the name of the inn was then changed to The Cricketers.

 

It is interesting to note that several of the names in the Chertsey side in the 1770s are still prominent names in the town today.

 

Without doubt Stevens, or Lumpy Stevens as he was generally known, was one of the most famous cricketers of his day. He was an accurate bowler, taking many wickets. He also scored many runs for Chertsey. He was born in Send and was brought to Chertsey by a Mr Porter when he was young.

 

Researched by Lionel Dodd

Edited by Kieran & Rorie O'Keeffe