Howzat?! All-star cricket team to take on Hay Town in special Hay Festival Sports Day match, umpired by Stephen Fry

Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye 2024 will host an all-star cricket match as part of the first Hay Festival Sports Day on Wednesday 29 May. 

Umpired by actor and author Stephen Fry, the match will see Hay Town take on an all-star cricket team, featuring broadcaster Adam Rutherford; writers Robert Macfarlane and Charlie Campbell; comedians Marcus Brigstocke and Carrie Quinlan; musician and actor Johnny Flynn; and professional cricketers Claire Taylor and Azeem Rafiq.

Many of the players come from the Authors Cricket Team, which has a 100-year history with the likes of PG Wodehouse, AA Milne and Arthur Conan Doyle playing. More recently, they have played against Indian Premier League (IPL) players, the Vatican and the national teams of Japan and Iceland. 

The event is the latest addition to the Hay Festival Sports Day, organised to mark this Olympic year with leading thinkers and sports stars showcasing their creative talents in conversations and interactive free activities across the Festival site with appearances from footballer and broadcaster Gary Lineker, tennis coach Judy Murray, ecologist Madeleine Orr, former athlete and politician Lord Sebastian Coe, and more.

Tickets to the match and other events are on sale here.

The day forms part of a packed programme of activities at Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye 2024, with a dynamic line-up of 600-plus events, 23 May–2 June. 

Hay Festival Global CEO Julie Finch said: 

“Worlds collide at Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye with events that offer a detour from the day to day. In this thrilling year of international sport, our first ever Sports Day seeks to explore its interconnections with the arts and their dual roles in promoting wellbeing. We are delighted to welcome this all-star cricket team and Hay Town onto our programme, and grateful to Festival president Stephen Fry for ensuring a fair game. Do join us for a special session to remember. And may the best team win!”

Writer and batsman Adam Rutherford said: 

“On Wednesday 29 May, the cricketers of Hay-on-Wye will feel the full force of <checks team sheet> seven middle aged writers and a couple of comedians. And two ex-professionals. Our sledging will be eloquent.”

Hay Festival Hay-on-Wye 2024 is supported by lead sponsors Baillie Gifford, Welsh Government, Arts Council England and Arts Council Wales, lead media partner the BBC and digital media partner TikTok.

Launching the best new fiction and non-fiction, while offering insights and debate around significant global issues, the programme sees writers, policy makers, pioneers and innovators take part from around the world, offering big thinking and bold ideas. 

Events offer something for all, beginning with the free Schools Programme, 23–24 May, and including a vibrant strand for families throughout. 

New projects woven through the Festival include The Platform for new creatives, the daily News Review offering analysis of the latest events and Hay Festival Green, prompting innovative solutions to the climate crisis.

Late nights at the Festival are given over to great music, comedy and entertainment, while a host of free pop-up activities and performances around the site keeps audiences entertained between sessions. 

Events will take place across eight stages in the redesigned free-to-enter Festival site at Dairy Meadows – which also offers a range of spaces for audiences to explore and enjoy, including the Bookshop, Wild Garden, Make & Take Tent, a host of exhibitors and market stalls, cafés and restaurants, and the new Family Garden where young readers can kick-start their creative journeys ­– as well as in and around Hay-on-Wye, including performances all week at St Mary’s Church.