Ashes to Ashes, old cricket mementos dusted off in the Peaks

As the cricket world looks forward to the Ashes series commencing on 10 July at Trent Bridge, The Maynard hotel and restaurant in Grindleford, Derbyshire, is keeping an eye on cricketing events more than most. For the Ashes series this year will represent the 75th anniversary of the Australian Ashes’ touring squad’s visit to England, including a scheduled pit-stop at The Maynard, which was used as a base for the northern Tests.

During that famous 1938 tour of England, Australian batsman Lindsay Hassett reportedly smuggled a goat into the bedroom he shared with Stan McCabe and team-mate O’Reilly, while the squad was staying at The Maynard, after the team fallen asleep. According to a well-known website, they awoke to ‘unexpected smells and bleating’. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindsay_Hassett ).

The Maynard Director, Jane Hitchman, said: “It’s quite incredible now to think that the Aussies’ Ashes touring party stayed here, and we’re proud of this special place we have in cricketing history. The anecdote about the goat in the room made us smile when it was pointed out to us on Wikipedia – as we are now a boutique hotel known for our pet friendly accommodation as well as great food. So who knows, we might hear the bleating again when the Australians tour this year..one way or another.

Anthony Fretwell-Downing, Chairman of The F-Fretwell-Downing Group that owns The Maynard, said: “The heritage we have here is amazing, as is evidenced by the old cricket photos we recently dusted off after they had been consigned to the attic. The Bradman 1938 team wasn’t the only team to stay at The Maynard, far from it. We had South Africa staying here and many other touring cricket sides – but the 1938 Ashes squad was certainly the most high profile and if what we read is true, the most entertaining, too! The hotel rooms are a far higher spec now than the Australians enjoyed, so we are certainly geared up to receive touring teams again in the future.”

75 years ago, the Australia team featured the irrepressible Don Bradman, among other legendary Australian Ashes cricket names. Often referred to as “The Don” Bradman was widely acknowledged as the greatest Test batsman of all time. Bradman’s career Test batting average of 99.94 is often cited as statistically the greatest achievement by any sportsman in any major sport. During the 1938 tour of England, Bradman played the most consistent cricket of his career. He needed to score heavily as England had a strengthened batting line-up, while the Australian bowling was over-reliant on one player, O’Reilly. And score heavily he did! Playing 26 innings on tour, Bradman recorded 13 centuries (a new Australian record) and again made 1,000 first-class runs before the end of May, becoming the only player to do so twice. In scoring 2,429 runs, Bradman achieved the highest average ever recorded in an English season:

Considered one of the strongest Australia teams to tour England, Bradman’s team went on to become known in 1948 as The Invincibles, going undefeated through 34 matches that year, an unprecedented feat.

To book in to The Maynard’s hotel and restaurant, for accommodation and food fit for champions, contact the reservations team on 01433 630 321 or email info@themaynard.co.uk for any further information or to make a booking. Or visit The Maynard website at www.themaynard.co.uk