Surrey v Old England, The Oval, May 23, 1946

A great day at The Oval

Surrey 248 for 6 dec (Squires 68, Gregory 62, Fender 2-46, Freeman 2-76) drew with Old England 232 for 5 (Hendren 94, Woolley 62, Jardine 54, Bedser 2-45)

His Majesty King George VI attended the match between Surrey and a team of Old England on the celebration of the Surrey centenary at the Oval. The King is enjoying a laugh with Percy Fender, Maurice Tate, Patsy Hendren and Frank Woolley © Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 1947
The King and some 15,000 enthusiasts attended the one-day match arranged to celebrate the centenary of the Surrey County Cricket Club and of Kennington Oval as a cricket ground. Surrey faced a side comprised of ten old England players and Brooks, former Surrey wicketkeeper, the one member of the eleven without the honour of Test match experience. Altogether the caps gained by the ten players and the umpires, Hobbs and Strudwick, numbered 370.

On one of the finest days of the summer, the cricket proved full of interest. Runs always came fast and there were three stands of over a hundred. Gregory and Squires put on 111 for Surrey; Woolley and Hendren hit up 102, and Hendren and Jardine 108 for Old England in a splendid effort to hit of the runs after Bennett, the new Surrey captain, declared.

Fender was prominent in the field, making a neat catch and taking two wickets with successive balls. The most exhilarating cricket came after the fall of Sandham and Sutcliffe for two runs. Woolley, at the age of 59, drove with the same ease that delighted crowds before and after the 1914-18 war. Hendren showed all his old cheery forcing play until just before time he lifted a catch off Surrey's most famous recruit, Alec Bedser, already marked for England honours.

To stay two and three-quarter hours and hit eight 4's at the age of 57 was a great feat by Hendren. Douglas Jardine, wearing his Oxford Harlequin cap, was as polished as ever in academic skill.

The King, Patron of Surrey, accompanied by officials of the club, went on the ground, where all concerned in the game were introduced to him with the happiest of greetings. The band of the East Surrey Regiment was in attendance, and after the game a dance in the pavilion long room completed the festive occasion.

Old England H Sutcliffe, A Sandham, F Woolley, E Hendren, D Jardine, P Fender (capt), D Knight, M Tate, E Holmes, M Allom, E Brooks (wkt).

Surrey R Gregory, L Fishlock, H Squires, T Barling, J Parker, A McIntyre (wkt), E Bedser, E Watts, N Bennett (capt), G Whittaker, G Mobey.

A great day at The Oval

In a letter to The Times, Mr. P. G. H. Fender, captain of "Old England," wrote:

"May I express to the thousands of enthusiasts who gave `Old England' such a wonderful reception at The Oval the sincere heartfelt thanks of all those who were privileged to play in that side? There are many others who should have played, and we realise that we were the lucky: ones, and that the tribute was to the game rather than to a few individuals.

"More than once while we were fielding a thought came to my mind that the warmth of the welcome, the size and the enthusiasm of the great crowd, and, above all, the presence of His Majesty, seemed to convey a message to the younger generation of cricketers, not only in this country, but all over the world. A message telling them that where cricket is concerned, public memory, in of the old adage, is not short: a message to inspire all young cricketers, an urge them to achievements in the game greater even than their wilder dreams conjured up.

"Such a welcome as was given to `Old England,' collectively and individually, must surely be a public assurance that those who can carve for themselves a little niche in the greatest of games can always be sure of a warm place in the hearts of all lovers of cricket."

© John Wisden & Co