Richmond Green

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Template:Infobox park Richmond Green is a recreation area located near the centre of Richmond, a town of about 20,000 inhabitants situated in south west London. Owned by the Crown Estate, it is leased to the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.<ref name="Wilkie2001">Template:Cite web</ref> The Green, which has been described as "one of the most beautiful urban greens surviving anywhere in England",<ref name="Cherry and Pevsner">Template:Cite book</ref> is essentially square in shape and its open grassland, framed with broadleaf trees, extends to roughly twelve acres. It is overlooked by a mixture of period townhouses, historic buildings and municipal and commercial establishments including the Richmond Lending Library and Richmond Theatre.

History

For over 400 years, Richmond Green has been edged by houses and commercial premises – built to provide accommodation for people serving or visiting Richmond Palace. In 1625 Charles I brought his court here to escape the plague in London and by the early 18th century these had become the homes of "minor nobility, diplomats, and court hangers-on".

The construction of the railway in the mid 19th century cut the Green off from Old Deer Park, and led to the building of Victorian villas for the more prosperous commuters to London. The A316 road, built in the early 20th century, worsened this separation.

Cricket on the Green

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The Green was a popular venue for cricket matches during the 18th century and before. The earliest reference to cricket on Richmond Green is from an 1666 letter by Sir Robert Paston, a resident of Richmond.<ref name="Lads to Lord's">Template:Cite web</ref>

The earliest known fixture on the Green was Surrey v Middlesex in June 1730. Surrey won the match, although the runs are not recorded.<ref name=Waghorn1>Template:Cite book</ref>

Perhaps the most infamous game to be played on the Green took place the following year on 23 August when a Mr Chambers organised an eleven-a-side game against the Duke of Richmond's team from Sussex. It is the earliest match where team scores are known: Duke of Richmond 79, Mr Chambers 119; Duke of Richmond 72, Mr Chambers 23-5 (approx.). The game ended promptly at a pre-agreed time although Mr Chambers with "four or five more to have come in" and needing "about 8 to 10 notches" clearly had the upper hand. The end result caused a fracas among the crowd at Richmond Green who were incensed by the prompt finish because the Duke of Richmond had arrived late and delayed the start of the game. The riot resulted in some of the Sussex players "having the shirts torn off their backs; and it was said a law suit would commence about the play".<ref name=18C>Buckley, G. B., Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket, Cotterell, 1935</ref>

Croydon played Chertsey in a drawn game on 5 July 1736: Chertsey 88 & 55; Croydon 58 & 24-9. So Croydon just hung on for the draw.<ref name=18C/>

Another notable game was the earliest known tied match on 22 July 1741 when Surrey played London. The scores were not reported but the tie occasioned the bets to be drawn on both sides. The teams decided to play again at the Artillery Ground the following Monday but the result is not recorded.<ref name=Waghorn1></ref>

The first reference to a "Richmond" team playing at Richmond Green is also the last reference to its use as a first-class cricket venue. This was on 4 July 1743 when Richmond & Kingston were beaten by London. The noted batsman Robert "Long Robin" Colchin, of Bromley, played for London as a given man.<ref name=ASW>Ashley-Cooper, F. S., At the Sign of the Wicket: Cricket 1742-1751, Cricket Magazine, 1900</ref>

The Green is presently home to two village cricket teams each affiliated to two of Richmond's favourite public houses, The Princes Head and The Cricketers. Midweek matches are contested in the modern limited overs format of Twenty20 usually on a Tuesday or Thursdays, where surrounding village teams compete for the Len Smith Charity Shield.

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References

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Sources

External links

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