A Review of the 1971 Season
1971 was overshadowed by the death of Freddie Cheeswright who had served the Club in many capacities. In 1932 he commenced his first year as a General Committee member and after two seasons as vice-captain became skipper of the 1st XI in 1937, he was a trustee of the Club since 1952 and a life vice-president since 1960. He was, of course a founder member with Syd Spicer and Gordon Downes of the well respected Chinghoppers Cricket Club.
On the field in the 1st XI Geoff Sandrock scored an incredible 925 runs at an average of 46 (including 103 v Chelmsford) whilst Malcolm Ridgway (541) , Harry Davis (340) and Malcolm Steadman (310) also made major contributions. The playing record was Played 22 Won 8 Drawn 9 Lost 5, enabling the Club to finish 5th in the Essex Senior Competition. Here Clubs retained the right to construct their own fixture list and games between sides in the League counted towards points in the Competition. However the draw back was that many Clubs did not play each other nor did want to play each other and inevitably the format was doomed at the end of the season . Bryan Hart again led the bowling with 45 wickets @16.87 apiece whilst John Gray , in his only complete season for the Club and Peter Brown both bagged over 20 wickets.
Not much luck was had in the Cups with early exits at the hands of Southgate in the Kemp Cup and Enfield in the Cricketer Cup.
1971 also heralded the beginning of the notorious fines in the 2nd eleven as Ken Dowding became captain. Andy Lewis captured an amazing 7-7 against Chelmsford but pleaded with Ken to take him off as he thought he was bowling badly ! Spare a thought for poor Noel Westerhout, still playing at the age of 63, who was run out for 99 by the number 11 batsman after opening the innings! Ralph Lawrence became an Hon. Patron retiring as an Umpire after 20 years service but he picked up the pencil to become 1st and A team scorer for several more.
The name of the thriving golf society was changed to the Clodhoppers and Alan Dawson became Secretary.
The Sunday B scorebook survives and the teams that were fielded often included a 1st eleven player or two. The playing record was Played 14 Won 2 Drawn 5 Lost 7 with the top run scorer Malcolm Ridgway with 179. Yet again Ted Alston led the way with the ball with 15 wickets. The best individual performance came from Roger Cockrell with 100 v North Enfield.
Finally 1971 marked the first year of the Cricket week fixture at Saffron Walden which survived until 1989. The first game was a thriller with Chingford winning by just 2 runs. I don’t remember anything about the match other than the Tuna Fish salad for lunch which caused quite a stir with tuna not commonly available in those days!