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Essex Shield

Tales from the Boundary

I Was There...


... when Keith William Robert Fletcher scored 139 not out versus Yorkshire at Chelmsford in August 1972.

Actually (as previously written) I've always remembered it as 147 not out.

Richard Hutton was quoted sometime somewhere as saying it was the best innings he ever saw.

I met Sir Len's son once.  It was at a cricket ground somewhere in Essex.  We were playing in different matches but I spotted his uniquely curious bowling action from a distance - a bit like a double cartwheel of the right arm, while the rest of his body carried on in a straight line.

Anyway, the 'Yorkies' batted first, Boycott scored 121 out of 285 for 6 off 94 overs, with five others getting between 22 and 35; Essex finished 9 without loss at close of play.

(By the way... I'm flicking back and forth to the scorecard while typing this... I'm no Memory Man).

Next day, WE scored 3 fewer runs off 9.2 fewer overs i.e. 282 for 7 off 84.4.

Yorkshire were 63 without loss at close of play.

Final day and Boycott goes for 86.  Next highest score is John Hampshire's 43.  Yorkshire declare at 239 for 5 off 78 i.e. just over 3 runs per over.

(Sir Geoffrey was Yorkshire captain at the time and maybe felt that every match was played for his benefit and to improve his average).

SO... the target is 243... and WE got 'em... 246 in fact... in 50 overs i.e. nearly 5 runs per over!

This against Old, Nicholson, Bore and Hutton, also Christopher Craven Clifford, whose two overs went for 17.

Mind, we were 37 for 3 before ‘Boycey’ joined Fletcher and took the score to 151.  Keith Boyce scored 46 so he was outscored, which took some doing.  Equally, Keith Pont scored 38 out of the last 95, which further illustrates the captain's dominance.

(I've just noticed... have you?  Yorkshire were ‘out-Keithed’).

I can't remember any particular shots in the 139 or the 246 BUT we clapped and cheered every one.

Actually, I do remember one: Old to Fletcher and ball lobbed to deep mid off, where ‘Boycs’ caught it and stood bemused while we ran two on the no ball!  Geoffrey clearly did not hear the call above the noise of the crowd.

The trip back to Elmstead Market in Brian Greenhalgh's Cortina took no time at all!

Andrew Appleby