The Early Years
"Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle?", "Whose idea was it to put an "S" in the word 'lisp'"? and "From where and when did Cricket originate?" are just three of life's unanswerable questions. In an attempt to answer the third, some aficionados will point you towards the first recorded game played at the Royal Grammar School in Guildford, in 1550. It must have been a particularly long game, as the next definitive reference to a local match crops up in 1671. In the same year that saw King Charles II pardon Colonel Thomas Blood for attempting to pinch the Crown Jewels, a similar criminal was at work on the Sabbath, playing Cricket for Shere. His name was Edward Bound - and he too was pardoned. It should be pointed out that over recent years there have been a number of team performances which can only be described as 'criminal'. However, in a cloth-cap tipping homage to our distant forefathers, the current team also got away with it - without even an ASBO.
Moving swiftly on, the next notable entry can be found in the astonishingly-long diaries of William Bray (1736-1832). In 1755, William recorded playing Baseball with Molly Flutter (amongst others) and fairly soon after saw the errors of his ways. As only 6 years later, in 1761, it appears that he'd given up Baseball and went on to play Cricket.
Coming of Age
It took a further 110 years to get the 'modern' team together. However, a match between Shere and Old Woking C.C. in 1818 recorded a unique event which has only been repeated 3 times throughout history. Back in the early part of the 19th Century, there were four balls in an over and overarm (or 'roundarm') bowling was seriously frowned upon. The game against Woking involved 2 innings each, during which both teams scored exactly the same score in all four innings - 71 all-out.
The nineteenth century saw the rise of the railways and in 1849 a station was opened in the nearby village of Gomshall. This led to teams travelling from London to try and prove that 'Intellect always tells in the end' - a comment made by H.B. Marriott-Watson, an Australian-born British novelist, while on the first of many trips made by the 'Allahakbarries' to play in Shere in September 1887. J.M. Barrie, of Peter Pan fame, captained the team and wrote a short book in which he recalls, 'Unfortunately, Shere had a horribly competent left-hander who at once set about smiting the bowling....' The 'horribly competent left-hander' was almost certainly Dickie Askew, the landlord of the White Horse Inn. Other members of the team included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A.A. Milne and P.G.Wodehouse - all of whom continued to visit Shere for the summer fixture over the next 10 years. 'Peter Pan's First XI', by Kevin Telfer, charts the exploits of the Allahakbarries and was published in 2010.
Up until 1901, all the games were played on Shere's home ground up on the Heath. The pitch, in its current location, didn't come into existence until the villagers had raised £600 (£40,000 today) to buy the Recreation Ground from the Fraser-Lomax family of Netley House. An entry in the 1897 balance sheet records the sum of 3 pounds and 15 shillings raised from the 'Smoking Concert' - which we can only assume involved more than a barbershop quartet humming their way through a packet of woodbines. To this day, the team continues to raise money with a pre-season annual quiz.
Up to Date
A couple of highlights from more recent years saw Lionel Jones take 10 wickets for 58 runs against Hove Monitifore, and 10 for 15 against the BBC in consecutive games, in 1983. The team had to wait another 16 years for a record-breaking win, when in 1999 they became champions of the Surrey Downs League Division II. The same feat was repeated in 2005 - but alas, form has slid a bit since then - as has our place in Division II. Shere managed 6th place in 2011's season in League Division III. But whatever the the form, or the score, Cricket will continue to be played 'on the Rec' and any extended periods standing in the field could be put to use trying to solve such mysteries such as which joker came up with the word 'lisp' or why glue doesn't stick to the bottle.
Thanks to Elizabeth Rich (of Shere Museum), Hal Rice (President of SCC), Ian Witter and Handa Bray for helping with the facts and photos on this page - and throughout the site.