1953 – Southend Association at Hadleigh: Match Report

Hadleigh and Thundersley 190-5 dec
Southend Cricket Association 133-7

played Sunday 16th August 1953 – match drawn

Hadleigh Flag Raising CeremonyEngland Test cricketer Trevor Bailey was given a rousing reception by over 1,000 people at the John H. Burrows Memorial Ground, Hadleigh, on Sunday, when he opened Hadleigh and Thundersley’s new pavilion-cum-clubhouse. After performing the opening ceremony and the hoisting of the club flag on the pavilion’s flag pole, Bailey opened Southend Cricket Association eleven’s innings.

The Association team, drawn from clubs in Southend and district, were playing Hadleigh as a grand opening game. The pavilion was built by voluntary labour by club members at a cost of only £850, although the building, which has two dressing rooms with showers and other amenities, a kitchen, automatic scoreboard, balcony and a large room upstairs to be used as a club room, is now valued at about £1,500.

The club were helped financially by a grant from Benfleet Council, on whose ground the pavilion has been built. Since March of this year (1953), the club has raised £200 for their pavilion fund, while Sunday’s game raised nearly a further £100. A collection on the ground amounted to £21. Trevor Bailey, in opening the pavilion, said he thought it to be one of the finest club pavilions in the County. “It is spacious, modern and well designed and is far better than many pavilions on county grounds, where some of the dressing rooms are so small that only one person can change at a time”, he said. He stated that such a fine club were lucky to have such a fine pavilion.

“…Played for Westcliff when 11…”

Bailey reminded his enthusiastic listeners that he himself was, for many years, a keen club cricketer – his club being Westcliff. “In fact, I can say that I must have been one of the youngest-ever club cricketers. I made my first appearance for Westcliff – in their “B” team – at the age of eleven. “It was at the Victory Sports Ground, and I still remember the thrill it gave me. I was however, rather annoyed when the opposition team bowled underarm to me.” Trevor Bailey was introduced by Mr. N. Hambridge (Hadleigh Club Chairman), who later handed the key of the pavilion to Coun. E. Jeanes (Chairman of the Benfleet Council Recreation Grounds Committee).

“…Bailey opened innings…”

Advert for Hadleigh pavilion opening, 1953

After the opening ceremony, Trevor Bailey, amid big cheers from the crowd, opened the Association XI’s innings with the captain of Leigh CC, Edgar Ward. He had been at the wicket nearly half an hour before Hadleigh had him out. He was brilliantly caught in the slips by Richie Shepherd after making 18 runs. These runs were not counted in the Association’s score, but his knock had satisfied the spectators, who wanted to see their test hero in action. This history-making day for Hadleigh and Thundersley CC nearly had its crowning glory – Hadleigh almost beat the strong Association XI. Had the opening ceremony not lasted longer than anticipated, which meant Hadleigh had nearly half an hour’s less time to get their visitors out, they would have brought off a fine victory. As it was, the Hadleigh side batted first and made 190 for 5 declared and the Association were 133 for 7 at the close.

There was quite a spectacular opening to the match. Hadleigh’s regular openers, Norman Smith and Bob Watson, had to contend with a variety of fast bowling more vicious than they had met before. In 45 minutes the Association had used five fast bowlers who each sprang into the attack with a new burst of energy. The Southchurch demon, Jacky Brown, with a run that took him more than halfway to the boundary, was the most hostile of the set. One exceptionally fast and short ball from Brown missed Norman Smith’s neck by only inches, bounced straight over the wicketkeeper’s head and nearly had the distiction of going for six byes. It fell only a few feet short of the boundary line.

It was not surprising that with such an energetic young attack runs came slowly. The batsmen displayed skill in keeping their wickets intact, although both should have lost their wickets to Brown. Brown’s speed beat first Watson and then Smith, but similarly the speed at which the ball snicked the bat’s edge, deceived the slip fielders and they were not able to hold the catches.

“…Only 16 runs in 50 minutes…”

Cricketers at Hadleigh and Thundersley CC, August 1953The first 50 minutes brought only 16 runs and saw the departure of Smith. Many of the visiting spectators had heard a lot about this batsman, who has already 1,400 runs to his credit this season, but he only half-played a ball from Blott, played it on to his foot and it rebounded on to the wicket. He had made only four, but had helped kill the sting of the Association’s attack. Before the first hour’s play was out, Association skipper McLellan, of Westcliff, had used seven bowlers – latterly spin bowlers. Their advent brought for the first time a succession of runs. Watson and the new batsman, Len Ballard, attacked the bowling and the score began to move rapidly. In the next 20 minutes, 50 runs were registered and the batsmen were so confident that they still continued to attack when the fast bowlers returned. They soon hit them off their length and, from now until tea, “Mac” used all eight bowlers for short, quick spells in trying to keep the runs down. Ballard was particularly aggressive and in 55 minutes had reached his 50 out of the last 78 runs hit. He took his score from the thirties to the forties with one scoring hit off Blott that went out of the ground and bounced on the other side of the road adjoining the ground.

The partnership soon reached 100, made in an hour, but two overs later, Ballard was magnificently stumped by Slater, of Old Westcliffians. His 57 in 65 minutes included nine fours and a six. Watson scored 17 of the next 18 runs before Geoff Byford, given a “life” on the first ball he received, was superbly caught by Croxton (Old Westcliffians) at square-leg. From now on it was all Watson, aided in short stands by R. Homewood, H. Ballard and J. Scrivenor. Ten minutes before tea, with Hadleigh’s score at 183 for 4, Watson fell to another brilliant catch by Croxton at square-leg. He had made 77 in just over two hours. The innings included 13 fours. At tea, Hadleigh declared at 190 for 5. Blott was the best bowler with the figures of 3-43.

“…Captain soon out…”

After Bailey’s exhibition innings, G. McClellan joined Edgar Ward, but with the score at 23 the Association’s skipper was caught by Barnes off Byford for six. R. Holland stayed to make only nine, but after this early set-back the Association were revived by a nice partnership by young Alan Carradus (Old Southendian) and Ward. Hadleigh’s bowlers were accurate without being aggressive and several times had these two batsmen floundering. Hadleigh lost their grip on the game when Ward was dropped from a skier by Richie Shepherd, who earlier had brought off one of the finest slip catches possible to dismiss Trevor Bailey.

This proved disastrous, for after Carradus had left with the score at 80, Ward was the only batsman to trouble Hadleigh for long. They sent back C. G. Pearce (Westcliff) for a duck, Croxton for six, Brown for another duck, but allowed Ward to go on and make 58 before he was run out. The Association’s score was now 100 for six with 30 minutes left for play, and although Hadleigh threw everything into the attack, the Association played cautiously to be 133 for seven at the close.

“…100 wickets for Ballard…”

When Len Ballard had Slater caught for 33, which was the Association’s seventh wicket to fall, the bowler became the second Hadleigh player this season to take 100 wickets. Len is also a strong candidate for the double as he is already in his 800s. Hadleigh did not beat the Association as a climax to their big day, but Len getting his 100th wicket was a good substitute.

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Southend Standard (editions of 13th and 20th August 1953)
Ken Evens (South Essex District Cricket Board)
Ron Curtis (Hadleigh and Thundersley CC)