2009 Season Review
Chingford Cricket Club
The 2009 season saw the Club celebrate its 125th anniversary and achieve considerable on-field success including victory in the Essex League Twenty/20 Cup.
Saturday 1st XI
After Jamie Hill decided to step down as captain in the early part of the season, the leadership of the 1st XI passed to Ben MacGregor, who will continue in the captaincy in 2010.
The team had an excellent season, despite not having an overseas player, gaining 10 wins and 251 points but narrowly failed to achieve promotion from Division 1. After relegation from the Premier Division the previous year the players took a few games to get back to winning ways and the resulting slow start probably made the difference.
Robert Whitfield (666 runs @ 44.40) and Sam Kirnon (615 runs @ 38.44) led the way with the bat producing some brilliant displays of destructive hitting and were well supported by Alfie Taylor (466 runs @ 33.29). Matthew O’Sullivan and Jamie Hill also exceeded 300 runs.
Ben MacGregor topped the bowling with 48 wickets @ 18.38, opening bowlers Len Daniels and Ryan Harris took 25 wickets each and Shaun McMurray’s off-spin accounted for 19 wickets. Finally mention should be made of Paul Shawyer who produced some brilliant performances behind the stumps.
There were early exits in both the League Cup and Conference Cup, well beaten by Colchester and Ardleigh Green. In the National there were convincing wins against Hitchin (Jamie Hill 136) and Brondesbury (Robert Whitfield 142) before losing to Hampstead.
Then there was the Twenty/20 Cup. A combination of exhilarating batting (Sam Kirnon 92 v Loughton, Robert Whitfield 88 v Woodford Wells and Shaun McMurray 75* v West Essex), disciplined bowling (Anthony Peek 5/24 v Woodford Wells and 5/14 v Westcliff and Ben MacGregor 4/6 v West Essex) and athletic fielding enabled the team to win each round convincingly. However the final was a tightly contested match against South Woodford in which Alfie Taylor scored 45 and Ryan Harris took 3/33 to see Chingford home by only 10 runs. After losing the League Cup final in 2007 and the Twenty/20 final in 2008 it was gratifying to finally go one better and see captain Matthew O’Sullivan pick up the winners trophy.
The team continued its good form in the Regional finals, first of all defeating Finchley and then pushing winners Reigate Priory all the way in the final. Only a brilliant innings from Reigate Priory’s Australian State player enabled them to chase down the target of 194 which was set up by exceptional opening batting from Alfie Taylor (84) and Robert Whitfield (37) who scored over 90 runs off the first six overs.
Saturday 2nd XI
The 2nd XI, led by Steve Piper for the first time, finished 7th in the Premier Division with 6 wins and 197 points. A good first half of the season saw the side in the top half of the table but this was followed by a poor run of results which was only stemmed by wins in the last two weeks of the season.
The batting, which was the strength of the side, did not fully live up to its potential but Greg Hales scored 338 runs @ 42.25 (including 113 at Hainault and Clayhall), and Billy Rhone (including 101 v Shenfield) and Richard Alston both exceeded 400 runs. In addition the captain, often batting at number eight, scored 271 runs @ 38.71 and Paul Smith (including 112 v Upminster) and Marc Fletcher broke the 300 run mark.
Overall the bowling lacked sufficient penetration but Richard MacGregor continued to get through the overs (including 26 in one spell v Chelmsford) and took 36 wickets. Richard Offord and Steve Piper were the mainstays of the seam attack with 22 and 19 wickets respectively but 16 year old Aiden Woodcock produced some promising spells of bowling late in the season including 4 wickets v Upminster.
Saturday 3rd XI
The 3rd XI lost their captain and several senior players for most of the season and suffered as a result finishing bottom of Division 1 with only 1 win. Mark Campbell led the team in the majority of games but an inexperienced side found the going tough. Only Ian Lambert averaged over 25 with the bat although Marc Fletcher did score 126 v Hornchurch.
None of the bowlers took 20 wickets and the fact that Stephen Thorne managed 15 wickets @ 11.00 in his very few appearances only emphasises how much his absence impacted the side. Nevertheless the younger players gained valuable experience and hopefully will show the benefit of this next year in Division 2.
Saturday 4th XI
The 4th XI, led by new captain Edwin Jabbari, returned to the Premier Division at the first attempt after winning Division 1 with 11 wins and 264 points.
A good blend of experience and youth, as so often is the case, proved to be a winning combination. Without being dominating the batting scored enough runs led by 12 year old Dan Lawrence who topped the averages with 269 runs @ 38.43 including three fifties. In addition John Woodland scored 122 v Ardleigh Green. The bowling attack regularly bowled sides out and the honours were shared by the captain (19 wickets @ 16.89), 13 year old Andrew MacGregor (15 wickets @ 11.87 including 6/14 v Benfleet), grizzled but canny veteran Paul Hart (11 wickets at 10.36) and Dan Lawrence and Adam Ferdinand with 14 wickets apiece.
Saturday 5th XI
Steve Tall took over as 5th XI captain for 2009 and led the side to 6 wins and a 6th place finish in Division 3W. Roy Wilson (233 runs @ 77.67) and Michael Blake (212 @ 42.40 including 118 v Hornchurch) led the way with the bat.
No bowler achieved 10 wickets but some of the younger players showed good promise; in particular Sam Tall, who scored a 50 and took 5/46, Chris Sear who scored his first fifty for the Club and Jack Piper who took 3/8.
The Sunday A XI, captained by Billy Rhone, won 8 out of their 9 league games to win the Chess Valley League after a number of years of going close. Alfie Taylor (363 runs @ 45.38), Ben MacGregor (181 runs @ 90.50) and the captain (134 runs @ 44.67) led the runs. Aiden Woodcock (15 wickets), Ben MacGregor (14 wickets) and Nick Shawyer (10 wickets) led with the ball.
The Sunday B XI, with its mix of friendlies and Chess Valley League games, were once again captained by Michael Blake. David Joslin scored a remarkable 907 runs @ 45.35 usually in very quick time and Peter Joslin 521 @ 34.73. Stephen Thorne and Richard MacGregor took 27 and 26 wickets respectively well supported by Carey Harborne (19 wickets) and Alex Gordon (15 wickets including three, all bowled, in four balls v Highgate).
125th Anniversary Celebration
Several events were organised throughout the season to celebrate the 125th anniversary not least of which was Michael Blake’s production of ‘125 Not Out’, a truly excellent and interesting history of the Club. The picture of Angelina Jolie wearing a Doug Insole emblazoned vest has now passed into Club folklore. Copies are still available from Mike whose contact details can be found in the Club Directory.
Two one-off matches also deserve mention. In May a select Club XI played the Chingford All Time Greats XI (those players who have scored the most runs/taken the most wickets for the Club who are still able, albeit just, to take the field). The All Time Greats won the game by 2 wickets in the final over and the sight of Jeff Runciman, Phil Joslin and Geoff Sandrock still producing the goods made the event thoroughly worthwhile. In July the Club played host to touring Australian side Sydney X made up of ex-international and grade standard players which attracted the largest crowd at Forest Side since the 1970s. The cricket and the bar were enjoyed by all.
Thanks as always to all those who umpired, scored and provided catering, without whom the game would be far less enjoyable.
Finally congratulations to Chingford colt Beth MacGregor who has been selected for the England Women’s Cricket Academy and who played in a winning series against the Best of Europe in August.