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Essex Shield

Tales from the Boundary

Gentlemen Footballers and Cricketers


Those of a certain age may remember “Pegasus”, the amateur team of Oxbridge players founded in 1948 which won the Amateur Cup twice in the Fifties.   The team featured a number of first-class cricketers, including two Test captains and other Test players.

The captains were Peter May and Gerry Alexander.  May played in the early side, then switched to the Old Carthusians; Alexander skippered West Indies, then headed the Test batting averages in the great 1960-61 series in Australia.  The other Test players were Doug Insole, Hubert Doggart and Donald Carr, while the County players included Tony Pawson and later John Pretlove (Kent) and Colin Dryburgh and Bill Knightley-Smith (both Middlesex).

I had the great pleasure of meeting Ken Shearwood, Pegasus centre half who played as wicketkeeper for Derbyshire.  He recalled with a wry smile keeping on a Chesterfield ‘greentop’ to the likes of Gladwin, Jackson and Copson.

Other Pegasus men who played cricket for their University included G.H. McKinna, John Tanner and Harry Potts (all Oxford) and Guy Shuttleworth (Cambridge).   In addition, Pawson and Tanner appeared for Charlton and Huddersfield respectively in the First Division, and Potts played for Northampton Town in Div. 3 South.

Pegasus was founded to counter a perceived shift from soccer to rugby among public and grammar schools.  It was also an attempt to recreate the ethos of the great Corinthians team, set up in the late Victorian age.

As with Pegasus, the ranks of the Corinthians contained first-class amateur cricketers; chief among them were R.E. Foster, C.J. Burnup and C.B. Fry.   Fry - the great Renaissance man: superb batsman, a Classical scholar who appeared in the F.A. Cup Final, held the world long-jump record and bizarrely was invited to become King of Albania whilst at Versailles as a British Representative at the 1919 Peace Conference.

The Corinthians influence lives on, in that Corinthian-Casuals still play.

Sadly, Pegasus folded after some 15 years; gone - like the Amateur-Professional distinction.  We shall not see their like again.

David Brangwyn