1966 and 1967 – Southend and District Knock-Out Competition

The Southend and District Knock-out Competition was a highly popular event amongst the area’s cricket clubs, as the following press cutting from the Southend Pictorial dated 7th April 1966 shows.  The competition was played on a 15 eight-ball overs per innings basis, with the Association at one time charging each team an entry fee of 35 shillings and, in return, clubs were provided wth a “reasonable ball” for each match; a new ball was provided for the semi-finals; for the final, a new ball was provided for each innings.   A match fee of eleven shillings per team was also charged to cover both umpires’ expenses.  (Note: When Britain’s currency was decimalised in February 1971, a shilling was equal to 5 pence.)

Southend District KO Cup draw, 1966

The competition gained even more publicity the following year, when, in 1967, the Hadleigh and Thundersley CC captain, John Jarvis, selected Essex CCC first eleven captain Brian Taylor to play in a second round match at the Victory Sports Ground.   Hadleigh’s opponents were none too pleased.  Writing a sports editorial column for his Southend Standard, Alf Smirk asked the question: “Was the Hadleigh skipper right to play County captain Brian Taylor last week?  This was the burning question being asked, not only by spectators of neutral allegiance, but also by other players, among them some of the Hadleigh team”. 

Smirk declared that skipper Jarvis was the only person who could give the answer.  “It’s simple”, Jarvis was quoted as saying.  He went on: “Brian is a fully paid up playing member of Hadleigh Cricket Club.  He plays eight or nine matches for us every season, which is a lot more than some of the guests other teams in the competition invite to play for them. I rated (the game on) Wednesday (to be) a strong challenge to us and was not going to take them lightly.  I was pushed for players and fully intended to play my strongest side and Brian, being available, was incuded in that strongest team.  I meant to win the game”.

So, there you have it.  But John Jarvis was not finished yet.  Fanning the flames, Jarvis continued: “What’s more, Brian is available for the next round against Trojans “B” or Rayleigh Mount at Blenheim (Park) next Tuesday  and I have every intention of asking him (Brian Taylor) to play again”.  Which left our local reporter Mr. Smirk inviting the views of local clubs and players.  It is not clear whether there were any formal complaints to the competition secretary, and if so, what became of them.  The competition secretary was….John Jarvis!

With acknowledgements to Ken Evens and also to the “Southend Standard” and “Southend Pictorial”.

Do you have any recollections of the Southend and District Knock-Out Competition?  Ideally, we would like to record the finals and achievements over the years.  We would be delighted to hear from local journalists who covered the event, plus local cricketers of the time, especially Brian Taylor and John Jarvis!  Any contributions that can be provided would be greatly appreciated, please contact Cliff Cansdale, the Secretary of the SEDCB via email by clicking here.