Origins of Chingford Cricket Club

That Chingford Cricket Club was established in 1884 is confirmed in many Club documents and even in a short history of the Chingford Lawn Tennis Club, written in 1934.


Whilst all the evidence leads us to believe that the Chingford Cricket Club in its present form was actually founded in 1903, there is also plenty of information about a Chingford Cricket Club before this time.


The following extract is taken from…


MORE THAN A GAME by John Major


Three early patrons stand above the rest; Edward Stead a sponsor of Kentish cricket, and two sponsors of Sussex, the Duke of Richmond and Sir William Gage Stead. (1701-35) Lived the proverbial ‘short life, but a merry one’. In his teens he inherited large estates in Kent, but he soon set about loosing his fortune at cards and dice, to which, along with cricket, he was addicted. ‘The devil invented dice’, said saint Augustine, but Stead was not listening. He was so reckless that at the age of 22 he was forced to mortgage some of his lands to repay his gambling debts and raise capital.


By night Stead played the tables. By day he abandoned them for cricket, and formed his own team, ‘Stead’s men’, or sometimes ‘men of Kent’. Throughout the 1720’s he arranged and played in many games – with mixed fortunes. On one occasion, Stead’s men were in a winning position when their Chingford opponents refused to finish the game. The cause of their refusal is unknown, but a large wager depended on the result Stead went to court to get his money. His plea was heard by the aptly-named Lord Chief Justice Pratt, who it was reported, ‘not understanding the [rules of the] game, or having forgot’, simply ordered the match to be finished from where it left off, and made no order that Stead should be paid the sum due on the wager. There are no records of whether the game was ever completed or the wager settled. Nor do we know if the insolent journalist who doubted the Lord Chief Justice’s competence was fined for contempt.


But the ruling that the game should be finished had a favourable repercussion for cricket, if not for Stead.


Whether the above article refers to Chingford Cricket Club or a cricket team from Chingford is unclear, and when we put together the Club history in 1984, we found details of a game from 1881 where Buckhurst Hill (108) beat Chingford (39) where the same could be true, although batting at number 5 for Chingford that day was a T Hickman , a name that appears later in the story.


No information in the press or documentation that survives explain what events caused a Chingford Cricket Club to be established in 1884, in fact the only reference to Chingford Cricket that year was in September 1884 when a side called Chingford Juniors played a match, and the players’ names bear no resemblance to Chingford Cricket Club teams of future years.


The earliest record of a Chingford Cricket Club existing can be found in the 22 Sep 1888 edition of The Guardian (although it doesn’t tell us anything about the cricket!):


ATHLETIC SPORTS: The third annual sports in conjunction with the Chingford Cricket and Football Club took place on the Cricket ground on Saturday. Mr WP Thomas was starter and handicapper, Mr FC Andrews the timekeeper, Messrs H Booman and G Foster were the judges, and Mr JMT Hare acted as referee. Mr CJ Miles was the hon secretary. The first prize in the one mile handicap, open, was won by PJ Chandler of the Argus Harriers, who had 165 yards start.


The year 1890 leads us to details of some cricket action, and two fixtures against Waverley, a club whose ground was in Queens Road, Walthamstow. The first game in May, away saw Chingford only muster 27 in reply to Waverley’s 73-7, however Sawyer, Lodge and Spink were mentioned in the press as playing well as Chingford gained revenge scoring 84 before bowling out Waverley for 71 in the June return fixture at home. It is believed that the club had a ground on the western edge of Chingford Plains which extended onto the land where The Drive now is - but also the Club had a postal address of 25 Buxton Road – it is thought that this was because the Club had strong links with the Congregational Church. The Secretary’s name was GR Brown.


In 1892 Chingford played Wadham Lodge at Forest Road in June. Chingford made 69 – Room top scoring with 28 before being run out and in reply Wadham Lodge surrendered their unbeaten record for the season, being dismissed for 46. Sawyer captured 5 wickets, while interestingly longstop picked up two catches! Without wishing to make excuses for our hosts, The Guardian pointed out that


It should however be mentioned that in addition to (Wadham Lodge) being without three of their best bats, they were unfortunate to have to bowl and field with a wet ball and afterwards bat with a very bad light


The other game we know about in 1892 was in August when Chingford travelled to Markhouse, dismissing them for 38, and replying with 64. Foster was man of the match with 4 wickets and 14 runs for Chingford, while Dr John Cruickshank also did well, with 4 wickets and 12 with the bat. Bruce Crook was the Secretary in this year.


The Directory of Chingford for 1893 lists Chingford Cricket and Football Club as follows:


Ground: The Plain, Chingford

Colours: Crimson and Old Gold

President: Rev Alfred F Russell MA

Captains: Football Mr Lovell; Cricket, Mr F Room

Hon Secretary: Mr CEW Savill 


The Guardian of 1 June 1894, gives match reports for both Chingford (53) , who lost to Wadham Lodge (64-4) and Chingford Alliance Cricket Club , who beat Modern School Old Boys who held out for a draw on 28-7 chasing Chingford’s 81. There is a record of one other game for Chingford Alliance, who were bowled out by St Stephens at Lea Bridge Road for 26, before outing the opposition for 32 . Chingford (53) also lost the return fixture with Wadham Lodge (65), in a match that had almost identical scores to the earlier encounter that year.


For 1895 Leonard Bowen was Secretary of the Chingford Cricket and Football Club. However to add to the confusion, on the August Bank Holiday appeared the match Chingford Alliance v Chingford ! This was reported as follows:


The Chingford Cricket Club, who had got together a strong team for the Bank Holiday match, were outplayed at every point by the Alliance, who ultimately won by an innings and 98 runs. JS Smith and EH Livermore were again in splendid form, and between them added 66 runs for the fourth wicket. Towards the close A Taylor and W Massingham made runs very fast. Taylor’s analysis in the match was 11 wickets for 16 runs, and he is to be highly complimented on such a splendid record. Scores: Chingford Allianace 162, Chingford 26 and 38. For the Alliance JS Smith made 50, MH Livermore 34, A Taylor 17, W Hickman 13 and W Massingham 12. For Chingford W Hartwell made 9 and 11 and C Whitehead 8 and 6


The 1896 Fixture Card for Chingford Alliance CC, shows the ground as The Drive, Chingford. This may have been the same ground as the previously mentioned - Chingford Plain, before development encroached. Other documents have described the ground as being “on the forest”. President was Rev Herbert Davies and Captain was Mr Bruce Crook and the Club Colours were olive green, chocolate and amber. Chingford Alliance was the cricket section of the Congregational Church, which still stands on the corner of The Drive/ Buxton Road. Rule 2 went into further detail of this relationship:


That the Club being in connection with the Chingford Congregational Church the Pastor thereof be President by virtue of his office.


Cricket appears to have been an expensive game at this time accounting for inflation and Rule 4 stated:


The entrance fee be 5/- and the subscription 10/6 for playing members.


Fixtures commenced on Saturday 25 April at home to Avenue and two Saturday and one Thursday Eleven were fielded. A number of Clubs appear, that are still going today including Loughton, Abridge, South Woodford, Wanstead, High Beech and Spartan. Play generally commenced at 2:45pm other than on Bank Holidays which was at 11am


In June 1897, Chingford played Essex Club and Ground for the first time at Leyton. The names of the players refer to those previously playing for Chingford Alliance however – so some sort of merger may have occurred between the Clubs. We took an absolute pasting, losing by 202 runs and embarrassingly, playing a man short. The scorecard was as follows:



CE Arundel st Bastow b Holton 15

JS Smith c Bastow b Reeves 1

Jos Smith b Holton 2

HL Toms c Macklin b Holton 13

EH Burnie b Holton 4

WT Hickman c and b Reeves 3

B Crook b Reeves 8

FW Carpenter not out 0

C Whitehead b Reeves 1

WT Massingham run out 4

Extras 17

Total 68



OR Borradaile run out 4

Dr Holton c Arundel b Burnie 10

J Bastow b Toms 88

LO Macklin c Crook b J Smith 12

HM Sidford c Crook b Smith 0

JPH Soper not out 33

HS Bonner b Toms 24

WT Garrett c and b Toms 16

Reeves c Arundel b Burnie 34

Tremlin b Burnie 45

Inns c J Smith b Toms 1

Extras 3

Total 270


For 1898 a Chingford Cricket Club Fixture Card survives, again giving the ground as The Drive. Secretary is Mr Haydon Clark, whilst confusingly 1st XI Captain was Bruce Crook and 2nd XI Captain Ernest Haydon. A full fixture list from 30 April – 10 September was arranged for 1st, 2nd and Thursday XIs. This year’s fixture with Essex Club and Ground was even more of a disaster than the previous year’s, The Guardian picks up the story:



Played at Leyton yesterday, and ended in an easy victory for the Club and Ground by 266 runs. Going in first, the Club and Ground scored 356 for 6 and declared. Reeves was let off several times , but he hit with great vigour for his large score of 175, which was largely made up of one 5 and thirty three 4s. Dr Holton also scored freely. Chingford were dismissed for 84, Reeves taking 7 wickets for 34 runs. Burnie, who was batting a long time, played very good cricket for 15, and W Smith quickly put together 20.


On Sat 7 May Chingford played Walthamstow away and there were 5 wickets for Livermore in a defeat, where Bruce Crook scored 14 of Chingford’s 22 all out reply to Stow’s 111-8


The 3 June 1898 Guardian gives the first possible reference to some sort of cricket on our current Forest Side ground when Chingford Tradesemen played Chingford Police “in a meadow attached to the Queen Elizabeth Inn”. 


No further information is available until 1900 where the playing record was Won 21, Lost 12, Drawn 7. Amongst the playing members was a R. McGregor-Jolly! It appears that there were some 2nd XI and Thursday XI games. An official set of averages survives and the leading performers were:




Not out


Highest Score


EH Wales






AJ Boulton






EA Burnie






FW Dell







And with the ball:








GS Hirst






JW Murden






RH Harding






JD Cruickshank






AJ Boulton







In 1901 from the records we have, the 1st XI Played 18 and Won 4 Drawn 7 and Lost 7 matches, the best performance individually coming from AJ Boulton who took 7 wickets v Walthamstow. Wins were recorded against Bancroft’s School, Edmonton, and Highgate twice. The 2nd XI fared poorly with a record of Played 9 Won 1 Drawn 2 and Lost 6, the solitary win coming in the two innings Spring Bank Holiday fixture with Spartan and G Baker took 10 wickets for Chingford in this game. 


On 14 June 1901 the Club was rocked by the death of Benjamin Crook, who was also Chairman of Chingford District Council. The Woodford Times paid tribute to Benjamin, reporting:


The deceased was a  prominent supporter of Chingford Cricket Club and in recent years has frequently rendered his club yeoman service in the field


Setting the trend for years to come, on 2 August 1901 it was reported that:


In aid of the Chingford Cricket Club an alfresco concert was held in the cricket ground on Thursday evening. The weather was fine and a large audience assembled. Strings of Chinese lanterns made the scene a charming one. A good programme was presented and among those who presented in a very able manner were: Mrs David Donald, Misses Tilbury, Rose Boreton and Ella Blackmore and Messrs Lionel Walter, E Vernon Clayton, AJ Boulton, FW Dell and Clinton Bell


The 1902 Season saw Chingford Cricket Club as tenants of the Little Bull Field which was off Bull Lane (which became later renamed as Kings Road). A ping pong tournament was held in the Parish Room in May in aid of the Church Building Fund.


Summarising the season The Guardian reported:


Of the 40 matches played by the two teams run by the Chingford Cricket Club only 11 were won, while 17 were lost and 12 were drawn. In the first eleven EG Norton has the distinction of being first in both batting and bowling, his batting average being 30.70, while his bowling record was 20 wickets at an average cost of 9.40. EH Wales was second in batting with an average of 23.60 and AW Atkinson was third in batting with an average of 23.39, and second in bowling with 54 wickets at an average of 12.64


What remains a mystery is that such a thriving Club should suddenly disappear in the close season and the vast majority of the members did not appear at all in the records of the newly formed Club in 1903. What is known is that Chingford Cricket Club had lost use of the Little Bull Field ground and this may well have been the reason for the original Chingford Cricket Club to become defunct.