The plaque on the side of the Bluemantle Stand, at the Nevill Ground Tunbridge Wells, gives a good history of the Club:

One thought on “History

  1. I wonder if you might be able to help me on an historical cricketing matter. Together with two other members of the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship, I will be presenting a talk at The Wadhurst Historical Society in mid-March. We were invited to give the talk on Siegfried Sassoon by the Society and, not surprisingly, they would like us to include as many local references as possible to Wadhurst and surrounding areas.
    As I’m sure you know, the famous World War 1 poet and prose writer was born in Matfield and spent much of his early life in rural Kent and played for your club in the early 1900’s. I was wondering if you have any records, scorecards or match reports of Siegfried’s involvement with the Blue Mantles?

    You will no doubt be aware of such extracts in Sassoon’s war diaries where, in 1916, when he was on the Western Front, he recalls more tranquil days:

    ‘And I’m thinking of England, and summer evenings after cricket matches, and sunset above tall trees, and village-streets in the dusk, and the clatter of a break driving home. Perhaps I’ve made a blob, but we’ve won the match, and there’s another match tomorrow – Blue Mantles against some cheery public-school side, and there’s the usual Nevill Ground wicket, and I’ll be in first – and old Kelsey and Osmund Scott and all the rest of them. So things went three years ago; and it’s all dead and done with. I’ll never be there again. If I’m lucky and get out through alive, there’s another sort of life waiting for me.’

    We know from our Fellowship’s life President Dennis Silk, who was himself a first class cricketer, ex President of the MCC and a friend of Sassoon’s, that Siegfried was a much better poet than cricketer, but he certainly loved the game.

    I have been to several Kent matches at the Nevill during the Festival week and have enjoyed every minute. What a beautiful ground it is, especially on a fine summer’s day.

    As part of my research for the talk (photos and illustrations are my tasks) I have managed to confirm that a wonderful old photo of Siegfried Sassoon and Edmund Blunden (unfortunately this form doesn’t transmit photos – I’ll forward it to you if you let me have an e-mail address) was definitely taken at the Nevill Ground. It was the first day of Kent v Hampshire at ‘Tunbridge Wells Week’on 9th July 1931.

    So, if you do have anything on Siegfried’s time playing for the Blue Mantles, I would be very pleased to hear from you.

    I hope your Club has a successful season in 2013.

    With kind regards,
    Peter Clinch
    Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship

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