Lashings World XI - History

Lashings were formed in 1984 when John Steer, a gentleman very much out of cricket’s old school, told David Folb, the Lashings owner, of the plight of the Minstrel Wine Bar Cricket Club who had been scheduled to play a team the following day in the less than idyllic surrounds of Mote Park; only to find that their opposition had pulled out of the fixture. Folb assembled a side for the fixture, quickly ringing around friends including his solicitor, bank manager and the venerable Mr Steer himself. Even the Lashings’ manager John Tobin, an Irishman, was enlisted for the match, having never played a game of cricket in his life before, or since.This ragbag team took to the field and their performance matched the sum of their parts. After their bowlers had been dispatched for 323 runs, Lashings amassed just 29 in their reply.

This one-sided outcome did not prevent Folb (ever the entrepreneur) from starting up a Lashings cricket team on a permanent basis. A list was put up in the bar and soon the Lashings cricket team had enough personnel to be able to field sides on a regular basis.

This "Pub" side soon grew, challenging much of the orthodoxy in English cricket. Folb’s vision for a "Harlem Globetrotter" approach in cricket began to take shape. His biggest coup and perhaps still the biggest in terms of the development of the club, was the signing of Richie Richardson, the former West Indies captain. Announcements that the great man who had only recently retired from Test cricket, would be joining Lashings, were greeted by hoots of derision by the local media and sporting community with Geoff Clark, now Meridian’s front man in the studio, famously declaring that he would eat his hat if ever the player played for Lashings.

Panamas, bowlers and stetsens were quickly hidden away when Richardson announced his arrival at the Meridian newsroom. Richardson’s impact could hardly be underestimated and soon some of the most famous names in cricket were on their way to Lashings. Muttiah Muralitheran was among the first, making his debut on the bottom pitch at The Mote against the might of Cobham. Mote CC, who became one of Lashings’s most bitter early rivals, refused to offer Muralitheran the centre stage of the top pitch despite the interest in the game; because that square was in use by their Sunday 2nd XI !

Thankfully beyond the local opposition cricket was at least sitting up and taking notice on a wider scale and soon counties were entertaining Lashings at their grounds while the rising profile of the club was attracting big name sponsors even though one of them reneged on the deal leaving Folb to meet a £250,000 shortfall in order to keep the club going and forcing the restauranteur and property owner to sell some of his properties. Lashings continued to attract the very biggest names in world cricket, sezing the national headlines by the audacious signing of Brian Lara and others.

The team continues to strike at the heart of the cricketing hierarchy with its audacious "rude boy" logo and its jet black coloured clothing but now far away from the windswept expanses of Mote Park on that afternoon in 1984, Lashings can count on packed houses at home and abroad. Their efforts for chairity have raised hundred of thousands of pounds and they will go down in history as the team that changed the face of English cricket.