ACCIES: HERITAGE & HISTORY
Edinburgh Academical Cricket Club, generally known as Edinburgh Accies or Accies, is a cricket club founded in 1855 and based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The club is the oldest Old Boys cricket club in Scotland.
In 1854, the Edinburgh Academy acquired a playing field at Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, and Edinburgh Accies was founded the following year. Former pupils of the Edinburgh Academy and members of Edinburgh Accies were integral in the development of Scottish cricket, and within a few years all the independent schools in Scotland had private cricket grounds.
The origin of Edinburgh Accies can be traced back to 1824 when cricket was played in the Edinburgh Academy yards. T.H. Shepherd's drawing of the Edinburgh Academy in 1828 shows two boys holding cricket bats, one of whom was William Moncreiff, who joined the school on its opening day and founded the Grange Cricket Club in 1832.
L.M. Balfour-Melville captained the Academy in 1871, and went on to captain Scotland, defeating Australia in 1872 at the age of 18. H.J. Stevenson was one of the great lob bowlers, and his notes were included in an MCC booklet "Instructions to Cricket Coaches at Lord's". In 1886, Stevenson took five wickets in five balls for the Academy, and repeated this feat for Accies in 1894.
Accies most celebrated player of the 1950s and 1960s was J.M. Allan who won 60 caps for Scotland between 1953 and 1972. He also played first-class cricket for Kent and Warwickshire. J.M. Allan captained Accies on tours to Ireland in 1963 and 1964, and to Canada in 1969.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the club signed a number of Australian and New Zealand professionals. One of the most prolific was Steve Spoljaric, who played First Grade cricket in Australia, and during his tenure for Edinburgh Accies, from 1999 to 2005, he scored 4092 runs at an average of 66, and took 148 wickets. Spoljaric’s top score of 275 not out against Clackmannan in the 2001 Scottish Cup is “possibly the highest score in the upper echelons of Scottish club cricket”.
Stuart Moffat represented the Scottish national rugby team and played first-class cricket for Cambridge University. Moffat has a first-class average of 169, a score he made in the 2002 varsity match against Oxford University. It was the highest score by a cricketer playing their first match for Cambridge University since Test batsman Hubert Doggart made a double hundred in 1948.
Edinburgh Accies currently plays at its second ground at New Field. The Raeburn Place Foundation is currently involved in redeveloping the ground to reinstate cricket, and transform Raeburn Place into a sporting destination worthy of its heritage.
The first recorded cricket match appeared in The Courant, 17 April 1855. Since then, Edinburgh Accies have fielded many notable players. The distinguished writer Andrew Lang captained the Academy in 1861. T.R. Marshall played for the MCC and Scotland, and alongside fellow Accies, R.H. Johnston and H.J. Stevenson, defeated Gloucestershire (including W.G. Grace) in 1891.
At the turn of the century, Edinburgh Accies built a reputation as the pre-eminent cricket club in Scotland. Great players during this period included Rab Bruce-Lockhart, James Stevenson, and A.I.S. MacPherson - each of whom played several times for Scotland. In the 1930s, at its peak, the 1st XI included eight playing members who had represented Scotland.
The East of Scotland League formed in 1953, with Accies first winning the league in 1957. The clubs Centenary was celebrated in 1954 including a two-day match against the MCC, and a Centenary Dinner, where the Toast of 'The Field' was proposed by Alec Douglas-Home.
The 1970s was Accies most successful decade for silverware. The club won the Masterton Trophy in 1970, and again in 1977. In 1974, the club won the Scottish Cup for the first time. In 1979, as part of the 125th anniversary celebrations, the club undertook a tour to North America, playing matches from Vancouver to California.
Edinburgh Accies, originally an exclusive club for alumni of the Edinburgh Academy, signed George Reifer in 1981, who represented Barbados and later Scotland, as the club's first professional. Other professionals during this period include Nehemiah Perry who played 4 Tests and 21 One Day Internationals for the West Indies and Peter Steindl who played for Scotland.
Michael Raso, who played in 2008 and 2010, represented Italy internationally. Daniel Rixon, son of Steve Rixon, Chennai Super Kings and Australian National Team coach, took all 10 wickets against Gala in 2011.
Andrew Cosh, club captain 2015-present, is the grandson of former Scotland captain Major S.H. Cosh MBE. Cosh was the highest run scorer in Division 1 in 2015 and 2017, and led Edinburgh Accies to Championship promotion in 2017. In 2018, Cosh won the Championship batting award, as the leading Scottish qualified player, becoming the first batsman to win the Division 1 and Championship awards in successive years. Cosh 119, and former Academy captain Max Banks 142, scored a club and Championship record opening partnership of 258 against Freuchie in 2018.
In recent history, EACC played the EAFC to celebrate the clubs 160th anniversary in 2015 with an inaugural Twenty20. Accies 2nd XI achieved promotion in consecutive seasons, 2016, 2017 and 2018, in the East League. Edinburgh Accies continue to play the historic end of the season fixture against the Edinburgh Academy XI.
The club’s distinguished history includes 42 Academicals who have played representative cricket, and 6 who have played both rugby and cricket for Scotland. Raeburn Place has hosted international cricket matches, and was also the venue of the first international rugby match in 1871.