Tales from the Boundary
An Unpromising Debut
Like many a cricket debut, my first game for Colchester & East Essex (Seconds) arose through the 'player short' selection process. Up until then my only cricket outside of school games was for Elmstead Market. However, in 1970 the family moved to Great Horkesley, which happened to be where my school cricket captain, Terry Barton, lived. Terry had been playing for C & EE for a couple of years. Hence I came to be called upon to play on the Castle Park.
We bowled first. The opening bowler I recall was a Nick Rew. I was involved from the very first over ie. I dropped a sitter at mid-on. A long afternoon appeared in prospect. It passed in a haze but I recall bowling 5 overs for 30 runs. The chances of playing again appeared remote.
I think I was down to bat at 10. When the sixth wicket fell I went to pad up and suddenly realised that everyone had their own gear. At Elmstead Market we boasted three or four pairs of pads, a similar number of bats and gloves, the latter being the green spiked variety. I foraged in the Colchester lockers and found some pads, one of which seemed to have a large blackberry jam stain. No one seemed keen to lend me a bat but someone eventually relented. I don't think I had to use it as we batted a draw.
Anyway, I thought "Well, that's that. I'm a one match wonder". To my surprise I was called upon the next week and not as a fill in but selected! In the week between I bought bat, pad, gloves AND box, which lasted for the next six years and could have been advertised as 'little used'.