Those who read yesterday's posting more than hour after it appeared on the blog will know that I belatedly discovered the reason for Middlesex's visit to Hornsey in 1959. It was not part of an attempt to spread county cricket to outlying parts of the county but merely a solution to avoid a double booking at Lord's which on those three days in July was needed for a game between MCC and Cambridge University. It was not however a kneejerk response for the 1959 Wisden lists in its fixtures for that season a championship game at Hornsey between Middlesex and Hampshire.
I also mentioned in yesterday's addendum that the match at Lord's was won by Cambridge, their only win in nineteen first class matches that 'most disappointing season' (Wisden). Henry Blofeld's century, the only one he registered in first class cricket, helped him to second place in the university averages but take away those 138 runs and only 490 are spread across 21 innings, an average of 23.33. Far and away their star that season was Michael Willard who topped both batting and bowling averages but whose first class career never extended to championship cricket. He made 81 and 87 in the victory over MCC.
The MCC side was described by Wisden as 'moderate' but it contains some interesting names including England opener Peter Richardson who had left Worcestershire and was qualifying for Kent, Denis Compton and WHH 'Billy' Sutcliffe who two years earlier had been captaining Yorkshire. He made 98 in MCC's second innings, an innings in which MCC were bowled out for 404 and still lost by 50 runs.
Responses to the posting of the have thrown up a few other occasions when Middlesex have played away from Lord's, on two occasions going beyond the historic county boundary. The most recent of these was in 1977 when their home game with Somerset was postponed to allow a rain affected Gillette Cup semi-final which stretched over six days to be completed, eventually by a 15 over match. The switch to Essex fared little better for no play was possible on the third day. The seven points Middlesex gained were sufficient to give them a share in the title with Kent.
Going further back Middlesex had played a 'home' match at The Oval in 1939, this time because Eton and Harrow had use of The Long Room. Crossing the Thames brought Middlesex no luck for they were on the end of a mauling by Notts. Batting first the visitors hit 560 for 9 with Walter Keeton hitting 312 not out which remains the highest individual score for Notts. Middlesex were bowled out twice on a rain affected wicket with Voce taking ten wickets in the match. They returned to The Oval later in the season, this time to the away dressing room and did a little better but were still beaten by 8 wickets.
To find the occasion before Hornsey when Middlesex had played away from Lord's but within the county we need to go back to 1887, the year of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. This excursion took them to Chiswick Park and a three day match with Oxford University. The students batted first and were all out for 555, Key (281) and Philipson (150) adding on 340 for the seventh wicket. WJB Soppitt bowled 64 overs and took 5 for 159. It should be mentioned that these were four ball overs. Middlesex were dismissed for 119 and 207 to lose by an innings and 229.
Chiswick Park hosted one other first class match when CI Thornton's XI entertained 'Australians' in 1886. In a three day match Thornton's XI scraped a draw. Cricket Archive records other non first class matches played at the ground with the final one in 1980 but according to other sources it was built on after World War Two. More next time.