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Annual report of the Stoolball Association for Great Britain 1938

This report of the 1938 season was presented at the AGM of the Stoolball Association for Great Britain. It was sent to us by Sybil Voller of Bluebells Stoolball Club, who found it among some stoolball papers. One of the Wakefield Challenge Shields mentioned is still being presented today, having been located Rosemary Hobbs, former President of the National Stoolball Association, after the London Schools had stopped competing for them.

The XVth (1938) Annual Report of the Stoolball Association for Great Britain

Since our last Report, Their Royal Highnesses Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret have graciously been pleased to accept copies of “Stoolball and How to Play It. Illustrated” 2nd Edition, from the Author.

Last season’s games were chiefly remarkable for the increase of the number of “Centurions” and among them are the following:

  • Miss G Adams (Speldhurst) 109
  • Miss E Appleby (Nutley) 110 ret, 113, 124
  • Miss M Ball (Hurstpierpoint) 101
  • Miss D Berry (Partridge Green) 103
  • Miss W Betting (Balcombe) 108 no
  • Miss I Brooks (Ridgewood) 123 no
  • Miss Joyce Brown (Asters, Haywards Heath) 107 no, 118, 156 no, 173
  • Miss Molly Brown (Hassocks) 124
  • Miss H Cuss (Hurstpierpoint) 111 no, 144 ret, 209, 219 no, 223 no
  • Miss W Eaton (Hurstpierpoint) 101
  • Miss I Head (Nutley) 118, 121 no, 143 no, 148 no
  • Miss G Phillips (Ringmer) 103 ret
  • Mrs F Reed (Bluebells, Haywards Heath) 128
  • Miss D Simmonds (Hove) 122 no
  • Miss E Spearing (Bluebells, Haywards Heath) 105
  • Miss D Stickells (Little Common) 120
  • Miss Wilsher (Hellingly Hospital) 114 no

Miss H Cuss scored 1702 runs with an average of 142.41 and took 48 wickets for an average of 11.37. She is a very fine all round player.

In the Annual County Matches, Sussex beat Kent at Tunbridge Wells 262 for 3 - 211 all out. Kent beat Sussex at Hove 140 for 5 - 136 for 2. Owing to the incessant rain, this match was played one hour each side.

For the Lord Wakefield Challenge Shields for London Schools, Hillbrook Road School, Tooting beat St Paul’s School, Mile End for the Seniors; Broomhill Road School, Catford beat Portman Place School, Bethnal Green for the Juniors.

At the County Ground, Hove last September, the unmarried beat the married ladies of Sussex.

The Annual Match between Roedean School and the Brighton Girls Club was drawn.

For the Roffey Challenge Cup, Roffey beat Trinity, Horsham.

For the Allen West Challenge Cup, Girls Life Brigade beat the Girls Guildry.

For the Killwick Challenge Cup, Hurstpierpoint beat Roffey.

For the Roedean Challenge Shield, Girls Guildry were the winners.

For the Linn Challenge Cup for Brighton & Hove Centre of the Girls Guildry, 6th Brighton beat 11th Hove.

For the Hervey Challenge Cup, Hurstpierpoint beat Nutley.

For the Wakefield (Horsham) Trophy, Partridge Green beat Roffey.

For the Partridge Green Trophy, Partridge Green beat Blackstone.

For the Ada Margaret Challenge Cup, Warnham School beat Jolesfield.

For the Curteis Challenge Cup, Heathfield beat Alfriston.

For the Bartlett Challenge Cup, Ashington beat Poling.

For the Grantham Challenge Banner in the East Sussex Elementary Schools League, Willingdon beat Mayfield.

The Cuckmere Valley League Championships Cup was won by Ringmer.

The West Kent League Cup was won by Bidborough.

Reports from home and abroad include the following:

Hillwood College, Kandy, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka): “The three houses compete for the Grantham Challenge Cup, which was won by Bellerby House”. Stoolball is also played by the Girls Boarding School at Gampola.

Christchurch, New Zealand. “The game of stoolball proved very popular at Camp – it looks as if it may become firmly established and popular”.

The nurses of the Soho Square Hospital started the game last season.

On Board the P&O liner, SS Viceroy of India to Iceland and the Northern Capitals last August, several games of 7 aside were played. In the final match the Officers beat the Passengers.

In a novel feature of Claremont School Sports at Valley Road, Nottingham, The Councillors, members of the Education Committee and staff were beaten by the boys of the School.

At Donnington, Lincolnshire, the Senior Elementary School Girls beat the Grammar School Girls.

In the first inter-school stoolball competition at Godalming, the Central School beat a combined team of the Godalming and Burbridge Church of England Schools.

For the Nottingham Savings Bank Stoolball Shield, All Saints Juniors beat the Quarry Road School.

The Weldon Cup for Senior Boys was won by St Mary’s.

The Weldon Cup for Senior Girls was won by St Mary’s.

The Brodbeck Cup for Intermediate Boys was son by the William Crane School.

Roffey was the premier Stoolball Club in West Sussex winning two cups.

From the 4th Annual Report of the Stoolball Section of the London Schools Games Association for girls competing for Wakefield Challenge Shields “the standard of play generally in both sections showed great improvement”.

For this coming season the LCC Gazette reports that there will be about 20 pitches available for the game in the London Parks and open spaces.

From “Great Britain and the East” we learn that “Hunting and Archery were national sports in the middle ages, but football of a sort was being played in the reign of Edward II and Stoolball, the progenitor of cricket and baseball, originated in the Monasteries”.

A writer in the Sunday Times last year said “one of the finest and yet most neglected team games in the country is Stoolball”, and “the matches between crack stoolball teams are as good as any games in existence and better than many that obtain wide publicity. The fact that it is so adaptable to special requirements is its main recommendation to the Fitness Campaign”.

Information has recently been requested from a sportsman in Lisbon who wants to start the game in Portugal.

The Organiser of Physical Training of Coventry reports that many schools are energetically playing the game and has written for explanation of some points in the rules that are ambiguous to some of the players.

Last August “The Queen” gave a full page article with Illustrations.

From the “Jernal” of John Burgess of Ditchling (Sussex) he wrote on 17 August 1789 that he went to Brighthelmstone “to see many divertions which included Stoolball”.

The game has been introduced into Patna, India by a former member of the West Tarring Club.

The Girls of the Royal School for Deaf and Dumb at Margate are enthusiastic players.

In the report of Organised Sport in York Elementary Schools, we read “that stoolball was an excellent game for Juniors, and could be played on almost any ground without much preparation, and provided a good style of play is developed and not the purely negative style sometimes seen, some thrilling sport can be had”.

We have received a letter from a well-known doctor in Holland who wrote “I demonstrated this game in the Oranje-Nassau barracks in Amsterdam to groups of the Dutch Red Cross Organisation”.

By the gracious permission of Their Majesties, the “Not-Forgotten Association” held garden parties in the grounds of Buckingham Palace last autumn and many ex-soldiers enjoyed the game of stoolball.

The dates for the matches between Sussex and Kent this season are at Tunbridge Wells on Wednesday 14 June and at The Saffrons, Eastbourne on Wednesday 20 September.

Fynvola Bruce
Stoolball Association for Great Britain

6 April 1939