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OB Cricket Club Report – 2021

After a COVID-19 enforced hiatus in 2020 it was great that Old Bedfordian cricket could return in 2021 and the Club managed to get out some strong sides with a wide-spread of ages. Lots of recent leavers made their OB debuts, which was great to see and that bodes very well for the future.

No fewer than 32 players, plus our indomitable scorer Peter Rowe (03-08), turned out across four games in the Cricketer Cup and during OB Cricket Week.

Unfortunately, our season began with a defeat in the first round of the Cricketer Cup to a strong Malvern side. We did well to keep them to 255/8 on a quick-scoring ground thanks to four wickets for Alex Rennie (10-19). Despite 55 from Christian Davis (00-11) our batting never really got going and we were all out for 160. Malvern are expected to go a long way in the competition and hopefully, in 2022, a more favourable draw will play into our hands.

The MCC game was sadly lost to the weather on the opening day of Cricket Week but we secured a comfortable victory against the Ousels side on the Wednesday with Tim Graham (08-13) scoring 50. There was also a lovely opportunity for the OBs and Staff to celebrate Tim Machin’s 50th season of coaching cricket at the School, a remarkable achievement from a man that many OB cricketers remember fondly.

With the sun shining over the school grounds on the Friday, the OB 1st XI, led by Rahul Sheemar (12-19), won the toss and elected to bat first (the skipper tried, and failed, to get an uncontested toss!)

The side, comprised of many recent leavers, got off to a great start thanks to quick runs from Harry Gouldstone (12-19) (27), Tom Blythman (08-19) (23), Michael Wells (13-20) (32) and Gus Miller (15-20) (22). Once the top four were dismissed, however, the game seemed to be more balanced, with the OB XI poised on 120-4 and plenty of overs remaining.

Thankfully, Shiv Patel (04-15) (130) and Rich Wharton (05-10) (68*) made the most of the remaining overs, producing an excellent partnership which propelled the team to 299-5. Their fantastic display of ball-striking, coupled with some lower order hitting, meant that the OBs finished the innings on 336-8.

After a brief lunch break, the OBs took the field and managed to pick up some early wickets, leaving the School 55-3. The boys fought back though, mainly thanks to a brilliant innings from Archie Houghton (78) which saw the ball race away to all parts of the ground.

Houghton was eventually caught at short-fine leg and the rest of the wickets fell at regular intervals, eventually leading the School to finish 259 all out. Shaylen Tomlinson-Patel (07-17) was the pick of the bowlers for the OBs, claiming five wickets.

All in all, it was a wonderful day of runs and wickets, which ended in a fairly comprehensive victory for the OBs.

Up on the 2nd XI square there was less success for the OB side but it remained a great occasion.  Somehow, the OB Side had a plethora of swing and seam bowlers – a first for the OBs and they looked a touch light in the batting department. 

The OBs started well with Ross Denton (11-19) representing the new breed of OB cricketers with an exhilarating 52.  He was ably supported by Jeremy Woodrow (83-93), an OB of slightly greater vintage who was wearing the pads he had at school and which were purchased well before most people playing were born!  ‘Woody’ was going well for his 22 but his dismissal marked the start of a downhill slope for the OBs who succumbed to the spin of Hassan to be well short of par on 150.

Despite some genuinely good bowling from the OB seamers, the School 2nd XI batted very well to chase the target with ease.  All of the bowlers found some swing and bowled tidily but to no avail.  A special mention should go to the School’s George Mansell who played truly extraordinary innings that summed up his T20 talents – he finished the match with a towering reverse pull for six – one of many fine shots.

That left the OB record for the 2021 season as played four, won two, and lost two – a very fair reflection of the performances.

It was brilliant to see the OBs back in action this summer and the Club’s thanks go to all those who made the effort to play in some very enjoyable games. Special thanks must go to George Wood (83-94), Rahul Sheemar, Harry Beard (13-18) and Harry Aitkenhead (06-12) for their help in organising everything.

See Photos Here

OB Club AGM 2021

The Old Bedfordians Club Annual General Meeting – Saturday 3rd July.

The OB Club held its second online AGM on Saturday 3rd July, with over 30 OBs in attendance.

Club President, David Murray (69-76), reflected on his five years in office, which he said had been immensely enjoyable, although challenging in equal measure with the sad loss of Richard Garrett and the impact of the pandemic.

Chairman, Craig Mitchell (64-74), pointed out that the Club was celebrating its 130th anniversary this year and observed the Club owes much to five young men who were tasked with creating the Club constitution and guiding principles back in 1891.  Many of these remain today, for more background information on the founders, see page 17, of this year’s OB Review (see here).

Director of the Club, Hugh Maltby (73-83), thanked the many OBs who supported the School and the Club during the last year.  The OB Careers Fair, one of the highlights of the year, went virtual for the first time this year. Despite this, we had 28 careers represented, with 58 contributors and over 300 pupils from across the Harpur Trust and local borough schools.  Feedback following the event points towards a hybrid model next year featuring physical and online sessions.     

The meeting heard the Bishop Memorial Fund (find out more here) had financially supported several OBs during the past year.  Trustees of the fund were thanked for their hard work and efforts.

Treasurer, Alistair Gray (66-72), presented the Club accounts, which were duly approved, as was the appointment of Collett Hulance as the Club’s auditors.

Two Club officers were reappointed for a further term of office to the Council:  Mr John Sharman (53-64) and Mr Alistair Gray (66-72).

Professor Martin S Snaith OBE (53 – 63) was appointed as the new President of the Club.

Outgoing President, David Murray, thanked members of the Club for their ongoing support and looked forward to the autumn, when hopefully we will see the return of physical events.

As the meeting concluded, Martin formally thanked David for his enthusiastic stewardship of the Club over the last five years and wished him well, at the same time recalling also absent colleagues particularly Richard Gordon who had recently died.  David will continue to serve on the Council.


On Top of the World!

Rapturous applause could be heard as the curtain slowly came down on our summer term series of online talks.  Current Prep School parent, Partha Dey, who is one of only 4,000 to have summitted Everest, provided unique insight into the mental and physical challenges of scaling 29,000 feet of rock and ice.  Footage from his mobile, showed him edging across deep crevasses in sub-zero temperatures and howling winds, while sleeping in tents precariously placed on the side of the mountain.  Paying tribute to the Sherpas, he explained how they regularly carry sixty-kilo bags of supplies in the most inhospitable of conditions, all done with a big smile.     

Elation was finally etched deep in his face as he sat on top of the world, marvelling at the view, that very few have experienced.  Marriage, a young family, and a growing business have meant that Partha has temporarily hung up his crampons for a slightly less adventurous life, although none of us will be surprised if, at a later date, he sets off on a new adventure.

Our thanks to Partha for ending our season of talks on such a high note.       

Watch Full Talk  

Ethan Vernon (07-18) Set for Tokyo Olympics

We were thrilled to hear that Ethan Vernon’s dream of representing Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics has become a reality. Ethan will form part of the star-studded GB Cycling Team showing that all the hours of hard work and dedication really have paid off!

Both his former Housemaster and the Director of Sport vividly remember Ethan’s dedication to cycling during his time at the school and wish him all the best for Tokyo:

“I am delighted to hear that Ethan has made the team. He is such a lovely young man and absolutely driven to do his best. In his Upper Sixth year, he once arrived a few minutes late to my lesson (period one) on a Saturday morning, but the mood soon lightened when he explained he had cycled to school via Cambridge, which was a 90-mile ride. He had left home at 5:00 am to fit it in! I wish him the very best for his events and we will all be cheering him on in St Cuthbert’s House.” 

Laurence Holt, St. Cuthbert’s Housemaster

“We are absolutely delighted for Ethan on his selection for the Olympic cycling team for this summer. A dedicated athlete throughout his time at Bedford School, this is the culmination of many years of hard work and therefore richly deserved.” 

Barry Burgess, Director of Sport

Ethan and his team will be aiming to win their fourth consecutive team pursuit Olympic gold medal. He will form part of the men’s endurance squad and will be joined by Ed Clancy, Ethan Hayter, Matt Walls, and Ollie Wood. Speaking about his upcoming Olympic debut, Ethan said:

“I was absolutely buzzing when I found out about Olympic selection. It’s only now that it’s starting to sink in – upon receiving emails regarding travel arrangements to Tokyo. We are going out to win, as I’m sure every nation is, but we are reigning champions from the previous three Olympics in this discipline and we are looking to make it four in a row.”

Many congratulations to Ethan – we wish him and the team the best of luck in Tokyo.

Ethan racing at the European Championships in Bulgaria, 2020

‘An-Tiki’ – Drifting Across the Atlantic on a Raft

What an Adventure! John Russell’s tale of life on the high seas, drifting across the Atlantic on a raft, with only a pig-shed for shelter was inspirational.

With a combined age of 258, the 4 explorers built their raft from water pipes, wood, rope, a telegraph pole and a sail and set off from La Gomera in the Canaries heading for the Caribbean, using only the currents and trade winds to get there. Sometimes they found themselves going backwards but, after 66 days, they reached St Maarten.

The trip was the adventure of a lifetime and the lasting impressions of the trip were how vast and empty the Atlantic Ocean is, not only of shipping (they saw very few ships on their journey) but also of wildlife, the tranquillity of the journey, the serenity of the sky at night and the myriad of stars that can be seen. At one with nature.

Watch Full Talk

Reconnecting After 84 Years!

We were thrilled to be able to reconnect with Old Bedfordian, Edwin ‘John’ Carvell (33-37), after finding an article about his 100th birthday celebration in a local newspaper. We discovered that we had lost touch with Edwin when he left the school in 1937, the year which saw the coronation of King George VI, so we decided that, after 84 years, it was time to track him down.

After looking through the school archives, we found a photograph dating back to 1936 (see below),  of a young Edwin in the school’s OCT (Officer Training Corps), which we thought he might like to see.  We contacted his son, Bernard, to explain that, as far as we were aware, his father was our only centenarian, and that we would love to send him a belated birthday card, with the photo we had discovered. Bernard was very pleased (and somewhat surprised!) to hear from us and was happy to oblige – sending us a great photo of his father holding the said card.

Born in Egham on April 20, 1921, Edwin was the fourth of six children. He was brought up in Bedford and joined Bedford School on 19th January 1933, after passing the entrance exam to gain a scholarship. After his father passed away, Edwin’s mother decided he had to find work to help with family finances and no amount of persuasion from his then form master, Mr. Woodland, could get her to change her mind. The Head Master at the time, Mr. Grose-Hodge, even expressed his sorrow that he would not be returning to continue his education.

Edwin was a member of the Territorial Army (TA) and was called to serve in August 1939, at the age of 18, just weeks before the outbreak of war. He served until June 1946, before returning to work for the Education Dept at Bedfordshire County Council. Eight years later, he moved, with his family, to High Wycombe where he worked in marketing and then became an export director.

The family moved to Marlow in 1963, where he still lives independently in his own apartment – his two sons, David and Bernard, both also live locally, along with his three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Bernard explained that, although it had been 84 years since he left the school, Edwin still has fond memories of his time at Bedford, “Bedford School is often a topic of conversation when reminiscing about his pre-war experiences in the town, and he often spoke about R.S.M. Blincow . In fact, my wife and I took dad on a tour of the town around 6 or 7 years ago and we drove into the grounds of the school briefly – a very impressive place!”

We are absolutely delighted that Edwin has accepted our invitation to come back to the school for a special VIP tour and lunch with the Head Master this coming September. Just goes to show, once an OB, always an OB!

1936 OTC (Edwin in red circle)

Commentary and Communication

BT Sport and Channel 5 commentator, Sam Roberts (85-96), recently entertained the BSA (Bedford School Association) community with an online talk entitled ‘Commentary and Communication’.  Sam, who is well known for his commentaries on Gallagher Premiership Rugby, spoke about the skillsets a top sports media broadcast team needs to be successful, the importance of pre-match preparation and the use of analytics, which provide a myriad of statistics for use during a game. 

A normal live broadcast involves a multi-disciplined team of at least 70 people, all of whom play a vital part in creating an entertaining programme.   Sam shared fascinating behind-the-scenes footage of a premiership game, focussing on how the commentator needs to concentrate on what he hears in his headset, whist simultaneously having to commentate on the game, not an easy feat!

Sam rounded off an enjoyable and informative evening by answering a host of varied questions from the online audience.

“Sam provided a unique insight into the world of professional sports commentary.  Whilst it may sound easy to listen and talk at the same time, the reality is somewhat different.  His talk highlighted how both sports and business teams can perform more effectively through mastering the art of communication.  Sam has recently delivered his fascinating talk to several high-profile blue-chip companies and sport governing bodies, with rave reviews.  If you think your company could benefit from Sam’s insightful views, I’m sure he’d love to hear from you.”   

Hugh Maltby, Director of the BSA


The Phoenix Rises

After over a year of no racing, it was fantastic to finally see the OB Boat Club, Phoenix, take the water at last weekend’s Metropolitan Regatta held at Eton Dorney.     

Despite only having had four training outings together, the crew entered the highly competitive open coxed fours event, which had twenty-seven entries.  Due to the large number of boats, a head race was held to determine places for the finals.  The crew raced exceptionally well placing themselves in the B final, eventually finishing 5th after some hard-fought tussles. 

The crew of Ed Lamb (10-17), George Reed (staff), Jared Sheridan (07-16), Connor Sheridan (07-18) and Lauren Owens (staff) now have their sights set along with the rest of the squad on Henley Royal Regatta, which is due to take place on the 10-15th August. 

If you would like to be part of the rebirth of Phoenix Boat Club or would like to find out more, please contact Hugh Maltby at  or George Christian (08-18) at – we’d love to have you on board!

Art in Print

On 27th May, members of the school community were treated to a wonderful evening of art appreciation by accomplished art historian and lecturer, Peter Webb (54-59). During his fascinating talk, Peter took us through his impressive print collection, which includes works by some of the greatest artists such as Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Picasso and David Hockney. He explained the various types of printing processes favoured by each of the artists, from etching to woodcut and lithography.

Peter also shared his personal journey into the print world and how he started collecting pieces by these iconic artists, along with his adventures in finding incredible bargains…with tips on how anyone can be successful when bidding at auction.

“Peter provided another enthralling and informative evening, taking us on a whistle stop tour of his extensive and comprehensive print collection. The personal connections to both Henry Moore and David Hockney gave an exciting insight to these major artistic figures, while seeing the range of prints provided one visual treat after another. One of our L6th boys commented on Peter’s passion and enthusiasm and thought it was one of the best art lectures he had heard this year.”

Mr Michael Croker, Director of Art at Bedford School

We would like to thank Peter and all those who attended for a truly entertaining evening. If you were unable to join us and would like to watch the talk, you can do so by clicking on the link below.

Watch full talk

The next date for your diary is Thursday, 10th June when John Russel shares his fascinating story about his transatlantic sailing trip in a garden shed on a raft! Find out more and book here