I must have been about 12 or 13. When Ben MacGregor skippered me in a colts match. I think He was about 5 or 6years old at the time.
Again playing under MacGregor. Batting 9 and not bowling!
I played every sport at school, and I suppose I just took to cricket the most.
Pull and hook shoot, anything off my legs.
I can't think of any off the top of my head, every time I get 0. Not often though!
133* against Onger for the 2's, or 85 for Waltham Forest District against Essex under 17s. I was 15 at the time.
4 for 55 against the Asian Cricket Club during cricket week, about 5 years ago.
The legend that is Richard Alston of course.
Walthamstow, Ilford, and Waltham or that team we played on Monday, Waltham Central
If I do then I'm only joking Loggs. If your reading then your still a c**t.
Terry Denahey trophy 1998. Jack Watson batting trophy 2003.
Of course, not lately though.
A stress fracture to my shoulder. Ruined my bowling career
Brunettes. Not fussed though
Stressful at times, I would still do it again.
Bloody hell Peters, I don't know about 7, 8.
Yes, a few times.
Shaking hands with the opposition. Also, I once bought an Asian team a jug of lemonade and lime when I was the opposing skipper
To score a double hundred. Failing that then to score a big hundred. Old Victorians watch out!
Surrey v Glamorgan, can't remember the date.
To enjoy playing and to keep scoring runs.
Not a die hard.
Shaun McMurray, Loggs, The whole MacGregor family. Dan Carver, Matthew O'Sullivan.
Ron Lynch, I want his haircut.
Good question Peters. Just wait and see!
I think we both did, we were in a pub talking about ways to raise money for the club.
Very good Peters! I was talking to a few members myself and we were saying that your hair peace needs changing. It's beginning to resemble a dead squirrel. I'm here to help Peters!
When did you first play for Chingford?
AGED 11 FOR THE UNDER 12S, I PLAYED MY FIRST SENIOR GAME UNDER IAN MESTON FOR 3XI IN THE BANK HOLIDAY FIXTURE AGAINST THE WELLS WHEN I WAS 12
When did you leave and why?
2001 IN SEPTEMBER, I WAS DUE TO START A JOB IN DUBLIN. TRAVEL TO CHINGFORD GAMES COULD HAVE BEEN DIFFICULT
How different is cricket in Ireland?
CRICKET IS A MINORITY SPORT IN IRELAND AND PERHAPS UNIQUELY IS AFFECTED LESS BY PLAYERS GOING ON HOLIDAY THAN THROUGH NON AVAILABILITY DURING THE GAELIC GAMES SEASON. THERE ARE FAR FEWER CLUBS BUT THEY TEND TO BE LARGER AND RICHER. MY CLUB MALAHIDE FOR EXAMPLE RAN 6 SIDES AND EMPLOYED A COACH AND A CRICKET DEVELOPMENT OFFICER. I WOULD SAY THE STANDARD IS FAIRLY HIGH NOT LEAST BECAUSE OF THE SINGIFICANT NUMBER OF OVERSEAS PLAYERS THAT NOW LIVE AND WORK IN DUBLIN AND THE GROWING PROFILE OF THE SPORT IN LEINSTER WHICH HAS CLEARLY ENDED ULSTERS DOMINANCE OF THE SPORT
Since you have been back at Chingford, what changes at the club have you noticed?
SUCCESS ON THE FIELD! THE CLUB HAS MANANGED TO RETAIN EXPERIENCED PLAYERS AND COLTS AND JUNIOR MEMBERS HAVE BLOSSOMED INTO VERY GOOD CLUB PLAYERS IN MY THREE YEARS AWAY, ADD SEVERAL NEW MEMBERS AND RETORNEES LIKE MYSELF HAS GIVEN THE CLUB MORE DEPTH. THERE IS A BUZZ ABOUT THE CRICKET IN ALL XIs WHICH IS GREAT AND WAS NOT THERE SO MUCH BEFORE. I SUSPECT HOWEVER THAT PEOPLE ARE DRINKING LESS THAN THEY USED TO.
How pleased have you been with your performances so far this season?
THE RUNS HAVE TAILED OFF A BIT! THE 73 AGAINST WOODFORD GREEN AND 63 AGAINST HARROW TOWN WOULD BE MY BEST KNOCKS I'D SAY
What are the best and worst things about Chingford CC?
THE BEST IS THE CLUB'S ABILITY TO EMBRACE A VERY DISPARATE COLLECTION OF CHARACTERS THAT MAKE UP ITS MEMBERSHIP (AND PATRONS TOO) AND WRING THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF LAUGHS OUT OF (AND OFTEN AT) THEM. THE WORST, PROBABLY THE ABOVE WHEN YOU'RE NOT IN THE MOOD WHICH IS THANKFULLY NOT VERY OFTEN!
Would you tell us about the big scores you have made with the bat?
CERTAINLY NOT ENOUGH: 139 NOT OUT AGAINST OLD SOUTHENDIANS (I WAS PROMOTED TO OPENING THANKS TO WOODLAND'S TARDINESS, CHEERS MATE) AND THREE OTHER CENTURIES , ONE IN DUBLIN TO A FULL HOUSE AT HOME (YES REALLY). ALSO A 96 AGAINST A VERY GOOD HAINAULT AND CLAYHALL SIDE JUST BEFORE I LEFT WOULD BE THE DEFINITE HIGHLIGHTS
You have captained sides in the past, how did that go?
HMM MIXED- I CAPAINTED THE 3S IN 1995 AND GOT THEM RELEGATED. HOWEVER, THAT SIDE BROUGHT ON THE LIKES OF PAUL CANHAM, ROBERT RUNCIMAN AND PAUL ADSHEAD SO THAT IS A BIG PLUS POINT. I ALSO SKIPPED THE Bs IN 2000 WHICH WAS PRE-LEAGUE AND THAT WAS OK (SHUT UP BLAKEY)
I heard that you bowl occasionally, usually only when you are the skipper. Would you tell us about your expolits with the ball?
I DON'T KNOW IF THAT IS ENTIRELY TRUE! I USED TO BOWL A LOT AS A COLT AND GOT MY ONLY HATRICK WHEN I WAS 13. I BOWLED MOSTLY INDOOR BUT IN THE 98/99 DID BOWL A FAIR BIT- TOO SLOW, TOO WIDE AND TOO FULL MOSTLY, I WOULDN'T MIND FACING MYSELF
What cricketing heroes have you had since childhood?
AS A KID BOYCOTT AS MUCH FOR HIS CRICKET WRITING (YOU COULD HARDLY CALL HAS BATTING HEROIC). LATTERLY BOTHAM AND VIV RICHARDS FOR ME (NO-ONE AS BATTED BETTER) AND BOWLERS- MALCOM MARSHALL JUST SHADES IT FROM RICHARD HADLEE
If there was anything at the club that you would like to see changed, what would that be?
MORE LIBERAL OPENING HOURS AFTER A SUCCESSFUL LICENCE APPLICATION. THEN I COULD GET THE FIRST RATHER THAN THE LAST TRAIN HOME!
Ryan’s interview, conducted in October 2005, took place not long after he first set foot in Australia to spend a winter playing down under.
Ryan, can you tell us what you are doing in Australia?
Well I’m playing cricket for a side in the town I’m staying in and also playing for an under 23s side on a Sunday. The under 23s cricket is a good standard, testing stuff! I’m also working for the people I’m living with; they own a tyre fitting company. It’s good as it’s the first job I’ve ever had where the people I’m working with will gladly spend all day talking about cricket rather than do work!!
What are the main differences in the playing conditions you have come across?
Well so far not a lot because the weather has been really up and down, nearly English conditions! But the grounds drain so much quicker over here, not like that thing Logsy calls a wicket!!
Are there any differences in the attitudes of the people you are playing with?
The attitudes are pretty similar over here, they basically enjoy their cricket, hate getting out, especially as sometimes you won’t bat again for at least 2 weeks and always end up in the bar!!
When people find out that you are a Pom what are some of the main reactions you get?
Where I’m staying the reactions are generally positive, but when you go out there to bat and take your guard and they hear the accent the quick bowlers are straight back on!
Do you come across any other Brit cricketers?
Haven’t come across any other Brit cricketers as of yet, but I’m told there are a few in the competition and also with the under 23s side, so it should be good to meet up with them and see where they play over in England.
Is there any difference in the cricket balls you use?
The cricket balls we use in first grade are four piece but with a much flatter wider seam, basically cutting your fingers when you bowl! All the other grades use 2 piece balls! I wouldn’t mind using one myself, they swing a lot more!
What improvements to your game have you noticed so far?
Well we have only played two games so far but I’m definitely bowling a much better length; they are planted on the back foot over here so you basically have to pitch it up! Also I’m finally getting on top of the pull shot!
What is your best score with the bat in Oz?
Well I have only batted the once so far (the under 23s haven’t started playing any matches yet, just training) and ended up getting one, caught at cover! The longest 1 of my live! I was there for an age and when they brought a spinner on that was that!
What is your best bowling performance in Oz so far?
My best bowling performance was 8 overs, 1 for 12. Also had a catch dropped off my bowling they seem to master catching the near impossible ones but dropping the dollys!
How have you helped develop the cricket of the Aussies at your club?
I have helped a 15 year old off spinner get a bit of an arm ball, listening to Mr.McMurray go on about it for all this time is finally paying off!
Does your Aussie club have a web site?
Unfortunately they don’t have a website, but I’m staying with the club President so maybe I could mention it to him and use ours as an example!
How are they reacting to losing the Ashes?
Well anyone who told me that the Aussies would appreciate England winning the Ashes was talking absolute crap, they call us Whinging Poms but bloody hell you should hear them!! According to everyone out here Australia have now played the World XI both in England and Australia, not regarding Pietersen and G.Jones as English. Also I constantly get asked if I have any of that Vaseline Simon Jones was using!
Harmison and Flintoff seemed to do quite well for the World XI v Oz. Have you seen much of these games and do the Aussies think they are improving or does this just paper over the cracks of an ageing side?
Yeah I watched as much of the World Series as I could and they definitely think that they are improving!! How wrong they are! The World XI didn’t play well at all which made the Aussies look a lot better than they were! All the papers over here are now calling for Michael Clarke’s head and want Shane Watson to bat at number 4. They also want McGill and Warne together for the Test Matches coming up. Fair enough but why try it now when both are coming towards the end of their careers. Last resorts I think!
When can we expect to see you back in Chingford?
I’m back in Chingford at the end of March, so anytime from then onwards, hopefully getting picked for the first match!
Thanks Ryan, see you then.
Paul was interviewed in November 2005.
Paul, tells us when and why you took up wicket keeping?
The first time I put on keeping gloves was a school cricket match in '96. Thorney was behind the stumps that day, but during the match he took a fierce knock to his face. I volunteered to be his replacement and I found it to be a position that I enjoyed. However, it wasn’t until '98 that I began keeping on a permanent basis (to hide my failure as a bowler!).
Thorny took a fierce knock to his face? that's funny, I always assumed he was naturally ugly! Have you ever been hit in the face when keeping or for that matter batting?
I have been hit in the face both when keeping and batting but thankfully nothing serious.
When you keep wicket, you often wear a gum shield. When you bat, I have never seen you wear a helmet. Why is this?
I never wore a helmet when I was younger and therefore find it to be uncomfortable to play in. I did wear my helmet on a few occasions last season but try to avoid its use if possible.
Have you played any representative cricket?
A long time ago… I represented Essex and on one occasion Hampshire! I was eleven-years old and I was twelfth man for Essex. On that day our opposition Hampshire were a player short and I played as the replacement!
Have you ever lost your temper on the cricket field and if so, what happened?
I have hit a few people with a cricket bat and got into trouble over my abusive sledging but apart from that there is not much else to report.
I'm not sure how you can sledge while wearing a gum shield. You've been making a big impact with both gloves and bat for the Indoor A team, how much indoor cricket have you played in the past?
My last indoor season was when I was 14 or 15 at Ilford Indoor Cricket School.
You scored over 1,000 runs for Chingford last summer, have you achieved this feat before?
I have managed once before to get over a thousand runs, and that was in 2003. Nonetheless, the thousand runs that I obtained this season were the most enjoyable and pleasing of the two.
Who is the fastest Chingford bowler you have kept to?
In my opinion I would say Lenny, Chuckie or Nick because they are hard to separate, although Angelo is running close behind!
Last summer you kept wicket during cricket week to an opening pace attack of B Rhone and B MacGregor. Which bowler was the fastest?
It was a closely fought contest but Ben was quicker than the ‘Rhone Express’ – in Bill’s defence he was going up a tiny-weenie hill!
What was your personal cricketing highlight from last summer?
There were two personal highlights of last season. The first would be the Evening Standard Cup - I really enjoyed the cup run and will remember the great successes against Bexley, Malden Wanderers and Esher. My second highlight would be gaining promotion with the twos and being champions of that division. In particular I will remember the victories at Benfleet and Horndon on the Hill for personal and team performances.
Richard MacGregor and yourself had the distinction of being the only regular members of two sides last summer that both won league trophies (Sat 2nds and Sunday As) Do you know how many times you took a catch or a stumping off his bowling?
That is interesting, but I wouldn’t have a clue as to how many times that would of happened!
If you want to know I am sure Richard could tell you. He could probably tell you how many chances you missed off his bowling. He always seems to remember my misses. As a club, how does Chingford differ from Woodford Wells?
Chingford, in my opinion is a more close knit club with players at all levels integrating well with one another. I think I am fortunate in that Chingford and Woodford Wells are both great settings to play and watch cricket.
If you had to choose between never batting again in your life or never keeping again, which would you prefer to carry on with?
That is a really difficult question… I would probably prefer to keep rather than bat because there is a guarantee of involvement in the game.
What goals are you setting yourself for this summer?
To score runs, to keep wicket as best as I can and not to get into any trouble!
Thanks Paul. Have a sledge free season.
Chippy was interviewed in early May 2006, just after his second 100 of the season.
Let's start with an easy question; Which player at the club do you most admire. Robert Runciman perhaps ?
Can't answer that one. There's no single person I can highlight. The club is made up of so many different people, each person bringing in their own individual character and skills, whether it be high or low down in the grades or in the organisation, each playing their part in making the club what a great club it is. Each character is supported by another so if someone does stand out it is due not only to their hard effort but also to the support of others.
You carefully shouldered arms to the Rob Runciman reference. Why not tell us what you think of Rob as a captain?
I'm averaging 82 under him so I can't really complain... You are obviously subtly(?) alluding to the recent selection decision. Its a hard job being captain and it is not an envious task trying to balance all of the egos. Nonetheless I did enjoy making Rob's job even harder, which I hope everyone aspires to by playing well. I have to say I was surprised at being dropped, especially as my bowling I thought was coming right at the end of last season. But I hadn't been practising and in my book that leads me open to not being selected. It is also still pre-season friendlies, therefore it is about giving everyone a chance to run around in the sun, getting warmed up, fit and in form, and enjoying it - which is what cricket is about anyway. For the record Rob did phone me and explain his reasons, which I very much appreciated. Lastly, I must say I am grateful for the support many people have given me in this matter.
Marc Fletcher suggested that instead of asking questions such as 'who is the Chingford player you most admire', I should ask people 'who is the Chingford player you least admire'. Care to tackle that one?
People like Marc Fletcher should be careful suggesting questions like that as they might find out what people really think about them :)
So, lets talk about the hundreds, which of the two you have just scored gave you the most satisfaction and why?
The second one I thought was better but the first was my first for Chingford and the first since the penultimate decade of the last millennium, therefore it is the most satisfying. I also had no expectations on myself as I hadn't thought much about cricket this year before then, it was a nice sunny day and came as a surprise.
Had you scored any hundreds before these two?
Two, way back in my tender years.
Thanks to Mike Blake, anyone wanting to look into your career performances at Chingford can inspect the website. However, we don't know of your pre-Chingford exploits. What were your best bowling and batting performances before Chingford?
Yes, its best to keep quiet and let the legend (or story (or fairy tale in my case) ) grow...123 was my previous highest score but I think my best innings was a 66 against a bowling attack made up of Minor Association (one below first class level) players and the best in the league. We were getting a hiding but we avoided losing by an innings and managed to make them bat again. For bowling, apart from a 6 fa with a red coloured baseball (as the cricket ball couldn't bounce on the pitch!) against players more used to playing kilikiti, my best bowling figures were 5 for 30 twice, once in New Zealand against the best of Te Awamutu and the other up in Scotland against Kilmarnock.
You are known for being almost unique at Chingford for doing a warm up lap of the pitch before the game. When did you start doing this and why do you do it?
I started it back in New Zealand after a few injuries around 8 years ago. I stopped when I came over here but as soon as my first hammy went ping at Chingford I resurrected the habit. I find it good. Not only does it loosen the muscles and ligaments, it wakes me up from my dopy state and gets me concentrating on the game. After the game I return to my usual dopy state - or maybe on the field fielding I return to my dopy state - but while I play I am alert like a tiger.
Another quant foible of yours is the stud changes you make to your boots during a match. What's that all about?
I prefer bowling with a full set of spikes but prefer batting with half spiked shoes (rubbers on the heals) to allow me to move around the crease more easily. The change is tedious and I curse the four winds every time I do it but being a tight Kiwi watching his penny's I haven't bought another pair of boots - the main though is: why buy batting boots if I am batting down the order?
A couple of seasons ago, you played as a bowler and batted 9,10, Jack. Now you are regarded as a top order bat rather than a bowler. So why has your bowling gone to pieces?
Gone to pieces?! I was top of the second team bowling averages last year. Admittedly I was average for the 3s but the season before that I did manage to turn the long hop-full toss combo into an devastating weapon.
Which would you prefer, scoring a 50 or taking 5 wickets?
Cricket is about taking 10 (or 20) wickets so wickets are always good but really its just whatever the teams needs on the day.
Have you ever captained a side and is it something you would like to do at Chingford?
Yes and I would like to do it again. If I am a permanent member of the 3s I would love to offer myself. However, the temptation of playing 2s cricket in the Ist division, especially after everyones hard effort and slog to get into it, is too much at the moment.
You are in a minority of players at the club who does not play indoor cricket. Why is that?
Too old mate. I have to prolong my career somehow.
You are also rarely seen on a cricket field on any other day of the week than a Saturday. Why is that?
The world is wide and wonderful. Cricket is just one of the things that I enjoy.
When your playing days are over, do you anticipate staying involved with your club by umpiring or scoring or going off and doing something else with your Saturdays?
I will probably first take a break but I have no doubt that it will draw me back. It's also given me a lot of the years therefore I would like to put something back.
As a Kiwi, I will not question your national pride and assume that when England play New Zealand at cricket, rugby or whatever, you will be cheering on your home nation. Who do you support when England play Australia?
As a Kiwi, and also a Pom don't you forget, and spending my childhood listening to Bill Laurie, Ian Chappell, Max Walker etc etc and watching the exploits (?) of the likes of Trevor Chappell, Greg Mathews, Craig McDermott, Merv Hughes etc etc, the question is easy to answer.
Thanks Chippy, have a good year.
Rob was interviewed in May 2006 at the begining of his first season as 2nd xi captain.
Rob, have you captained a side before? If so, tell us about that experience, if not, is it something that you had always wanted to do?
Yes, I captained the Sunday A's on a few occasions and once in an all day cricket week match against Shaun McMurray’s X1. I remember we had Shaun’s' team on the rack on about 70-5 but I let them off and they ended up getting around 240 which was very generous of me. Then Shaun got this fast West Indian by the name of Devon Weekes to bowl round the wicket at me into my ribs which I had broken six weeks before. That's when I realised I've got to be a lot more ruthless. I think I have always fancied doing the job and it's in the blood. My Dad, Uncle Jeff and cousin James have all been very good captains for the club and cause a few rows. That's what it's all about, great stuff!
What are you realistic expectations of success this season for the 2nd XI?
It all comes down to availability at the end of the day, so if I can get the likes of James Runciman, Richard Alston, Richard MacGregor, Steve Piper, Billy Rhone on that pitch most weeks then we have surely got a chance of another promotion. If Paul Adshead doesn't piss off to Greece half way through May, that would be quite a handy bonus as well, he's a top player. There are so many decent players around the club at the moment and I think the second team will benefit the most from that. Also the players that achieved promotion last year have got the taste for winning and know what it takes.
What have been some of your more notable batting performances? Hundreds?
I've scored quite a few hundreds for the club. The two when I was fourteen in the Extras were the most memorable. The first ton I got against Walthamstow was the first time I had opened the batting in a Senior game. I had been batting 7 for the first half of the season and the skipper (my Dad) asked me if I fancied opening as it was a nice hot day and he thought I was ready. I miss those days, now I only get asked to open the batting is for the first team when it's a wet one or there is a Test bowler down the other end. Haha! I remember Graham Hainsby used to always be the first one to ask me back at the club how I had done, but this time he already knew and he bought me my first ever beer when I walked in. The thing is he then said I had to buy a jug when I finished my drink and he proceeded to drink half of it! I drunk quite a bit of it too and was finished the next day with my first Stella hangover and got a 21 ball nought for the B's at Kenton!
My best innings I think I ever played was for the first team away at Wickford. It was the final game of the season and we needed to win to stay up and hope another result went our way. I was 19 and it was one of my early games. They posted a score of 219 I think and then we were reduced to 40-4 and it looked all over. I had a couple of good partnerships with Imran Mahmood and Stevie Piper that got us back in it. I ended up being bowled for 75 when we were about 30 short and a very young and slim Billy Rhone almost won it for us but was left high and dry when the tail was bowled out and we lost by about 15 runs. I was almost in tears in the dressing room when I realised I should have won us the game. Billy consoled himself after with a bacon and cheese burger in the middle of Claire's baps back at the club.
What 1st XI cricket have you played?
I've represented the first team every year now since 2000 but I don't think I ever did myself justice on a regular basis and spent most of my time batting in the lower middle order where I scored a few fifties. I enjoyed the season we got promoted from the second division in 2001 and played my part in some close run chases that we managed to pull out the bag. I used to love the cup matches and remember being selected above Richard Alston at the start of the 2002 season which I must admit I was very embarrassed about that but he soon got his place back and we played in the same side together which was great. I got a cracking 32 ball nought over at Ardleigh Green last year which will last in the memory for some as well.
You have been seen batting in a variety of positions but what is your preferred position?
I like all sorts of positions, Adshead taught me quite a few over in Greece sharing a room with him. He reckons the Swedish girls are the best ones to practice with. Apparently they are the most flexible. I Actually don't mind too much to be honest. Obviously the best way to get lots of runs is to open and that’s where I have scored all my tons but I also like being there at the end in a tight run chase and seeing the team home. I think when I open I concentrate on not getting out because I believe that wickets in hand is the key to building an innings for the team and I like having that responsibility. 60-0 off 20 overs in normal conditions is the way forward. International cricket may have changed and become more aggressive but I think in club cricket the old fashioned opener still has a place in the game. I want the openers in my team to set the foundation. James Runci, Sully, Fletch and Chippy are very good at doing that. Sloggers like Piper are best left at number 8. He's the only guy I've ever seen score two over mid off with his bat handle! ( 1st X1 v Hornchurch 2003)
How about your abilities with the ball?
No girls have complained yet and when I put a bit into it and am fully pumped up I can get a little bit of away swing going. I used to be alright and I frequently terrorise people in the nets especially Adshead, he shits himself against me, that’s why you never see him in the nets. Sammy has a few bruises on his inner thigh but to be honest I've struggled for rhythm getting to the crease since I was about 15 and lost my confidence a few years ago and have hardly bowled since. I used to open the bowling for the second team when I was 15-16 and I would love to get out there and get those away swingers going again maybe on a few Sundays because there is no way you will be seeing them in this second team this year. Well I hope not anyway because we would have to be in serious trouble. Probably best left for Saturday nights. Mind you I cleaned some kid out with my first delivery in four years for the club a couple of weeks ago at South Hampstead. I told him where to go as well, gave him the send off. Pure pace and top of the bowling averages Haha!
What embarrassing moments have happened to you on the cricket field?
The 1sts were playing Hornchurch at home in 2003 and they brought with them New Zealand fast bowler Chris Drum who had taken 5-60 against England the previous winter. After listening to Shaun’s team talk at 1.55pm I was asked to open the batting as "The Sacrificial Chicken" with Stevie Piper at 3. Considering we had been 8 and 9 in the previous weeks, I thought this was quite strange. Anyway, I strode out at 2pm and battled away for 45 minutes only to be given out to a shocking lbw decision to Rollins. As I was leaving the pitch, to show my disgust I flung my helmet towards the sight screen but it didn't make it off the pitch and their players and umpires were shouting at me to remove it. I refused being quite embarrassed but Jono Dyers saved me by removing it himself. Piper scored a hideous 45 including the 2 over mid off off his handle but fair play he showed a lot of guts and I admired him for that.
When did you first play for Chingford?
My first game was for the colts as a one off in 93. I was at Woodford Wells and my best mate, a certain Paul Adshead persuaded me to play in this game at Debden for Chinger. We won the game and I got a few wickets and 30 odd not out. My first senior game was the year after away at Buckhurst Hill in a friendly for the 3's. Derek Lacey was skipper. I took two wickets, both caught by Paul Piper at short cover. The rain finished the game at tea but I remember Derek had me down for number 11 behind my Dad which even as a 13 year old I couldn't believe!
Last summer in the Twenty20, Richie Coulson bowled you. Have you got out to any other fellow club members?
Yeah, Richie got me with a cracker. Blakey removed me when I was about 16 in cricket week with this freakish delivery that leapt off a length and I was lobbed it up to gully. I smashed him for about 4 sixes a couple of years later though and ended up with 122. Sully had me caught by John Woodland in an interclub game a few years back but I got about 60 and a young Ben MacGregor cleaned me out in cricket week also a few years back when I made forty odd although that was the first ball he bowled me. I'm used to it now anyway, I'm his bunny in the nets.
Which players at the club do you particularly admire?
Well I remember the first time I watched Richard Alston when I was about five years old. He always had this aura about him at the wicket and is still a century making run machine. Richard MacGregor and my Dad because they are so competitive, love winning and as bowlers they give batsmen nothing to hit. Richie Mac is still doing it now. Michael Blake has made the most of everything he has got. He has taken thousands of wickets in club cricket which is unbelievable and he is one of the best captains I have played for. He always makes you want to play for him and is a good judge of a cricketer. I know myself and Nags thank him for those games when we were youngsters. James Runciman is a fantastic opening batsman. He has the perfect mentality to open the innings and he can give it some later on if need be too. Also a brilliant captain. Adshead and Pipes are two players that never practice but always turn up and either score runs, take wickets, catches, run outs. They always do something.
In recent years, you have only played on Saturdays but already this season you have turned out on Sundays. Are you expecting to play much more Sunday cricket this summer.
I'll try and play a few because I need the practice being that I can't even get in my own top six at the moment. Blakey always looks after me so you will probably see me striding out for the B's on a few occasions.
Have you played indoor cricket before and are you interested in playing next season?
I used to play indoor cricket for The Wells but I never really enjoyed it. It's good for practice in the winter but it's not proper cricket is it? Unless you are like Adshead and you can hit the ball over the bowlers head for six all the time then it's too much hard work.
What other sports do you play and are you any good?
I play football and would say I am definitely a better footballer than a cricketer but playing club cricket is definitely more fun than playing football at my level on bogs in the winter.
What would be your greater wish; England winning the soccer world cup this summer or the Ashes in Australia this winter?
I would rather have seen West Ham win the FA Cup than any of those by a mile but it wasn't to be. The Ashes in Australia would be very special but to be honest the pinnacle of sport is undoubtedly the football World Cup especially when half the England team was produced by The Hammers.
Interviewed shortly after Plastic Bottle won the Player of the Week award on 14th May 2006 after it's fielding performance for Chingford 4ths at West Essex.
First of all Plastic Bottle, I would like to congratulate you on winning the Player of the Week award following your debut for Chingford, the first player ever to do this on debut.
Thanks Graem. I was just grateful for the opportunity to prove what inanimate objects can achieve on the cricket field.
If I may say Mr Bottle...
Call me Plastic.
Okay Plastic. If I may say Plastic, it was a remarkable debut, particularly given that you were not even selected to play that day. How did the situation arise?
Well, I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time; John Woodland, who was selected to play had not arrived when the match was due to start. Mark Campbell approached me hesitantly and I was happy to oblige him. I think there had been some discussion about getting David Joslin to sub-field but apparently a number of the other players didn't want to share the field with rubbish.
What was it like taking the field with the Chingford 4th XI?
I was a bit nervous and worried that compared with the other players, I would appear a bit static in the field. However, Carey Harborne, Mike Blake and Roy Williams in particular made me feel at home.
I understand you were pressed into action early in the game?
Yes, I offered to field in John Woodland's specialist position, but apparently he doesn't have one. So instead I wandered off to the boundary hoping that no one would notice me, which I take it is what Mr Woodland normally does. Then much to my surprise, during the first over the batsman hit the ball towards me. I could sense it was going for four, so I got down on my side and managed to stop it. It was just instinctive.
When John Woodland arrived your game was over. How did that feel?
I was more than happy to continue, but some of the 4th XI felt that John Woodland might do a better job in the field than me. I accepted my fate as he after all had been the player originally selected and he went on later to score a few runs so I can't complain.
After your fielding performance, many were arguing that you should be selected automatically for the next 4th team game. How did it feel to be overlooked by the selectors?
Well Graem I was gutted. I thought I had fitted in well with the 4th team and I was looking forward to the opportunity of getting onto the outfield at the Peter May Centre.
How did Mark Campbell break the news to you?
He told me that he was happy with my fielding but that he needed players who could bat or bowl rather than just field.
What hopes do you have for the rest of this season?
Well, I recognise my limitations but I shall be working on my fielding so that I am ready for a recall.
Do you expect to play again?
Yes, but not for the 4th team. I am starting a vigorous training regime and am setting my sights on turning out for the 3rd XI.
You think you have a chance of appearing with the 3rd team?
Yes, they have a fixture at West Essex on July 15th. I think I deserve another chance. I also think that skippers should pick players who can perform well at specific venues. I know the West Essex type conditions better than anyone else at Chingford, with the exception of Roy Williams of course. Rest assured, the career of Plastic Bottle is far from over.
Thanks Plastic, have a good season.
Matt was interviewed in June 2006.
Well Sullers, your team took a bit of a pasting from Sighters boys in the Twenty20 match last year. What plans have you up your sleeve to get your revenge?
First of all I have recruited last years run machine Niraj to hopefully add strength to my batting line up. Without any Runcimans playing this year my side should get off to a better start! Although Billy’s side does have an awesome opening bowling pair of Lenny and Maccy! I have a wealth of spinners in my side, so Logsy has prepared a turning track and they should come into their own!
In December, O'Sullivan's Outlaws beat the Rhinos in the Chingford Indoor Challenge. How important a win was that?
To be honest Rhone always seems to come out on top when we captain opposing sides, so to get a win was nice, however each game is different and the rivalry will be fierce when the game begins on Friday. I know Rhone is feeling the heat now so we will see how he handles it!
Last season, you started out as a top order bat in the 1st XI before dropping down to the 2nd XI. How did the change affect you?
Well I wouldn’t say I was a top order bat, more like a proverbial lamb to the slaughter…when a couple of test bowlers turn up send in O’Sullivan…but apart from that I was down at 7 or 8. Dropping down was good because it meant I got a bat every week and I’ve been batting quite well in the two’s this year.
During the winter you played a lot of indoor cricket, and you played it well if I might add. Has indoor cricket helped you at all with your outdoor game?
Indoor and outdoor cricket are completely different, especially as an opening bat. In indoor cricket you need to score straight away whereas outdoors you can play yourself in a little longer and see off the new ball. However, after a good indoor season, I feel confident in my batting and this probably has helped with my outdoor game! Batting with Peters does no one any good though!
Most weekend's you travel back from University to play here. What opportunities do you have to practice or play down there during the week?
None. Too busy writing essay’s and sitting exams I’m afraid. As well as the very occasional snakebite!
I was impressed that you travelled back from Southampton to play indoor cricket each Saturday. Then someone said you came back to play football as well. Are you any good at that?
I’m probably a better footballer than cricketer. I have just managed to get into the league representative team. That’s a fairly good standard and I may be captaining the first team at my football club next year.
Which would you prefer to happen; England beating Australia in the Ashes at the end of the year or England winning the Soccer World Cup this Summer?
Both to be honest.
You usually open the batting, but what is your preferred batting position and why?
I like opening the batting because I think I can play myself in before accelerating towards the end of my innings. However, I have batted at 7 and 8 twice this season and have scored a 50 and 100, so maybe I should start batting there again!
What have been some of your more notable career batting performances?
A couple of years ago I scored 146 not out at St Albans which was special. After quite a lucky start I then began to bash it around everywhere with ease which is always a nice feeling. My first ever hundred sticks in my mind. It was about 4 or 5 years ago in the first league game for the seconds. Alston and I opened the batting and we put on about 180. Obviously I did the majority of the scoring! Also Paul Canham often reminds me (when he is well lubricated) of my second hundred that year in the B’s against Walthamstow. I made 115 that day!
You are regarded as an occasional bowler. Were you more of a bowler in your youth?
I started mens cricket as a leg spinner and have actually taken a first team league wicket for Jamie Hill at Chelmsford. Many thanks must go to Blakely for always letting me turn my arm over in the 3’s and B’s from a very young age.
What have been some of your more impressive bowling displays?
There aren’t that many and I can’t actually remember. I have a noticed a 5-18 on the website but I can’t remember that far back.
I've seen you bowl your leg spin outdoors but when you bowl indoors it is your seamers. Can't you make up your mind or something?
No I can’t actually. I do enjoy bowling leg spin but you need to practice to get it right and during the indoor season I wasn’t able to do that practice so I stuck with the seamers. After a few indoor nets the leggies were coming out nicely so I have bowled only the four overs outside this season.