The Bunny Swinfen Trophy

The trophy is awarded to the bowler who has taken the most wickets for Chingford* during the previous summer season.

The trophy was kindly presented to the club in 1982 by Bunny Swinfen.

Bunny was persuaded to join us from Mill Hill Cricket Club by Laurie Bayes and went on to become one of the best ever all rounders at the Club.

Bunny played for us during the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s and he scored 6523 runs and took 686 wickets for Chingford. He was also the Club's Hon. General Secretary for many years and carried out his duties in his own highly convival but most efficient manner. Bunny was rewarded for his immense services to Chingford Cricket Club by being awarded the Presidency in 1977.

For further information about Bunny's career, visit the History and Previous Seasons Pages and the Statistics Tab

For a full list of winners of the trophy and the number of wickets they took, visit the Honours Board Page.
*Traditionally, all Chingford matches count except midweek matches.Thus, to win the trophy, a player probably has to play a lot of matches and bowl a lot of overs.

 The current holder of the trophy is George Duke

Bunny Swinfen Remembered

by Iain Hastings

Bunny was of a time now sadly lost. Yes he was eccentric, he was a character, he was sometimes funny, sometimes boring, he was certainly dogmatic, occasionally naive and often enlightening; but he cared. I knew for sure he cared about cricket; I knew for sure he cared about Chingford Cricket Club and I knew for sure he cared about me and the other Club members.

My first recollection of Bunny, as many others will no doubt concur, was in the clubhouse after my debut for Chingford. I was greeted with a playful pat and a "lovely to meet you dear boy". My shocked expression caused much amusement at the bar but Bunny introduced himself to everyone who played for Chingford in the same way - it was his way of making you feel at home, and it worked. He later bought me a pint (though I'm sure I paid for three 'Bunny halves' whilst we were talking) and I learnt that he had found who I was, what I did, what I didn't do and the school and previous club I played for. He also knew what team I played for that afternoon, how we got on and who did what. Despite the eccentric delivery I was impressed. At the end of a drunken but entertaining evening, I learnt that Bunny was as much of Chingford as were the pavilion, the pitch, the outfield and the bar. He certainly eased my own introduction to the Club.

I was lucky in that I tried to bowl leg-spin, something Bunny loved. It was the way he felt cricket should be played; attacking bowling against attractive stroke-playing. Bunny always claimed he was a leg-spinner; but then he could also bowl away swing, in swing, off cutters, leg cutters, off breaks and googlies. If only he had heard about reverse swing, I am sure he would have bowled that too. I have to admit that I never saw any ball he bowled deviate from the straight; but then I never saw him bowl a short ball either. "Pitch it up, make them drive and you will take wickets, dear boy". And he was right.

We used to discuss  my fielding positions in the bar after the game. "A leg spinner needs a deep square leg, deep mid-wicket, deep extra and a slip" he told me. For five years we tried to work out how to accommodate this field with only nine fielders. We would start the evening needing eleven and end it requiring fifteen men to protect my long hops and full tosses. When Bunny bowled, of course, there was room for a gully as well as a slip.

He was a very harsh critic even with players he liked. I can remember Phil Caldwell walking off the ground with a broad smile on his face after his first hundred at Forest Side - and in the 'A's at that. As he walked into the pavilion, Bunny met him with the words "worst hundred I can remember; when will you learn to hit through the ball, not across the line, dear boy". It mattered to Bunny not only that the runs were scored, but also that they were scored in the correct matter. Phil and Bunny were later seen happily discussing the hundred after he had bought Phil's maiden century jug, something he did for all members' first Club century.

One day he took me to watch Middlesex versus Essex at Lords. I had never been into the pavilion so he invited me on his MCC ticket. He thoroughly enjoyed showing me around the place and I thoroughly enjoyed being there with him. His youthful enthusiasm and my thirst for knowledge made it a special day for both of us. It was spoilt for him by only one thing however. Derek Pringle, waiting to bat, was seen wearing an earring. "My dear boy, it would never have happened in my day".

During the winters Bunny agreed to coach a few of us in the nets. Michael Blake, Peter Coyte, Paul Cross, Martin Kerr and myself would turn up every Thursday to learn all the shots in the batsman's armory. We learnt all the shots bar one; the sweep, which Bunny refused to accept was a genuine shot. What would he think of the reverse sweep? He taught us properly, he taught us fairly and in the bar we listened to what he said; sometimes with a grin, but always with respect.

I can remember his last playing season for the Club for I was there alongside him (him cover, me extra, the aging Ted Alston at mid-off - I am out of breath just thinking about it). We were playing Wanstead at the old Stratford Wesleyan Ground when the opening bat skied a huge catch to cover. Bunny put his hands up, not to catch the ball but to protect his head. "Its going to hit him", Mick Bird shouted from mid-wicket. I didn't have the heart to push Bunny out of the way and catch the ball, which landed some six inches from his feet. We were nine wickets down at the end of the game, but only because Bunny had bravely defended the last ten overs from a lively Wanstead attack. He may have played for too long but right until the end his courage and his technique stayed intact. After all he was doing it for Chingford, the Club he loved.

I miss Bunny and I miss people like Bunny. He helped me settle and be myself at a strange Club; he helped me develop into a half-decent cricketer, he helped me appreciate cricket and he encouraged me all the way. He is part of society's and cricket's past which has now long gone. He was a lovely man with the right principles, principles that are missing today. Above all though, he cared.

Bunny Swinfen Remembers

This Article is reproduced from the Club's 1984 Centenary Book and was written by Bunny himself

Cricket to me is THE game of games. A religion, a way of life, call it what you will, and as such it should never be degraded. It has all the necessary ingredients to give an abundance of happiness throughout one's playing career and in the years of retirement which follow, hopefully garbed in a white coat.

It is a game which can carry you from the very depths of despondency to the heights were you feel the world is indeed a truly wonderful place. As Kipling so aptly put it "If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same ...... then you will be a man, my son".

As a young man I found this quite a problem, but as the years progressed I realised what this great game has to offer, and if I was to take full advantage of this I just had to learn by mistakes, correct them, and read the quotation once again.

My life has been full of cricket, both as a player and an administrator. I had my first recognition as a possible when I was selected to play for my junior school at the tender age of ten. The journey through my cricketing life until that memorable game in September 1980 which marked my retirement at the somewhat advanced age of seventy, full of lasting memories, rich with the experience I had gained and which I am now so anxious to pass on to those it may help.

In this our Centenary Year, my thoughts naturally return to that eventful day in 1945 when Laurie Bayes persuaded me to join the Chingford Cricket Club, and as I enter my 39th active year with the Club, I look back over those years which not only brought me perhaps a certain modicum of success but, what was far more important, the pleasure of working with so many lovely people who gave their all for our Club.

A well conducted and successful club relies almost entirely on the strength of its administration, a fact which perhaps is not readily accepted sufficiently these days. We were so fortunate in those early years to have quite a number of older members who were prepared to give both their time and experience to the running of the Club, and enjoyed doing it. Consequently our Officers and General Committee were strong both in discussion and action.

Many are the names which come to mind, and forgive me if I inadvertently miss any. There was that indefatigable Secretary (serving mostly before my time) who also carried the considerable burdens of the 3rd XI on his shoulders, Tim Spencer. Not much got past his eagle eye, and his organisation was first class. When Tim retired to his seaside villa following some 18/20 years in that office, the position of Secretary plus Treasurer was taken over by that truly great gentleman, Mr J.W.A. Jessop, our Joe. One could write a full chapter on his many productive deeds and unselfish work behind the scenes which helped so much in making our club one to be admired. On the resignation of Jack Church, Joe took over the mantle of President, spreading his personality to all he came in contact with. It was a real pleasure to work with him as a Secretary through the several years he was in office.

In addition there were other splendid servants who come to mind. Lol Addy, an excellent Treasurer for many years and also 3rd XI skipper; Ted Lord, that genial benefactor of the club which includes the financing of the Young Clubman of The Year Award; Cliff Crafer who had a hand in nearly everything, also skippering all three XIs and John Crump to mention a few. Most clubs would have their "Crumpie", a very ordinary third XI player, but what a worker. In those days we were not blessed with a pavilion or bar, so following the game our visitors would accompany us through a gap in the hedge behind the old dressing rooms, into the Queen Elizabeth where a bar was reserved for us for the rest of the evening. Later we obtained a small wooden building, one of the many accomplishments of Cliff Crafer, and a bar was installed under the sole control of John, a significant turning point in the affairs of our club. There we enjoyed the most essential part of the game, the distribution of the jugs among our visitors, talking to them about the game and relating past experiences without the intervention of disruptive amusements. That was an automatic duty which fell naturally into place.

During those years I was so fortunate in having excellent opening bats as partners., including Len Parslow. George Chapman and Bill Sharnock, each with his own particular style. I would like to lay some emphasis on Len who, although perhaps at times a little unusual in his mental approach to the game, was a magnificent batsman. Displaying all the shots in the book, so helpful when his partner was having a spot of trouble, he was a joy to watch and I learnt a great deal from his batting. Unfortunately he died at an early age, a great loss to the game.

We kept together a very good 1st XI in the succeeding years when you consider such batsmen as Doug Insole, Don Spencer, Cliff Crafer, Ken Dowding and Bill Jeffrey with Dennis Cook and Brian Rice keeping an excellent wicket. Jock Harwood spinning his way through the innings until opening time and our popular skipper Gordon Downes together with Cyril Kay supplying the medium pace. Let us also never forget the immaculate scorebook kept by Bertie White, and the ever present white coated Freddie Culpin, whose considerable thirst around about 7.00pm made use of the pads, wherever they were positioned, a ploy to be strictly avoided.

The main attraction during the season was always the benefit match for one of the County players. Ray Smith, Peter Smith, Tom Wade and 'Sunny Avery all prospered to a goodly extent by bringing their County XI to play us on a Sunday. All these games were well publicised and consequently there was always a large attendance. In fact at one of those games it was estimated that well over 2000 people were present, most of them seated thanks to the generosity of the Chingford Council.

Happy years, in company with great chaps, always playing positive cricket. Fortunately we did not have to suffer that unnecessary ordeal of having to fight for points and League positions. To win the toss would mean to bat first, followed by a good declaration. It would usually mean chasing a total of 200 plus, and chase being the operative word, there was no question of shutters until No. 11 appeared. If there was a possible win in sight we went flat out for it. Positive cricket, and we loved it.

In addition, yet another important and essential factor, beloved and appreciated so much by the players was that superior band of angels, our honourable and respected Ladies of the tea hut. No thought of a grumble, indeed there was never any need to, and always on parade according to their carefully planned rota. Such never to be forgotten names as Jackie Downes, Vallie Westerhout, Rene Prior, Eileen Shelton, Joan Russ, Eileen Dowding, Hazel Jeffrey and my dear wife Midge who insists that I include the best washer up in the business, Mr Dowding (senior, of course), plus many other helpers. What a great team, playing such an important role in the success of our club.

It was in 1954 that Cliff Crafer and I qualified for the MCC Youth Coaching Certificate which was organised by the County. Ably assisted by Paddy Duffy it heralded the birth of our ever popular organised coaching classes for boys aged between nine and fourteen years, held every Monday evening on our ground during the summer months. Since that date many of our players have qualified in this and other schemes, and a number of them have carried on that most pleasurable and rewarding task, without a break, throughout the many years that followed, to the complete enjoyment of many hundreds of young lads.

In my journey down memory lane I have attempted to resurrect just some of the invaluable deeds of a few of the stalwarts in our Club between the years 1945 and the late 1950's. The years following are another chapter, written by other writers. I continued to thoroughly enjoy my cricket in the 2nd XI and 3rd XI. up to and including that unforgettable game in 1980 when I decided that the curtain should finally descend on my playing career.

This however signaled my entry into a sphere which I find just as rewarding. I have always known that I could never put back into the game the enormous pleasure I had taken from it, but I am determined at all costs to never stop trying. The transition from player to umpire was therefore automatic and I am loving every minute of it, especially the odd Sunday C XI game with its goodly sprinkling of Colts and the constructive chat that always follows.

Surely this is what this great game of ours is all about, and I feel so privileged to be linked with such a grand club and its great traditions. 

Postscript from Malcolm Swinfen (Bunny's son)

There's an anecdote concerning my father (and me) that emanates from Buddy Jessop - a story I think is true. When Dad joined Chingford in the early 50's I believe, being a Bernard, his automatic nickname would've been Buddy (as it was back then). But he couldn't, because there already was  Buddy, so instead he became Bunny Swinfen, and it stuck for the rest of his life.

When I was at school, some classmates discovered Dad's nickname, and decided I was a small Bunny and called me Bun, and to this day, for many of my friends, I am still called Bun.

All because of Buddy Jessop, bless him.

Malcolm (Bun) Swinfen.

And Mark Jessop's reply:

Hi Malcolm. What a wonderful story!  I had no idea. Of course I have many wonderful memories of your father too. In particular, keeping wicket at Chingford late August early September, and him talking himself on late in the game and bowling directly out of the sun over the sight screen. Impossible for both batsman and keeper!...I hope all is well with you. All the very best