Mystics and Magicians Cricket Club

A Brief History

In 1984, a few Exeter College students tired of the simple challenges presented by catching a tennis ball in Bury Meadow, and decided to get a cricket team together to play a game against the Erratics (the Exeter University staff XI). A half century from Stan was the highlight of a low-scoring game. The runs that took us to a five wicket win were scored by Inspector Monroe of The Bill. We won again in 1985, after Windy Miller took six for six.

Images from the Scrapbook As the team became better established, and the game against the Erratics became a regular event, the decision was made to give the team a proper name, and, I suppose, to become a C.C. instead of just an XI. Click here to find out why we became the Mystics and Magicians.

By 1992, the series score stood at two-all after some excellent draws and some forgettable defeats. It was in 1992 that the Mystics first became a touring side. We went to Ireland in late August. Since then we have toured every Summer. To Scotland in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998. In 1999, we spent a week in Devon, and in 2000, 2001 and 2002 we returned to Scotland.

By 2003, we had tired of watching the rain fall on friendly Scottish pitches. Instead we went to Cornwall. The sun shone, and we won most of our games. We returned in 2004, when the weather was a little less friendly, and in 2005 for a record-breaking eight-game tour. There was more of the same in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, there was a lot more rain than cricket; but we did get a full game in on the Saturday against the Erratics, and what a game. The 2009 Cornwall tour started even wetter than the previous year's, but it cleared up and dried out later in the week, and we managed four full games. The Cornish weather has largly improved, and the tours of the 20-teens - 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 - saw mostly decent weather. With no tour in 2020, this decade has switched between scorchio -- in 2021 and 2022 -- and a bit damp in 2023.

The series with the Erratics has continued, and since 1996 the teams have been competing for the Chairman's Cup, a trophy presented by our Chair, Professor Derek Matravers. In 2010, the Erratics regained the trophy for the first time in seven years and in 2011, 2012 and 2013 they retained it with a convincing win and two squeaky-bum-time draws. We finally won the cup back in 2015 and then lost it again in 2016. The Erratics retained the trophy with draws in 2017, 2018 and 2019, but we recovered it in our only game of 2020 and retained it with a draw in 2021. We lost the trophy again in 2022 after a close game but still lead the series 11 games to 10.

The 2023 tour was our 31st and, on the Wednesday game of the 2024 tour, we will mark our 40th anniversary. We've played 220 games now, featuring 110 different Mystics. That's quite a long way from Catch in the Park. There is a Mystic family now, not just of players but of supporters. We've had three generations of Thomsons/Chaves on the field, and the third Cook generation has already won some Mystic silverware. There are small Mytons and Weatherheads to add to the medium-sized Millers, Sharlands, Squires and Thomsons. I've already started working on my speech for the golden jubilee.

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