• History

    The Walter Lawrence Trophy was first introduced in 1934 by master builder Sir Walter Lawrence. He was so passionate about cricket that he created his own cricket ground at Hyde Hall, near Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire (see picture below). Hyde Hall played host to most of the county sides of the day, and visitors to the ground were entertained in the true tradition of country house cricket. In 1934 he offered his personal patronage to the game by introducing an award for the fastest hundred scored in an English season in a first-class innings.

    Sir Walter Lawrence
    Sir Walter Lawrence

    Sir Walter Lawrence died in 1939. His son Guy did not share his father’s passion for cricket, and consequently there was no presentation during the Second World War – nor for many years after. However, in 1965 Brian Thornton inherited the Trophy on the death of his father-in-law, Guy Lawrence, and the following year reinstated the award for the fastest Test century by an England batsman, with the help of MCC and many others, including Brian Johnston.

    In 1970 the Trophy reverted to its original form for the fastest first-class century during the English cricket season. Also in that year the award was presented for ‘the most meritorious innings of the England v The Rest of the World series’ to Geoff Boycott, for his 222-ball century at The Oval.

    In 1985 the basis for the award was changed from minutes to the number of balls faced. The fastest century under the pre-1985 system was Steve O’Shaughnessy’s hundred in 35 minutes for Lancashire v Leicestershire at Old Trafford in 1983.The fastest century so far is Tom Moody’s 100 off 36 balls scored in 1990 during the Warwickshire v Glamorgan match at Swansea.

    In 2008 the Trophy was opened for the first time to all the domestic county competitions. Now centuries scored in The Hundred, Vitality Blast (20-over format), Royal London Cup (50-over format) and the LV= Insurance County Championship, as well as Test Matches, One-Day International matches and International T20 matches played in England, will all be eligible.

    The list of previous winners includes many of the greats from international cricket: Ken Barrington, Basil D’Oliveira, Colin Milburn, Asif Iqbal, Gary Sobers, Gordon Greenidge, Alan Knott, Mike Procter, Viv Richards, Ian Botham, Mike Gatting, Graeme Hick, Andy Flintoff and Adam Gilchrist.

    The Trophy, together with a cheque for £2,500 to the winning batsman, is presented during an awards ceremony and dinner held in the Long Room at Lord’s, which is attended by current and former cricketers, correspondents and many celebrity guests.

    Liam Livingstone won the Walter Lawrence Trophy in 2021, scoring his award-winning century off just 42 balls.

    Hyde Hall, Sawbridgeworth - 1931
    Hyde Hall, Sawbridgeworth – 1931.
    Sir Walter Lawrence standing second from left. Miss Gypsy Lawrence seated fifth from left.

    Hyde Hall, Sawbridgeworth - 1938
    Hyde Hall, Sawbridgeworth – 1938.
    Sir Walter Lawrence sitting in the centre of the image. The image is of the annual cricket match between the head office of Walter Lawrence and Son Ltd and the Joinery Works at Sir Walter’s private ground at Hyde Hall.