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Essex Shield

Tales from the Boundary

Brians & Keiths


I've just noticed... back in the early 1970's Essex had three Brians and three Keiths viz Taylor, Edmeades and Ward AND Fletcher, Boyce and Pont.   All six played in Keith Pont's county debut in 1971 against Notts plus Bruce Francis, three spinners (Hobbs, East, Acfield) and Lever.

Brian Ward was our Boycott, a Chelmsford lad, started playing in spectacles, then (like Boycott) wore contact lenses. Brian rarely rushed – run-getting wise anyway.   He famously played 8 maiden overs in a John Player match which gave Somerset's Brian Langford the unbeatable figures of 8-8-0-0.  For Robin Hobb's view on this performance see ... Doug Insole's view is probably censored.

Brian was an MCC Young Professional, his debut in 1963, in which year he also debuted for Essex Seconds.  His first class and county championship debut was not until 1967 but for six seasons he was a regular first team player, totalling 128 matches, 4,799 at 23.64, with four centuries plus 71 one day matches, 1,469 runs at 22.60, with a century.  He also took 5 wickets at just 13.60!

Brian then went coaching in Argentina and played four times for his new country in ICC matches in 1979, but scoring only 24 runs at 6.00.  Cricket Archive records several matches in Buenos Aires, the last in 1988, when Brian, then 44 years old, scored 82 for Non-Permanent Residents v Permanent Residents.  I remember seeing him at Chelmsford, a year or two after he retired, with a rather lovely senorita.

I'll get round to Keith Pont later.

Andrew Appleby