Cricket in Montgomeryshire dates back to the 1840s, with the Shrewsbury Chronicle during 1847 reporting on a match between eleven gentlemen of Montgomery and an eleven of Newtown.
With the support of landowners, such as Lord Powys, so-called ‘county’ matches involving teams representing Montgomeryshire were staged on decent wickets from the 1850s onwards. Like other county sides of the mid-Victorian era, Montgomeryshire hired professionals for their major matches, with three paid players appearing for them in 1868 on their visit to Aberystwyth to play the Ceredigion club.
Montgomeryshire meet the United All-England Eleven
The United All-England Eleven, assembled by William Gilbert of Gloucestershire, played a XXII of Montgomeryshire in June 1882 in the grounds of Lymore Hall, owned by Lord Powys.
The match stemmed from the assiduous and energetic efforts of Montgomery CC secretary John Thistle, and his work in arranging the three-day fixture was rewarded with a large crowd, who in fine weather enjoyed both the game and the musical entertainment provided by the Newtown Brass and Reed Band. However, his greatest reward was a victory for the Montgomery XXII by 62 runs after Gilbert’s team was dismissed for 76 and 97 by the Montgomery men.
This match gave a boost to cricket in Montgomeryshire during the late 19th century and into the early 20th century in the early 1900s. By this time, Montgomeryshire staged annual matches against other Welsh county sides. Their side relied largely on amateur talent, as shown in the image below from the late 19th century with a plethora of striped blazers!