Masters in charge: Mr.F.H.T.Chambers and Mt.I.Shaw
This has been a most disappointing season for school cricket. Undeniably, it was apparent that the Ist and 2nd XI's would have a poor season due to the few experienced cricketers in the upper school.
After the triumphs of previous seasons the established players had left by the beginning of this year and no new players had come forth. Thus, very little was expected from these teams. However, the most disheartening factor was the lack of enthusiasm of the school, in general, towards cricket. The reasons for, this are manifold.
In previous years the choice of summer sports activities were very limited and most boys opted for cricket. However, today, it is the policy of the school to provide for a very wide range of activities on games afternoons. Thus, cricket has inevitably suffered with its following much reduced. It appears that without the impetus from the top i.e. country and county cricket, boys can no longer associate themselves with cricket teams and consequently lose interest in the game. It is also very noticeable that apart from football most team games have lost support to the individual games.
Many people were unwilling to play cricket because of the time they were required to give up to partake in a match. Also, most fixtures are played on Saturday afternoons when nowadays many schoolboys have jobs, preferring affluence rather than to play in an apparently, unproductive game of cricket.
School cricket was severely understrength especially as many of the players refusing to play were recognised, representative players. All XI's were only just able to field full teams. The lack of players led to a certain amount of apathy amongst the teams, members not having to prove themselves in matches to retain their places. Lack of players assured them of places. Of the 58 games played by the school, a mere 18 games were won, 39 were lost and 1 was drawn.
The 1st XI was able to maintain a fairly regular team but had a poor season due mainly to the number of new and inexperienced cricketers thrust into the side. The team tried well in all matches and had one brief spell of brilliance against West Essex bowling the side out in 35 overs. Important practices were often ill-attended and as a result the teams performance suffered, especially the batting.
The 2nd XI was composed of any 5th or 6th formers who wanted to or who were willing to play. Without a regular captain or team, little could be expected of them. The usual source of disruption, 'O' and 'A' levels weakened the team throughout June. The 2nd XI was forced to call upon people, who had rarely played cricket, merely to complete teams.
The most promising factor, which can be learned from the season, was the continued success and enthusiasm of the U. 15 side. 7 members from the team represented Waltham Forest U. 15 side, viz. Clarke, Foley, Goodbody, Massete, Tyrrell, Sharkey and Grecian who captained the district side. Under continued efforts of Mr.Harwood, who devoted much of his time to take charge of practices and umpire matches the team gradually showed improved form throughout the season. The U.15's did not have to rely on brilliant individual performances but played well as a team. There were always 4 or 5 batsmen who scored a modest number of runs each game to mass a good team total. Accurate bowling by the three main bowlers coupled to fine fielding by all helped to dismiss most school teams for very few runs. The team won half of the 10 matches played. Most of the matches they lost were due to lack of thought and knowledge. The team appeared not to understand the importance of correct field positioning and how to use spin bowlers but this fault will be overcome in time as the team matures and learns more about cricket. It is to this team that we look to form the nucleus of the future 1st XI. If their enthusiasm for the game continues; I can see no reason why the future lst XI's should not bring back the success of the 60's to the school.
The U. 14's had a very mixed season with some fine individual performances but rarely did the team play well as a whole winning 7 of the 16 matches played; the rest were lost. The side's strength lay principally in the batting scoring more than 70 runs on 9 occasions. The batting though impressive lacked style, most players wielding the bat like a club. Unfortunately; the side's bowling was often very inaccurate and this was especially disheartening, for after building a large total of runs the team was unable to win because of inferior bowling. Mr.Allen must be thanked for giving up so much of his time to coach the team and maintaining enthusiasm, so vital in a young team.
Therefore, though school cricket seemed to show a marked decline this season, the indications of future success are there. I can only hope that the present enthusiasm of those few 3rd and 4th formers and the competence of these players will improve and that the apathetic mood of many decreases. If all those capable of playing cricket are willing to practise and turn out each week, then with the nucleus of the present U. 15 side, I can see no reason why the school should not again find some of its former glory.
Thanks must go to Mrs.Lee, Mr.Tomlin and all mothers who helped in making teas, to John Tillyer for ordering and fetching, to Mike Barnes for his untiring efforts as secretary, to John Basinger, a very able vice-captain who gave so much help to the 1st XI and school cricket, and finally to the scorers Andy Humphreys and Rob Westaway. In spite of the poor results obtained this season school cricket continued to run smoothly because of the aforementioned and all gratitude is conveyed to them. On behalf of all team members I should like to thank most sincerely those masters who gave so much time to school cricket.