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Baseball Mercury 27

Edition 30 contains an article in Typescript which in parts is difficult to read. Read it here or click the Header above to read the whole Issue.

BASEBALL IN GLOUCESTER.

In the early 1960’s there were a couple of news items in the South Wales Echo, of Cardiff/which touched on the history of the game, English baseball in this context. If memory serves me correctly one statement was that a Gloucester Rounders Association had been formed in the 1780’s.!!! Another item stated that baseball had been played in Gloucester, dying out during World War I.

Some months ago I decided that I would examine newspapers published in that city to discover what I could about the Gloucester Baseball Association. I knew a little already about the rounders era shortly before 1892, this information had been acquired from newspapers published in Liverpool, as a result of reports in the Liverpool press about games between sides representing Liverpool and Gloucester.

It appears that during the rounders era, which ended in the spring of 1892 Liverpool had always beaten Gloucester. The Gloucester Challenge Shield, the championship trophy of the Gloucester Rounders Association, seems to have been won by Ryecroft in seasons 1888 to.90. In 1891 the G.R.A. had 8 clubs in membership – Gordon League, Gordon Wanderers, Ryecroft, Kingsholm, Albion, Nelson Villa, Rangers, Atlas. Gordon League won the championship in this, which was to be the last season of rounders.

In May 1892, the Gloucester Rounders Association received a letter from the English Baseball Association, formerly the National Rounders Association of Liverpool and Vicinity, stating that its title had been changed and requesting the G.R.A. to change its title, and to refer to the game as English Baseball.

 X. Indicates that I have seen a team mentioned in a particular year.

SENIORS

1892

93

94

95

96

97

98

99

Gordon League

X

X

X

X

X

Kingsholm

X

X

X

X

X

X

Ryecroft

X

X

X

X

X

Sissons

X

Atlas

X

X

X

X

Rangers

X

Barton Rangers

X

Barton End

X

X

X

Sherborne Street

X

 In 1895 two other clubs were mentioned, Newnham Baseball Club, and Newnham Gymnasium, but it was not indicated whether or not they were senior clubs.

JUNIOR TEAMS mentioned were Kingsholm, Barton End, Atlas, St. Mary’s Hall, Gordon League, Ryecroft, Exchange, Harlequins. The junior competition began in 1892, and the junior champions won a cup.

Senior Shield Winners. 1892 ?; 1893 Kingsholm; 1894 Kingsholm; 1895 Gordon League; 1896 Kingsholm.

Junior Cup Winners. 1892 Atlas; 1893 Kingsholm; 1894 ?; 1895 Kingsholm; 1896 Barton End.

Representative Games. 30th. July 1892 at the Co-operative Field, Gloucester, Gloucester beat Liverpool for the first time ever. I have found no accounts of further games in the period which I have worked through to date.

Monday, 6th. August 1894, on St. Catherine’s Meadow, Gloucester, Gloucester beat Cardiff.

Monday, 5th. August 1895, at Grangetown, Cardiff. Gloucester beat Cardiff.

Saturday, 17th. August 1895, at St. Catherine’s Meadow, Gloucester. Cardiff was beaten yet again by Gloucester.

Monday, 7th. August 1899, at Grangetown, Cardiff. Gloucester beat Cardiff.

Sam Vallender was described in 1891 as the finest bowler in Gloucester, he was selected for representative teams for more than a decade; and played on at least four teams which won the Challenge Shield.

Another celebrated player was Walter George, one of the best rugby backs of that period. Walter was connected with Ryecroft in its Shield winning days. He captained the Gloucester representative team in 1891-92, but was lost to the game when he left the town. Many’ of the baseball players were also prominent rugby players. Rugby was the major sport in the town; but others starred at soccer.

Kingsholm and Atlas were teams connected with ironworks. Sissons was a works team. Gordon League was the name of an educational and recreational institute for young men. It fielded teams in various sports – there was a rugby team of that name existing into the 1970’s.

1892. Gordon League beat St. Woolos (Newport) at Newport.

1895. Atlas(Gloucester) beat Bristol North at Eastville Park, Bristol.

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