SWCC Legend Jeff Goodwin, who played for the Club on the Common in 1949 and in the first match at the Anglo American Playing Fields in 1954, has kindly sent us this article about his memories.
Jeff and Blanca Goodwin at the Senior Presentation Evening 2019
Memories of Saffron Walden Cricket Club
Jeff W. Goodwin
The Common in Saffron Walden played an important part in my early life including early adulthood. From a young age, I spent every hour I could playing football, cricket and numerous other ball games on the Common. The proviso was that we always respected the sanctity of the roped-in cricket square.
This ultimately led to a deep affection for sport, particularly cricket and football, ultimately leading to playing both games for Saffron Walden, cricket being my favourite.
Upon going to Newport Grammar School in 1943, I was delighted to find that the school had a cricket coach, namely HWF TAYLOR (known as Spud) a teacher at the school as well. Spud played minor country cricket for CAMBRIDGESHIRE.
Spud certainly improved my cricket, both with bat and ball and by the time I left Newport in 1948 I was an off-spin bowler and passable bat.
It was after leaving school that I first started my association with SWCC, going down to the nets and eventually getting into the 2nd XI in 1949. I was reasonably successful with my off-spin and batted 9 or 10. One day, playing Sawbridgeworth, I found myself batting at No.6 and suddenly hitting quite a few boundaries, including 3 or 4 sixes, scoring I believe 67 not out. That knock quickly changed my whole outlook on the game and I was quickly promoted to the 1st XI, mainly as a batsman. I had a few months playing in the 1st XI and then went to the RAF for 3 years in August 1950.
In the RAF I captained the RAF NORTHWOOD cricket team, which included two soon-to-become ENGLAND TEST PLAYERS namely: ALAN MOSS – (MIDDX FAST BOWLER) and JIM PARKS (SUSSEX WKT KEEPER/BATSMAN). This helped to make us a very useful team.
It was during my RAF days that I was home on leave when the meeting was held at the Town Hall to finalise whether we should leave the Common for the Field Marshal Montgomery Playing Field and the rest is history.
Upon release from the RAF, I was delighted to play in the first game to be played on the new ground. I may add, this was after many hours of work down at the new ground and using the heavy roller hundreds of times, until we had a good wicket. It was fun though.
From that point in 1954 we did not look back. We had a lovely ground, a good batting wicket and in general it was undoubtedly the right decision to move.
MY OFF-BREAK BOWLING
When playing on the Common and bowling at the Market Square end, I could get the ball to turn quite sharply. On the playing field it was nowhere near as dangerous. Of course this was the slope on the Common.
PLACES WHERE I THINK I SCORED 100
Possibly scored another two or so more but can’t remember where they were.
I don’t know why but I have always retained the memory that the highest recorded partnership on the Common was SPUD TAYLOR, who scored 100+ and BILLY NEWELL who made a double 100. I don’t think they were playing for SW.
I don’t know if records can confirm this, I am sure it was before my time.
PHOTO 1950 – TAKEN ON THE COMMON
QUAKER TOWN ANECDOTE
Saffron Walden, being a Quaker town, did not allow the team to play on the Common on a Sunday. All matches were played away. I don’t know when this rule was lifted.
Before each match on the Common, a man was always found sitting in the middle of the wicket. He said he had every right to be there and demanded a shilling before he would go. This was well before my time.
SWCC PLAYER INFORMATION
PLAYERS OF NOTE IN MY TIME
SID FRANKLIN Bowler/Batsman
JOHN SMITH Bowler
ERIC SWANN Batsman
KEN PLUCK Batsman
WALLY KING Wkt/Batsman
PLAYERS WHO DEFINITELY PLAYED FOR SWCC IN MY TIME
ALAN CHAPMAN Batsman
WALLY KING Wkt/Batsman
ARTHUR NORTON W/K 1
BRIAN CLARKE W/K
RAY POTTERILL Opening Bowler
SID FRANKLIN All Rounder
3 x SKINGLEY BROTHERS
MAJOR MUNNS played for the 2nd team for a while. He was over 70 and was the typical army major. He was particularly sprightly for his age.