The 2nd XI was led once again by Robert Runciman, who faced the prospect of competing in the Premier Division for the first time without four key players from the previous season.
In the first match the side, weakened even further by early season non-availability, went to Wanstead and managed to bat poorly, drop 9 catches and as a result were comprehensively beaten by 8 wickets and failed to gain a single point. It was quite clear that if the side was to compete in the division it would have to have close to full availability every week and fight hard for every run and wicket.
The next week saw a startling change in fortunes against Ilford. After being put into bat Chingford scored 278 for 4 largely thanks to a brilliant innings of 144 not out by Truptesh Patel. In reply Ilford were bowled out for 168 with Richard MacGregor taking 8 for 39.
This was followed by three consecutive convincing losses with few points being gained and as a result the rest of the season was a fight against the prospect of relegation.
However, from this point on the players began to adapt to the higher standards of the Premier Division and competed successfully for the remainder of the season achieving further wins against Loughton (twice), Colchester and Chelmsford. The team ended up clear of relegation in 8th place with 184 points which given the slow start constituted a creditable performance in what is a tight and very competitive division.
Four players scored over 300 runs; Billy Rhone (479 runs @ 31.93 with two fifties as well as carrying his bat for an unbeaten 112 at Colchester), Greg Hales (340 runs @ 28.33 with four fifties), Truptesh Patel (338 runs @ 56.33 with two fifties and a hundred) and Steven Piper (329 runs @ 41.13 with four fifties).
The main bowling duties were undertaken by Richard MacGregor (30 wickets @ 20.80), Richard Offord (23 wickets @ 21.74 including a superb piece of bowling at Chelmsford where he took 7 for 69 in an unbroken 26 over spell) and Anthony Peek (20 wickets @ 23.75 including 7 for 62 against Hainault & Clayhall).
Saturday 3rd XI
The 3rd XI finished 9th in Division 1 with 4 wins but stayed up due to Saffron Walden being in the same division. Mark Campbell captained the team after having successfully been in charge of the 4th XI the last few years.
Leading run scorer was Marc Fletcher with 361 runs @ 36.10. His total included an innings of 107 in a victorious run chase at Westcliff and on the following day he scored an unbeaten 117 for the Sunday Bs to become one of the few batsmen to score two hundreds in a single week-end for the Club. The only other batsmen to contribute on a consistent basis were Nasser Rashid (322 runs @ 26.83) and Mark Campbell (284 runs @ 25.82). Also worthy of mention was a blistering 154 not out against Hornchurch from Steve Piper who played a game for the team prior to his full recovery from injury and restoration to the 2nd XI.
The bowling was led by Mike Blake with 28 wickets @ 16.04 including three hauls of five wickets or more. He was supported by Stephen Thorne (13 wickets @ 22.38) and newcomer Bilal Ahmad (15 wickets @ 23.33).
Saturday 4th XI
Paul Hart took up the 4th XI captaincy in 2008, having in past years skippered both the 2nd and 3rd XIs. The team (along with the 3rd XI) were probably impacted the most by the general lack of depth at the Club following the off-season departures; this was reflected in their 9th place finish in the Premier Division which saw them relegated.
The only batsman to score over 200 runs was John Woodland (247 runs @ 30.88 including a hundred against Stanford le Hope). The captain led the way with the ball taking 24 wickets @ 21.00 including 6 for 39 against Ardleigh Green. He was well supported by Tony Barker with 22 wickets @ 25.09 including one five wicket haul.
Saturday 5th XI
This was the first season that the Club had entered a 5th XI and led by Kerry Edmonds the team managed to win 3 matches and achieve a respectable 5th place finish in 4th XI Division West.
The most successful batsmen were Barry Hayden (233 runs @ 38.83 including two fifties) and Kerry Edmonds (213 runs @ 30.43) whilst the bowling honours were shared amongst Mohammad Ansari, Steve Tall, Chris Watson and Raj Farhan who all took at least 10 wickets.
Sunday A XI
The Sunday A XI was captained by Ben MacGregor for the second year and again finished near the top of the Chess Valley League even though they were thwarted by the weather on more than one occasion.
Truptesh Patel was the only batsmen to score over 300 runs (324 runs @ 46.29 including two hundreds) and McPherson Meade the only other batsman to score a hundred. However Matthew O’Sullivan, Alfie Taylor, Paul Shawyer and Billy Rhone all contributed with over 200 runs each. The only bowlers to take more than 10 wickets were Denver Carolus (20 wickets @ 16.90) and the captain (17 wickets @ 18.65).
Sunday B XI
The Sunday B XI, captained once again by Michael Blake, finished near the top of their Chess Valley League division and also played a number of well contested friendly fixtures. Following the merger of the Chess Valley A XI and B XI divisions the Sunday Bs managed to gain promotion from the old B XI 1st Division to the new combined Division 5 where next season they will in the main be competing against other clubs’ A XIs.
The batting was led by Marc Fletcher (556 runs @ 32.71 including two hundreds), Peter Joslin (415 runs @ 34.58) and David Joslin (326 runs @ 40.75 including one hundred) but Rob Runciman contributed 232 runs @ 58.00 in the six games that he played. Mention should also be made of a guest appearance in one match by Andrew Joslin who scored a mammoth 218 not out.
The bowling was again led by Richard MacGregor (38 wickets @ 12.97) with good support from Michael Blake (19 wickets @ 33.68) and Stephen Thorne (16 wickets @ 34.19).
The most memorable game of the season was the league fixture away at Hemel Hempstead on 22nd June which saw several members of the side briefly become national sporting icons. The team arrived at the ground to find the Sky Sports cameras in situ and ready to take in the action which confirmed the skipper’s long held belief that the Sunday Bs were the premier Chingford side and the only one worth watching. Not daunted by the fact there had been a mix-up and the cameras were there to interview a Hemel Hempstead player who was actually playing in the A team fixture at Chingford, Michael Blake swiftly convinced the reporter that better value was to be had by interviewing him. And so it transpired that a news article including action shots of the game and an interview with the skipper was broadcast that same evening (every hour on the hour) on Sky Sports News.
Overall, although it proved to be a tough Saturday league season, there were many highlights in 2008 including the achievement of the 20/20 team, and the continued development of our Colts as they move up through the elevens stands the Club in good stead for the future.
Our thanks go to Ian Fullbrook and Todd Holland for taking on most of the umpiring duties on Sundays, to scorers Lee Wiles and Emily Hart and to all those who contributed to the success of the Club off the field during 2008.
Thanks also to Michael Blake for his work in researching and entering over 70 years worth of Club scorecards on to our website (www.chingfordcc.hitscricket.com). This has been a labour of love with the information often having to be gleaned from newspaper cuttings and library archives.
We look forward to the 2009 season and the celebratory events that will mark the Club’s 125th anniversary.