Free Foresters on Tour

The FF in Ireland in 1894 on the first Ireland tour

FF, as a wandering club, has always had an eye to the wider world of cricket. The club has long had an international outlook, welcoming players and fixtures from overseas to the club and hosting international fixtures in the UK.

FF began touring with consecutive visits to Scotland in 1864, 1865 and 1866. According to the Annals '...we drew three matches in terrible weather' in 1864. Our first tentative trips 'overseas' took place in 1890, 1891 and 1894 when FF visited the Channel Islands travelling by yacht - Yachts Roseneath and Rona. Our first tour to Ireland also took place in 1894. 

By 1930, the fixture list had expanded to over 100 matches a season, including two in India and three in the Netherlands. The Dutch association began in 1921 when FF accepted an invitation from the founder of de Flamingos, H.A.J. Kessler to play four days of cricket in the August of that year. There had been contact between Dutch cricketers and British prisoners interned in Holland during the Great War and a sporting bond was forged.

Over the years, the club has played many games overseas including on tours to Australia, Canada, Egypt, Cyprus, Kenya, Singapore, and in Hong Kong and Germany.

We first played in the USA in 1923 as the coda to a tour to Canada, playing two two-day games against All-Philadelphia. In more recent years, FF competed on four occasions in the Philadelphia International Cricket Festival, winning the trophy in 2001, 2002 and 2005.


Transport for the Channel Islands Tour: The Yacht Rona in 1894

FF at Stirling on 4th August 1865 on the Club's second tour to Scotland (note the stylish embroidered FF flag top right)

FF on tour in the Netherlands 2011

Paul Byrne preparing for a spell of deadly left arm orthodox at The Hague

Enjoying the fine de Flamingos hospitality in the tent afterwards

The Western Series has been a long-established and much enjoyed FF tour. Originating in 1924 under L.C.H Palairet, it continued in the sixties and seventies through the great hospitality of the Parr family of Colyton and, in more recent times still, under the devoted management of two late Forester greats, John Bretten and James Fitzgerald. The tradition has been most ably sustained by Nick Baldwin - who also took us to back to Philadelphia in the early 2000s and to Australia in 2006/7. 

The Irish and Dutch connections remain particularly strong and are much treasured by the club. In 2014 we had a typically challenging and strongly fought tour to Dublin and Co Wicklow, and in July 2015 we travelled to the Netherlands.


Festival winners. The FF side at the Philadelphia Festival in 2001

Free Foresters Tour to India 2022

The much anticipated FF tour to India in 2022 was the first to the sub-continent, although many FF have played in India over the years.  The tour commenced in Mumbai, where we played a strong Mumbai CC at the Air India Sports Ground.  Our next opponents were Bombay Gymkhana, where the first Test match between India and MCC took place in 1933, to play a T20 match under lights before playing Jolly Gymkhana and then setiing off to Jaipur by train.

In Jaipur we played Jaipur Cricket Academy before a few days to recharge the batteries at Ranthambore National Park and Agra.  Our final games were played in New Delhi against Ball Park and Rosahanara, before heading back to UK.

FF tour party visiting Taj Mahal in December 2022


Mumbai CC  329/4 (dec)   FF  105/ao   Lost by 224 runs

Bombay Gymkhana  147/5  FF  145/5   Lost by 5 wickets

Jolly Gyhkana  163/4  FF  162/9   Lost by 6 wickets

Jaipur  253/3  FF  250/ao   Lost by 7 wickets

Ball Park  302/8  FF  157/6  Match Drawn

Roshanara  214/ao  FF  172/ao  Lost by 42 runs