A Review of the 1988 Season

Had we been able to start the 1998 season in June, we would have been reporting an excellent showing by the first eleven.

In recent years we have used up our victories in the friendlies at the start of the season and by the time we got round to the League matches we are normally in the habit of losing. 1988 was no different and we should have feared the worst when we began the season in tremendous style. Sunday A skipper Carey Harborne took an unbelievable 7-1 in the opening match at North London as we won by ten wickets. Paul Cross was another seven wicket hero, the following week in another empthatic victory over Middlesex Leaguers Hornsey, while in the Third Eleven at North Middlesex the same day youngsters James Hill and Mark Lawrence both recorded their maiden centuries. Meanwhile the First Eleven completed their friendly matches with the bonus that Richard Alston was in impressive form having smashed an unbeaten 111 off the Braintree attack.

Four consecutive defeats in the first four 1st XI League games led to the infamous dressing room “discussion” at Loughton, and elected skipper Bob Wells handed over the captaincy reins to Richard Alston. The next game the tide began to turn as Chingford beat reigning Champions Woodford Wells. Around the same time Steve Miell showed us all his batting prowess as he hit a career best 89 not out batting at number 9 for the As at Metrogas.

An unusual headline greeted those who followed us through the good pages of the Chingford Guardian the following week. For instead of catching up on the latest exploits of Peter Norgate or Michael Blake, we read “Here’s to you Mr Robinson”. And rightly so as Nigel Robinson hit a brilliant 154 not out in the First Eleven match at Hutton. At the time it was the third highest individual score ever in the Essex League and to this day remains the best by a Chingford player in the competition.

Seven days later Chingford’s armchair followers opener the following week’s Guardian only to read “He’s at it again!” – Nigel hitting another ton, this time to mastermind a second successive win at the hands of Orsett.

Cricket Week came and went with some totally forgettable weather although we completed four and a half games. The highlight of the week being Jeff Runciman getting out to his son James in the Colts v Parents match although on a more serious note Peter Coyte’s 93 against Alf Langley’s XI confirmed his re-emergence as an attacking batsman of First Eleven quality as we overhauled a total of 223 in a thrilling run chase.

The long awaited First Eleven debut of Jason Rosser finally came in August, although the Club photographer was reluctant to travel to Southend to record the event for future generations. Another outstanding individual performance in late August was an innings of 143 in the Extra Third Eleven by Shakeel Kadri against Walthamstow. Fellow “opener” Steve Wilson we understand took things slightly easier at the other end !  In an amazing match for statistics, Graham Carpenter went on to capture seven wickets.

The First Eleven’s overall improvement was summed up by an outstanding team display to beat Ilford for the first time in several years to give us five wins and five draws from the last thirteen League games. Our improvement being summed up by Robinson, Alston and Sheikh all averaging over 40 with the bat and Wilson and Cross taking 20 wickets apiece.

In the home game v Walthamstow an almost unique incident occurred when a Police Officer arrived at Forest Side and walked onto the field and arrested one of the Walthamstow fielders who was the taken off to the Police Station. Chingford supplied a substitute – I wonder if this would happen in this day and age?

The Second Eleven had a much improved season, being slightly disappointed to finish fifth. Frank Boys-Stones ‘ captaincy proved a popular choice and although the batting on the whole (save Phil Joslin) was inconsistent, the bowling was superb with Michael Blake, Michael Higgs and Carey Harborne all bagging more than 20 wickets in the League.

The third eleven had a mixed time, but James Hill, Kieron Henderson and Shakeel Kadri put in some fine performances in the season. Colin Howard took eight wickets in the win at Woodford Wells

The Sunday A and B elevens both completed the season with fine track records, whilst the Cs struggled with poor availability but still fielded a side on around 50% of the Sundays.

Richard Alston for the umpteenth year hit the most runs making the Jack Watson Trophy a familiar sight on his sideboard. On the bowling front Michael Blake fended off the challenge of season long leader Carey Harborne in the last game to bag the Bunny Swinfen Trophy for what was to be the first of many times.

David Jones handed over the reins as President to Ted Alston. Over the years David had been an active President combining his duties with that of casting an expert eye over the Club’s finances, first as Treasurer and then as Financial Controller. His devotion was such that no-one could ever remember him missing a Committee Meeting. DCH – an absolute Chingford CC legend and a wonderful man.