The history of the Lashings All-Stars
PART 1: "29 all out."
Lashings were formed in 1984 when John Steer, a gentleman very much out of cricket's old school told David Folb, the Lashings owner, of the plight of the Minstrel Wine Bar Cricket Club.
The team, from a pub just 200 yards down the Maidstone's Upper Stone Street, had been scheduled to play a team the following day in the less than idyllic surrounds of Mote Park only to find that their opposition had pulled out of the fixture.
Folb, a soccer fanatic with little or no previous interest in the gentleman's game, hastily assembled a side for the fixture, quickly ringing around friends including his solicitor, bank manager and the venerable Mr Steer himself.
Even the Lashings manager John Tobin, an Irishman, was enlisted for the game having never played a game of cricket in his life before, or since.
And so this ragbag team took to the field and their performance matched the sum of their parts.
After their bowlers had been dispatched for 323 runs, Lashings amassed just 29 in their reply but such a one-sided outcome did not prevent Folb, ever the entrepreneur from starting up a Lashings cricket team on a permanent basis.
PART 2: SIGN RICHIE RICHARDSON?
A list was put up in the bar and soon the Lashings cricket team had enough personnel to be able to field sides on a regular basis.
However even someone as ambitious as Folb himself could not have forecast the way
in which his side would grow and soon Lashings were successfully taking on many of the more established sides in the area.
However, as the success of Lashings grew so too did the jealousy and accrimony towards it among members of the local cricket estalishment.
Leagues banded together to stop the rise of the team and the obstacles put in their way were often too numerable to mention.
However such injustices only served to galvanise Lashings as a team not to mention the resolve of Folb, never a man to shirk a challenge.
Folb's biggest coup and perhaps still the biggest in terms of the development of the
club was the signing of Richie Richardson, the former West Indies captain.
Announcements that the great man who had only recently retired from Test cricket, would be joining a club that was still little more than a pub team, were greeted by hoots of derision by the local media and sporting community.
Geoff Clark, Meridian's sports reporter, famously declared that he would eat his hat if ever the player played for Lashings.
This was no small sacrifice for a gourmet like Clark and Panamas, bowlers and stetsens were quickly hidden away when Richardson announced his arrival at the Meridian newsroom.
Richardson's impact could hardly be underestimated and soon some of the most famous names in cricket were on their way to Lashings.
Muttiah Muralitharan was among the first, making his debut on the bottom pitch at The Mote against the might of Cobham.
The Mote, who became one of Lashings's most bitter early rivals refused to offer Muralitheran the centre stage of the top pitch despite the interest in the game because it was being used by their Sunday 2nd XI - happily the clubs are now reconciled.
At the time however, Lashings were to become the bete noir of the local cricket scene, their very name being greeted by ridicule and cynicism.
Even even appearances by the likes of Shoaib Akhtar and Brian Lara failed to quell the antipathy of the local masses.
PART 3: THE WORLD XI ERA
Thankfully beyond the local opposition cricket was at least sitting up and taking notice on a wider scale and soon counties were entertaining Lashings at their grounds while the rising profile of the club was attracting big name sponsors - even though one of them reneged on the deal leaving Folb to meet a £250,000 shortfall in order to keep the club going and forcing the restauranteur and property owner to sell some of his properties.
However Folb was never going to be perturbed by such setbacks and new deals were still forthcoming as were the biggest names in the game of cricket.
Far away from the windswept expanses of Mote Park on that afternoon in 1984, Lashings have since played to packed houses at home and abroad.
In the past decade Lashings has evolved into a slick corporate outfit. It's now easier to list the international players who haven't appeared for us than those who have, but to name just a handful, Sachin Tendulkar, Alvin Kallicharan, Jimmy Adams, Rashid Latif, Wasim Akram, Allan Donald and Sir Viv Richards have all worn the Lashings uniform.
"To name just a handful, Sachin Tendulkar, Alvin Kallicharan, Jimmy Adams, Rashid Latif, Wasim Akram, Allan Donald and Sir Viv Richards have all worn the Lashings uniform."
We've played at some of the most famous grounds in the world and in 2008 went on a pioneering tour to Abu Dhabi, playing the United Arab Emirates at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium used for the Pakistan v England series.
Despite the stellar names who've appeared for us, we have only one house rule. Nobody is allowed to refuse an autograph!
It's worth noting that while we have raised funds for a succession of charities down the years, including most recently the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, Lashings is a business and operates as such. We are professional fund-raisers and many clubs have used our expertise to help raise money for a whole variety of aims, from good causes to essential repairs to their facilities.
Although sports clubs aren't considered charitable organisations by the government, we believe they provide a vital role in society and aim to help them in any way we can.
You could be involved in the next chapter of this great club. To find out how, email email@example.com or call us on 01622 755030.