The first set made by Subbuteo, this was launched in 1949 following the successful introduction of the football game two years earlier. It remained in the range until 1965/6, when it was replaced by the 00 scale plastic sets.
I was lucky enough to come across a set I believe to be from the very early stages of production, given that the owner dated his first match in the scorebook (between Middlesex and Worcestershire) Sunday 31st July 1949. A check in Wisden revealed the game actually did take place a few days before, so I’m guessing he was taken to the game and re-created it with his new cricket set the following week.
The original box was about the size of a 1970s football team box. It was plain printed and didn’t feature any illustrations. An image of the bowler figure was added subsequently and finally a square box featuring an overprinted cricket photo replaced the smaller set.
The figures came printed on card and had to be cut out individually and inserted in their bases. They are actually quite sturdy, although my set has long since been retired!
The stumps are free standing and very fiddly to set up. The balls are hollow and very light. The two batsmen are illustrated with different coloured caps and sweater trimmings. The umpires have black bases, rather than white, and have a red or blue sweater around their waists.