Cricket match halted by war to be completed

The venue for Sunday's match, The Lee Cricket Club

The venue for Sunday's match, The Lee Cricket Club

First published in Sport Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A CRICKET match that was never completed due to the outbreak of the First World War is finally due to finish this weekend - a century after it started.

The original match between The Lee Cricket Club and a team from the village's Manor House was abandoned on August 3, 1914, due to rain.

War was declared the following day and players from both sides, expecting hostilities to be over by Christmas, said they would conclude the match when the fighting was over.

The game was never revisited after three of the players were killed in action and others left severely injured by the fighting.

But a full one hundred years after the match was started, members of The Lee Cricket Club have decided the time is right to bring it to a fitting conclusion on Sunday.

The 1914 match was the climax of a week of activities where friends of Sir Arthur Liberty, the Chesham-born founder of the famous Regent Street store, came to the Manor House to dance, play tennis, cricket and socialise.

It was never finished due to rain and finally abandoned at 5pm.

During one of the showers Manor House captain Ivor Stewart-Liberty walked around the boundary with team mate GD Roberts and opposing fast bowler Albert Phillips and came up with the idea of finishing the game once hostilities were over.

All three men volunteered for active service but Stewart-Liberty was left severely disabled by injury and Phillips was killed in action.

Brothers Arthur and Ralph Brown, who were in the village's side for the cricket match, were also among the 30 men from The Lee, near Great Missenden, who were killed in the trenches.

The names of the fallen servicemen will be read out during a roll call during the tea interval of Sunday's match, which will also include a minute's silence and the playing of the Last Post.

During tea the club's life president Liz Stewart-Liberty, who married Ivor's son Arthur, and Mike Senior - who uncovered the story of the match while researching a book on the village's involvement in the war - will both speak about the background to the game.

Club members who live in The Lee will represent the Manor House team in a 40 overs per side match that starts at 11am, while players who live outside the village will play for The Lee.

Club vice chairman Patrick Walsh said: "We thought that playing the game of cricket is quite an appropriate thing to do to remember those who died. If the war had been lost, a whole traditional way of life would have been lost. Things like village cricket may not have survived."

Justin Webb, the second XI captain, added: "Although I do not live in the village I will be very proud as the current second XI captain to play and represent The Lee Village side against the The Lee Manor House this forthcoming Sunday."

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