A Review of the 1974 Season


Again under the Captaincy of Ron Lynch, Chingford 1st eleven put up their best ever performance in the Essex League, being edged out of the title by a single point. Nine games were won and the side ended the season unbeaten in their last 13 League games. Crucially in the penultimate games of the season Chingford had failed to bowl out Westcliff who were 62-9 after being 8-4 on a day where leaders Orsett were rained off at Woodford Wells.

With one game to go, Chingford were one point behind Orsett with us to play at South Woodford and Orsett to play Buckhurst Hill. The final games were played in wet conditions with Orsett finishing in a scores level draw with Buckhurst Hill one run short of victory. This scenario meant that a Chingford win would take the title. After a poor start, Chingford totalled 164, but despite 54 overs to bowl South Woodford out they hung on for the draw on 125-8. 

Geoff Sandrock (515) and Mike Edmonds (509) both rattled up over 500 runs in the season , whilst the bowling was led by Basil Swaby who took an extremely impressive 60 wickets , ably backed up by the consistent Bryan Hart with 31.

Unusually the game at Met Police No 3 District saw a completed Chingford innings finish with zero extras. Has this ever happened in any other match?

On the 4th June Norris McWhirter should have turned up at Forest Side, as records galore were broken. Chingford set a Kemp Cup Record by scoring 403-1 in 45 overs against Forest Group Hospitals and this earned the Club a mention on the BBC’s Test Match Special. Graham Lord, opening the innings hit what at the time was a Club record individual score of 201 not out, while his opening partnership of 275 with David Rafis who hit 100 remains a Club record partnership Graham and David were both awarded Kemp Cup ties in recognition of their achievement.

Chingford made it through three rounds of the Kemp Cup with the highlight being a win away at Ealing in a low scoring encounter that ended at 8.36pm ! The Cup run came to an end when we lost to the now defunct Forest Hill at home.

The fixture list for Sat 20th July showed “Robin Hobbs XI” Home. This was the last benefit match to be held on the ground and all Chingford players were issued with sponsorship cards which would obtain revenue in respect of runs, wickets, catches etc. A number of County pros turned out for the visitors with by the looks of it, Ron Lynch claiming the most sponsorship as he returned 5-37 including Essex favourite Keith Boyce. Geoff Sandrock hit 57 to make a few bob for his team-mate too.

The 2s had a successful time with seven wins, seven draws and only 2 defeats in the League. Peter Barrett (475) and Malcolm Ridgway (429) scored the most runs in aggregate. Stuart Tyrrell hit a mammoth 138* against Hutton, whilst there were two splendid individual bowling performances. Firstly in the game against Old Brentwoods, Chingford were bowled out for 65, but still ran out winners as Stan Whitmarsh captured an incredible 8-31 to give his side an amazing 5 run victory. Peter Brown bowled unchanged for 28 overs to capture 8-34 against Buckhurst Hill. Leading wicket takers for the year were again Buddy Jessop with 37 and Stan Whitmarsh with 30

The 3rd eleven under Robin “lets stuff ‘em in” Runciman ended the season unbeaten with 12 wins a 6 draws from 18 outings.

Runs were consistently scored by Peter Norgate (224), Bill Jeffrey (219) and Jeff Runciman (210), whilst the combative Roger Lewis led the way with 35 wickets ably backed up by Robin Runciman with 23 and left-armer Keith Eglinton with 20.

A certain Michael Blake made his debut on 1st June in the away win at Waltham Cross Rosedale (although he still hasn’t forgiven Malcolm Swinfen for scoring a 50 and denying him a bat…..well….maybe!)

1974 saw the last annual Sunday fixture for the As against Arthur Sedgwick’s XI. Traditionally Arthur would invite many star players to play and this year Tonker Taylor hit 104 for the visitors whilst Doug Insole, on his last outing at Forest Side was bowled by Bryan Hart for 14. Bryan also put in a magnificent performance in the all-day game against Lensbury bowling a marathon 29 overs to pick up 5-67. Other good performances came from a youthful Carey Harborne who picked up 7-57 v Sudbury Court while Stuart Tyrrell smashed 114 v Hutton. With 7 games won and only 4 lost, leading run scorers were Geoff Sandrock with 633 and David Rafis with 418, whilst top wicket takers were skipper Reg Bancroft with 30 and Carey Harborne with 24.

The Sunday B season got underway with the meet at the Bull and Crown for the away trip to Ardleigh Green. Carey Harborne arrived with a variety of Ordnance Survey maps and A-Zs in his hand declaring that there was going to be a race to each away game in 1974 and he was going to get to each ground first. My name came out of the hat to go with Carey and I wish had brought my crash helmet as we careered off at 70mph down country lanes hoping no-one was coming the other way. When we got to the ground Carey was delighted to learn he had won the race, only for the remainder of the cars to pull up a minute later having gone the “sensible” way!  Fortunately Carey found his way into the As after a few games !!

On the field 12 games were won and only 3 lost with some splendid performances along the way. Moby Lalani took 8-26 v Highams Park, whilst not to be outdone Robin Runciman took 7-7 at Northampton Exiles and Ted Alston helped himself to 8-49 v Twickenham. Top run scorer was Phil Joslin with 267, whilst Ted Alston (46) and Robin Runciman (28) as usual led the way with the ball.

Malcolm Swinfen picks up the story of the away game at Loughton on 2 June 1974:

This game is still talked about, and is the main reason why I have never been selected as the captain of any Chingford XI. I was acting skipper this day in Jeff Runciman’s absence. Our opening bowlers, who shall remain nameless (but for this occasion shall be called Richard Alston and Robin Runciman) had entered the Bull and Crown considerably before the set 1.00 pm and had emerged considerably after. Having dutifully lost the toss it was to my intense amazement that our opening attack removed their first six batsmen for 20 runs.

It could have been that more than five overs could have proved fatal for our opening attack. It may have been my sense of embarrassment. Or it may have been one Bunny Swinfen in the Umpire’s coat muttering “make a game of it Son !”. Whatever it was – I took them both off. A short while later, to enable our spinners to change ends, I brought Robin on for just one over. He took another wicket. By this time my spirit of fair play was beyond redemption and I took him off again. With the help of these curious tactics they were out at last for 88.

Had I known what laid in store for us, Bunny’s whisperings may have fallen on stony ground, for down the hill (a considerable hill it is too) pounded quite the fastest bowler I have ever faced. In three overs Palmer, left arm over, had broken a stump, bounced two deliveries over the keeper’s head for 4 byes, terrified the slips (who were so far back they could have been “saving one”), frightened our side and damned nearly crippled me for life. One ball he pitched on my off stump went over 2nd slip and rocketed first bounce into the hedge. It was the village blacksmith from “England their England” all over again. Eventually with the slips saving two and still unable to prevent a missile scattering them at least once an over, we won the game by five wickets, thanks to Extras ,the top scorer for Chingford with 35 not out.

In the game against West Essex, despite the Chingford score reaching over 230, West Essex skipper Ian Berriman insisted on bowling himself throughout the whole innings (23 overs, 3-132 !). Not having had enough of a game he then opened the batting with himself !!

Fixture Secretary Bryan Knight must have had a funny moment the day he arranged the away fixture with Newham NALGO. The game was played on the most appalling ploughed field somewhere in East Ham and remains to this day the second worst ground I’ve ever visited (Brookweald 3rd XI holds the record). Needless to say, we never returned.

It was a remarkable season for wicket keepers with three instances of 5 catches being taken in a match with John Woodland and Mick Law performing this feat in the 3s and Andy Wragge in the Bs

1974 was also the last year of the white fixture cards with the covers being updated to a more trendy blue over the close season!

The pavilion extension that had been suggested in 1973, was unfortunately consigned to the drawing board.

Saddest news of the year came in the death of Ted Lord who had been a tireless worker for the Club. In his memory the Young Clubman Award is donated annually by his son Graham to the best young club member who has contributed either on or off the field or both.

Wicket keeper Paul Fisher performed well enough to break through into the Oxford University side, only to be hit on the head by a ball from Bob Willis.

Hon.Secretary’s Report 1974

David Jones enters the pavilion 30 seconds precisely before meetings commence so he can make himself comfortable in his armchair by the radiator ready for the off. At each meeting he apologises for not having all the figures at his fingertips and then produces a run-down of the Club’s finances which would satisfy the shareholders of a public company!