Holt Pound 'Cricket Square'
|Location||Wrecclesham, near Farnham, Surrey|
Holt Pound at Wrecclesham, near Farnham, Surrey was one of the chief cricket grounds in Surrey. It was the venue for three first-class matches between 1791 and 1809 as well as for a number of minor matches.
It was the home venue of Farnham Cricket Club, which played a number of noted matches there in the 1780s when club members included Billy Beldham and John Wells; these games were just below first-class standard.
The origin of Holt Pound is unknown but it was certainly established before 1784 when it was used for a Farnham v Odiham & Alton match. Much earlier, on Tuesday, 26 August 1729, there was an important match in Farnham at an unspecified location between Surrey and Kent.
The Holt Pound ground was known locally as "the Oval" (the current venue of that name did not become a cricket ground until 1845, so there is no connection). Many important Surrey games of the period were contested at Holt Pound including, in 1808, when Surrey beat All-England by 66 runs.
After Farnham left the ground, to take up residence at a pitch created near the moat of Farnham Castle, thanks to a past Bishop of Winchester, who wished to tidy up part of the Farnham Park, the ground was made available to other clubs and the local population to play cricket.
An anonymous writer in 1862 wrote that the residents of Wrecclesham, a small community that was supposedly 'riddled with drunkenness and vice', would play there every Sunday. They would play for a 'pint or a pot', meaning that the winners would be rewarded with pints of beer paid for by the losing side.
There is a record of Rowledge Cricket Club playing there that appears in 1886 with a match at recorded against Tilford. Until 1914 the club played its home matches at the Holt Pound ground. Furthermore, the local Wrecclesham village teams also went on to play all of their home fixtures there, from their inception in 1901 until 1922.
When the cricket teams returned to play after the First World War, the ground was in a terrible state. According to one player at the time 'Ponies were allowed to graze there, we often had to take a shovel to the pitch before we could start a match'. Unsurprisingly, Wrecclesham left a couple of years later, when a pitch became in available within the grounds of Runwick House.
Cricket is no longer played on the Holt Pound pitch. Instead it is the local recreation ground administered by Binsted Parish Council. As of April 2008 a feasibility study has been discussed to revive it as a sporting venue.
- Haygarth, Arthur (1862). Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826). Lillywhite. ISBN 1-900592-23-1.
- Maun, Ian (2009). From Commons to Lord's, Volume One: 1700 to 1750. Roger Heavens. ISBN 978 1 900592 52 9.