By Charles Randall
19 January 2015
An exciting 2014 season at Chingford CC – they won the Essex Premier League for the first time - has been soured by a claim of £53,000 from an insurance company in a legal dispute involving a neighbouring property.
The Chingford Guardian newspaper reported last November there were fears that the club might not even survive the wrangle with Halifax Home Insurers over tree root damage, though negotiations have advanced since then. This threat followed a triumphant season that culminated with the long-awaited title and an Essex debut for seam bowler Jamie Porter.
Daniel Lawrence continued his rise as a batting prodigy, hitting his maiden league century at the age of 16 in a prolific summer, and he will complete his winter playing club cricket in Australia, at Geelong. Porter became the first Chingford player to make the county championship grade since Robin Hobbs in 1961 as a future England leg-spinner.
Chingford, with a history stretching back 129 years, could boast Winston Churchill as a past patron and the MP Iain Duncan Smith in the present. Their attractive Kimberley Way ground, leased from Waltham Forest council, features many listed trees, including oaks. The claim involves damage to a nearby home extension.
In December the president Derek Lacey announced that the club would be taking legal advice to contest the claim for remedial work and interest. Advice was being sought from Duncan Smith, the local authority, the ECB and the Club Cricket Conference. “It seems only appropriate that members be informed of the seriousness of this situation,” Lacey added.
All this was a far cry from Chingford's on-field excitement in 2014 when they wrapped up their first Essex League title with a week to spare. The key players proved to be Lawrence, newcomer Porter, the Australian all-rounder Shaun Eaton and batsman Alfie Taylor.
Lawrence, son of the club's groundsman Mark, announced himself to adult cricket halfway through 2010 league season when he broke into the second team as a 13 year-old and hit 254 runs at 31.75. In all senior cricket that summer he scored 1,395 runs, including his first hundred. In 2014, already an Essex 2nd XI player, he amassed 798 runs at 57.0 in the premier league, including 153 against Chelmsford.
The Chelmsford game at Chingford was extraordinary, as play was interrupted by a swarm of bees on the outfield. Lawrence put on 206 with Taylor (110) for the fourth wicket while all other batsmen struggled in a total of 297-8, and Eaton swept the visiting batsmen away with 7-37 in a 185-run win. Eaton's 88 and 5-34 delivered a 140-run win over nearest rivals Wanstead.
Porter, a former MCC Young Cricketer, moved from the Chigwell club Fives & Heronians to join Chingford at the start of the season and finished with 33 wickets at only 13. His bowling for Essex 2nd XI earned him a senior call-up.
Another feature of the Chingford season was a record unbroken partnership of 290, achieved for the fifth team by Jimal Akhtar (154) and Michael Blake (104) in a drawn game at Harold Wood.