Free Foresters Cricket Club

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Free Foresters Cricket Club
Free Foresters Badge.png
Established 1856
Founders The Rev William Kirkpatrick Riland Bedford
First match v Pilgrims of the Dee
20 July, 1856
First-class matches 83 (1912–1968)

Free Foresters Cricket Club is an English amateur cricket club, established in 1856 for players from the Midland counties of England. It is a 'wandering' (or nomadic) club, having no home ground.

The Free Foresters were founded by the Rev. William Kirkpatrick Riland Bedford who had been appointed rector of Sutton Coldfield in 1850. At Oxford University, he had discovered cricket and in 1847 he had set up the Sutton Coldfield Cricket Club. The name of the Free Foresters was chosen to reflect the fact that archery had been popular at the Rectory Park long before cricket was introduced.[1] The club played its first match on 20 July 1856 against the Pilgrims of the Dee, at the Rectory Ground in Sutton Coldfield. In 1863, the Free Foresters presented the rector with a silver salver as a token of their esteem. The salver can be seen at Lord's cricket ground.

For many years, starting in 1912, their matches against Oxford and Cambridge Universities had first-class status, the last such game being that against Oxford at The Parks in June 1968.[2] The Foresters' side in that match, which they won by 299 runs, was captained by Donald Carr and included Mike Brearley, Mike Groves, Richard Hutton and Gamini Goonesena.[3]

The team colours are crimson, green and white, adopted in 1858. The badge consists of two capital Fs wrapped in a Hastings knot, with the motto 'United though Untied', signifying that players are free to play for other clubs, and even play against Free Foresters.

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