Tales from the Boundary
Keith Boyce personified Essex in the 1960's and 1970's... enthusiastic, exuberant, exciting... and other superlatives, not all starting with e... Spotted as a bowling prospect by Trevor Bailey, possibly anticipating his own retirement, his batting was a bonus.
Keith preceded the foreign invasion of 1968 and was required to qualify for a couple of years, playing for Essex Seconds in 1965/66 and a lot of matches for the International Cavaliers as well. His Essex debut against Cambridge University in 1966 was spectacular... 0 and 6 but 9 for 61 and 4 for 47. Another match against CU in 1967 preceded eleven seasons of county cricket. He also played for the West Indies for six years, with a three Test return of 19 wickets at 15.47 in England in 1973 being the highlight.
‘Boycie’ was tall, almost gangling but a well co-ordinated athlete. He was, perhaps, a poor man's Gary Sobers and was undoubtedly cheaper, which suited Essex's finances. In 211 matches for Essex he took 662 wickets at 23.72, with 30 5's and 6 10's and scored 6,848 runs at 23.72, with 3 centuries plus 181 catches.
A fine fielder in any position, he could catch and throw with the best. His batting was never dull. He had a penchant for the legside boundary, not infrequently putting the ball in the river at Chelmsford. Famously he went in to bat when Essex were seeking to play out time. He scored a six and returned to the pavilion. Asked to explain his tactics he replied that he thought time could be 'wasted' while the ball was being found!