A Review of the 1987 Season

1987 saw Chingford set a new League Record – 9 postponements from the 19 scheduled games, and an almost unthinkable statistic in these days of global warming. Frequently we remained idle with the thunderstorms following us around the county while others were managing to play. So we were forced to accept the inevitable bottom placing in the League – although we would argue that we had little chance of proving otherwise having been denied the chance of victory in so many matches.

The appalling weather was well illustrated by the scenes on Saturday 22nd August when I was playing for the 2nd eleven against Fives and Heronians at The Paddock. Three thunderstorms from different directions all converged on the ground and when the rain finally came I have to say it was the heaviest I’ve ever seen in my life. Although we were nearly forced to return to Forest Side by boat, when we eventually got there we found the Fives 1st XI players taking advantage of a swimming pool that had formed in front of our Clubhouse , and were washing and lathering themselves in this new found facility!

For the first eleven the only bright spot of the season was the win over Gidea Park and Romford although we did have much optimism for the months ahead when convincing victories over both Hornsey and Sawbridgeworth were earned in April.

The second eleven’s season proved a carbon copy of the first eleven’s (with a relatively mere six postponements) and amazingly we suddenly rediscovered the winning knack immediately the League games had ended.

Some fun and games took place in the 2nd eleven game at Ilford where Chingford facing defeat on 68-7 put the shutters up with nos 8 and 9 Michael Blake and Steve Wilson already at the crease well before the 20 overs had even started. Unable to shift them Ilford Captain Joe Hussain (father of the future England Captain) did little to endear himself to us by first of all ordering his team to all sit down for one ball, and secondly for the next ball put every fielder on the off side. The game ended in the inevitable draw with Chingford despite all this still 7 down but picking up a further bonus point by going past the 125, soon after Boyo had said to him “Cheer up Skip, we’re going to get a bonus point in a minute!”

Following the “claiming” of part of the London Transport Ground by the Department of Transport to facilitate the A406 widening in the Crooked Billet area, our 3rd elevens were forced to up sticks and initially moved to the London Transport Ground at Fairlop. The arrangements there were proving so unsatisfactory with many senior players refusing to turn out given the surroundings and one Saturday Club President DCH Jones put in an impromptu visit to inspect the facilities. He followed this up with a letter to London Transport HQ describing the surroundings as “grim” but the reply from LT was most uncompromising. This prompted a full scale mid-season search for a new 3rd XI ground but by early June we had secured one of the squares at the PLA ground in Ilford.

In the 3rd XI game at Gidea Park and Romford poor Malcolm Wright conceded 46 runs in 2 overs when they only wanted 97 to win !

Sundays proved a completed contrast to Saturdays with wins outnumbering defeats by four to one for both A and B elevens despite the fixture list being as strong as ever. The Sunday C team also had a successful time enjoying many close encounters.

In the Sunday B game at Enfield John Woodland insisted that he was quite happy fielding in the slips having dropped three catches. He then dropped a fourth !

Three players scored their maiden centuries for the Club – Gary Davis, Iain Hastings and David Wilson.

Apparently Jeff Runciman missed a game for the second year running, whilst Steve Wilson insisted that Forest Side was playable for the Hertford B team game when Jeff Runciman would have called the game off.

In Cricket Week dear Barry Ironton phoned the Club to say he would be late when the game he was selected for had taken place the day before !

For many the season was best remembered for a unique fund raising initiative – the Duckometer. Steve Wilson created a huge chart which was placed on the notice board and if you got a duck - you had to pay a fine. These were £1.50 for a run out without facing, £1 for a golden and 50p for a duck. It took John Woodland only a couple of games to get the first £1.50 ! Different coloured ducks were stuck against each player’s name as they got ducks and at the end of the season a commemorative bat with ducks stuck on it was awarded to the winner – Nick Thorpe with 8 ducks, who edged out Gary Davis on golden difference! Fundraising Committee please note …..this made an absolute packet!