1997 Season Review
The 1997 season saw Chingford’s young 1st eleven showing improved maturity but still lacking the required consistency. It was disappointing given the overall level of performance that a much higher league position than 14th was not achieved. Richard Alston (including consecutive centuries against Colchester and Stanford le Hope) and opener James Hill (including 125 v Woodford Wells) put in a number of fine performances, while Rizwan Akram at 17 years of age showed further promise scoring 1175 runs in all cricket and also proving to be a more than useful off spin bowler.
It is bowling that generally wins matches and with as varied attack as there is in the League, more results should have been forthcoming with the side fielding three seamers and four different varieties of spinner in most matches. The bowling strength particularly showed through in the limited over matches enabling the side to win the inaugural Herts and Essex Sunday League and reach the League Cup Final for the first time. A rainy morning put the Final, at Old Parkonians’ ground in doubt but the skies cleared and Chingford lost a crucial toss to be inserted on a damp track. On the day we were outplayed by the more experienced Saffron Walden side who ran out comfortable winners by 9 wickets. Still the Chingford spirit remained with our supporters on the day outnumbering their North Essex counterparts by a ratio of10:1
The second eleven struggled throughout avoiding relegation by a whisker, whilst the third eleven also found the going tough on their return to the top flight but did just enough to stay up this time.
Michael Blake took two hat tricks in three weekends, with remarkably the second , in the 1st XI friendly against Holtwhites being from his first three balls of his spell. This is considered to probably be a record !
Two interesting things happened in Cricket Week. Firstly we played Greenwich Institute Pakistan who turned up with a fitness instructor, matching tracksuits and all the gear. In an enjoyable game the Institute were going along nicely at 116-2 when their batsmen were told that Terry Titmus, who used to play for England was coming onto bowl – this was Terry Piper wearing an England shirt.! I’ve never seen so many batsmen panic in all my life as Terry mesmerised them with his usual “variety” to capture 3-8 in 4 overs and leave them 148 all out ! Alvin Kallicharan turned out for Peter Hall’s XI , scoring 70 – what a joy it was to see him bat , I was just disappointed the skipper thought Boyo would have a better chance of getting him than me so alas I didn’t get an opportunity for him to join the Hall of Fame !