Chingford Cricket Club - 2020 SEASON

A Review of the 2020 Season

Up until mid March preseason preparations were continuing as usual. The AGM in early March went ahead on time and saw Geoff Sandrock take over the reins as President.

The Winter weather had been ridiculously wet, with the ground resembling a paddy field at the end of February. However the most gloriously sunny March gave hope that the season might actually be able to get under way on the scheduled start date of Saturday April 4. Alas on March 23 HM Government in the hands of Boris Johnson ordered a National Lockdown due to the spread of coronavirus and at the time there was no mention of support grants for Sports Clubs.

Unchartered waters for the Club Committee as attention turned to the Club’s survival and in particular its finances with its two main streams of income ie bar and cricket both simultaneously closed down. Resources were concentrated on applying for all the grants available and an SOS went out to members asking them if they would be prepared to pay their subscriptions despite there being no prospect of cricket.at all. However many members rose to the task offering a full subscription or in some cases, considerably more and forms were completed enabling the Club to succeed in obtaining support grants.

In the meantime the Clubhouse was padlocked, the Club gates locked and the country put on hold as the glorious weather continued throughout April and May, when given the conditions we would probably have paid every game.

As time moved on the Government slowly began to remove restrictions and the ECB drew up a return to cricket roadmap. Some of the steps on the return to cricket were strange, with nets amongst your own household being all you could do (with facilities including toilets locked) at one stage in the process. Despite the socially distanced nature of cricket it had reached June and we were still barred from playing, prompting the Tunbridge Wells MP to ask in Parliament as to why. Boris Johnson, quite clearly and farcically unprepared for such a question (which he surely would have been primed to expect) farcically stated that the ball was “A vector of disease”. These were comments that caused much disquiet amongst the cricketing community. Lobbying led by former England Captain Michael Vaughan finally achieved a breakthrough and a Johnson u-turn when he announced that his decision “had been referred to the Third Umpire and reversed”. A trait that was to be sadly symptomatic of his handling of the pandemic.

Clubs were cleared to play from Saturday 11 July but using an adapted play model. There had been fears that we might have to play shortened games with fewer players in a team but instead it was 11 aside, but bring your own teas or dressing rooms/showers and hand sanitiser breaks every 6 overs. Bars could be used with strict social distancing measures in place, but these were to become more severe as we got into late September. The Club invested in a marquee courtesy of the 100 Plus Club, to assist given the outdoor nature of activities that were actually permitted by law.

Results in 2020 were as follows:

Team

Won

Drawn

Lost

Abandoned

Sat 1st

6

0

1

2

Sat 2nd

0

0

7

2

Sat 3rd

2

0

5

2

Sunday

4

7

0

1

Midweek

1

0

0

 

Club

2

0

0

 

 

With Leagues in chaos and only 10 weeks available when Clubs were likely to have their grounds available, the League Cup was scrapped and the T20 ran for those who remained interested. Given what we all wanted was organised fixtures, The Essex League Committee did an amazing job, producing regional Divisions (named after Essex players) to be played for on a non-promotion and relegation basis and getting the fixtures out in a week or so. Meanwhile the Chess Valley League plus Chingford Cricket Week were scrapped for the season.

Given all the uncertainty, plus restrictions on the number of people from other households in cars, it was felt prudent to field three Saturday xis and one Sunday xi.

The season finally got underway on Sat 12 July with a hastily arranged inter club match and a friendly on Sun 13 July

Club cricket had actually got under way before County Cricket and with Essex CCC wanting their players to get game time in the middle for the first time ever a Chingford side containing FOUR County players (Lawrence, Khushi, Porter and Quinn) took to the field against Frenford on Sat 26 July, only for the game to be abandoned at tea due to rain! Availability in the 1st xi proved erratic nevertheless 6 games out of 9 were won, albeit against a mixture of Clubs from Divisions 1, 2 and 3. With the bat Feroze Khushi and Alex Maskell both hit centuries and Liam Lannen who did sterling work as stand-in Captain led the way with 14 wickets.

In the sort out of regional Divisions our 2nd xi drew the short straw and found themselves lumped in with 7 first xis from Division 3, some with poor grounds and 2 of the stronger second xis. All the momentum gained from 2019’s success evaporated very quickly as the side found themselves up against much stronger opposition than one would have anticipated (had the season not been curtailed) and not a single game was won. There are few if any attractions in a 2nd xi team used to playing top 2nd xis on top grounds instead being asked to play the weaker 1st xis at unimpressive facilities, yet some Clubs simply don’t “get” this when this subject is raised at League meetings.

It was a similar story in terms of results in the 3rd xi, with the side also finishing bottom of their League, although 2 games were won

The Sunday xi form from the previous season continued with the side unbeaten in 2021. The highlight was a great end of season game v Chinghoppers which went right to the wire and ended with honours even as a high-scoring draw. With the bat Nadir Noori scored 518  runs at 64, ably backed up by Ali Butt (336) and Harry Houldsworth (335) including 150* v South Loughton. Bowling wise we struggled at times to bowl sides out from winning positions, nevertheless Talal Sultan delivered 34 wickets at 11 apiece.

In December came the news we had all been waiting for with Dan Lawrence selected in the England Squad for the January 2021 tour of Sri Lanka. Dan had previously been in a somewhat player-heavy England “bubble” during a fair chunk of the truncated season, but was not selected for any of the home Tests.

A year we were all glad to see the back of, but little did we know as to what was round the corner…..