A Review of the 1966 Season

A significant event occurred in August 1966 when the pavilion was destroyed by fire. The Secretary’s report for 1966 provides a vivid description of this incident:

Imagine my feelings when, shortly after 6.45 am in the morning of Wednesday 3rd August. I was called to my telephone to hear that our pavilion had been gutted by fire. On arriving at the ground shortly afterwards my worst fears were realised, the building was completely destroyed and quite suddenly I felt rather sick. What a dreadful shambles! I immediately thought of the barbecue we were to hold on the following Friday evening, and the endless work that had been to put in by those young people to make this a real evening for the younger members, and now it had all gone. A Full Committee Meeting was called for that evening and it was unanimously agreed that we must carry on, but what of the game on the following Saturday. The only building left of any consequence was the tea hut, which had been partially burnt and was black with grime and smoke, Also, of course, the lighting had ceased to function. Thursday saw the place cleaned and completely washed down. I have never seen so many scrubbing brushes in action at once, and needless to say detergent was all over the place. The burnt parts were covered up and one of the chaps got busy in rewiring the lighting. Friday it was repainted throughout and Saturday we were ready for the game. A temporary bar had been fixed up, and all was laid on for teas, but unfortunately we had no hot water, One of our Patrons, Mr Ashley, who lived in a house adjoining the ground, soon overcame this by offering the use of his kitchen to make the tea. It was practical gestures such as this, and the great work done by the few in making this hut at least temporarily hospitable, which kept us ticking over.

Andy McDowall, Press Officer wrote to the Express and Independent who put up a headline “Chingford need a special effort”

SIR, It is now fairly clear that the fire which recently gutted Chingford Cricket Club’s bar and clubroom very earl yin the morning was started by vandals who had broken into the building, probably with the intention of breaking open the safe. There is now virtually nothing left of the building and it is only due to the Fire Brigade’s prompt action, for which the club is immensely grateful that there is left standing the tea hut, in which the club will entertain their visiting opponents.

An unauthorised and incorrect statement has been made criticising the Fire Brigade for driving across the square to reach the fire. While this is true, the damage caused is both trivial and temporary and rather than criticism the club can only offer their sincere thanks for action which obviously saved the adjacent tea hut and lavatories. Much work has also been done on the ground, and the ruins of the clubhouse have been suitably cleared and tidied up to allow cricket to continue. It will not be necessary to seek an alternative ground and all the remaining home games will be completed as scheduled.

The fire was a great disappointment to all those connected with the club, particularly those who had worked so hard the previous evening to prepare the clubhouse for what was to be the first of a series of dances and other functions to raise money for financing the building of a new pavilion, planning permission for which had been obtained earlier in the season Now, with no facilities for this type of function, the club will have to look elsewhere for new sources of income.

It is therefore to members, both players and patrons, that Chingford Cricket Club now look for a special effort to overcome these difficulties. Mention should also be made of the local support, particularly those hardy spectators, and the club hope that they will continue to keep this interest alive, which is such an essential part of our make-up.

This event clearly overshadowed performances on the field where under Buddy Jessop the First Eleven Won 4, Drew 8 and Lost 6 games. Games were played in an experimental League – The Evening Standard North League – with traditional fixtures remaining on the card. No League tables are to hand at present although we think the North (of the Thames) winners played the South (of the Thames) winners in a grand final.

Leading run scorers were Graham Lord (396), Ted Sandrock (356), and Harry Davis (349)  Top wicket takers were Buddy Jessop with 34 at 13 apiece and Peter Brown (26 at 17).

Steve Dinsdale was the year’s only centurion with a splendid unbeaten 104 against Woodford Wells. In the game against Winchmore Hill, the opposition failed to chase Chingford’s total of 79, closing on 70-9 thanks to an amazingly miserly spell of bowling from Ron Lynch with 4-16 off 23 overs.

Ron had another amazing spell of the bowling in the mid-season all day game with the Chinghoppers. Reeling out 24 overs for just 3-29, the Hoppers were dismissed for 116. With Chingford’s reply looking doomed, in stepped Terry Dennehy to be the hero as he smashed four sixes in his 36 to see Chingford home by just one wicket.

The Fixture Card gives the venue of the Annual Dinner as The Royal Forest Hotel. I’m not sure how many takers the 6 a side festival at Fairlop on 3 July would attract these days.