Bishop Stortford - Cricket field

Cricketfield Lane : CM23 2TD Bishop Stortford - Cricket field : Map credit National Library of Scotland
The Chelmsford Chronicle on September 24th 1869 reported on velocipede races at Bishop Stortford. The races took place on the cricket field, Bishop Stortford on Wednesday 22nd September. "The day was fine, the visitors numerous, and the sports gave every satisfaction, some of the events provoking much laughter" The band of the 1st Herts was in attendance". There were 12 riders in the five events which were over a quarter and half a mile

Bishop Stortford Bicycle Club held its first sports meeting at the cricket field on August 14th 1878. The track was set at five laps to the mile, which was difficult to ride owning to the damp grass. The Chelmsford Chronicle reported on the 5 miles race ‘for a cup' was won by CEB Bowker on a 53 inch machine. The 2 miles race, open to gentleman amateurs, was won by M Flynn, three starting. There was also a 1 mile race and a slow race.

Bishop Stortford Athletic and Bicycle Club As formed in 1879, amalgamating the Bicycle Club. The annual subscription was five shillings. The club started to hold an annual sports meeting in 1879 on Whit Monday.

Bishop Stortford A & BC held their third annual sports on Whit Monday 1881. The meeting included bicycle races over two miles for members and a three miles open event, on a marked out grass track 347 yards around.

The annual sports continued through the 1880's, with between two and four bicycle races. HH Griffin was the handicapper and timekeeper. The weather was often very bad and in 1888 the large marquee was wrecked by the wind. In spite of this, attendance at the event was good.

At the Lille Bridge riot in 1887, WE Tyler of the Bishop Stortford BC, had his Howe racing machine dragged from the dressing room and thrown on to one of the bonfires.

At the 1892 sports, AA Chase* won his first event, the one mile open bicycle race. The attendance at the annual sports was usually around 2,500.

The Bishop Stortford Athletic Sports ran until the 1900's. The 1901 annual sports had six bicycle races and attracted the biggest crowd ever. The last bicycle racing there was possibly the Whit Monday meeting in 1907 which has four bicycle races.

The cricket field still exists in its original location and Bishop Stortford Cricket Club still play there.

* AA Chase was a champion cyclist from 1896 to 1902. He held three World Record including the 50 miles paced record in 1896. He won the 100km Olympic title in 1900 and World track championship gold and silver medals. Chase often used motorised pacing tandems, including electric powered tandems. After retiring from cycling scene, he teamed up with his brother F. W. Chase to build motorcycles.


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