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. We hope to return in 2016.


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 travel to the Netherlands.


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