Gents of Devon
One-off trip to Surrey led to 50 years of touring
From the 1950s until 1992, the Barnes Cricket Club held an annual tour to Devon, playing local sides, one of which was Exeter Cricket Club.
In 1961, at the invitation of Barnes CC, Exeter — led by the late Harry E Moore — took a team of cricketers , travelling by steam train up to London, to play an away fixture at Barnes, returning to Devon on the overnight milk train.
Little did they realise then, but it would be the start of an association lasting 50 years. The Exeter CC tour to Richmond, Surrey, was born.
In subsequent years, the Exeter club added other fixtures, mainly against other teams who toured in Devon, building the tour, until a full week of fixtures was established.
After several years of touring, Exeter found it increasingly difficult to get enough players. And so, through the efforts of the late Roy Evans, Plymouth CC were invited to join forces with the Exeter players on their tour.
This was very successful, so much so that after a few years it was decided to change the name of the tour from the Exeter CC tour to the Gentlemen of Devon CC to better reflect the make-up of players from different clubs .
Several other Devon cricket clubs have subsequently contributed players, including Plymouth, Bovey Tracey, Plymstock, Exmouth and, more recently and most successfully, Ottery St Mary.
Every year the tour is joined by players who have now moved away from Devon and spread across the country, but who still relish their week on tour.
The tour has gone from strength to strength and on Sunday the latest generation of cricket tourists will once again follow in the footsteps of their predecessors on the Gentlemen of Devon's 50th cricket tour to Richmond.
The Gents still play against Barnes CC and their other fixtures will be against London Polytechnic CC, Richmond CC, Oxshot CC and Long Ditton CC.
To celebrate the achievement of 50 years of touring, a book detailing the history of the club is being produced by Jeffrey Stanyer, who is one of the tourists from the early years and is still playing for Exeter CC.
Extract from Western Moening News Tuesday, July 13, 2010