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A most pleasing feature of this year's 1st XI has been the excellent team spirit which has prevailed. With such a fine set of players, both on and off the field, the team's success was inevitable. Sterling performances by the firm core of last year's lst XI, together with keenness and evident ability shown by the newcomers, brought tha season to a close with the lst XI unbeaten.
On looking through the results one can see how narrow have been the margins of some of our victories. Particularly thrilling matches which perhaps deserve special mention were those against Hackney Downs, Colchester Royal Grammar School, and Palmer's School. Many were the prematurely grey heads on the morning following our first match with Palmer's, and our second game against them during their Cricket Week produced a result hardly less exciting. And people have the nerve to say that cricket is dull!
Taking over the reins from Collins, last year's opening batsman and chief run-getter, Hennah delighted us all with his consistent performances with bat and ball. At the end of the season he was honoured by being selected to play for the Young Amateurs of Middlesex, and at Lord's, by virtue of a very fine innings of 39, made when things were going very badly, he helped his side to draw with the M.C.C. Young Professionals. Later, he played for the Young Amateurs of Essex, with such success that he was awarded his County Cap. Apart from Hennah, two other School players, Kelham and Mason, have been selected for representative cricket, Kelham playing for the Young Amateurs of Essex, and Mason being chosen vice-captain of the Essex Grammar Schools' XI in their annual match against Essex Club and Ground.
In conclusion I should like, on behalf of the team, to thank all those members of the Staff who have turned up to umpire our matches this season. Particular thanks are due to Mr. Miles upon whom a lion's share of the organisation of School Cricket has fallen. Pack has proved a very efficient secretary and the season has passed without a hitch.
HENNAH (Vice-captain). Hennah's transition from a purely stylish stroke player into an effective run-getter has undoubtedly been a major factor in the team's success. His batting is marred only by bad running between the wickets, a fault that should be eradicated in time. He has a tendency, too, to make too much use of the hook shot, and this has led to his downfall on several occasions. As an opening bowler he swings the new ball well in both directions, and this ability, coupled with his speed, gave the opposing opening batsmen very little chance to settle down.
Hennah, I feel sure, is heading for a great future in first-class cricket, and his progress will be greatly accelerated should he learn to react more readily to discipline in the field.
THACKWAY. Thackway did not achieve quite the success he deserved as an opening batsman, but his steadily consistent performances with bat and ball were invaluable in helping the side to victory on many occasions.
It was a pity that he so often came out just as he appeared set for a big score; he seemed, just for the moment, to lose his powers of concentration, and a careless stroke led to his dismissal. His medium pace and well flighted off-breaks proved very successful in dislodging many of the first five batsmen when the opening fast bowlers failed. In all, Thackway developed as a very fine all-rounder, and next season should be the mainstay of the team both as batsman and bowler.
BLACK. A very welcome return to batting form was shown by Black this year. Once he got set he scored very quickly, and prominent among his strokes was a risky, but usually effective, four to square leg off a half volley pitched on his middle stump. Equally risky was his habit of walking across his wicket in a way that was bound to lead, sooner or later, to an l.b.w. decision. Despite his ungainliness at the wicket and his natural propensity to use the cross bat, there is no doubt that Black is a very useful batsman to have in any side. As a bowler, his speed, coupled with his natural, easy action and his ability to turn the ball sharply in from the off even on the best of wickets, made him a force to be reckoned with in the opening overs of any innings.
ANDERSON. Anderson was an invaluable, even indispensable, member of the team in more ways than one. Rated even above his contribution to the cricket was his extraordinarily good humour which did so much to maintain an excellent team spirit. As a batsman he departed considerably from the graceless, awkward style of last year, his runs coming from a variety of strokes, some agricultural, some stylish, but made all round the wicket. His manner of dealing with slow spin bowling was an example to all; against fast bowling he was rather more uncertain. His bowling showed a remarkable improvement and was useful in tying down even the best of batsmen. If he could control the spin more he would do better still, for there is little point in beating the bat if one beats wicket and wicket-keeper as well. But it was perhaps as a slip fielder that Anderson was most outstanding, for his catching and picking up were often brilliant. He will remember for a long time the match in which he was used successfully as the team's lightning conductor!
KELHAM. From being the discovery of last year Kelham proved to be the disappointment of this season. When on form Kelham's bowling was unplayable, but more often than not his slow, well-flighted leg-breaks succeeded only in finding the middle of the opponent's bat. If he could bowl just that shade faster and spin the ball a little more he would take many more wickets. At the beginning of the season his fielding was brilliant, and although he went in low in the batting order he always looked as if he were capable of getting runs. Kelham's tremendous keenness and pleasant disposition are assets that are bound to stand him in good stead in his future cricket career.
COLLINS. Coming late into the 1st XI through no fault of his own, except perhaps his indispensability to the second team, Collins settled down immediately into a very fine attacking batsman. His strokes are well executed and are made with the confidence which distinguishes the good batsman. Quick off the mark, and always looking for runs, Collins should follow well in the footsteps of his namesake, last year's Cricket Captain, A.A. Collins. His fielding also holds out hope for the future.
TWYMAN. Twyman has not easily taken the path from the Under 15 XI into the lst XI. As reserve wicket-keeper he was sound rather than brilliant, and while able to take fast bowling competently both on leg and off side, he proved to be very uncertain about stumping off slow bowling. As a batsman he showed promise, especially against slow bowling, and it is in this department of the game that he will probably achieve the greatest success if he practises hard.
PACK. Towards the end of the season Pack bore no comparison with the stodgy, very uncertain batsman and fielder that he certainly was at the beginning. Should he maintain and improve upon his newly- found aggressive and hostile attitude to any loose bowling, he should develop into a good opening batsman.
GREENWAY. Greenway has proved to be rather a disappointment to those who extolled his virtues at the beginning of the season. Like Twyman he found the transition from the Under 15 XI to the 1st XI too difficult and his batting, though technically correct, seemed to lack confidence. He must learn to use the forward stroke both offensively and defensively as occasion demands. In the field he is too awkward and slow at present and, needs to practise as often as he can. Next season will, no doubt, give Greenway the opportunity to prove that he really has in him the cricketing ability that his performances in Junior Cricket seemed to indicate.
ALDERMAN. To pass from an opening batsman in the 2nd XI to number eight batsman in the 1st XI is indeed an unenviable task. Alderman did, however, accomplish this transition successfully. A naturally forceful batsman, he specialized in scoring runs when they were most needed. and was capable of adapting his play to almost any circumstances. As a cover point his fielding was superlative.
BRAY. It was perhaps unfortunate that no place could be found for Bray in the opening ranks, for he is a good defensive batsman. He possesses an excellent forward defensive stroke and a defensive shot off his back foot. Considerable net practice at punishing good and bad length bowling should foster in him the aggressive spirit necessary in 1st XI and club cricket where quick scoring is essential. In the field he was usuallv sound and could bowl a medium-slow off-break when occasion demanded.
HoPKINS (2nd XI Captain). On the few occasions he was called upon to perform in the 1st XI, he acquitted himself well. He himself preferred to captain the 2nd XI rather than play in the 1st XI. He batted with vigour, kept wicket very competently, and his captaincy was of a very high level. It is indeed true to say that the lst XI.'s loss was the 2nd Xl.'s gain. .

MASON (Captain). Mason achieved the ambition of all captains since the first ball was bowled in the first cricket match, he led his team through a season undefeated. In a game so beautifully uncertain as cricket such an achievement is, indeed, memorable, and much of the credit for this success undoubtedly belongs to Mason. He was not a brilliant captain, and he was not so knowledgeable in the game of cricket as some of his predecessors have been, but he made no serious mistakes; on the contrary, he sometimes, by an intelligent decision, turned possible defeat into victory. As a wicket keeper he often dazzled us by his brilliance, although he sometimes exasperated us by his carelessness, especially when he felt that he was having an off day. Of his batting, however, the less said the better. It steadily deteriorated as the season progressed, so that any bowler who pitched a good length ball on his leg stump was sure to get him out. Perhaps the cares of captaincy were to blame; perhaps his addiction to the lesser sport of tennis. Whatever the cause of this falling off, his batting was a great disappointment to many of us. However, he need not give up hope. He has all the attributes of a good cricketer, all he needs is plenty of practice at playing good length bowling so that he can make use of the extra inches with which he has been so fortunately endowed. Good luck to him in the future, and may he make many runs in front of the wicket and claim many victims behind it.
H. T. E. M.