ECS Logo

The Essex Cricket Society

Essex Shield

Tales from the Boundary

60's and 70's


I first became interested (or aware) of Test and first class cricket in 1966, my previous cricket knowledge being gleaned from the village club.

Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith knocking six bells out of the England batsmen was enough to make anyone sit up and take note.

I can't even say that I was aware of ECCC at the time but that quickly changed and within a couple of years I was an addict.  The scores in the paper became a daily priority and I subscribed to Cricket Monthly and an Australian monthly AND became an ECCC junior member.  I even sold discount tickets for juniors at school.

Colchester hosted two county matches each year, sometimes a Sunday League match  A trip to Chelmsford by train became a regular occurence, aided by my spending two years at the Mid Essex Tech.

Perhaps what made cricket especially interesting at this time was the influx of foreigners, especially Richards, Procter and Sobers (and Lee Irvine, later Bruce Francis and others at Essex).

I do believe that the West Indies, especially, benefitted from playing county cricket and even Greg Chappell, Martin Crowe and others furthered their education on the county circuit.  England benefitted too.

P. B. Wight (Guyanese of Scottish/Portuguese parents) who joined Somerset in 1953 (but 54 full time) wrote that he was surprised at the low standard of English cricket.  The 50's seems to have been a defensive era, although they were playing on uncovered pitches.

'Brighter Cricketer' was introduced in the 60's but was more a theory than a reality, despite the knock out competitions.  160 to 200 was considered par for 40 overs of Sunday League.  The occasional rumblings one might hear are possibly old players turning in their graves at some of the absurd scores of today.  Reverse sweeps and ramps would be more associated with road sweeping and road works.

The main thing though is that we enjoyed the cricket in the 60's and 70's, as no doubt folk did in decades before and since.  Yes we moaned but life isn't much without a good moan now and then.

Andrew Appleby

Editors Note: The author subsequently sent this link to a recent 'The Paddock and the Pavilion' podcast of an interview with John Maynard -  (opens in a new browser window).