Footballers XI Cricket ...
by Roger Hillier
1964 FA Cup Winning Trio at the Wicket /
Hammers Open the Batting
Pictures in The Croydon Times (August 7, 1964) of the footballers XI and Hurst and Byrne walking out to the wicket reflect an age when football’s summer break was longer and players were free to participate in more leisurely activities away from the glare of the media. If three members of this season’s FA Cup winning team asked to play in a cricket match just three weeks prior to the start of the new season, it would have their club in all sorts of a spin!
The footballers XI team picture captures a rare and unusual sporting occasion with an England captain and future England team manager appearing in the same XI. All padded up and ready to swing the willow rather than kick the leather!
Cricket Scrapbook ...
Back row (L to R) Johnny.Byrne, Bobby Robson (Fulham), Cliff Holton (Crystal Palace), Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Joe Broadfoot (Ipswich Town)
Front row (L to R) John Sewell (Crystal Palace), Ronnie Allen (CP), Brian Kinsey (Charlton), David Payne (CP) Alan Stephenson (CP)
Back in the 1960s and 1970s West Ham United players typically enjoyed a more leisurely summer break by playing cricket. The club would frequently field sides against local cricket clubs in limited over games. One unusual game was a benefit match three of West Ham’s FA Cup winning team participated in prior to the start of the 1964-65 season.
On Thursday July 29, 1964 Surrey and England batsman, Ken Barrington, and Crystal Palace’s long serving groundsman, Charlie Carlett, shared a benefit cricket match. The 21-overs-a-side match between Ronnie Allen’s XI (footballers XI) and Sandy Tait’s XI (cricketers XI) was played at Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park. Playing for the footballers XI was Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Johnny Byrne. Also in the team was future Hammer, Alan Stephenson and Fulham’s future England team manager, Bobby Robson.
The cricketers XI comprised predominantly of Surrey county players. Alongside Barrington the team included fellow test batsman John Edrich, and Mickey Stewart the future England test manager. West Ham also had interest in the cricketers XI as it included an ex-Hammer! This was Ron Tindall, the Surrey cricketer, who had a brief spell at Upton Park from November 1961 to the summer of 1962 when he made 13 league appearances and scored three goals.
It had been a busy summer for Barrington, Edrich, Byrne, Hurst and Moore as they had been playing for their respective England teams. In mid May Hurst joined the England Under 23 tour to Israel and Turkey. Geoff played in both U23 internationals and capped it with a goal in the 4-0 win over Israel. In the following month Moore and Byrne were members of the England squad that visited South America for a four team tournament against Portugal, Brazil and Argentina. While in the five days leading up to the benefit match Barrington and Edrich played in the drawn 4th test against Australia at Old Trafford. Ken’s contribution in the 2nd innings was a magnificent career best test innings of 256.
The footballers XI’s first three batsman were the West Ham trio. Byrne and Hurst again led the attack only this time at the wicket. The opening pair plus Moore gave a fair account of themselves against some of the county’s best bowlers in scoring 14, 13 and 20 respectively. No hat tricks for Geoff or Johnny on this occasion as the cricketers XI scored 164 to the footballers XI’s 158.
Croydon Times August 7, 1964
Image courtesy of Steve Bell