|Trumpington Local History Group
Sport in Trumpington
in the 1920s
|Copyright © Trumpington Local History Group, 2020. Updated 7 May 2020.
This paper describes some of the
sports that were active in
Trumpington in the 1920s. It was
presented at the Local History
Group meeting on 12 March 2020.
|Wendy Roberts, speaker at the
Local History Group meeting.
|In 1919, one of the suggestions for the Trumpington war memorial was "a memorial be placed in
a garden with tennis courts and other space for the furtherance of sport", showing a local interest
in tennis and other sports.
In the 1920's parish magazines, there are entries for the Trumpington Tennis Club in the booking
calendars of the Village Hall, such as this example from 1925.
|Local information in 'Trumpington Magazine', October 1925, including Village
Hall bookings. Trumpington Parish Church, bound set.
|Miss A. Pooley, a Cambridgeshire county champion in the 1920s who lived in Grantchester,
played tennis in Trumpington. There is a photograph of Miss Pooley in her tennis outfit, in
Trumpington Past & Present. It is a mystery where club members played but there is a
reference to the Club’s court being relaid in the 1930s.
|Miss A. Pooley, tennis champion. 1920s?
Source: Josephine Kitson, reproduced in
Trumpington Past & Present, p. 138.
|Trumpington Bowls Club has photographs dating from 1913 to 1920 showing bowls games
played at various locations, including at the Green Man public house. In about 1920, the Bowls
Club moved to Church Lane and played on a green adjacent to the Unicorn public house (now
the Lord Byron). The Club remained there for about 30 years until 1953, when it moved to the
current site on the King George V playing field.
|Trumpington Bowls Club
playing on the Bowling Green
to the right of The Unicorn Inn,
Collection, Cambridge Central
Library, reference: Y.Tru.K2
|My interest in the history of local sports clubs grew while we were researching the lives of First
World War Trumpington people. Accounts of some of the men killed in action, such as Robert
Wilson and Sidney Peters, had referred to their sporting skills in cricket and football. These
sports were played, before and after the war, on Trumpington Recreation Ground, which was on
the east of the High Street, opposite the current Shell garage.
|Recreation Ground to the east
of the High Street. Ordnance
Survey map, 1925.
|In the 1920s, the carpenter and wheelwright shop of Mr Edwin Smith and his sons, Gordon and
Clifford, was on the west side of the High Street, the site now occupied by the garage. The
Smith brothers were outstanding cricketers and it was said that, at village matches, Cliff was
expected to hit at least one ball across the road onto the roof of the wheelwright’s premises.
|Trumpington High Street
(London Road), early 1920s.
Looking north along the High
Street, with the gate into the
wood yard (sign visible on the
tree). The recreation ground is
to the right. Cambridgeshire
Collection, Cambridge Central
Library reference: Y.Tru.K2
|The earliest account I have found of a Trumpington cricket match was dated 1874, see the
history of local cricket.
The 1920s was a particularly successful period for the local cricket club. In 1920 the
Trumpington Cricket Club entered several competitions. They reached the semi-finals of the
Cambridgeshire Junior Cup and they played their way through Division 1 of the Milton and
District League to become the Champions. In 1921, Trumpington defeated Bottisham to win the
Milton and District Challenge Cup but, unlike in the previous year, Trumpington was defeated in
the final of the Milton and District Division I League. They lost by seven runs to Willingham but
fortunately the newspaper published photos of both the winning and losing teams. Introducing
the members of the team: we can see the Smith brothers and a couple of Haggis brothers.
|'Trumpington Defeated By
Seven Runs!', Cambridge
Chronicle, 21 September 1921,
p. 7. Cambridgeshire Collection.
Left to right: Standing: Gordon
Smith, Lloyd, E. Benton, J.
Haggis, Cliff Smith, Mayle,
Joseph Kefford (1913 league
matches googly bowler and
praised for his brilliant batting –
partial amputation of right leg in
1917 – Corporal in Queen’s
Rgt.). Seated: Robert Rayner,
A.H. Porter, P. Utteridge
(captain), H. Hicks, A. Haggis
and (on the ground) R.
|The next year, 1922, Trumpington played in three key competitions. They reached the final of
the Milton and District Challenge Cup again and the team was described as “on top all the way
through the match against Lode”. There is a photograph of Trumpington playing Great Shelford
during the semi-final of the Grantchester and District League knock-out competition for the
Duke’s Cup. I had hoped that they might have been playing at home and so this would have
been a picture of our recreation ground, but discovered from the newspaper match report that
they were playing at Little Shelford. (This now known as the Wale Recreation Ground.)
Trumpington defeated Great Shelford by four wickets. In the Duke Cup final, Trumpington
defeated Newton. It was reported “The bowling of the brothers Smith was the decisive factor.”
|Trumpington v. Great Shelford
cricket match, 15 July 1922.
Ted Mott Collection
photograph of the Duke Cup
semi-final match between
Trumpington and Great
Shelford, played at Little
Collection, Cambridge Central
Library, reference: Y.Tru.K22
|The third key event in 1922 was when Trumpington met Newton in the final of the Grantchester
and District League. Having beaten Newton in the knock-out competition, there had been a
hope/expectation that they would win again. In the match report, it was noted that the fine all-
round display throughout the season made Trumpington one of the most formidable of the local
elevens. But on this occasion Newton were the winners. The ‘Smith’ brothers feature once again.
|'League honours for Newton
Chronicle, 4 October 1922, p.
7. Cambridgeshire Collection.
Standing: A.F. Edwards (Hon.
Treasurer), C. Smith, E.
Benton, E. Peters, S. Harvey,
R. Cousins, and G. Smith.
Seated: S. Mayle, H. Stearn, A.
H. Porter (captain), R. Rayner,
and H. Hicks. Seated in front is
the son of the Club’s Hon.
Treasurer, R. Edwards, who
acted as scorer.
|1926 was a bumper year for Trumpington cricket players. The club had again entered three
competitions. They reached the final of the Grantchester & District Challenge Cup but were
beaten by Coton. For the first time in the history of the club, they were the proud winners of
both the Cambs. Junior League (defeating the Y.M.C.A. by six wickets) and Cambs. Junior Cup
(in the latter game they beat Great Wilbraham by 135 runs). We have a team photograph.
Cambridge Chronicle, 1
September 1926, p. 7.
Standing: R. Rayner, L. Unwin,
Alfred Haggis, L.R. Truelove,
Albert Haggis, J.J. Wilson.
Seated: F.W. Osborne, A.J.
Wilson, R. Cousins, Arthur
Haggis, Gordon Smith, H.
|Also in 1926, there was a fourth key cricket competition. It was between County branches of the
British Legion, playing for the Lord Lieutenant’s Cup. Six members of the above winning team
plus 5 other Trumpington British Legion men reached the final, which was played at Fenners and
the Trumpington team defeated Bottisham. Gordon Smith was captain.
|'Legion trophy for
Chronicle, 8 September 1926,
p. 7. Cambridgeshire Collection.
Standing: Umpire Ballard, R.
Rayner, H. Plummer, A.G.
Haggis, S. Mayle, W. Osborne,
C. Cousins, A. Godsalve,
Seated: A. Wilson, Capt.
Plumb (organising secretary),
G. Smith (captain), R. Cousins,
H. Pamplin, Mr Stimson (vice
chairman County Committee).
On ground: G. Rayner (scorer).
|Leaving cricket on this 1920s high note and moving to football.
The earliest record of football in Cambridgeshire was noted in University records - dated 1579. It
was of a match played at Chesterton between townspeople and University students. It was
reported as an unruly game, which ended in a violent brawl (Cambridgeshire Football
Association. Centenary. 1884-1984. One Hundred Years of County Football. Compiled by F.C.
Barrett, Cambridgeshire Football Association, 1984, p.3). For football to be organised, rules were
required. In 1848, a group of Cambridge University students agreed on a single set of rules by
which to play football and the details were posted on trees surrounding Parker's Piece. These 11
Cambridge Rules were almost entirely adopted by the Football Association when drafting the F.
A. rules in 1863 and became the first rules for football in the modern era. The sculpture
‘Cambridge Rules 1848’, on which these 11 rules are reproduced, was commissioned and
funded by Cambridge City Council and unveiled on Parker's Piece in May 2018.
|‘Cambridge Rules 1848’. Sculpture
commissioned and funded by Cambridge City
Council and unveiled on Parker's Piece,
Cambridge, in May 2018. Artists: Alan Ward
and Neville Gabie. Photo: Wendy Roberts, 14
|The earliest account of football played in Trumpington that I have found was dated 1904, see
the history of local football.
In 1920, Trumpington had played in the Foxton League but in 1922 Trumpington Football Club
entered the Cambs. League, Division 3. We have photographs of the Trumpington Football Club
team in their 2nd season in Division 3, 'Third Division Favourites', 1923-1924 season, including
a copy from the newspaper and a framed photograph from Colin Osborne, the grandson of F.W.
Osborne. There are some familiar names and faces, including Cliff Smith, Gordon Smith, A.J.
and A.G. Haggis, previously seen as cricket players. Unfortunately, having the photo taken may
have been tempting fate, the team finished third in the League table.
|Trumpington Football Club, 1923-1924 Season. Left: Cambridge Chronicle, 26 March
1924, p.9; right: Colin Osborne, grandson of F.W. Osborne. With the title ' Third
Division Favourites' and the caption “Trumpington football eleven and officials of the
Club, photographed on the Saturday prior to defeating Albert Institute by five goals to
two. They have high hopes of retaining their position at the head of the Third Division
of the County League. (Left to right): Top row: Charles Cousins (Hon. Secretary) [C.
H. Cousins], J. Haggis (Linesman) [A. Haggis], Cliff Smith [C.J. Smith], W. Frost [W.
F. Frost], J. Haggis [A.J. Haggis], and P.E. Noble (Treasurer). Second row: G. Stone,
Gordon Smith [G.M. Smith], A. Haggis (Captain) [A.G. Haggis], Mr W.W. Pemberton
(President), T. Osbourn (Vice-Captain) [E. Osborne known as Ted], J. Osbourn [F.W.
Osborne known as Joe], and W. Haslop. On ground: Harry Plummer and L. Burgess.”
|In their next season 1924-1925, Trumpington did succeed in finishing at the head of Division 3.
In September 1924, Percy Robinson, Head Teacher at the village school, had introduced a
school badge for pupils to wear. The Football Club Honorary Secretary had suggested that if the
Club won its Division, perhaps it could adopt a larger version of that badge to be worn by
players. The badge design was of Sir Roger de Trumpington’s arms with the two trumpets and
crosses. Thus it was in December 1926, when Mr Percy Robinson presented Trumpington
Football Club with a set of 15 Village Badges, to be worn on players’ jerseys. Bringing the story
up to date, the current Trumpington Football Club wear on their kit a picture of the figure of Sir
Roger de Trumpington on horseback.
|Left: The arms of Roger of Trumpington. Trumpington Magazine, March 1925.
Right: Trumpington Football Club matches on King George V playing field.
Photo: Andrew Roberts, 17 November 2018.