The Class of ‘33
This article pays tribute to the various personalities of Chingford Cricket Club that were featured in a series in The Guardian entitled Sporting Celebrities Snapped throughout the Summer of 1933
BILL ADAMSON – Veteran who Played Against WG Grace
ALBERT EDWARD ADAMSON , like ladies is bashful about his age, for “Bill” has refused to disclose it.
He joined Chingford in 1921, and has been the regular 1st XI opening bowler most of the time since. Among his many excellent exploits with the ball, he is proudest of the occasion that he took 4 for 4 against Cheshunt in 1929, when the whole side was dismissed for 19. On another occasion in 1928, Buckhurst Hill had scored 95 for 1, when Adamson went on with W Barkas and the remaining batsmen were dismissed for a further 11 runs.
His cricketing career started with Saxon CC who played on Victoria Park under the captaincy of Dr JJ Cameron, the old Surrey player. For three years he was picked for a representative side from the Park against MCC and was in the only side of this nature to win the match. He also had the distinction of playing against Dr WG Grace for Dr Cameron’s XI against the old London County side at Crystal Palace.
His only other club of importance was Leyton, with whom L Eastman of Essex also played. As a batsman, he is hardly classic, but has many useful scores to his credit, notably the last wicket stand with HG Willson, already mentioned in these biographies, and another with GJS Underhill against South Woodford in 1926, which was equally meritorious.
Although he is the veteran of the side, “Bill” undoubtedly has many years of useful cricket before him, and it is to be hoped that Chingford will benefit from his wide experience and knowledge for many seasons to come.
SF BLAND – Hero of the Classic Cut
STANLEY FREDERICK BLAND was born at Walthamstow on July 13th, 1909. He was educated at Hackney Downs Secondary School (Grocers’ School) where he obtained his first eleven colours at cricket and football. He joined Chingford in 1929 and has played in all three teams and is a member of the Cricket Committee.
He is now recognised as a regular senior side man, and has won his place mainly on the strength of his fielding, which is invariably good and often brilliant. A fair bat, he can be relied on for runs, and although he claims to be a bowler, he has had little opportunity to demonstrate his worth in that direction. He is also very useful behind the sticks and was once seen to make a “classic” late cut while batting, which he has never forgotten – or been allowed to forget.
He has a dry wit which occasionally comes into play with devastating effect; he also has a very pretty taste in comfortable chairs, and can always be relied upon to enjoy any moments of repose to the utmost. His pose of being sleepy belies his energy and speed in the field.
He was a member of the Old Grocers’ side which won the old boys’ cup at soccer in 1930-31 when he scored the winning goal. He once played rugger. Other claim to fame – winner of 1st prize in an ankle competition.
FG CHEESEWRIGHT – A Scot Without a Kilt
FREDERICK GEORGE CHEESEWRIGHT was born in Walthamstow on April 23rd, 1907. He joined the Chingford Club in 1930, and was elected vice-captain of the 1st XI this year. Educated at Parmiters School, he has previously played for Walthamstow St Stephens, Walthamstow Wanderers, Norwood, Stratten Island, New York and New York Crescent Athletic Club.
He served for four years and seven months with the Seaforth Highlanders during the war, but has not been seen in a kilt in Chingford since.
He is skipper of Chingford Football Club, and plays for Walthamstow Avenue aswell.
A thoroughly useful all-rounder, he keeps wicket really well, and he has a “weakness” for hitting sixes when batting. He is also a good change bowler. He is very popular with both his own club members and opponents, and with his skipper Mr G Downes promoted the new cricket club, the Chinghoppers. Although he spent several years in New York, he still speaks English.
GORDON DOWNES – Chingford’s Most Popular Skipper
GORDON DOWNES, the skipper of Chingford CC was born in Walthamstow on February 22nd, 1902. He joined the club in 1921, having previously assisted Wallwood CC, Leytonstone, and after one season in the 3rd XI, he was promoted to the 1st XI and has never lost his place. Since 1931 he has been captain of the senior side and is one of the most popular skippers the club has ever had.
He always puts the game before the result, and it is therefore, all the more pleasing to record that he was able to lead his team through last season without a defeat in Saturday games. A fastish-medium bowler, he usually opens the attack, and has many useful performances to his credit.
As a batsman he would do better if he went in earlier, but is probably wise to save his energies for bowling. He has taken over 500 wickets for Chingford. In 1923 he topped the batting averages, scoring a century against Southend. As captain, he handles the bowling well, and in the field is an excellent example to the side.
He is married and “allows” his wife to undertake the honorary and arduous task of scoring for the 1st XI.
He has played soccer for Chingford but now plays golf during the winter months, though we have not heard what his handicap is lately.
HAROLD FRUIN – The Wanderer who Returned
HAROLD ALFRED HALCROW FRUIN was born in Loughton, and was educated at West Buckland School. North Devon, where he won his colours at cricket and rugger.
He joined Chingford in 1928, but his first membership of the club was short, as in the middle of 1929 he went to sea with the Blue Star Line. During the time he was far away, he visited many distant lands, but the opportunities for cricket were small.
Returning to England in 1932, he rejoined Chingford and has been a most useful member of the club since.
Before going to sea, he showed promise of becoming a really good cricketer, his natural footwork being of immense advantage to him. Since taking the game up again, he has shown every prospect of fulfilling his early promise, and there is no doubt Chingford is to be congratulated on having such a useful all-rounder available.
His batting is quick footed, his bowling, though erratic at times, is promising, his fielding sometimes brilliant, and he is a wicket-keeper who bids fair to become well above the average.
Though at the moment he is not a regular 1st XI man, there is no doubt that he is earmarked for a position in the side before long if he develops as he should, along his present lines.
RHA GARNER – Tomorrow’s Bridegroom
REGINALD HA GARNER was born in Hackney on December 1st, 1907, and has resided in Chingford for 21 years. He was educated at Bancroft’s and played for Chingford several times before entering into full membership of the club in 1927.
As a boy, he was a very promising soccer player, but in 1925 he broke a leg, and has not taken it up seriously since.
For three years he played regularly for the 1st XI, but last season he was prevailed upon to take over the captaincy of the 2nd XI, where his experience and personality are of inestimable service to the club.
As a cricketer he falls into the category of “all-rounder”. He has many useful scores to his credit, and can bowl quite a good medium paced ball, while his fielding is sound.
Tomorrow (Saturday) he is “bravely” taking on additional responsibilities, as that is the date of his forthcoming marriage to Miss Doris Taylor, only daughter of Mr AW Taylor, for many years a vice-president and stalwart supporter of the club. The good wishes of everyone interested in local sport will be extended to this popular couple.
ERIC GREY – Full of Beans
ERIC TERENCE GREY was born in Leyton on 6th May 1909. He was educated at Monoux School, where he played for the 1st XI at both cricket and soccer.
Prior to joining Chingford in 1932, his only other club of note was Walthamstow Wanderers.
He is a distinct personality, and is definitely one of the keenest players of the club. His enthusiasm is such that he is apt to take rather too much out of himself in following out his principle that nothing is worth doing if it does not call for the complete expenditure of energy.
Lately he has been playing regularly for the 1st XI, and as might be expected of one with such enthusiastic ideas, he is a bowler who puts his whole heart and soul into slinging down fast stuff. Actually he bowls better when putting down fastish medium balls, coming in from the off, and he has been known to experiment with leg breaks, but he would probably be well advised to concentrate on one style, and avoid the risk of falling between two stools.
As a bat, he is forceful and occasionally gets a useful score. His fielding is brilliant and distinguished by absolute fearlessness. By his quick anticipation he frequently brings off a chance that other fieldsmen would not attempt.
In the 1931-32 season he played soccer for Chingford, and was selected to represent the Southern Olympian League, but last winter he turned to rugger, in the hopes that it would provide him with a greater outlet for his energy, but such is his enthusiasm that even now his plans for next winter are vague, as he is still looking for something “really strenuous”
FRANCIS HARLEY – Cheery and Companionable
FRANCIS HARLEY was born in Leyton on September 16th, 1895. He did not start playing cricket seriously until after demobilisation from the army, and joined South Woodford in 1920. In those days he was a fastish medium bowler and a useful bat, but since joining Chingford in 1927 he has developed into a bowler of slow off-spinners, and has met with considerable success. His batting has been somewhat neglected in recent seasons, the batting strength of the side being such that he has to be fairly low in the order, with the result that he has concentrated more and more on his bowling, undoubtedly to the benefit of the side.
At various times he has filled different offices in the Club and has been vice-captain of the 1st XI, captain of the 2nd XI, and at present is nominally vice-captain of the 2nd XI, but he has played regularly for the 1st XI throughout the season. He has also served on the General Committee, Cricket Committee and Entertainments Committee at varios times, and his ability to see the different sides of a question, together with a knack of expressing himself forcibly in the minimum number of words has made him a most valuable member of the Club’s Executive.
He is also a prominent member of the Chinghoppers, and turns out for the Freebooters on occasions, and is altogether a cheery, companionable fellow in a quiet way.
ALEC MESTON – All rounder who has played for Essex
ALEXANDER HUBERT MESTON was born at Leytonstone on 1st June, 1898. He was educated at Kirkdale School, where he was school captain. From 1922 to 1926 he played for Leyton, and in 1922 he also assisted Woodford. In 1925-1927 his outstanding ability obtained him a regular place in the Essex County side, but the calls of business prevented him from continuing in first-class cricket.
From 1928 until 1932 he played for Power Sports Club, the club run in connection with his business firm, and this year he joined Chingford.
A more than useful all-rounder, he is equally at home with either the bat or the ball, while his fielding has that little extra something allied to definite soundness that marks the outstanding cricketer.
Among several scores of note, his highest was 161 made for Leyton against Fairlop in 1924. For Essex, he regards his 41 against Notts at Nottingham in May 1927 as his best effort. In the same year he took 3 for 18 against Derby. In the course of his career he has done the “hat trick” – three times in each case for Leyton.
His value to Chingford goes beyond his ability as a player, as he is always willing and able to help less talented and experienced players with suggestions, and from his wide knowledge of the game, is often able to correct those trivial basic faults that have a much deeper influence on a player’s game than appear on the surface.
His connection with Chingford sport has not been entirely confined to cricket, as he was a member of the local soccer club in 1926-7, when they were winners of the AFA Senior Cup. He was a fine goalkeeper. Several injuries caused him to relinquish this game in order to concentrate on cricket, rather than take the risk of receiving an injury that might affect his career adversely.
LF PARSLOW – A cricketer “Out of the Rut”
LEONARD FREDERICK PARSLOW was born on November 11th, 1909at Stoke Newington. He was educated at Central Foundation School (Cowper Street) where he won his colours at cricket and football, and joined Chingford in 1927, spending two years with the 2nd XI before becoming the regular opening batsman for the 1st XI, a position he has never looked like losing.
Len Parslow has played regularly for the Essex Club and Ground this year, and is making consistently good scores. We understand that the County is interested in his progress. He is blessed with a “heaven sent touch of genius”, which together with his capacity for study and practice, lifts him out of the ordinary rut.
His play is distinguished by remarkable quickness of eye and foot, and he has the ability to convert a ball into what he wants instead of having to wait for a loose one.
He has topped 1000 runs for Chingford for the last four years, and is well on the way to doing so again this year. As a bowler, he is quite useful, but with the wealth of talent in the side, does not get many opportunities to show his skill. In fielding he is brilliant, though his brilliance and super keenness sometimes result in an occasional wild return.
At school he was in the same eleven as the late WF Sandrock whose loss has been so keenly felt by Chingford, and these two had many splendid partnerships for the club.
Len is a jazz pianist of surprising enthusiasm, and perhaps, with practice, he may one day be as good on the keys as he is at the wicket.
HAROLD SIMPSON – The Man Behind the Scenes
HAROLD SIMPSON was born May 27th, 1903 at Todmerden and was educated at Bancroft’s
He joined Chingford in 1928 after spending two seasons with South Woodford. Since joining the club he has played regularly for the 1st XI, though latterly he has appeared with less frequency.
As a bat he has a style of his own and traces of his school coaching can still be seen in the execution of some of his shots on the off-side of the wicket. He has many useful scores to his credit, and can always be relied on to stick in a crisis. He bowls a medium paced ball with a distinct nip off the pitch, and turns a little both ways. He has an exceptionally short run to the wicket or rather three or four walking paces before delivery. Usually he fields in the slips and is sure to hold anything that comes his way.
His other game is tennis, and he wields the racquet with good effect. For several years he served on the Tennis Committee and also the General Committee of the Club. This year he has taken over the offices of General Secretary and Treasurer from Mr GJS Underhill and is carrying on the work in an efficient and capable manner.
Harold Simpson is a man whose value to the club he works for is more obvious behind the scenes, and without living in the limelight of many outstanding performances, he is generally appreciated as a keen and conscientious club man. The support of his members is with him in his arduous and thankless task.
PA SIMPSON – Unorthodox – but Sound
PHILIP ARTHUR SIMPSON was born at Woodford on June 10th, 1905. He was educated at Bancroft’s School, where he won his colours at cricket, and also distinguished himself at soccer.
In December 1927 he received a business appointment to become a prominent member of the Calcutta Rowing Club, in addition to taking part in other sporting activities.
Returning to England in June 1931 he joined Chingford and gained a place in the 1st XI immediately. He bats in a somewhat unorthodox manner, but is of extreme value to the side in the middle of the batting order. He is blessed with a good eye and uses his feet well. Many useful scores stand to his credit, and though he has struck something of a bad patch for a while this season, he has now apparently returned to form. His fielding is up to the high standard shown throughout the side.
He is brother to H Simpson, the hon general secretary and treasurer whose biography appeared last week, but as far as we know, he shows no desire to bask in the reflected “honour and glory” of his brother’s exalted position.
WG SPENCER – Chingford’s Own Bobby Howes
WALTER GORDON SPENCER (Don) was born in Chingford on August 2nd , 1912 and is the youngest and smallest member of the 1st XI. Educated at Bancroft’s, where he won his cricket colours. He shows none of the exaggerated two-eyed stance common to many cricketers from that school.
He joined the Chingford Club in 1930, and is a member of the Cricket Committee. He regularly tops 1000 runs a season and is a quick scoring attractive bat. Very quick on his feet, he overcomes his lack of reach remarkably well. A slow left arm bowler of “funny stuff” who can tie batsmen into knots, and he is keen in the field, though apt to be a little wild in his returns occasionally.
He bats according to the state of the game, and is appreciated by the skipper as a player to whom averages are of secondary importance. He is due to play several games for Essex Club and Ground this year.
A very popular player with members, and opponents- and the opposite sex – he is also a keen motorist, and in fact, is seldom known to walk if a car can take him. It is rumoured that his cars have been made to fit him – a credit to his tailor.
He also plays soccer and golf really well and is a keen amateur actor, imitating Bobby Howes to the life.
TA SPENCER – He Who Looks For A Job
THOMAS ARCHIBALD SPENCER, more usually known as “Tim” was born in Chingford on July 6th, 1910. He was educated at Bancroft’s, leaving in 1927. He first played for Chingford in 1926 and has always been a first rate club man.
His hobby appears to be finding committees on which to serve, and when serving, he can be relied on to pull his weight. This is his third year as team secretary to the club, and he is also skipper of the B eleven, two offices which he also holds with the soccer club. In addition, he is also a member of the Entertainments Committee.
His cricket is distinguished by a style peculiar to himself, but he is very effective nonetheless, and frequently collects good scores, of which his 63 against Highams Park last Saturday was typical. He has also collected several centuries, and as a bowler has occasionally got wickets with the unexpectedness of his deliveries on the few occasions he has gone on.
As a captain, he uses his head and is rapidly acquiring the necessary experience that will serve him in good stead in years to come.
NE WESTERHOUT – An All-Rounder from Singapore
NOEL EGBERT WESTERHOUT was born in Singapore on January 1st, 1905. He was educated at the High School, Malacca, Straits Settlements, where his experience of games included cricket, hockey, soccer and rugger. He came to England to follow his occupation as an engineer in 1925. He first joined Crystal Palace CC, for whom he played for two seasons. He then migrated to their near neighbours, Norwood, where he stayed for four years. This is his second season with Chingford and he was elected to the Cricket Committee this year.
A quiet unassuming fellow, his friendly manner and cheerful smile soon enabled him to be acclaimed as “one of the best” by his new club mates, and Chingford can be congratulated on the acquisition of a sterling sportsman as well as a good cricketer.
While with Chingford, his left-handed batting has been frequently invaluable, and he has already collected several good scores this season, including a century against Cheshunt. Of his previous records, we have been unable to collect any information, as with characteristic modesty he assures us “that they were not worth bothering about”.
In the field he can always be distinguished by his long graceful stride, which covers the ground with unexpected speed, and his cap, has the largest peak seen at Forest Side.
HG WILLSON – “Nick” but not “Old”
HAROLD GEORGE WILLSON was born in Birmingham on September 21st, 1895 and was educated at Camphill Grammar School. One of the senior members of the Chingford Club, he joined them in 1922, and has been a regular member of the 1st eleven most of the time. He has served on the General and Cricket Committees for several different seasons, and is at present a member of the latter committee.
Since coming south, Chingford has been his only club, and he has rendered invaluable service as a slow-medium bowler, who seems to be able to keep going for ever. As a batsman he is not outstanding; though undoubtedly useful, and in 1928, was one of the heroes of one of the most exciting finishes seen on the Chingford ground. Playing against Walthamstow, he with A Adamson added 106 for the last wicket to win in the last over of the day, Willson’s contribution being 64.
For some years he played soccer for Chingford, but now has deserted the large ball for “the little white devil” of the golf course. One of the quieter members of the Chingford Club, he bears the nickname “Nick” but definitely does not qualify either by age or temperament for the addition of the prefix “old”