MEMORIES FROM THOSE WHO ATTENDED FRIENDS' SCHOOL, SAFFRON WALDEN

Sport

Kate and Helen “They went on to win!”

Kate Walker [Northam] and Helen Phillip [Duddy] in relay  handover, Summer 1967.

Paul BrewsterPaul Brewster after winning a cross-country race, Spring 1967.

Angus Willson: Cross-country running was not my favourite way of passing time, but it was a mass event and did generate anticipation of who would win in each age group. Jogging and serious distance running became a ‘big thing’ and Giles Norton reports that he has had three top hundred finishes in the Boston Marathon. (see Snippets)

The asphalt playgrounds and concrete-floored playrooms made great spaces for roller-skating – four wheels you strapped to shoes, not in-line boots – and it made for fast and dangerous hockey games! The American Hartmann brothers, a few years older than us, had a skate-board, then a real novelty.

I also remember in the first and second year swimming almost daily (‘general’ as in timetabled for general swimming) and I do still swim regularly, although these days the sauna and hot showers does make it more pleasant.

Shân Lancaster [Poynder]: Hating all games with a passion but cross country most of all, and cheating by getting the bus.

Pauk Copeland-WattsAnn Dickens [Garrod] (1972), Gordon Langford (1971) and Paul Copeland-Watts. Photo by Richard Myatt (1972): “Paul with L for Lister house, not Learner driver! The car is an NSU Ro80 which was equipped with a rotary ‘Wankel’ engine.”

Giles Norton: … afternoons spent sitting in the cricket pavilion waiting for the rain to stop. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the smell of the cricket pavilion or the sound that spiked shoes made on that floor.

Angus Willson: The length of ‘tea’ between innings was determined by the time it took ‘KL’ Whitlow to smoke a cigarette. Jeremy Barker was a handy wicket-keeper (and goalkeeper). Despite the risks, I fielded at silly mid-off and, with Christian Gayfer in the slips, we intimidated opposing batsman, a technique now known as sledging.

Cricket team – under 14 squad (Summer 1969). Left to right, back row: John Chapman, Steve Moody, Nick Hunt, Angus Willson, David Stuckey, Kenneth Whitlow. Seated: Jeremy Barker, Giles Norton, Edmund East, Christian Gayfer, Geoffrey Barnard. Cross-legged: Simon Greaves, Simon Colbeck, Ralph Berry (scorer), Gary Weston [1975], Peter Appleton [1974].

Under-14 Cricket Team

The reverse of the photo with signatures. It also shows the results Won 5, Drawn 0, Lost 3. Simon’s personal record: Bowling- Overs 18, Maidens 6, Runs 70, Wickets 8, Average 8.75. Batting average- 3.333. Catches- 1 at leg slip.

Giles Norton: I find it difficult to believe that ANY team I played on at Walden had a winning season. Who got all our runs? I clearly remember at least one game where the entire team failed to muster 20 runs.

Angus Willson: Now, that’s really funny because I said to Simon that I could not picture you as a cricketer: too many arms and legs! Obviously powered for running, rather than the elegance for cricket. However, there might be a clue in the photo. A cricket team had eleven ‘when I was at school’. Perhaps, we just kept fielding more batsman!

Simon Colbeck: O ye of little faith!  Ralph might be able to verify the statistics.  Otherwise I’ll have to search the archives for the scorebook.  I do have some memory of a match in which we were all out for 19 and then got the other lot out for 17.  I think I shared an interminable last wicket stand of 3 with Peter Appleton.  Neither of us could hit the ball often enough or far enough to score any runs but the situation was so desperate we were under instructions to just stop the ball by any means possible and play for time.  Kenneth Whitlow firmly turned down endless frantic lbw appeals and then when we bowled, raised his finger promptly every time.  I had just discovered how to bowl slow leg breaks – very mysterious to 12 or13 yr old batsmen who slogged and missed often enough to give me several wickets.  Of course others may have played an equally heroic part (maybe even Giles) but I wouldn’t remember anything about that……

Giles Norton: Oh great! I am 47 years old and I have spent the last thirty something years labouring under the delusion that I was good at cricket while I was at Friends’ School. Now it appears that one of my team members thought my preying mantis body type was unsuited to the sport, and another thinks that “maybe” I made a contribution to the team’s success….
The only thing that offers me any solace at all is the possibility that some of my other firmly held beliefs from those days of adolescence are equally out of kilter: maybe the divine Michelle Underwood really did think I was cute and not a total doofus…maybe shorts looked hot on my thirteen year old legs…maybe bedroom seven was a caring environment overseen with gentility by Martin Underwood and the big lug who was prefect with him.
Nahhh…  Can I have my cricket delusion back please?

Geoff Barnard: Yes, I agree Giles.
Making contact again after all these years is a bit of a shock to the system, so let’s agree on a ground rule that we should try not to shatter any of those precious delusions on which our early self esteem was built.
So Giles – you’re bowling was indeed terrific (I can’t comment on your doofus rating). In fact, I remember taking a bullet of a catch at square leg off you in one game, after which you generously confided that you were glad it was me fielding there not someone else – a compliment which I’ve hung on to ever since, despite the fact that the catch was total fluke.
The U14s was definitely the high point of my cricket career. In my final year in the 1st XI (there weren’t many able bodied cricket players left by then Giles) – as I recall, Blocker Barnard scored a total of 1 run as opening batsmen throughout the whole season. I don’t know if you can confirm this Ralph from your scorer’s position (I don’t think you could say I troubled the scorer a great deal). However I did give the opposition a lot of catching practice and probably wore them out a bit.

Footnote: At the reunion in 2002, Ralph was asked if he could settle these scores. He said he was the cricket scorer only twice and just happened to get in the photograph!

Shan Lancaster [Poynder]: Scary hockey teacher and form mistress. Got a drop on the end of her nose on the playing fields in cold weather. Seemed to like mud and frost and mist and drizzle. (Friends Reunited October 2001)

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