Sport and Leisure History
9 January 2012 
Dr Emma Peplow (University of Glamorgan/Marylebone Cricket Club)
Taking the Field: Telling the Stories of Grassroots Cricket
Howzat! Bowled out at Brockhampton Not quite sure how I managed to press the shutter at the right time here, but the ball has just hit the stumps and the first wicket falls to bowler Richard Parker at Brockhampton Cricket Club's ground, The Parks. Brockhampton are fielding and Old Elizabethans have just lost their first man for 57 runs in this Birmingham League game on Saturday 13th June 2009.

Brockhampton cricket ground


Most histories of cricket ignore the grassroots game in favour of the bigger teams.  Emma Peplow tries to rebalance the picture by focusing on the smaller clubs across Britain.  She asks what community life is like in these clubs; how they interact with minority groups, children and gender.  This particular paper focuses on the inter-war and post-war periods looking at questions of commercialisation (generally avoided by most small clubs) and the perception of a ‘spirit of cricket’ i.e. belief that cricket teaches morals and provides community support more than other popular team games.  Peplow was particularly struck by the story of Bliner cricket club which saw its success rise during the 1920s and 80s just at the time when the community was in massive upheaval.  The latter of which coincided with the coal mining strikes against Thatcher’s government.  Does this success explain something to us about the heightened community spirit that resulted during those difficult times? 

To listen to this podcast click here.