Tales from the Archive

Past cricketing life and first memories at SWCC - 02/01/2021

An Article by long-standing South Weald CC member, Howard Imbert

1989 Season

I joined South Weald in 1989 after playing at Bentley CC for eleven seasons but having previously been on annual Norfolk summer tours with South Weald since 1986 playing various teams in to include Happisburgh, Bradfield, Ingham as well as Lowestoft and Bures.

I still remember Chris Harries appearing in the Bentley pavilion one Saturday evening the weekend before the tour was due to start on a recruitment drive.

Bentley had joined the T Rippon Mid Essex League in 1982 which was two years before South Weald joined. Bentley had won Division 1 in their first year of league cricket but were relegated in 1983, promoted in 1984 then relegated in 1985.

South Weald were placed in Division 4 on joining the league in 1984 as more village teams voted to play league cricket. By the time I arrived the club had success to the point they were competing in Division 2 when I decided to move from Coxtie Green Road to Sandpit Lane. Bentley had finished about halfway up the table in Division 1 and I had a decent season scoring about 850 runs and usually bowling first change. In those days most of the Saturday team played on Sundays.

Denis Fenton invited me to play at South Weald at the start of the 1989 season after I had decided I no longer wanted to play at Bentley. In those days a group of South Weald players used to meet in Stock after team selection on a Monday evening. As well as Denis others included Richard Stroud and Roger Davies who was picked up en-route from his parent’s house in Hutton where my parents also lived. Denis used to drive us in his silver Ford Orion to Stock dropping us all back home on his way to his parent’s house in Harold Park. Bit of a round trip but he liked driving.

Denis captained the Saturday 1st XI and Richard the Sunday 1st XI as we had four teams each weekend in those days. My first game was away at South Woodham Ferrers in the 1st XI although I was initially selected to play in the 2nd XI. A late drop out resulted in me playing in the 1st XI. From memory we bowled SWF out for about 140 as Gary Fisher took 7 wickets and I batted at 8 and didn’t get a bowl which was a strange feeling as I’d batted in the top four at Bentley and usually bowled first change. For quite a number of years new players had to wait for their chance if regulars were on holiday or unavailable. We didn’t reach our target, however, I top scored with 23 on an interesting pitch. Over the next 30 years I never managed many runs at Saltcoats Park. I remember getting bowled and being told by our veteran left arm bowler Harry Weston,who was batting at 11, that I should have hung around a bit longer and we would have won.

We batted deep with Richard (Stroud) and Denis (Fenton) opening the batting, Gary (Fisher) batting three, Clive Shaw at four, Mark Copsey at five or six with me, Pat (Stroud), Jon (Kirby) and Chris (Gray) in the late middle order. Pete Richardson was still in the side and also batted in the middle after many years opening the batting and allegedly hitting a six over the church at Chignal Smealey on his way to scoring 130. I’d never seen Pete score many runs against Bentley but he became a legend when I joined Weald usually in the bar after the game where he excelled.

We ended up runners up that season to Ingatestone who we beat in a low scoring game playing away. I think we scored 60 and they got 40. Only two of our batsmen scored more than two runs and we only used two bowlers, Chris Gray and Jon Kirby. Mark Copsey scored 40 and was well supported by Pat Stroud who scored 20.

South Weald Presidents Day 1992

South Weald President's Day 90s

Continued Article - Years 1990 to 2000

1990 saw us play in Division 1 where we remained until 1991 when we were promoted as Champions after winning our final game by one run at home against Hockley. There is still a photo in the bar from after the final game. The line up was Mark Copsey, Richard Stroud, Gary Fisher, Clive Shaw, Danny Buttleman, Howard Imbert, Pete Richardson, Will Gibbs, James Stroud, Chris Gray and Harry Weston. Bill Hardy umpired and Dave Harries was also in the picture. Richard Stroud was captain which continued for the following season.

We were promoted to the Premier Division in 1992 where we stayed until 1995 when we were relegated. The team had changed significantly over that period and although we finished runners up to Bentley in 1996 we were relegated in 1997 and had to wait until 2000 until we won Division 1 as Champions.

1999 was the beginning of the following years winning campaign as Rick Ankers joined the club after being encouraged to join South Weald by Bob Stroud who lived in the same road with his future in laws Peter and Lesley O’Dowd. Gary Fisher also returned to the club in 1999 after playing for Old Brentwoods and Shenfield in the Essex League. Perry Reeves joined as an opening bowler from Great Burstead having also played rugby with Pat Stroud at Old Brentwoods.

I started an opening batting partnership with Rick in 1999 who had clearly played at a higher level. During the 2000 season four players scored most if the runs with Rick exceeding 750, myself 650, Gary 600 and Danny Cutts 400. A personal highlight was an opening partnership of 235 versus Galleywood with Danny covering for Rick who was late travelling down from Manchester. Danny scored 125 and I scored my maiden league ton finishing 100 not out. Other regulars that season were James Stroud, Ian Marshall, Denis Fenton, Andrew Stroud, Adrian Oldershaw, Perry Reeves and Chris Gray. Rick Ankers captained the side.

Howard Imbert

South Weald Cricket Club Socials

SWCC 1st XI - final game of the 1991 season v Hockley