Oxfordshire Friendly Cup
(Updated to end of Season 2020)
The Far from the MCC were invited by Keith Whiter (Isis CC) to first participate in the Friendly Cup in 2016, and in doing so did well enough to reach the final before losing to the Oxon County Council Staff CC in what was a beautiful advertisement for acronyms (FFTMCC v OCCSCC). An enjoyable backdrop and distraction from regular Sunday (friendly) cricket, the competition has been going since as far back as 1989, and a brief history is found below, written by the hand of Nigel Hessey from Moreton.
(contribution by Nigel Hessey – 2019)
Founding of the competition:
The Friendly Cup knock out competition was established by Moreton CC with the purpose of providing the club with more competitive cricket, Moreton CC not being in a league and predominantly playing ‘friendly cricket’. Gerald Howat & Michael Stimpson were the instigators. Documents to action the establishment of the competition exist from 1987.
At a meeting at Old School House, North Moreton on 25th March 1988 Gerald Howat and Michael Stimpson (Moreton), Rod & Ian Clewley (Radley), Robert Harvey (Oxon CC Staff) and John Harrison (Blewbury &Upton) met to agree the regulations of a knock out competition played over two Sundays, arranged the purchase of a trophy, considered a title for the competition, decided to explore getting a sponsor and made a draw for the first round to take place on Sunday June 25th 1989. The play off for 3rd & 4th place and the final was scheduled for Sunday July 22nd.
Regulation 24 stated:
‘All are reminded that the spirit of the Competition is embraced in its title, The Friendly Cup.’
The original competition involved just 4 clubs playing 45 overs a side matches with bowlers limited to nine overs. The original members were as follows:
* Blewbury & Upton CC
* Moreton CC
* Oxon County Council Staff CC
* Radley (village) CC
In 1988, Blewbury were about to join a league, the other clubs did not play league cricket. Titles considered for the competition were The Friendly Cup, The Quartet Cup, Isis Cup and Bloxmora Cup, the last idea being made up of the first two letters of the founding clubs. The decision on title was made by vote.
A sponsor was not found so each club gave £20 towards buying the trophy. The first final took place between Moreton & Radley on a hot summer’s day in 1989 & was very keenly contested.
MacDonald Bros (Will and Tom) celebrate whacking tons against the FFTMCC in the final at Horspath in 2018.
Later (when?) four more clubs joined: (did the competition go straight up to 8 sides, or 6, then 8?)
When did the following clubs join:
* Crowmarsh CC (2001?)
* Stoke Row CC
* Dorchester Dodgers CC (2008) (withdrew after 2009)
* Ipsden CC (2002)
* Cuxham CC (withdrew after 2006)
* Aldworth CC (2008)
* Far from the MCC (2016)
In 2001, as only 5 clubs were involved (Stoke Row, Brightwell, Blewbury, Moreton, Oxon CC Staff), Crowmarsh having resigned and a 6th club not being found, the competition was run on a league basis with each club playing two matches. Run rates were an issue!
In 2007, the format changed to 40 over matches with bowlers limited to 8 overs.
The Dorchester Dodgers were based on the Dorchester’s U17’s team coached by Mike Stimpson. They did well to win the competition back in 2009.
2014: Six a Side Tournament held at Aldworth to celebrate the Friendly Cup’s 25th anniversary in very wet conditions.
2019: Cholsey to join with Ewelme for the school holiday period.
OCCSCC winners of The Acronym Cup in 2016.
Change of Format:
At the 2018 AGM, Secretary Ian Howarth of FFTMCC, suggested changing the format of the Cup to two pools of four teams playing Round Robin, followed by the top two teams etc playing for placings. This required an extra match in July, which would bridge the elongated gap which existed between the second round and the final games in September. The idea was greeted with enthusiasm by the teams and the competition details agreed at the 2019 AGM for auctioning in 2020.
With a change of format came a change in world events as the planet was largely shutdown for portions of 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It blighted the first few months of the cricket season and as such the Friendly Cup was shelved until 2021 with friendlies replacing what would have been the final games of the competition.
In the case of the FFTMCC, they arranged to a play Ipsden CC, as for whatever reason the two clubs had somehow avoided playing each other in the competition since The MAD joined back in 2016. For a write up of the game, please head here (Report).
Friendly Cup Records
Historical Winners of the Friendly Cup
Historical List of Friendly Cup Secretaries
Pub Venues that have Hosted a Friendly Cup AGM
‘Nigel Hessey & Ian Howarth’