Everyone at Worcestershire CCC has been proud to celebrate the club's 150th Anniversary Year which will reach a climax with a Gatsby Ball in the Graeme Hick Pavilion on December 31.
Now seems an appropriate time to look back at the history of the County via a series of articles on the Worcestershire website during the next few weeks.
Here we feature the very beginning of the club in 1865 and will gradually work our way through to the modern era. ________________________________________________________________________________
It all began 150 years ago at the Star Hotel – now under the name of the White House – in Foregate Street, Worcester.
A meeting was called "for the promotion of the much required Worcestershire County Cricket Club" on March 3, 1865 under the chairmanship of the Lord Lieutenant for the County, Lord George Lyttelton.
And thus Worcestershire CCC was born with Lord Lyttelton becoming the club's first president.
There had been a team representing Worcestershire for around 20 years previously, twice playing an England X1 at Powick Ham and in the Tything at a ground behind the Talbot Inn.
There is a record of Worcestershire and Shropshire meeting in a match on Hartlebury Common in 1844 and a series of matches were played at Ombersley three years later.
But then the 'City' and 'County' clubs amalgamated in 1855 and played predominantly on Pitchcroft until Worcestershire CCC was officially formed 10 years later.
The first match under the official Worcestershire CCC name was staged on April 29, 1865 against Bromsgrove School and two members of the Lyttelton family played major roles in the county triumphing.
The Hon C. G. Lyttelton scored 102 out of a first innings total of 163 and his brother S. G. Lyttelton picked up seven wickets as the school were dismissed for 62 as Worcestershire triumphed by eight wickets.
During that first season Worcestershire faced opposition which included Shropshire, Malvern College and Warwickshire.
It was at this juncture that the county moved to the Pleasure Gardens ground, Boughton which was to be their home ground for the next three decades.
There was sufficient interest for a Second Eleven to be formed in 1867.
Then three years later the famous WG Grace was recruited by Worcestershire to play against the United North Of England and scored 74 and 38 in his side's victory.
The following year a famous name was included in the Worcestershire side – the Reverend H. Foster who was the father of the famous clan of brothers who would go onto play for the county in another era.
A Worcestershire Cricket Week was staged for several years, combining matches with theatricals and concerts in the evenings, sometimes involving several of the county's players!
The Hon. CJ Coventry impressed sufficiently to be chosen for the MCC trip to South Africa in 1889-90 – the first Worcestershire player to go on tour.
Around the same time Paul Foley became county secretary and he was to have a major role in Worcestershire's progress forward.
From 1895 the cricket became more competitive after Foley helped found the Minor Counties Championship. He was the first secretary of that competition.
The dynamic Foley was also determined to ensure Worcestershire were of a sufficient standard to participate in this competition and he arranged for the employment of professional cricketers combined with talented amateurs.
Worcestershire shared the title in the competition's first year with Durham and Norfolk but won it outright in 1896, 1897 and 1898.
The likes of HK and RE Foster, GH Simpson-Hayward, GE Bromley-Martin, AW Isaac, Albert Bird, Fred Wheldon, who also played football for Aston Villa, Tom Straw, Dick Burrows, Fred Bowley and Ted Arnold were part of this first golden era for Worcestershire cricket.
As the 20th century approached, it was the launchpad for Worcestershire to apply for and secure first class status – and move to New Road.
SCORECARD FROM FIRST MATCH V BROMSGROVE GRAMMAR SCHOOL APRIL 1865
WORCESTERSHIRE – FIRST INNINGS
WH King b Lacon 0
Rev A Waller b Cator 4
Hon SG Lyttelton b Cator 0
Hon CG Lyttelton not out 102
J Raybould run out 8
AB Martin b Cator 3
H Hickman b Lacon 0
Rev A Walker b Cator 0
Rev BN Cherry b Cator 0
T Claughton c Landin b Cator 3
PS Cocks b Howell 14
Total 163 all out
WORCESTERSHIRE – SECOND INNINGS
J Raybould b Howell 10
AB Martin not out 3
H Hickman c Moor b Lacon 12
Rev A Walker not out 0
Total (for 2 wickets) 28.
BROMSGROVE GRAMMAR SCHOOL – FIRST INNINGS
GC Moss b S Lyttelton 2
R Kilton b S Lyttelton 0
J Udal run out 11
E Cator b S Lyttelton 0
E Lacon b S Lyttelton 4
WD Field b S Lyttelton 3
S Phillips b S Lyttelton 2
C Landon b Martin 1
AP Rawson b S Lyttelton 6
HH Orr not out 5
H Howell c C Lyttelton b Martin 0
Total (all out) 62
BROMSGROVE GRAMMAR SCHOOL – SECOND INNINGS
GC Moss c Martin b Walker 25
R Kilton run out 6
JS Udal b Walker 2
E Cator run out 6
E Lacon b Martin 27
WD Field c Walker b Raybould 21
S Phillips b Raybould 0
C Landon b S Lyttelton 18
AP Rawson c C Lyttelton b Raybould 0
HH Orr b Walker 2
H Howell not out 1
Total (all out) 128)
WORCESTERSHIRE WON BY EIGHT WICKETS
*Tune into the Worcestershire CCC website for part two of our lookback.