According to The Cricketer, 26th June, 1937.
“The Quidnuncs was formed in 1851 and within a few years became the premier cricket club at Cambridge; indeed the privilege of wearing their colours, dark blue, light yellow and black is second only to a Blue as a cricket honour. In his History of Cambridge University Cricket Club, W.J. Ford states that Quidnuncs matches were always popular as they always provided claret-cup or badminton. As is the case with the Harlequins at Oxford, no freshman is eligible for membership of the Quidnuncs”.
Currently, membership is offered only to former CUCC players. This is usually limited to those who have been awarded a Blue in the University match.
Quidnuncs Historical Note
The early history of the Quidnuncs is suitably shrouded in obscurity. Nevertheless it is known that the Club was formed in 1851 by a group of Cambridge under-graduates from Trinity College – reputedly R T King, F H Whymper and A W Baillie. Originally the Club was conceived to provide continuity of association both on and off the field for both blues and near blues after they had gone down. At first the Club was limited to 25 resident members, all leading cricketers in the University, but it was soon apparent that the award of a blue was not necessarily a passport to membership. Qualities other than cricket ability seemed to be required and no-one was elected until after his first year.
It is also known that in the early years matches were played against the Oxford counterparts, the Harlequins. Unfortunately there are no records of such contests after 1870 and indeed there is no further evidence of regular fixtures until after 1961 when the Quidnuncs were officially reformed. It seems that in this long period only occasional fixtures with leading public schools and certain country house matches were played. Nevertheless the Club enjoyed a high status and popularity as in these early days they often provided claret cup for both sides.
In the 1960’s under the guidance of President Spenner Block and then S C ‘Billy’ Griffith, backed by an active committee, the Club began once again to represent more nearly that link with Varsity cricket envisaged over 100 years earlier. A new fixture in 1964, a three day match against the University was a fitting challenge to a Club boasting more than 20 post-war Test players among its members. One of them, Peter May no less, scored a splendid 100 in the first match.
Subsequently the future of the Club was assured as first Jack Davies and then Freddie Brown took on the Presidency in the following decade. In turn they have been succeeded in 1982 by Hubert Doggart and there are now three regular fixtures each season. These include two one day games – against the University at Fenner’s and against the Harlequins (in Oxford and Cambridge alternately).
Indeed on the field some remarkable feats have been performed in the last 20 years but the outstanding contribution came from David Hays in 1978. The Quidnuncs had been asked to score 202 to win against the Navy in about 1 hour plus 20 overs at the United Services Ground. In an innings lasting just 78 minutes and from 66 balls, he scored 161 not out (16 fours: 11 sixes: 50 came in 36 balls, 100 in 54 balls and 150 in 63 balls). The perceptive reader will note that he moved from 100 to 150 in the minimum possible number of deliveries (viz. nine) with seven sixes and two fours and this is believed to be the only recorded feat of its type in such a standard of cricket. Meanwhile David’s partner, Edward Craig, formerly part of that well known opening partnership for the University in the early 1960’s with Mike Brearley, had scored 39 not out and the game was won by 10 wickets with many overs to spare!
Another highlight in 1978 was the first Quidnuncs tour of recent times which was organised and led by David Haywood in late March-early April. This ambitious and successful venture to South America included fixtures in Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela for a tour party of 20 which included not only a few players’ wives but also a few Harlequins welcomed as guest players. In line with the University Clubs themselves the “Old Boys” now combine occasionally for fixtures, such as the one day game in 1982 at Arundel when Oxbridge hosted the Australian Universities side.
The role of the Quidnuncs has been a more positive one in University cricket in the last few years with a close relationship with CUCC. It also seeks more active involvement from the newly elected members who each receive the distinctive dark blue and yellow Club tie during the Varsity Match at Lord’s. The strength of the commitment to the future was well demonstrated when in London in 1980 the first Quidnuncs Dinner was attended by well over 80 guests. They can all be justly proud of the long list of cricketers from the days of Lyttleton, Steel and Jessop to those of Gilligan, Chapman and Allen through May, Dexter, Brearley and Majid Khan to more latterly Atherton, Crawley, Whittall and Smith. This time there will be no need for a revival after many years on some obscure outfield imbibing the best country house claret!
The latest Quidnuncs’ dinner was held in the Long Room in October 2005. 91 ‘Nuncs attended, and were entertained by speeches from then President Tony Lewis and guest speaker and outgoing MCC president, Tom Graveney.
Secretary: Paddy Sadler