This area can claim one interesting record when it comes to cricketing history in that the North Devon club has one of the longest continuous playing histories of any club in Britain.

Instow Cricket Pavilion photographed in the 1950s.Instow Cricket Pavilion photographed in the 1950s.

The club dates from 1823 when a ‘few devoted enthusiasts’ established it at a pitch located at Pottington in Barnstaple.

The team had to wait for some time for another team to play against but in July 1827 they took on the Gentlemen of Teignbridge – a game the visitors won, they being at the time the only other cricket team in Devon.

In 1837 Colonel Clevland of Tapeley Park in Instow invited the club to move to the site they still occupy on Instow sea front.

Here they took over a thatched barn reputed to date back to the 18th century as their famous pavilion – a building which has survived various disasters over the years and has been extended on several occasions.

In the early years of their existence most games were between teams formed from the club’s own members. These games started at noon going through to 3pm when lunch was taken this consisting of freshly caught Torridge salmon, cold beef and cheese along with ‘hot grog and baccy’.

They then restarted play – which must have made for an entertaining afternoon!

Many notable teams and individuals have played on this pitch over the last 180 odd years including on one occasion Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the creator of Sherlock Holmes he being a keen amateur cricketer.

The club has/had various items of memorabilia including a stuffed bird killed as it flew across the pitch in 1890 by a ball bowled by a J Tweedie of Braunton.

In 1923 the club staged a special centenary match with the teams dressed in ‘garb similar to the olden days’ with top hats being worn.

One wonders if the second centenary in three years’ time will see a similar event?