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FA Cup Final Cricketers

You could knock up a handy cricket team just from players who’ve appeared in the FA Cup Final, according to AOC columnist David Green.

This weekend sees the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Liverpool. It is difficult, nay impossible, to imagine any of the protagonists swapping their blue or red outfits for whites and playing first-class cricket once the football season is over.

However, the links between the FA Cup Final and cricket are closer than you might think. Indeed, I’ve managed to rustle up a XII who featured (or nearly featured in the case of our 12th man) in at least one FA Cup Final and who also played first-class cricket.

Charles Alcock (MCC, Wanderers)

The first name in our side only made one first-class appearance for the MCC (scoring a duck); although he did incongruously once captain France against Germany. His place at the top of the order is automatic due to him being not only the driving force behind the staging of the first Test match to be held in England, but because he was also the architect of the inaugural FA Cup in 1872 (held at The Oval)- where he captained Wanderers to victory in the final.

William “Fatty” Foulke (Derbyshire, Sheffield United, Chelsea and England):

Fatty by more than name – some estimates suggested he reached 24 stone – Foulke was also an extremely volatile character who after the 1902 FA Cup Final – where he kept goal for Sheffield United, is reputed to have chased the referee naked from the changing rooms and into a broom cupboard. What happened next, history does not tell us. He also played four matches for Derbyshire in 1900, with a top score of 53 against Essex.

C.B. Fry (Sussex, Southampton and England)

Probably the greatest all-round sportsman ever, Fry scored over 30,000 first-class runs, played cricket and football for England, set a world record in the long jump that stood for 21 years, nearly became King of Albania and even into his seventies was able to perform his extraordinary party piece of springing backwards on to a mantelpiece. Fry was also part of the Southampton side beaten in a replay in the 1902 FA Cup Final (against Fatty Foulke).

Denis Compton (Middlesex, England and Arsenal)

Considered by some to be England’s finest post-war batsman – and certainly one of the most exuberant and charismatic, Compton was part of the victorious Arsenal 1950 FA Cup winning side that beat Liverpool in the final.

Denis Compton, who played for Arsenal in the FA Cup, on his way to a century at The Oval

Leslie Compton (Middlesex and Arsenal)

Denis was not the only multi-talented sportsman in the family. Brother Leslie may not have been as illustrious a cricketer – he kept wicket in 274 first-class games for Middlesex, but he was the better footballer - spending 22 years at Highbury – and was also part of the triumphant 1950 side.

Geoff Hurst (Essex and West Ham)

One of England’s 1966 World Cup heroes played one first-class game for Essex in 1962 against Lancashire, scoring three fewer than he managed against West Germany in the World Cup final four years later, and not even the one he netted in West Ham’s 3-2 win over Preston in the 1964 FA Cup Final.

Jim Standen (Worcestershire and West Ham)

The only man to win the FA Cup and County Championship in the same year. He lined up in goal alongside Hurst in West Ham’s 1964 cup winning side and took 64 wickets at 13 as Worcestershire won the County Championship for the first time later that summer.

Steve Ogrizovic (Coventry, Minor Counties)  

Another goalkeeper to win the FA Cup – for Coventry in 1987, he also made an impression as a cricketer when he bowled Viv Richards for the Minor Counties against the touring West Indies side in the 1980s.

Jarvis Kenrick (Wanderers, Surrey)

Scored the first ever goal in the FA Cup – for Clapham Rovers, and played in the Wanderers side that won the FA Cup three years running – scoring in two of the finals. Kenrick also made one first-class appearance for Surrey.

Jack Dyson (Lancashire, Manchester City)

Scored in City’s 1956 FA Cup final win over Birmingham City and was a useful off-spinner and batsman for Lancashire for whom he played 150 first-class matches. Like Foulke though he had a volatile nature and in 1960 was sacked by the county for “a serious breach of discipline and an act of insubordination and insolence to the captain”.

Gary Lineker (MCC, Leicestershire, Everton and Tottenham)

Hit the opening goal in Everton’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in the 1986 FA CUP final and missed a penalty in Tottenham’s win over Nottingham Forest in 1991. His cricket career did not reach such lofty heights, being restricted to a few appearances for Leicestershire’s 2nd XI and a game for MCC against Germany where he scored a single run – ‘I always score one against Germany’ he reflected afterwards.

12th Man: WG Grace (Gloucestershire, England and Wanderers)

The giant of Victorian cricket played several matches for Wanderers, but did not feature in the 1872 side (despite appearing and scoring in the run up to the final) nor in any of the five subsequent finals Wanderers contested.

David Green is the warped mind behind The Reverse Sweep cricket blog and regards Douglas Jardine as his ultimate cricket hero. You can follow David on Twitter @TheReverseSweep

Click here for David Green’s last post: why Sachin and Jack Hobbs are the masters.

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