A Review of the 1984 Season

1984 was more than another year for Chingford CC. The Centenary Season proved at times exhilarating and the “Chingford” spirit was reinforced as many former members and friends appeared at Forest Side again.

The season began with the publication of a Centenary Handbook – a 128 page extravaganza packed with the history of the Club and a variety of articles and photos. Copies these days are like gold dust, but over 1000 were sold at the bargain price of £1. Incredibly all this was put together in about six months by a sub-committee of Buddy Jessop (Chairman), Mike Blake and Michael Higgs, who quite remarkably typed the whole lot on that then state of the art machine known as the word-processor. These efforts helped us considerably keep the price down. I knew it was good when the Sunday after he bought a copy Bunny Swinfen didn’t turn up at the Club around 4.30pm as was customary on a Sunday. Eventually he made it nearer 7.30pm and, when I asked him where he’d been he said “Absolutely magnificent Michael, I picked it up and couldn’t put it down – I read it cover to cover !”

Only two scorebooks survive so the information here has been lifted from a variety of media articles and my memory !

Hopes of a return to former glories were high when the 1st XI win four and drew one of their five pre-League games including the notable scalp of Hornsey. Chingford made a perfect start to the League programme to defeat Wanstead and an unbeaten 129 from Nigel Robinson at Westcliff saw us in a strong position at tea. Rain alas wiped out further play bur Chingford stormed back at Brentwood as Frank Beckles blasted 96 in 92 minutes to steer his side to victory. Curious tactics by Buckhurst Hill ensured that the local derby ended in a tame draw but the unbeaten run was now 2 months and 10 matches. But then Chingford’s first defeat at Southend was closely followed by three more as the topsy-turvy season turned upside down

Cricket Week was revived to coincide with the Centenary Celebrations in July to be blessed with blue skies to the delight of many. Special editions of the Chingford Guardian were produced with Chingford CC articles and photos completely covering a special front and back page. Highlight of the week was the match with The Mayor’s XI when despite six wickets from Robin Hobbs, Chingford snatched a famous victory off the last ball of the game.(Printed scorecards were produced for this game – the last occasion such a feat has happened) Superb cricket saw Chingford fight back from the dead twice to snatch what had seemed unlikely wins to beat the Stock Exchange and the Wormcasts while there was always plenty to admire in the fixtures with the MCC, Essex 2nd XI and The President’s XI.

The Centenary celebrations continued as the Waltham Forest Knockout Competition was clinched at Forest Side in August, Steve Miell claiming a hat-trick in the final. The disastarous form on Saturdays finally ended when 50 runs were plundered from the last 5 overs to beat Old Brentwoods, the first win since June 9.

Richard Alston smashed 10 sixes as the Sunday As chased down Sawbridgeworth’s total of 246-4.

The League season ended disappointingly with no further victories although the final weekend saw victories over Eton Manor and the Chinghoppers.

To say the 2nd eleven played like the 1st eleven would not be wrong. The first two League games saw Wanstead and Leigh on Sea thrashed but too often individual performances were inconsistent and we had to settle for a mid table position.

Steve Hart had the distinction of scoring centuries in consecutive innings with 118 for the Sunday Bs v Sawbridgeworth on 26 August, followed by 100 for the 2nds at Woodford Wells on 1 September.

Last but not least, cricket was poorer for the loss of Ted Alston who decided to hang up his boots. His distinctive laugh from mid-off is never to be forgotten. The writer of this article is one of the many to have benefited from his patience, sound advice and understanding. Ted signed off with a notable achievement by winning the Bunny Swinfen Trophy having taken the most wickets for Chingford.