Charting the history of local cricket      Guernsey Evening Press   Sat 11th July 2020

Days of Morres men and those tearaway Mocklers

In part two of Rob Batiste’s story of local cricket, he focuses on the 1900-09 period when the influence of the English gentry was very strong and two sets of brothers dominated the local scene – the Morres men of the Grange Club ·and the Mocklers at the College.

E A Newton    M B Paske-Smith    G Rowell    G Hilliard    C S Agar  J A Agar

J Lecky  W Wells  H B Leapingwell  R MacLaren  C Dugmore   

M W Dawe (scorer)                                                        Stanger-Leathers (coach)

Guernsey Evening Press

Long before there was a GICC, there was a GCC. Guernsey Island Cricket Club would not appear on the scene until after the Great War, but in the early 1900s Grange Cricket Club were the main attraction for any decent visiting side, of which there were many. From their club base next to Elizabeth College, Grange were a sporting powerhouse on two fronts – football in the winter, cricket in the summer, and in each sport there was heavy reliance on English talent who had moved to the island to operate vineries.

When it came to the summer game, invariably the Morres brothers – Edward and Hugh – headed the Grange Club averages. Yorkshiremen George Cadman and Ernest Whitehead were two more, Cadman being quite the all-rounder as well as was the case with the two former Winchester College and Berkshire men who, from time to time, saw brother Philip show up on the island to show his cricketing talents. Combined, the Englishmen often had the better of any other side across the Channel Islands and in 1907 defeated Jersey Leopards CC in one of the typical unofficially labelled inter-insular games of the period. The Grange won by 42 runs at the College Field, opener Edward Morres, who lived around the corner in King’s Road, playing beautifully for his 80 at the top of the order. Batting at six was another brother, P. H. (Philip) Morres, who contributed 58 of his own, while Hugh added an undefeated 12 in a total of 248, before dismissing two of the Leopards’ top three early on. Cadman took four 54 in a decent reply of 206.

The two islands’ top players were friendly enough to combine in a Cl touring side who would take themselves off to the south coast and play some quality cricket against sides such as the Hampshire Hogs, the United Services at Portsmouth, Basingstoke and Northants, the Old Carthusians, Marlow and Henley.

Domestically, the scene was bolstered by the presence of the enthusiastic Athletic Club who, like Grange, were a force on the football field come winter time. A key man for Athletics and a huge supporter of the game for the first couple of decades in the 20th century was Chris Rawlinson. The noted and highly respected schoolmaster could operate a bat quite adeptly at times and in 1908 registered a century for his regular club. That same year Edward Morres, who had played first-class cricket for Oxford University, smashed 140 off The Garrison’s bowling attack. Meanwhile, an ageing Arthur Maunder, stalwart of St John CC in the late 19th century, was still turning out regularly for Rawlinson’s men as well as making an occasional appearance in the Grange colours. He was a specialist wicket-keeper. The Press reported in 1903 that ‘cricket is becoming more and more popular among the younger members of the community and is being played considerably more than was the case in the previous seasons.’

As for the men of the Grange, several found plenty of time to play their favourite game and if they were not in action for their own side, regularly they would pop up for the various makeshift XIs that gave extra cricket to the Garrison and Elizabeth College sides. It all made for a fairly healthy domestic game and one which was showing Jersey its strength, as highlighted by the 1903 win over ‘Jersey Island’.

Hugh Morres took another ‘five-for’, Cadman picked up four and with all the English stars contributing with the bat, Grange rattled up 227 to win by 89. It was a sufficiently strong Grange club, both in terms of quality and numbers, to play among themselves as Town v. Country XIs.

The Rangers club gradually disappeared from the scene and there was early century confidence that Northerners might take up the sport seriously and make use of a cement wicket at their home ground of Delancey.

Athletics, meanwhile, suffered a curious experience. After taking a pitch in a field at Amherst – where Rawlinson would serve as headmaster – and paying a season’s rental for it, the field immediately changed hands and the tenants were served a week’s notice to quit. It’s just as well, perhaps, because in the one week of practice on it, one of their players suffered a nasty blow on the hand while batting.

While Grange Club had the Morres men, Elizabeth had the Mocklers. But to choose both Mockler brothers among the College’s two cricketers of the decade might be a little unfair on the school’s best batsmen of the era, one Roderick Gair Maclaren.

You won’t find his name on the College Field century honours board, but he is far from being alone as a highly-talented Elizabethan who missed out on a three-figure score against Victoria.

Maclaren, who after serving the Great War spent much of his working life in Egypt as a cotton merchant, was very handy with bat and ball and in his final year almost single-handedly took down the ‘brown caps’ scoring 59, as an opener, in an Elizabeth total of 173, and then took 4 for 70 from 23 overs as the home team fell 35 runs short in the chase. That year he took 98 off the Grange and produced figure of 6 for 37 in the same game against the island’s top club side.

By the end of the season he has scored 578 runs at 42.71 and topped the bowling averages with 65 at 10.89. ‘Quite the best cricketer in the school’, wrote the Elizabethan in its yearly cricket round-up. ‘Able to play a fine forcing game, but with plenty of self-control when the occasion requires it. Invariably useful as a bowler and bore the brunt of the work in his department throughout the season.’ Valentine Beuttler was the school’s solitary feature match century-maker in the decade, but his 102 in 1904 was a rare big score for the opener that year. His 95 at No. 3 in 1905 suggests he saved himself for the big occasion, which is where the Mockler boys clearly revelled, wreaking havoc with the new ball.

In the latter part of the decade. Edward, the elder, very nearly took all 10 Victoria wickets in 1906 when the Jersey side were dismissed for 48 and 68. Over the course of the season he took 93 wickets at 7.12 and the following season, 62 at 8.23. He was the school’s sporting hero.

The Elizabethan described him thus: ‘Keen and energetic captain. Very effective bowler, but his balls are often too short-pitched.’ Fourteen months younger, Francis ‘Frank’ Mockler was an even bigger sporting force than his big brother, more of an all- rounder who, like his sibling, liked to bowl fast. His 9 for 33 in destroying Victoria in 1908 showed him at his best. By then he was also a full island senior cap at football, scoring on debut in Guernsey’s 3-2 win in Jersey in 1907 and, a season later, netting in the semi-final win over Alderney. It is a tragedy that he was killed in the Battle of the Somme eight years later. ‘Excellent all-round cricketer,’ suggested the Elizabethan, adding that he, too, should pitch it up more.

Elizabeth College soccer 1906               Guernsey Evening press

Cricketing images of this period are in short supply, but this 1906 Elizabeth College football team features many of the young men who dominated Victoria on the cricket field, including the Mockler brothers, Frank (back row, third from left) and younger brother Edward (middle row, far right)