A Small Riot …..

Published: 2020
Pages: 12
Author: Tebay, Martin
Publisher: Red Rose Books
Rating: 3 stars


The distance between Wigan and Bolton is, as the crow flies, around eight miles. By 1884 the leading cricket clubs in the two towns had been playing each other for more than twenty years, with a competitive but essentially friendly rivalry.

In 1884, as usual, return fixtures were arranged between the two clubs. Wigan won the first, played at their home ground. The return took place at the beginning of July. To give an idea of the standard of cricket eight of the 22 men on show had or would play at least one First Class match in their lives, and the home side included two professionals in their line up. The visitors had one.

The weather on the day was not pleasant and in the end the match was left drawn. Wigan were dismissed for 96 and, well in the game, Bolton were 81-4 when the end came. There appear to have been a few flashpoints, but the various issues came to a head when the visitors refused to play on due to the rain and the home side’s batsmen stood out in the middle waiting for them for some time. A large crowd, a number of whom had money resting on the outcome, became fractious and the scenes at the end were at best unseemly, and give rise to the booklet’s title.

Such was the impact of the disagreement that reports of it appeared well beyond central Lancashire and with his usual diligence author Tebay has thoroughly researched the local and national press in order to construct a detailed account of the day’s events which, bookended by an introduction and an afterword, is what these twelve pages comprise.

The ripples caused by the controversy did not last too long, so this account is not going to appeal to many beyond the county of the Red Rose, but those who it does appeal to will find Tebay’s account an absorbing read. The booklet is available in a signed and numbered limited edition of thirty copies which can be purchased from the publisher at a modest £7 including UK postage and packing. Red Rose can be contacted by email to sales_redrosecricketbooks@live.co.uk and, for those in the Southern Hemisphere, a few copies will be available from Roger Page.

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