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Essex Shield

Tales from the Boundary

Cricket From a Distance


After twenty-two years living around Colchester I spread my wings.  Well, spent a few months in Fareham, where I played with Johnny Whitehead, whose proud boast was that he kept Fred Trueman out of the Yorkshire team for a while.   I then moved on to the Isle of Wight, playing for Ventnor, which produced Johnny Briggs (Hampshire and Sussex) and Adam Hose (Hampshire, Somerset and Warwickshire) and played with Adam's father, Jeff, before crossing the Solent again and playing for Lymington.   My last match of cricket was for Lymington against Ventnor on the delightful Steephill ground, which is shaped like a saucer and had a nice slow pitch with a low bounce.   My last scoring shot was a straight drive off Jeff Hose, which added to three sixes made my forty probably the best I ever batted.

Work and family then got in the way of cricket, playing or watching, allied to a further move to Devon.  One can hardly get further from Essex but I followed the scores and revelled in the successes of the first and subsequent Championship and Trophy wins.   So I missed out on the glory years of Gooch, Hussein, Foster and Cook but was pleased to see the successes of Graham Napier, who, like me, went to the Gilberd School in Colchester, though he went to the new one, not the one on North Hill.

After twenty years in Devon I moved to Newmarket and, after twenty years residency, had a spare day to go to Chelmsford.  Whereas previously I had 'trained' and walked to the ground, arriving in a car proved more difficult but I managed to find a parking spot after a while.  The first thing that struck me was all the seats AND on terraces.  The second was that the vast majority of the crowd were old men.   The realisation slowly struck me that I was one of those old men!

Andrew Appleby