The 1st XI had a pretty successful season:
Played 40 Won 21 Lost 10 Drew 9
Most of the matches were low-scoring affairs (as was often the case in club cricket in the 1960s). The 1st XI exceeded 100 on only 14 occasions. Even more remarkable was the fact that in only 5 of those occasions did they pass 110, with the highest total being 133.
By contrast, the 2nd XI had a miserable season:
Played 24 Won 4 Lost 19 Drew 1 Abandoned 1
* * *
Individual performances during the season make for interesting reading, with some of the best analysis in the club's history. Captain
Don Pegler topped the bowling averages for the 1st XI, taking a total of 115 wickets at 7.30 apiece. But if Don's season was impressive, just consider that of Bob Prickett. In taking 48 wickets (he tended to play only on Sunday) 80% of his victims were either bowled or lbw - and at an astonishing average of 5.60. Now any bowler, be he fast or slow, will tell you just how good that is. Not only was Bob one of the quickest bowlers in the club's history, he was arguably the most accurate. Star performer in the 2nd XI, was Albert Braybrook who took 39 wickets at 10.10 apiece.
Of the batsman, the pick of the 1st XI was
Major Patrick Pooler-Williams, who scored a total of 567 runs at an average of 15.80 as well as making the highest score of 52. Mick Miller topped the batting for the 2nd XI with a total runs of 182 runs at an average of 14.00 (and a highest score of 63). Only 5 x 50s were made throughout the entire season out of a total of 65 matches, and the highest score of 64 was made by Les Perry for the 1st XI against Noak Hill.
Major Patrick Pooler-Williams
Most runs in 1960
First match, first win
The club played its first match on 30th April 1960. South Ockendon Hospital were the 1st XI's opponents and, taking first knock, we could muster only 52 with Greg Arendse top-scoring with 17. That proved a big enough total for our bowlers, who dismissed SOH for a mere 25 to make way for a 'beer match' (this traditionally followed early-finish matches where the losing team paid for the first round of drinks in the pub). At the time, the Hospital was one of the largest psychiatric institutions in England.
The first 'Behus Collapse'
The 2nd XI first took the field on Sunday 1st May. Their opponents were London Graving Dock CC who batted first and posted 103 for 5 declared. In reply, and at 80 for 3, we soon had victory in our sights but we then proceeded to lose 7 wickets for 10 runs to be all out for 90! Thus came into being the famous 'Belhus Collapse' that was to be an all-too-often occurrence in the years ahead.
Vic Rampling 7 for 19
In the match against Old Frasonians at Central Park, Dagenham (not the most predictable of wickets), the 1st XI thanked Vic Rampling for dismissing OF for 62 with his 7 for 19, of which 6 were clean-bowled.. Mind you, it took us all of 29 overs to knock off the runs - and we managed to lose 6 wickets in the process.
Bob Prickett again
Our first encounter with Chadwell St Mary was on 22nd May. Bob Prickett again ripped through the opposition in taking 8 for 32 off 16 overs, conceding just 1 boundary - a 6 by Ron Fogg who made 45 of the Chadwell total of 89 for 11 (12-a-side matches were common in those days) in 36 overs. It took our 1st XI batsmen 32 overs to crawl to 51 for 7 and the game ended in a pretty boring draw.
Lost 7 wickets chasing 29
Our 1st XI dismissed Romford Casuals for 29 (another 12-a-side game) in the last fixture of May, with Bob Prickett bagging 7 for 13 off 12 overs, conceding just 1 boundary yet again. But, amazingly, it took us 17 overs and the loss of 7 wickets to secure victory, and to carve what was to become another Belhus bugbear - a difficulty in chasing down low scores.
The first 50
Continuing from where he left off the previous week, Bob Prickett took a wicket with the first ball of the match against Beltonians at Blackshots Playing Fields and finished with 6 for 49 in dismissing the opposition for 89. Oh this occasion, and for a change, we exercised a bit of discipline in our batting and won by 9 wickets (another 12-a-side game) thanks to 51 from Pat Pooler-Williams (10 x 4s) who scored the club's first half-century.
Don Pegler 8 for 18
It had been a quiet start to the season for Don Pegler who had been picking up wickets here and there, and had been overshadowed by the heroics of Bob Prickett. In the game against Stork (the margarine factory) on 11th June, our 1st XI batted first and scored 101 off 44 overs. And then Don displayed his true match-winning ability and dazzled Stork with his swing-bowling, returning figures of 8 for 18 to roll them over for 30. Five Stork batsmen made ducks.
Don Pegler (1966)
Most wickets in 1960
6 Belhus batsmen were run out
Against Thames Board Mills on 21 June, our 1st XI notched up a total of 109 after 6 of our batsmen were run out. From the scorebook, it appears that Bob Brooks was the batsman 'at the other end' for 3 of those run outs, but it would be quite wrong, of course, to make any accusations! Interestingly, Derek Etchells played for TBM on that day - and 31 years later Derek joined the Belhus tour party on its second visit to Barbados in 1991. We dismissed TBM for 31 as Bob Prickett took 8 for 39, clean-bowling the first five batsmen.
Pegler 7 for 6
When the Tilbury CC opening bowler Myers took 6 for 27 in dismissing the 1st XI for 82 on 10th July, he must have thought that an easy win was a formality. But Mr Myers probably wasn't aware that Don Pegler was in sparkling form and he tore through the Tilbury batsman in taking 7 for 6 (clean-bowling 6) in 9 overs. We bowled them out for 51 and won comfortably by 31 runs.
George Dow 8 for 19
Stork CC probably weren't looking forward to facing Don Pegler again after he had single-handedly destroyed them a few weeks earlier. But it wasn't Don who did the damage on this occasion. Rather, it was the engaging George Dow whose medium-pacers earned him 8 wickets for 19 runs as we dismissed Stork for 71. After too many cakes at tea (Stork had a reputation for fine teas) we again struggled to reach a low target, taking a painful 35 overs for the loss of 9 wickets to squeeze over the finishing line.
8 for 19 v Stork CC
On 17th July against the 2nd XI, Upminster racked up 183 for 6 - a big score in those days. In reply, and acknowledging that we wouldn't get anywhere near their total, we displayed our forward and backward defensive skills right up until stumps were drawn at 86 for 4 - and after they had bowled 47 overs at us (24 maidens). Phew!
15 wickets fall for 50 runs
In what was always a keenly fought local derby, the 1st XI match against Aveley at Belhus Park on 13th August saw Pat Pooler-Williams take 6 for 4 off 8 overs as local rivals Aveley collapsed to 23 all out. But surprise, surprise, we made hard of work of the chase, and lost 5 wickets before George Dow hit the winning 4 and we finished at 27 for 5 (after 18 overs). A total of 15 wickets fell on that day for 50 runs from 35 overs. And of the 18 batsmen who strode to the crease, not one reached double figures.
Brooks 7 for 13 - but finishes on the losing side!
The 2nd XI visited Bardswell in Brentwood on 31st July. Bob Brooks put on a great show in taking 7 for 13 off 10 overs (including 3 wickets in one over) leaving our batsman a modest 76 runs to chase. But guess what? We fell short. At one stage Bardswell were 40 for 4 and Bob must have thought that his spell was a match-winning one. But then came the Belhus Collapse' - 6 wickets falling for 21 runs - and we were all out for 61. Pathetic.
Highest score was 8 not out
Another dismal batting performance saw our 2nd XI bowled out for 26 by Ardleigh Green on 6th August. But a spirited fight back saw us take 7 AG wickets (Albert Braybrook took 5 for 9) before they reached their target with No. 9 batsman R. Heron being the day's top-scorer with 8 not out. This was another instance of a single batsman failing to reach double figures in a match and 17 wickets fell for 56 runs. Phew!
All out for 14
Against Great Burstead on the 7th August, the 2nd XI must have been determined to make amends for the previous day's effort.
Albert Braybrook bowled well again and took 4 for 45 and Richard O'Riordan 5 for 45 as Great Burstead were bowled out for 108. After tea, opener Dick Bignell was bowled first ball and with the score at 8 for 1 another 'Belhus Collapse' ensued - we lost 6 wickets for 0 runs to find ourselves at 8 for 7. We finally capsized to 14 all out and 7 of our batsman made 'ducks'. Thus, the 2nd XI's weekend run tally was but 4 - for the loss of 20 wickets. That must have provided some food for thought for the selection committee.
2nd XI's win at last
Now the run of bad luck for the 2nd XI couldn't continue. And sure enough, on 18th September, they showed South Ockendon Hospital just what they could really do.
Bob Brooks took 5 for 5 and Graham Cunliffe took 4 for 5, as SOH disintegrated to 21 all out with no less than 8 batsmen being clean bowled. Our openers, Jim Rounce and Dick Bignell, easily knocked off the runs for a convincing 10 wickets victory for the long-suffering 2nd XI that wanted to quickly forget their first season.
* * *
Major Patrick Pooler-Williams
Ist X1 Captain
2nd XI Captain
* * *
* * *