Celebrity Cricket Match (1970)

On 29th and 30th of August 1970 a festival weekend was held in Stansted Recreation ground with all proceeds going towards the Village Hall fund.  A copy of the original Festival Programme can be viewed by clicking on the following image.

Stansted Village Hall has been, and continues to be, central to village events. This, however, was not always the case.

Fairseat Village Hall opened in 1961 and around the same time three Stansted residents – Nevill Phillips of Goodmans Barn, Arthur Prentice of Rowanhurst, Plaxdale Green Road and the Black Horse publican, Cyril Tucker – together with Hugh Pasteur of Fairseat House, Fairseat joined forces to explore ways of raising funds for a village hall in Stansted. They had heard that there was a prefab building for sale; the problem was how to pay for it and to fund the necessary improvements. In the end it didn’t take them long to hatch a plan.

They hit upon the idea of a Stansted Festival weekend with horse show and gymkhana on Saturday and a cricket match on Sunday. It seems that the Saturday programme was the forerunner of the annual Village Fete that has taken place ever since.

Stansted Celebrity Cricket Match 1970
The team sheet for the 1970 Celebrity cricket match at Stansted Recreation Ground
Image courtesy of Virginia Phillips


But it was not just any old cricket match.

A team of eleven men who had distinguished themselves in the sporting arena was assembled to play and these included footballers Peter Bonetti, John Hollins and Bobby Tambling of Chelsea and England plus David Perry who had been Captain of the England Rugby Union team in the 1965 Five Nations Championship.

They played against an England Ladies Cricket XI. It was Nevill Phillips who, with the invaluable help of a sports journalist he knew, arranged for the England women’s international team to come to Stansted to play the match. The side was captained by Rachel Heyhoe as she was before she married Mr Flint the following year. She was captain of England from 1966-78 including when England won the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1973. She later became a Baroness. Eight of the rest of the side had played for England and one for Australia.

The match took place on Sunday 30th August 1970 on the Recreation Ground, with the strains from a Tea Dance accompanying the play. This was followed by a barbecue held that evening at ten shillings a head. The £600 that had been needed to buy the Village Hall was easily raised in just one day, That is over £10,000 at 2023 prices.

And who won the cricket match? Well nobody can remember.

Author: Dick Hogbin
Editors: Tony Piper
Contributors: Virginia Phillips
Last Updated: 18 July 2023