George Pepall: Cricketer and Countryman

Published: 2022
Pages: 22
Author: Gibbons, Roger
Publisher: GCCC Heritage Trust
Rating: 3 stars

There are literally hundreds of cricketers like George Pepall. In years gone by their stories were never told and over time became forgotten. But then came the internet, an awareness of the importance of archive material, the ease and modest cost of self-publishing in the 21st century and people with the enthusiasm coupled with sufficient leisure time to take a thorough look into their lives.

Between 1896 and 1904 George Pepall appeared fourteen times for Gloucestershire. Nine of those matches were in 1894, another four in 1899 and finally a solitary appearance in 1904. Primarily a right arm pace bowler Pepall’s career brought him 20 wickets at the modest average of 36.25. No great shakes as a batsman Pepall only managed 99 runs in 24 visits to the crease, although he did get almost half of those in a single innings.

Pepall hailed from the Cotswold village of Bourton-on-the-Water and his prowess on the cricket field saw him taken on the Gloucestershire staff in 1899. As the figures quoted in the previous paragraph demonstrate he didn’t fully grasp the chances he had but, just the once, there was a five wicket haul and that was against auspicious opposition, Yorkshire.

Someone in the Yorkshire team sat up and took notice of Pepall as a professional contract with Leeds Cricket Club followed. After that Pepall made his living each summer as a club pro, much of the time in Scotland. In 1906 Pepall turned 30 but despite that relatively young age his playing abilities had declined so he took a coaching job in Ireland before, his service in the Great War apart, spending almost forty years in the employ of Bedford School. Throughout much of this time Pepall returned to Bourton-on-the-Water each off season where his family ran a watercress business, and it was to his home village that he returned after retiring.

Roger Gibbons, inspired to find out more about Pepall after receiving an enquiry about his cricketing activities from a descendant in Canada, has done a thorough job of reconstructing the life of a man who may never have been in the public eye, but for whom one way or another cricket provided employment throughout his life.

Anyone interested in buying this and any of the other booklets can contact the author via email at gibbonsroger044@gmail.com. The price is, including UK postage and packing, a very reasonable £6 or, for multiple purchases, £15 for any three or £20 for all four booklets. An additional incentive to would be purchasers is that, naturally, all proceeds go to help the Gloucestershire museum, a very worthy cause indeed. 

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