Since 1972, The Cricketer administered The Watsons Village Cup has been inextricably linked with the English summer. Each year around 300 clubs from villages across the British Isles battle for the chance to play in the final at Lord’s, the home of cricket.
No other sport offers this opportunity to the grassroots level of their game where even the smallest village team can ‘live the dream’ and tread the same hallowed turf as England skipper Joe Root and co.
At a meeting in the committee room at Lord’s, chairman of the National Cricket Association Aidan Crawley looked out of the window and remarked that he had always wanted to see village cricketers play on the hallowed turf.
Ben and Belinda Brocklehurst formed a plan of campaign with The Cricketer. They agreed what constituted a village, adding that it should be a ‘rural community surrounded on all sides by open countryside.’ The competition was launched via magazine promotion and more than two thousand village clubs were also written to. By the end of the 1971 cricket season, 785 clubs had been divided into 32 regional groups, whose local knock-out competitions would provide the starting point of the inter-group stages and thereafter the national rounds.
Commitment to the grassroots
The Cricketer recognises the importance of grassroots cricket and showcases those communities involved in getting village teams onto the park each week. Through The Watsons Village Cup we aim to raise awareness of the rural game and to provide the opportunity for clubs to compete against new teams and make new friends.
Goals for the future
The Cricketer’s aspiration for the Village Cup is to increase participation of clubs year on year. We aim to achieve this by reaching out to clubs across the country, providing them with the opportunity to fulfil their dream and play on the hallowed turf at Lord’s.
You can view the eligibility rules of the competition here