MONDAY 31st JULY 2017

The weather today was fine and sunny after a weekend of rain. We had arrived in Canterbury after a 4 hour uneventful drive from the Angel Hotel at Leamington to begin our southern cricket adventure with similar minded 050 English cricketers .

Our first game was at Gravesend CC against Kent 050s who had missed the cut in the 050 Championships but wished to play some 49 years old to blood for next season

Apparently Gravesend obtains it name being the furthest site of a grave for a deceased being brought from London by barge down the Thames due to the great plague in 1666. As we were playing there today it was hoped that the place didn’t live up to its name for our team in the present game v Kent 050s.

Gravesend CC previously known as the “Bat and Ball Cricket Ground” dates from 1845when turf from nearby Cobham Hall was used to lay out the ground. Cobham Hall is the famous home of Ivo Francis Walter Bligh the 8th Earl of Danley who was the English Captain who returned from Australia in 1884 with the famous ashes urn from a farm north of Melbourne. The urn remained on his mantle piece from 1884 until his death in 1927 when it was lent in perpetuity to Lords where it now stands.

The first overseas tourists to Gravesend CC were the Australian Aboriginals who landed in 1868 and spent their first night at the “Bat and Ball” Inn adjacent to the ground which was the first ground the team saw. They returned to play a match later there showing their cricket and boomerang throwing skills. Two other Australian teams played there in 1886 and 1893.

In 1895 W G Grace aged 47 yrs hit 257 for Gloucestershire against Kent and remained on the field for the 3 days of the match. Later in 1937 the first Australian Women’s team played at Gravesend CC in their first oversea’s tour game v Kent. In 1945 the Australian services Team captained by Lindsay Hassett and including Keith Miller played there whilst Colin Cowdrey who made 6 Ashes tours to Australia scored his first first class 50 in 1951. So it was fitting that this inaugural Australian 050s cricket team got into this historical queue.