SOUTH Devon's longest-running cricket competition, the Brockman Cup, celebrates 75 years of providing the thrills and spills of 20-over evening cricket to grass-roots players in the area.
Hotelier William Stanhope Brockman, owner of the much-lamented Rosetor Hotel in Chestnut Avenye, donated an old golf trophy he had won to launch the competition in 1933.
Mr Brockman, a keen golfer, cricketer, sailor and rugby player, wanted to encourage cricket among junior clubs and especially clubs with youngsters among their membership.
Seventy-five years on the competition is still going strong while some of its contemporaries, such as the Sermon Cup and the Torbay & District Cup have long vanished from the local scene.
Cricket writer Conrad Sutcliffe has been looking into the history of the competition over the past six months while preparing a brochure to mark the anniversary.
He has come up with some fascinating facts and figures, as well as stories about the people and personalities who have contributed to the enduring success of the competition over the decades.
“There are happy endings, heartbreaking stories and tales that you wouldn't believe possible,” said Conrad, a Brockman Cup-winning captain himself with South Devon Etceteras in 2002.
“Among my favourites are some of the old cricketers who have kept on playing for years and years, such as Bill Scourfield and Dave Mitchell, who between them cover virtually the entire competition.
“Bill played for Cockington when they beat Old Manorians to win the cup in 1934 – and was a member of the Chelston team who were cup winners in 1967.
“Dave Mitchell first played way back in the 1950s for Torquay YMCA or Chelston – and played against me in 2005 to make up the numbers for Chelston when they were short of players.”
Another interesting tale relates to the 1946 cup final, which Babbacombe won amidst much controversy at the time.
“The scorers' books didn't tally at the end of the match and Babbacombe were finally declared winners even though Narracotts had scored more runs than them,” said Conrad.
The brochure, which will be published in time for the semi-finals later this month, contains reports from famous finals over the years, a host of pictures archives and a look back at some clubs and personalities who are no longer with us.
“Old cricket scorebooks are fairly dull things, which is why I have tried to find out something about players like Bill Webster, Ernie Knapman and Les Turl whose names appear time after time over the years,” said Conrad.
“Most of the clubs who appeared in 1933 have long disappeared – Old Manorians who won it, Inland Revenue, Abbey Road Congs, Torre, St Matthias – and some of the later ones like Shiphay St John and Torquay Nomads have gone as well.
“I hope I have been able to throw a little light on some of the players and teams who have made it such a marvellous competition for so many years.”
Brochures will cost £3 each and will be available at the Brockman Cup semi-finals and final. To reserve a copy in advance, click here
Available by post at £3.60 including postage & packaging
Available now - the anniversary brochure
Mike Whitney and Frank Birley going out to bat for St Marychurch in the 1972 final
Narracott's CC captain Fred Neal after winning the 1960 final.