FIRST ELEVEN Played 16, Won 7, Lost 6, Drawn 3. Considering the high standard maintained in former seasons since the war, the 1st XI this year had only a moderate record. However, the team of the latter half of the season deserved better fortune, for it was strong in all departments and won most of its games. In reviewing the season, one might almost believe that there were two 1st XI's, considering the dissimilarity of the team at the beginning and at the end. For the first month or so, the batting was terribly unreliable (several players, of whom much was expected, failed to find any form this season), the bowling lacked variety and "devil" and the fielding, good at first, began to lose the sparkle and "dash" of a successful side. After a while, however, Chaplin reduced his pace (to command greater accuracy), Thackway changed from fast-medium swingers to slow off breaks and Kelham was introduced into the team; combined with this, the batsmen began to make useful scores to augment those of Mason, Hennah and Collins. Thus, the team had a new, revitalised quality about it: the bowling was no longer collared, the batting no longer subject to appalling collapses, and the team's confidence grew with the tasting of success. It was a pity that the batsmen did not find form for so long, and that the attack was left ill-balanced until the season was half over, but such things are unavoidable. I do not think that the 1st XI will have such a mediocre and undistinguished air again for a considerable time, as there are tremendous reserves of fine cricketers in the lower and middle forms of the School, who will provide the lst and 2nd XI's in a few year's time; these young players are showing great promise and a high standard of play, and will soon get their chance, for this season has seen the beginning of a policy to include promising young players rather than mediocre older players. Taking this into account, one leaves the School confident in the knowledge that the high standard of cricket will he maintained and possibly raised still higher.
TEAM CRITICISMS J. L. MASON (Vice-Capt.). Not the least pleasing feature of this season has been the complete return to form of Mason behind the stumps: standing up to the wicket he was, at his best, brilliant, as those who saw his performance at Hackney will testify; on his "off -days," happily few in number, the difference was painfully obvious, but he compensated for missed catches by a number of excellent stumpings, the accomplishment of which often transformed the course of a game. His technique has improved considerably and he now takes the ball more cleanly on the leg-side, but he still misses the one which passes between the batsman and the wicket. As our regular No. 3, he has made great strides from the cross-batted hitter of previous seasons: he now possesses a fair defence though he still is uncertain of how to deal with a ball on or just outside the off stump, and his long reach and powerful drives enabled him to score with great rapidity. His back-lift, however, must be improved: at present it starts in the direction of point and consequently he was likely to be bowled early in his innings. With increasing improvement, dependent upon his undoubted keenness, Mason should become a very valuable cricketer. B.A. HENNAH. In spite of the fact that Hennah's record this season has been better than most, his performances have been disappointing. After winter coaching, it was confidently expected that he would be the team's main run maker, but as a matter of fact he never made any runs until promoted to No. 1 halfway through the season. After showing great promise as a fast bowler at the beginning of the season; his bowling fell quickly away, corresponding with an improvement in his batting. As a tall, left-hand batsman, he had an attractive, correct style and often seemed set for a large score, but his range of strokes was practically confined to the off-side in front of the wicket and his scoring rate was usually slow, so that he did not make many runs before being out. His running between wickets left much to be desired, especially for a first-wicket batsman. In the field he was safe but slow. B. BLACK. Black's cricket showed great improvement after last season's series of disasters, and he accomplished several praiseworthy efforts (especially in bowling), but, in spite of his good record, I still think that his potentialities have not yet been fully realised. As a batsman, he has now abandoned the open-chested stance, which spoiled his batting last season, but after a series of low scores, he seemed to lose confidence in himself and did not give sufficient concentration to this side of his cricket. His bowling was always steady and, so great were his reserves of stamina and energy, that he fulfilled the role of the team's stock bowler as well as its opening bowler. Though bowling at a genuinely fast pace at Tottenham, he was usually fast-medium, and combining an in-swing with a new ball or an off -break with the old, he was seldom hit; however, he must not be discouraged when hit or snicked. I am pleased to be able to record an immense improvement in Black's fielding and general behaviour on the field: he was, in contrast to former seasons, always reliable and "on the alert" and he brought off many brilliant catches. If he produces in future seasons the batting of which we know he is capable, he will, indeed, be a valuable all-rounder. B.G.W. HIGGINS. After showing considerable promise last season, Higgins' batting and fielding have sadly deteriorated and he was probably the team's greatest disappointment. Always a slow, cautious player, he lost confidence through a series of low scores and fell into passive defence. He must cultivate a belligerent attitude towards the bowler and must concentrate on playing, indeed, on hitting, the next ball. When suffering from a loss of form, he must not despair but set about recovering it with a will. As a fielder, he was this season far removed from the "sand-bank" mid-off of last year and, both close to the wicket or in the out-field, he was far from reliable. B.G. CHAPLIN. A reduction in pace brought a great improvement in Chaplin's bowling and, from the medium-fast, inaccurate swing bowler, he was transformed into a far more accurate slow-medium bowler who moved the ball both ways through the air and off the wicket. (In spite of this improvement he still got wickets with atrocious balls.) He still has not improved his appalling, cross-bat style and he possessed few strokes, but his ability to pull almost any ball to the gaps on the on-side enabled him to score quite rapidly on the few occasions he became set. Always keen and reliable in the field, he nevertheless had an irritating habit of getting into conversation with the captain, which was quite unnecessary. W.G. ANDERSON. Anderson's batting has not changed from the leaden-footed, cross-bat style of last season, but he hits the ball harder now and, though he never got runs in any great quantity, he often made a few. If he has little else to commend his batting, he had a good eye and was full of confidence, but I would advise him to learn to swing his bat straighter and to dispense with his square back-lift. He must also learn to move his feet, as he cannot hope to be consistently successful if he persists in playing over the crease. He lacked confidence in his slow off-spin bowling and did not pitch the ball far enough up, but showed signs of being able to flight the ball well. He was very slow and unreliable in the field. P.M.W. KELHAM. Kelham was obviously the "discovery" of the season and his introduction into the eleven was a considerable factor in its improvement. A tall, slow left-arm bowler, he kept an accurate length, bowled to his field and flighted the ball well, but he does not at present spin the ball enough and, in this, a change of grip would be advisable, as his natural leg-break should be spun off the first instead of the second finger. He must also learn to bowl faster and to pitch the ball farther up on slow wickets, and to change his pace against quick-footed batsmen. His batting was scarcely inspiring and his fielding leaves something to be desired as he tends to fumble the ball, but he should be a valuable member of the 1st XI in the future. R. C. THACKWAY. Thackway was another of the season's great disappointments for, after being the best all-rounder in the 2nd XI last season, he was expected to make his presence felt this year. Yet he had a most unsuccessful season and did not do credit to his undoubted ability. He possesses an excellent, correct batting style with beautiful strokes to the off (especially the off -drive and late cut), but he is not so strong on the leg-side and he sometimes backs away from a shortish ball on the leg-stump. He should, however, have little difficulty in ridding himself of this defect. Realising that he would have no chance as an opening bowler, Thackway changed early in the season from fast-medium swingers to slow off-breaks, but his success in the latter style was not outstanding, as his wicket-taking frequency was too high for 3-hour games. In the field his concentration was apt to relax and he was several times "caught napping." In spite of his lack of success this season, I confidently expect Thackway to be one of the team's mainstays in the future. K.W. MITCHELL. Mitchell was probably the most unfortunate cricketer in the team for, coming into the 1st XI from the Under 15 side, he was given little chance to show his ability. Formerly an opening bat and a frequent bowler, he batted this season among the last three and did not bowl at all. Yet he never complained and was always smiling and cheerful. His inclusion as a close fielder was fully justified, some of his catches being brilliant, while he often saved runs (and took catches) with his spectacular "goal-keeping" dives. As a batsman, he tended at times to play across the line of flight, but hit the ball hard and ran well between wickets. He played a fine innings against Chingford. D. NORFOLK. Norfolk kept his place in the team by his consistently safe fielding. He was not brilliant, but did all that could reasonably be expected of him, moreover he could field equally well in almost any position. His catching and ground-fielding were safe, but his throwing-in, though accurate, was never fast enough to run anyone out. His enthusiasm for batting and his assiduity at practice were the team's joke but, except for the full forward defensive shot, he had no strokes and was not of any great value in this department of the game. A.A.C.
A.A. COLLINS (Captain). Collins is, in some ways, the Milton of School cricket. As that great poet had prepared himself from early youth for his chosen profession, so had Collins studied assiduously to become Monoux Captain of Cricket. He has read everything; he knows all the statistics; his mind is well stocked with the great names: Trumper, Maclaren, Hobbs "Ranji" and "W.G." And he too can command that elusive, sometimes devilish little red ball, if not with the grace of his poetic masters, at least with that competence born of hard work. His batting was always steady, not without its quiet beauty (few schoolboys to-day could better his easeful cutting, both late and square), and he carried the burden time after time while his colleagues processed dolefully betwixt pavilion and wicket and back again. Only one sort of ball worried him, the bumper. He could neither get over the ball in time to kill it, nor withdraw hastily enough in the direction of square leg. Hence his knuckles often presented first slip with an easy catch. But he will master that in time. Twice was honour conferred upon him, when he was chosen to represent Essex Grammar Schools. On the second occasion, as captain of the side, he walked indeed in the wake of the giants, as he led his men on to the field at Fenners. H.T.E.M.