At the beginning of the season the 1st XI were in the unfortunate position of having lost over half of last year's regular players. The standard that the side would reach, therefore, was not expected to be very high. Though this was indeed the case, the team performed much better than was expected, and although rain during Cricket Week deprived the 1st XI of their hardest matches, the eventual record of the side was quite a creditable one, especially in view of the fact that all but two of the games were played away from home.
In spite of the loss of Cricket Week, the season was an enjoyable one, and an exciting finish occurred in several games, particularly memorable being those against Palmer's, which the School lost with only four minutes of playing time remaining; West Essex Cricket Club, which the School won by one wicket off the last ball of the match; and Dagenham, in which the School just failed to force a win in the last over of the match.
At the beginning of the season the 1st XI had two very great weaknesses, very poor fielding, and unreliable batting. As the season progressed the fielding improved somewhat until the ground fielding had reached quite a high standard, but throughout the season the fielding close to the wicket was very poor and this resulted in several easy chances being missed. The batting, unfortunately, did not improve during the season to any great extent, and this resulted in the 1st XI scoring 100 runs on only one occasion.
By far the side's strongest asset was the bowling, which was always accurate and aggressive, and was responsible for the opposition reaching 100 runs on only three occasions.
Finally, the thanks of myself and the team are due to all those who gave the team their valuable help and support during the season; to the mothers who came along on Saturdays to provide teas for the teams; to Mr. Waterman and his assistant; to Girard for his scoring throughout the greater part of the season; and to those members of Staff who umpired the School's matches,
J. R. COOKE (Vice-Captain). This season Cooke's batting improved considerably. This was due in part to the fact that this year he opened the batting, thus giving him more time to get settled and make runs. He is ideally suited for the job of opening batsman, for although he has not a large range of attacking shots, his defence is very sound and in this respect it is impossible to fault him. When he has developed his attacking shots more fully, his batting will be of a high standard. Cooke's best innings during the season was undoubtedly that against Parmiter's, in which he saved the School's batting from a collapse, scoring 20 (not out) of a total of 42 for 7.
Cooke's fielding during the season was disappointing, for his outfielding was handicapped by a weak throw, and his fielding close to the wicket suffered from several unaccountable lapses.
When, with his customary determination, he has remedied his faults it is possible that he will become a cricketer of considerable ability.
L. BLACK. This year Black was given more opportunities than in previous seasons, particularly in regard to his bowling, and he had undoubtedly his best season for the School to date.
It became evident during the season that Black's batting had improved to some extent from the technical point of view. His main fault, however, does not lie in his technique, but in his inability to pick out the right ball to hit.
His bowling improved considerably during the season and he impressed, especially during the latter part of the season, with his speed and control. If he can learn next year to move the ball about more, both in the air and off the pitch, it is almost certain that he will take a great number of wickets.
His outfielding was quite good, as he has a powerful throw, but close to the wicket his concentration often was lacking and this resulted in his dropping several catches,
M. A. McCOLGAN. Last year McColgan was brought into the side as a hitter, a job which he did very well. This year, however, he was required to temper down his style somewhat in favour of a sounder type of play. He found difficulty in doing this during the early part of the season, apparently not possessing enough confidence to enable him to play long innings, but after the game against Chingford he seemed to realize that he could both stay in and get runs. His main asset as a batsman is a very long reach, so that when he played forward the bowler found it practically impossible to both pass the bat. and hit the wicket. During the season he also developed considerable powers of concentration. These attributes, together with his natural ability to pick out and punish the loose ball, made McColgan's batting a great asset to the side.
In the field McColgan was always very keen and his outfielding was of quite a high standard.
N, PRITCHARD. Pritchard was brought in at the beginning of the season in order to fill the place of the spin bowler in the side, and was completely new to 1st XI cricket.
Pritchard has very big hands and this enabled him to spin the ball without any undue loss of accuracy. He also bowls at such a pace that a batsman who is reluctant to make strokes is constantly in trouble against him. This is borne out by his remarkable analysis against Central Foundation of 15 overs, 14 maidens, 1 run, 4 wickets.
Unfortunately, however, Pritchard often tends to bowl too fast, and this results in his bowling down the leg side, thus reducing his efficiency and causing considerable trouble to the wicket-keeper. On occasions Pritchard bowled very well indeed for the School, often, especially against the stronger side, managing to get valuable wickets when they were most needed. At all times, however, his bowling was very steady. If he can manage to vary his pace and flight more, Pritchard's bowling will became very good indeed.
His fielding was rather disappointing, as his concentration seemed to lapse very easily. His catching was reasonably safe, but he was slow both to try for any 'half-chances' which came his way and to turn and chase the ball.
B. SAVILL. After a successful season last year in which he scored nearly 200 runs, Savill's batting fell away badly this year and he managed to score only about one-third of that total.
Most of Savill's trouble in regard to his batting springs from a faulty swing of the bat, as he seldom swings the bat straight, but invariably swings it towards the leg side. This resulted in his constantly playing across the line of flight of the ball, especially on the leg stump, so that he very seldom connected effectively.
Technically, Savill is most accomplished. He has a good range of strokes on the off side, but unless he can learn to eradicate his one major fault completely he will never look completely at ease at the wicket.
This year, for the first time, Savill occasionally bowled for the team, and he improved with his speed and enthusiasm.
Savill's fielding, I am afraid, was again unimpressive, as he was both very slow to turn and chase the ball and often seemed to lack concentration.
D. SOUTHGATE. Brought into the team after a few games at the beginning of the season, Southgate was another player new to 1st XI cricket.
At first Southgate had difficulty in adjusting his batting to the level of the 1st XI, and this, together with his extreme nervousness at the crease, resulted in his having a run of low scores.
As the season progressed, however, Southgate increased in confidence and at the end of the season was batting very well indeed; his innings against the West Essex C.C. XI was particularly good.
Southgate has no large range of strokes, but he is very sound and is not afraid to play what strokes he does possess.
Southgate was undoubtedly the best fielder in the 1st XI, and he was worth his place for his fielding alone. He excelled at cover-point and his excellent stops and good returns to the wicket-keeper both saved many runs and ran out many batsmen. On several occasions, in spite of being square-on to the wicket and being able to see only one stump. Southgate ran out batsmen by hitting the wicket with his throw.
J. WHELLAMS. This year, Whellams, who was another new player in the 1st XI, was one of the keenest members of the side.
His batting was remarkably inconsistent throughout the season, for he either played a very good innings or he was out straight away. Fortunately for the team, on the occasions he played well he rescued the side from some extremely awkward predicaments. His batting style is rather unorthodox and relies largely on his quickness of eye and ball sense. Most of his play is off the back foot, his defence consisting largely of a back defensive jab and his attacking strokes of cuts and deflections. If Whellams can learn to use his feet more and play more off the front foot, his batting will become very sound.
In the field he was always very keen and his fielding was generally very sound.
D. WILSON. Although Wilson was not entirely new to the 1st XI, it was his first season as the team's regular wicketkeeper.
He had, so to speak, a baptism of fire in the team's early games as the fielding was poor and the throwing-in was never where it ought to be: over the top of the stumps. During this period he acquitted himself extremely well, and in addition conceded only four byes in the first three games.
Wilson's work consisted mainly of keeping to the faster bowlers throughout the season, and he did this very well in general. When he did have to stand up he had to contend with bowling of quicker pace than that of the usual slow bowler and which tended to go sometimes down the leg side. He had difficulty in coping with this, and although he held a number of catches standing up, several stumping chances were missed.
Whenever Wilson batted this year it was obvious that his technique was quite good, but his reactions were slow.
In both his wicket-keeping and batting, Wilson, in order to improve, must try to quicken up his reactions. This appears to be the main obstacle to any real progress at the moment.
J. WILSON. In this, his first full season in the 1st XI, Wilson has been most successful. His batting this year has been good, especially at the beginning of the season, when he played most admirably, and it is very difficult to criticise him on this facet of his play. His best innings, undoubtedly, was at Stratford, here he was put in a position of considerable responsibility and responded very well.
His bowling throughout the season was always steady, and from time to time he bowled very well indeed. His first over, however, was generally erratic, and he was fortunate that not many batsmen took advantage of this.
Wilson's fielding was generally adequate, but his throwing was sometimes erratic.
If he continues at his present rate of progress, Wilson will undoubtedly be a cricketer of considerable ability.
P.K.H. BROWN (Captain). In a year by no means rich in talent the School was indeed fortunate in having, as Captain of Cricket, a player of Brown's calibre and experience. He carried a heavy burden as opening batsman and opening bowler, and some idea of his success may be gained by studying the averages at the end of this report. Such a double responsibility is greater than any captain should be expected to bear, and although it would not be true to say that Brown's, bowling suffered, it is certain that he would have scored many more runs if he had not gone to the wicket knowing that so much depended on him. Representative honours came to Brown throughout his School career. In the Middle School he was chosen for Essex and London, in his last year he played for Essex Grammar Schools' XI, and during the Summer holidays he was capped for the Young Gentlemen of Essex. For several seasons he has played for Chingford C.C. and he can look forward with confidence into the future to many happy cricketing years.