Lyndhurst & Ashurst Cricket Club has reinstated an annual fixture – more than 100 years after it was last played.

Before the First World War, a Club XI played the Gentlemen of Lyndhurst XI every year at their picturesque ground next to the iconic Bolton’s Bench.

The fixture was first played in the late 19th century but was discontinued when too few of the gentlemen and villagers returned from the war and the area’s country houses went into decline.

Poignantly, it was restored during the centenary commemoration year of the end of the war, at the club’s recent open day.

Parents and coaches from the club’s thriving colts section represented the Gentlemen in a ten-run T20 defeat against the Club.

Lyndhurst CC was the premier club in the New Forest in the 1950s and 1960s and the late former Hampshire batsman Ray Flood, whose son Kevin heads up the club’s All Stars programme with wife Sharon, was a regular in their top order in the 1970s.

The club joined forces with Deanery in the 1980s but declined in the late 1990s before reforming as Lyndhurst CC and then amalgamating with Ashurst CC in 2004.

With its 120 year-old thatched pavilion lovingly restored, Lyndhurst & Ashurst CC now has two teams in the Hampshire League, playing in Regional Division One South West and Regional Division 2 South West.

It also has a full programme of friendly Sunday fixtures and midweek evening league matches.

Lyndhurst & Ashurst CC chairman Andy Tuck would like to reunite a scrapbook, found during the restoration of the pavilion, with the owner’s family.

Archive material found in the pavilion related to Deanery Cricket Club and included a scrap book compiled by a young cricketer called James George Wilson Swain.

“He was clearly a promising young cricketer and played for Deanery alongside Charles Knott (who went on to play for Hampshire),” he explains Andy.

“We believe that J.G.W Swain joined the air force during World War II. He was a W/Cdr and was shot down and killed on the 21/04/43. He is remembered in the Book of Remembrance in the Civic Centre. We believe he is buried in the Fovrfelt cemetery in Esbjerg, Denmark. The club would love to re-unite the scrap book with any living relatives. Other notable names found in the club ledger include Arthur Holt, Reg Haskell and [former Hampshire all-rounder and umpire] Lloyd Budd.”

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