Scout Football and Cricket

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Cambridge District Scout Archive

Cricket and Football competitions (Association and Rugby Union) have been initiated in Cambridge District on many occasions.  They do not persist as competitions.  No district trophies remain in the central collection.


The reason for proposing football, now so often the sport of choice summer and winter, has probably changed over the last 100 years.  The reasons are not evident from the records.  60 or 70 years ago the owner of a leather football was a lucky lad and the opportunity to play a ‘proper’ game was valued.   Competitions do not appear to have persisted for more than a very few years. Those completed in their entirety in one day or five or six a side competitions appear to persist longer.

Cambridge Archive

1977                The CC wrote  ‘I hear occasionally of some activities run on a District basis, which by their very nature arouse particular enthusiasm (football competitions are an example) but with it partisanship which has sometimes –perhaps through ignorance (in all innocence) of the Spirit of the Promise and Law on the part of some supporters – “run amok”…

Scout Football

1919                DC proposed a football league.  The District Exec was ‘largely adverse’

1921 DC proposed an inter Troop football league to keep older Scouts interested, the Patrol Leaders Council considered it unworkable. The Scouter Column in the Cambridge Chronicle observed that both Football and Cricket leagues had not worked well in the District.

1923                Grouping of Troops (for a football competition) discussed in District Minutes

1924 DC wrote privately to SM’s at the behaviour of Troops not turning up for arranged matches. He wrote ‘It is better to have No Scout Troop than to have it guilty time after time, of such behaviour.’

1932                District discussed Association Football Team                         District Minutes

1935                55th Cambridge           Hire of football pitch 3/6

1939 13th Cambridge record games of both one legged football and three legged football. In both the legs are tied.

1947                Scout Football league – ‘questions to Scout Secretary’ District Minutes

1948                1st and 9th playing football in HQ (building) To be approached about this.  District Minutes

1955 12th Cambridge list Football pitch hire in the annual accounts as 12/6. It is not known how many matches were played, but with Subs at about 3d/week it was not insignificant.

1958                54th Cambridge           Football match v Girton cancelled as no pitch was available

1976                Cambridge District looked into an 11 a side competition.  Only five groups responded and they were encouraged to arrange games, but no tournament was started.

1977                Encouraged to try again with more interest but hard to find fields

Cub Football

1924                Mention                                                                   District Minutes

1931/32           14th pack (won)           League run                     District Minutes

1932                Little support for KO or league (but talk to 14th)                    District Minutes

1933                Four packs played  14th won                                 District Minutes

1941                Certain packs were combining to form a Football League    District Minutes

1946                Scouts playing football in the Grafton Street HQ were breaking furniture.  Asked ‘to refrain from playing games and in particular football’

1969                ‘It was hoped that a Football League could be held this year for Cubs  There was a shield.’    League started by 19th               District Minutes

1970                Trophy awarded for 5 a side football to the 7th  (Cubs?)        Cubs knockout held

1974                Knockout football 50th won 21 team on Parkers Piece      Cub Leaders Minutes. A Mascot competition was run alongside the football won by the 54th.

1975                Cub Football          27th won                        Cub Leaders Minutes

1976                County six a side – two top teams from each district to compete

                        Camb N           10 packs, 16 teams, 14th won

                        Camb S            14 teams, 15th won              Coldhams Common   

1978                Visit a pack year         The 28th visited the 11th/9th , played football and the home team won 3 – 1

1979                North Cambridge 10th

1979                County six a side         District teams             CC reminded scouters ‘this is not hard competition’ The details of district team selection are not clear.  CSG does not record competition in North or South Cambridge.  Crafts Hill lists 27 teams from 14 packs.

1970/ 80’s Five a side continued for a number of years for Cubs.. Scout interest in a league diminished.

1997                Six a side (this entry is unclear if it was Cub, Scout, District or County competition)              54th records

(The Cambridge Rules were a code for football first drawn up at Cambridge University in 1848.  They allowed goal kicks and throw-ins and prevented running whilst holding the ball.  The rules played a significant part in developing association football)


Cricket was once the sport of the summer season, whatever the weather. Encroachment by football into the cricket weeks was a breach of etiquette.   Those professionals such as Denis Compton MCC, England and Arsenal, who played both sports, fitted football around the cricket.   Owning a cricket bat and ball moved the game into a sport and like football the opportunity to play an organised game was valued.

Cambridge Archive

1920                Hoping to start a cricket league but with considerable opposition   Dist Min

1921 The Scouter column in the Cambridge Chronicle asked if a cricket league was wanted. Initially it received two responses, later it was asking for reports following matches and received one report played on Queens Ground in which 11th beat the 9th. In October it was noted that the 7th had won the competition. In October it observed that both cricket and football leagues had not worked well in the District.

1923                Hope to revive District cricket                                                District Minutes

(The greatest English cricketer of the 20th century, Jack Hobbs, was born in Barnwell, Cambridge and learnt to play on Parkers Piece.)

Mention is made in 1927 of a Scout Cricket Club. No further records are known, but the game is still played at camp.

1930’s 23rd Cambridge from A J Covell album, Cambridgeshire Collection

Rugby Union

Occasionally a troop has sought opponents and issued challenges but no records of matches have been identified.   No league or cup has been recorded.

Cambridge Archive

1964 7th Cambridge Senior scouts record a match against Chesterton 1st Team. It is a single record and without a wider Scouting context.

1978    6th/17th ‘ready to take on any Troop in a rugby match’  ‘can find under 13’s and under 16‘s and can provide a pitch’

(CURUFC officials helped to draw up the laws of the game as adopted by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) when it was established in 1871. It became a Constituent Body of the Union in 1872, a status which it still enjoys.)

JWR Archivist Jan 2019