Established in 1908 as west kensington park c.c, acton has a long and illustrious history
Acton Cricket Club has come a long way since its early days as part of West Kensington Wesleyan Church’s sports section. Now more than 100 years old, the club has grown into one of the most successful in Middlesex, gaining promotion through the leagues to become an established member of the Middlesex County League, one of the best run and most competitive leagues in the country.
1908 West Kensington Park cricket was founded as a Sports section within the West Kensington Park Wesleyan Church. Cricket was played on an area of land rented from the Goldsmith Company, now known as the Manor House Grounds.
1936 Members of the cricket team paid £70 to become independent of the Church. The cricketers created West Kensington Park Cricket Club. The change also meant that the club could now, for the first time, play cricket on a Sunday.
1950 West Kensington Park Cricket Club started a Second XI, at the time known as the “B Team”.
1959 Joe Burke becomes the first bowler in the club’s history to take all 10 wickets in an innings.
1964 The first score of 300 or more by a West Kensington Park team was recorded when the 1st XI scored 303-8 declared in 1964 against Alladin.
1964 The club’s first ever 200 run partnership (Gordon Diment and Tony Allder put on 206 for 3rd wicket against Shepherds Bush 2nd XI), which also saw the first time two Acton batsmen would score centuries in the same innings.
1964 Joe Burke took 126 wickets. This remains a club record haul
1966 saw Shepherds Bush 3rd XI score 14 vs. the 2nd XI, which remains the lowest opposition total in the club’s history. This was, in fact, their second innings score in a low scoring all day match in which Acton (then WKP ) won by an innings.
1972 The club’s name was changed from West Kensington Park Cricket Club to Acton Cricket Club to associate the club with the area in which it played its cricket. In the same year, Acton C.C. made its first entry into league cricket.
1973 Although Acton C.C. had put out an extra XI on occasions in the previous season, this was the first year of the Third XI with its own fixture list each weekend.
1989 All three Acton C.C. league XIs win their respective leagues.
1989 Faisal Sattaur scores 1,853 runs during the season at an average of 88.24, which remains the most prolific run-scoring season in the club’s history.
1990 Although the First and Second XIs changed leagues, the previous season’s success was repeated.
1993 For the second successive year, Acton C.C. 1st XI won the League Cup and, for the second year running, Club Captain Pooran Singh scored a century in the cup final.
1997 The Park Club took over Manor House Grounds and Acton C.C. had a new home with some of the finest playing facilities in the county.
2002 Against Teddington C.C., Arron Taggart became the first batsman in the club’s history to score an individual double hundred.
2004 The club’s Second XI became the first Acton team to play in the Middlesex County Cricket League, and duly won the division in their first season.
2005 The First XI compete in the Middlesex County Cricket League for the first time
2006 The First XI win Division 3 of the Middlesex County Cricket League for the first time, in just their second season in the competition.
2008 Arvind Joshi becomes the second bowler in the club’s history to take all 10 wickets in an innings with 10 for 25 in a Sunday Second XI fixture.
2009 The club marks the dawning of its second century with the First XI winning Division 2 of the Middlesex County League and gaining promotion to the Premier League for the first time.
2011 Bharat Bhushan smashes the club record for the highest individual score in an innings scoring 255 not out against Ashford C.C.
2015 The Third XI are promoted to the premier division of Middlesex County League cricket for the first time
2018 A new era begins as The Park Club is sold and Acton C.C. becomes a part of Club Des Sports, an independent sporting academy with state of the art facilities in West London. The club sets up a new temporary home on the Shepherd’s Bush side of the ground as we begin to invest in a very bright future…
2018 The club reinforces its reputation as one of the best T20 sides in the county with a second consecutive victory in the West London Whack, a regional T20 tournament, and a second consecutive appearance in the semi finals of the overall Middlesex T20 cup.
2019 John Reeve, Chairman, wins The Cricketer magazine’s community champion award, and has the honour of ringing the five-minute bell at the Lord’s test match between England and Ireland. You can read more about it HERE.
2019 The First XI win Division 3 of the Middlesex County Cricket League for the 2nd time.
Read some of our club legends' accounts of their time with Acton in our 5 Questions feature…
Acton C.C. through the decades...
a DECADE-BY-DECADE ACCOUNT OF acton's fascinating ihstory
1908 – 1949: the first 50 years
Acton Cricket Club started life in 1908 as a cricket team formed by the West Kensington Park Wesleyan Church, which was based on the Shepherds Bush Road. The Church formed various other sporting sections – including tennis – around the same time and, in order for these sporting sections to be active, the Church rented grounds from the Goldsmiths Company in East Acton Lane. These grounds became known as the Manor House Grounds, which remain the Club’s home today, more than 100 years on.
The only stipulation the Church put on its various sporting sections was that sport was not to be played on a Sunday and, presumably, any other religious day. Over the years, as the Cricket section prospered, this Sunday restriction became a problem and so eventually, in 1936, the Cricket Club, for the princely sum of £70, bought its independence and West Kensington Park Cricket Club was formed.
During the Second World War (1939 – 1945) West Kensington Park C.C (WKP) continued to play cricket, largely due to the determined efforts of its members who were well organised by Jimmy Woodhouse. Jimmy had a long association with the Club, having been the Cricket Club’s scorer since 1908.
Following the War, family understandably became the cornerstone of life and this was very evident at West Kensington Park Cricket and Tennis Club where wives and children were heavily involved in off the field activity.
The Cricket area was at that stage shared by three local cricket clubs: WKP, Rootes CC (the sports section of a car company based near Ladbroke Grove) and the Lobrarians CC. The standard of cricket played at that time would best be described as “park” cricket: the main square, used by WKP, was a football pitch in the winter, so early season pitches in particular would have been poor.
In the 1940s, a team score of 100 would have been considered a winning score at the Manor House Grounds. A batting average for the season in excess of 15 would have been excellent. Bowling averages must have been on the low side.
Following the war, as there were few cars around, travel to away games was mainly by public transport. So all games were reasonably local, with sometimes as many as four matches against a local team in a season.
Matches, at this time, were played from a 2.30 start with the stumps being drawn at 7.30 pm. Tea would be agreed for 5pm, but sometimes tea – and indeed declarations – would be decided by the readiness of the food and beverages.
Finances were difficult in those days and Cricket Clubs provided an equipment bag per team containing bats, pads and gloves for batsmen and wicket-keepers. Facilities in those days at the Manor House Grounds were very limited with no toilets or showers, no electricity and no bar.
The pavilion during the 40s was closed all winter so a massive clean-up operation was always organised the week-end before the first matches each summer.
In the 1940s, two of the Club’s most loyal and longest serving members joined the Club, Bob Macey in 1947 and John Lodge a year later in 1948.
This record of the club’s first 50 years was compiled by Tony Allder for the club’s centenary booklet in 2008
The 1950s – the foundations for a longstanding cricket club are built
WKP, like the country, started to move gradually forward during the 1950s with the memories of the war fading and the baby boom starting to take effect. In 1950, WKP introduced a second cricket team. The teams then became team A and team B, but team selection at that time was not based on performance.
Initially it was a struggle to put out two teams but in the second half of the 1950s several new players, mainly young and with good ability, appeared wishing to join WKP. Among those were Peter Pickett, Warren Tuddenham, Joe Burke, Martin Green, Joe Stuart, Ken Wheatley, Tom Barton, Eddie Parr, Bob Hearn and Tony Perry. This group were to be highly influential in the Club’s development in the next 10-15 years.
Facilities started to improve
Some of the players took an interest in the square and began to assist the efforts of the ground staff and gradually the wicket became a better cricket wicket and team scores started to improve.
In 1951, the Club operated its first-ever bar, initially run by Ted Fortet and then by Bert Lansdell. This provided a better after the match environment and produced some much needed finances to WKP Cricket and Tennis Club.
In the winter of 1955/6, the Club members got together and dug a 300 yard trench, from the Club’s pavilion up the path to the main road so that electricity cables could be fed down and electricity could then be supplied to the pavilion. In 1957, the first outside dressing rooms were created.
In order for these developments to happen, finance was required, so the Club implemented several fund raising ideas. During February and March, cars would go around the local areas to collect goods for the Club’s pre-season Jumble Sale and during the season one Sunday would be put aside to hold a Summer Fayre.
Monthly social evenings at the Club took place in the Winter as well as the Summer. At that time, funding from outside sources was unavailable so it was up to the efforts of members and their committees to improve their Club.
Cars were becoming more affordable, so travel to away matches was becoming easier and, with the changes listed above, the type of cricket played was moving away from “park” cricket to getting fixtures with the 2nd and 3rd XIs of recognised cricket clubs such as Wembley, Hillingdon, Kenton and Sudbury Court.
There were two particular personal achievements in the late 1950s, both by two of the new players at the club in 1959. On the batting side, Peter Pickett scored 148 not out, at that time this was the highest individual score by a batsman in the Club’s history, in an intra-club match vs. the 2nd XI – an innings that was testament to the improvements in the playing surface at the Manor House Grounds. On the bowling side, Joe Burke achieved that rare feat of taking 10 wickets in an innings. He took 10 wickets for 32 runs vs. Raffonians for the 1st XI.
In 1959 there was another achievement that still stands in the Club Record Books: the 134 run 7th wicket partnership between Andrew Goodman and Bert Lansdell for the 2nd XI vs. South Harrow.
This record of the club’s history from 1908 to 1960 was compiled in 2008 by Tony Allder for the club’s centenary booklet, following conversations with John Lodge and Bob Macey, whose contributions were essential.
THE 1960s – progress in the swinging 60s
The 1960s saw WKP move forward as a cricket club in two particular ways: on the playing side, the standard of cricket played by both the 1st and 2nd XIs in the mid sixties was the best standard generated by a WKP side so far in its history. The standard of pitches continued to improve and, with the improvements in the Pavilion at the end of the 1960s, set the Club up well for the future.
In the 1960s league (or any competitive) cricket had not been introduced at WKP although gradually through the 1960s it was being discussed by the club’s members. The cricket at that time continued to be of a friendly, social nature.
Apart from Cricket Weeks and the Devon Tour, very little mid week cricket was played. Cricket Weeks were run in early August with the WKP sides being a mixture of Club members and guest players, usually to make up the XI. London Theatres was a popular match on Friday, the end of Cricket Week, with a good social evening guaranteed.
The Devon Tour, first introduced in the 1950s, enabled members to get away from London and enjoy playing a week of Cricket in Devon usually starting on the Whitsun Bank Holiday. There were no motorways to the West Country at that time so it was a whole day or night’s travel getting down to Devon or returning to London.
In the 1960s, the pavilion began to be used more during the winters as well as the summers. In the latter part of the 1960s the Club, under the supervision of Charlie Browne, started to stage a Pre-Christmas Revue with the support of Bill Basterfield, Charlie’s wife Shirley, Hugh Williams, Sammy and many others. This show would run for two or three nights depending upon support.
In the winter of 1967-68 the monies largely attained from the Club’s fundraising efforts were used to have a bar store, toilets and showers built. This did mean farewell to the sight of Bert Lansdell, between 5.30 and 6 o’clock, cycling across the outfield with the spirits for the evening strapped to his bike.
By the beginning of the 1960s, now only WKP and Rootes were using cricket pitches at the Manor House Grounds. This allowed WKP to expand its playing area and, when Rootes C. C. broke up in 1968, WKP were left with a much larger playing area. Rootes CC were a good cricketing side with two very quick bowlers Joe Isles and Roy Braithwaite, the latter of whom transferred his loyalties to WKP and became a great character and loyal servant to WKP and, ultimately, to Acton Cricket Club.
Between 1963 and ’67 Peter Pickett skippered a strong 1st XI. In 1964, the team won 29 of its 41 completed matches, losing only 4. In that same year the opposition were bowled out for under 75 on 10 occasions. Peter along with John Lodge, Gordon Diment, Tony Allder and Dick Browne were the star batsmen. The bowling in that team was very strong based around 3 bowlers: Joe Burke (fast and accurate) Joe Stuart (medium paced swing bowler) and Andy Smith (another fast bowler).
The 2nd XI was looked after through the 1960s by a mixture of Fred Hoskins, Phil Taylor, Tom Barton and Bob Hearne. The 2nd XI was also successful in managing to win half of its completed matches in the first half of the 1960s. Their bowling was very capable, with the opposition scoring under 75 nine times in 1965.
Sadly, the 60s was to see an end to the playing careers of some great Club servants such as Jack Puxty, Bill May, Fred Poyntz, Fred Hoskins and Bert Lansdell.
WKP at the end of the 60s
WKP had come a long way since the end of the war, now operating 2 successful teams with greatly improved facilities on the square and in the pavilion.
But there were still problems around the Club’s fixture list. The first problem was with getting new stronger fixtures. With a Club named West Kensington, it was a big selling job required of the Fixture Secretary to point out that our cricket was played in Acton, not West Kensington. So, as we entered the 1970s the possibility of a name change for the Club and the playing of League Cricket were becoming increasingly discussed. This was to be a way of keeping the Club moving forward in the Cricket world and to attract new players in the future.
Major on-field achievements in the 60s
Joe Burke took 126 wickets in the 1964 season – this is still a Club record. The decade also saw the lowest opposition score recorded; 14 by Shepherds Bush 3rd XI vs the 2nd XI in 1966. This was, in fact, their second innings score in a low scoring all day match which WKP won by an innings.
Standout stats in the 60s:
Joe Stewart took 65 wickets at 8.71 for the 1st XI in 1960
Warren Tuddenham took 88 wickets at 9.25 for the 2nd XI in 1960
Ron Peacock took 79 wickets at 9.63 for the 1st XI in 1960
In 1962, Phil Taylor took 9 for 18 for the 2nd XI in bowling out Adastrians for 46
All in 1963, WKP C.C. bowled out Grays (Essex) for 41 in an all day match; Brockwood Hospital were bowled out for 31 (Joe Stewart, 7 for 20); Old Southallians were bowled out for 32 (Joe Burke, 7 for 19) and, in the first match of the Devon Tour, Andy Smith took 8 for 3 in bowling out Babbacombe for 21.
In 1964, Joe Stewart took 111 wickets at an average of 7.91 including 12 five wicket hauls, while Joe Burke took 126 wickets at an average of 8.24 including 8 five wicket hauls. During that season the 1st XI bowled out the opposition for under 75 on 10 occasions!
1964 – Gordon Diment and Tony Allder put on 206 for the 3rd wicket versus Shepherds Bush 2nd XI, both scoring centuries.
1962 – Martin Green’s year for the 2nd XI with 1018 runs at an average of 37.7. He scored 132 not out against Old Whittonians in the team’s total of 222 for 9 declared.
1963 – John Lodge’s year for the 1st XI with 899 runs at an average of 32.1, including 3 centuries.
1966 – Peter Picket scored 1049 runs at an average of 33.8, with one century
This record of the club in the 1960s was compiled by Tony Allder for the club’s centenary book in 2008.
The 1970s – a new name, a new era
The 1970s will be remembered primarily for two significant events in the Club’s History, both of which occurred in 1972 when the club firstly changed its name to Acton Cricket Club and secondly entered into competitive cricket for the first time. There were other major events during the decade such as the burning down of the Club’s first pavilion in the Spring of 1972 and the opening of the Club’s second pavilion in the Summer of 1974.
In the Spring of 1972 the Acton Cricket and Tennis Club’s Annual General Meeting was held at Acton Town Hall. At the end of the AGM, news came in that the Club’s pavilion at the Manor House Grounds in East Acton Lane had been burnt down. This was, obviously, a major disaster to a Club of our size with no major finances. But, as happens with events like this, club characters with strong purpose come to the fore. Within a short period of time, we were given permission to have use of the old Rootes Pavilion and Dressing Rooms. So at least we had somewhere to use as a base for the playing of our summer sports. Led by Harry Deegan and his Bar Committee and a group of members, we quickly prepared ourselves for the coming Summer. In the next two years until the new pavilion was up and running, Harry and his bar staff did their best to make sure the pavilion was open when wanted and generated more finance from the Bar takings to put towards the New Pavilion.
With the Club now functioning again, a New Pavilion Committee was quickly formed, with Fred Hoskins taking on the main mantle of trying to build a New Pavilion. Fred was well assisted by Aubrey Mee, a surveyor who had recently joined the Cricket Club on the Building side and Bob Macey, the Club Treasurer, who undertook to try and conjure up money from various sources.
After a few years of hard work, problems, rejection and so one, the new Pavilion was opened in May 1974. This Pavilion was brick built and a lot larger than the previous one and contained dressing rooms, toilets and showers for both sexes and the kitchen area. The new Pavilion enabled the cricket club to offer much improved facilities to its opponents and new players and greatly helped the changes that were being made to the Cricket Club.
In 1972, Acton was one of 30 clubs that joined together to form the South West London League. That same year the Club put out an extra XI on 12 Sundays, which was the catalyst for the club’s first 3rd XI which officially started in 1973.
This record of the club was compiled by Tony Allder for the club’s centenary book in 2008.
The 1980s – a decade of on and off field improvement
In terms of playing strength and success in league and cup competitions, the Acton Cricket Club that entered the 1980s was very different to the team that ended it. Certainly the latter part of the decade was one of largely unbroken success for all Acton XIs and, by the dawning of the 1990s, Acton CC had become a very big fish, albeit in a relatively small pond.
There were a number of factors in this on-field success but the key one was the positive impact on the senior playing strength from the youngsters emerging from the Colts’ section that had been set up towards the end of the previous decade. The club was soon to appreciate the foresight of the likes of John Lodge, Joe Burke, Dick Ankerson, Ricky Palmer et al for working out that to grow in strength as a cricket club you could not rely on attracting ready-made players but had to develop your own.
The end of the 70s had seen us to be a competitive club – particularly the 2nd XI – in the old Benson and Hedges Middlesex League but we had something of a lean time of it in the opening years of the 80s in the newly formed Slazenger 3D League. This league contained then strong sides sun as Hillingdon, Hounslow and Wycombe House.
1980 and 1981 were not a particularly memorable seasons – both characterised by mid table mediocrity and no success in any cup competitions. In both these years, the averages were dominated by lots of legendary names in Acton’s history – the likes of Vernon Angel and Winston Farrell in both batting and bowling and Joe Burke in the bowling. All of these were very fine cricketers who – in their prime – could have played at pretty much any standard short of first class. However, what was missing was just a bit more 1st XI standard strength in depth.
1982 was not a significantly better year in terms of winning trophies, however with hindsight it looks like a pivotal one for the club. We attracted some strong ready-made talent like Bal Singh and particularly Pooran Singh who was to remain a first team stalwart for the next 15 years or so.
Equally important was that some of the colts cricketers started to appear in senior teams. It may be the case that Luis Melville was the first of these although – and I’m not sure that Luis would agree! – far more importantly the peerless off-spinning genius Matthew Turnell made his first significant appearances in senior club cricket.
1983 saw the 1st XI, under the captaincy of stalwart Tony Allder, finishing strongly in the league and only the inability to finish off the opposition in at least four games ultimately cost Acton the title. Strong all round performances from Vernon Angel and Pooran Singh were key to the success of the season but strong support from a number of quarters particularly Bal Singh, John ‘Syd’ Seymour and Winston Farrell in the bowling and Tony Allder in the batting, demonstrated that we were developing the required strength in depth to compete at our new level. Incidentally, we played an Under 19 Danish Touring side on the club’s Sussex Tour (goodness knows why; some cock up on the fixture front, I guess) which is only worthy of mention because if any bowlers reading this ever feel over-bowled by the skipper, you might spare a thought for the Danish opening bowler who bowled unchanged at one end for the whole weeklong tour! Also worthy of note in this year, Joe Burke had another season when he captured his 30 wickets at a ridiculously low average of 7.31 (of course nowhere near good as his 52 at 5.61 in 1975!)
The 2nd XI was runners up in the league in a side containing a strong mixture of youth and experience. The side was led by the evergreen Peter Pickett with Phil (‘well bowled”) Hunt leading the batting. It was the bowling, however, that was super-strong with the likes of Joe Burke, Ken Persad and Matt Turnell and the late, great (and seriously thirsty) Arthur Harvey leading the way. More importantly, there were players in the side who were of 1st XI standard – we were for the first time developing real strength in depth.
From 1984 onwards – regardless of whatever league we were playing in – one or usually more of the club XIs were winning titles; a remarkable period of consistent success.
The 1984 season saw the 1st XI finish as runners up in the league and 2nd XI as winners. The difference between winning and losing the league for the 1s came down to defeat in two tight league games. The 1st XI skipper Tony Allder might acknowledge that whilst he had at his disposal a pretty formidable batting and bowling line-up the out-fielding was short of sufficient sets of young legs to make the difference in tight games. Vernon Angel and Winston Farrell, despite approaching the veteran stage, were as effective as ever with bat and ball. However the leading run scorers were Pooran Singh – approaching the peak of his long-sustained powers – and Nick Scott – our first really successful and influential overseas player (and a nice guy, too).
In 1985, the 1984 league positions were reversed with the 1st XI winning their title and the 2nd XI finishing runners up in theirs. The first team of this time was very much a settled unit with plenty of runs from the usual subjects led by Vernon Angel who scored more than 1,333 runs and included Dave (“Pinky”) Lewis and Pooran Singh. Additionally, a new overseas player, Saj Latif, scored both plenty of runs and took cheap wickets with his highly spun leg breaks and googlies. The bowling was equally strong with the wickets of 1st XI stalwarts Vernon Angel and Chris Carter being supplemented by the somewhat unexpected emergence of Syd Seymour as an accurate and ‘nasty’ seam bowler. Also this season saw youngsters Matt Turnell and Mark Moore begin to appear in the side, the former as something of an all-rounder and the later as a determined, consistent batsmen and an absolute live-wire in the field.
The fact that the 2nd XI fell short in 1985 was probably due to a lack of runs although Dave Basterfield and Phil Hunt were again prolific. The bowling was super strong with Matt Turnell taking 36 wickets at less than 9 (no wonder he was promoted mid season) and he did not even top the averages – that honour fell to Ken Persad.
More importantly, colts who were to become club stalwarts were rolling off the club’s production line. Steve Basterfield, John Reeve, Duarte Marques and Keith Hunt were all nurtured in the 3rd XI and additionally were making significant contributions from time to time in higher XIs.
By 1986 the Slazenger 3D League had become a weakened competition. The 1st XI’s record of 5 wins and 2 draws was sufficient to earn them top spot, with a roll-call of the top individuals of the previous years all again having strong seasons. The 2nd XI was also once again League champions led by John Billett. The 2nd XI bowling was led by the Harveys (father Arthur and son Oliver), Paul Brand and Bal Singh (playing in the 2nds only because his sartorial standards did not match those of the fastidious 1st team skipper!)
There was beginning to be a sense of marking time – the club needed new challenges. In 1987 these new challenges took the form of the Thameside Cricket League. This was a demonstrably stronger league combining a mix of Middlesex and Surrey clubs: the strongest of which was probably Chessington. However, the fact that it was a stronger league made little difference as the 1st XI won the title at the first time of asking, led by the consistently astute Pooran Singh (with Vernon Angel as his Vice) – winning 10 of 15 matches and losing none. The 1st XI had been strengthened by the addition of two new good players, both bowling all-rounders in the form of Eddie De Couteau and Vish Jadunath, and one exceptional batting all-rounder, Vish’s brother Mike Jadunath. The 1st XI was now a seriously strong side capable of beating virtually anyone on its day. The bowling was led by Matt Turnell (as it would be for more than a decade to come) and Vish Jadunath and runs were scored in large quantities by the whole batting line-up led by the skipper and Dave Lewis.
In the 2nd XI John Billett and John Reeve led the batting with Olly Harvey the outstanding bowler. The 3rd XI, under Roy Braithwaite, was 3rd In their league but were chockful of promising youngsters making significant contributions including Steve Basterfield with the bat and Keith Hunt with the ball.
Acton played no Sunday league cricket at this time but had a very strong hand of friendly fixtures. This was a significant part of the strength of the club because just about everybody played ‘both days’ (indeed it was pretty much a condition for playing in the league teams that you played on Sunday too) so youngsters could improve their cricketing skills against good opposition.
Just to give you an example of the sort of commitment there was to ‘friendly cricket’ Acton at this time had two week long tours – one to Devon (amazingly, we had 65 players and guests attending in 1987) and one to Sussex (still going and now in its 40th year).
We also had a weekend in Somerset at the end of the season where we were entrusted in drinking the Chard CC bar dry (including the crème de Menthe) before it was closed down for the winter.
In 1988, rather surprisingly, a league record of 9 wins, 7 draws and zero losses was not sufficient to secure a further league title for the 1st XI who finished runners up to arch rivals Chessington. John Reeve emerged on the scene as a budding 1st team batsman but the averages were dominated by the same batsmen and bowlers as the previous year.
The 2nd team, led by Peter Pickett, went one step better and won their league title with some ease. The bowling was led by the accurate Bal Singh whilst familiar names like John Billett, Mark Moore and Dave Basterfield were the heaviest run scorers. More importantly the team was full of young players ready and able to step up to regular 1st team cricket including Oliver Harvey, Steve Basterfield, Mark Moore and Dave Holland.
The 3rd XI, led mostly by Bob Gaylard in the absence of skipper Dick Ankerson, had a solid if un-spectacular season. Bob led the bowling attack with his idiosyncratic leg spin whilst Mark Donarchy was a consistent and prolific batsman.
And so onto the all conquering 1989 season during which all 3 sides won their respective league titles; the 1st and 3rd XIs by a large margin.
The 1st XI this year were particularly strong on the batting front led by Faisal Sattaur, a wicket-keeper batsman from Guyana who scored 1600 runs at an average of 80 and is – in my opinion – the best batsman to play for the club so far. However, Angel, Reeve and skipper Pooran Singh each scored a 1,000 runs in all cricket this season too. Matthew Turnell was once again the most prolific wicket-taker but the skipper, Pooran Singh, along with Tony Elahee, Vish Jadunath, Oliver Harvey and Vernon Angel all took their share of scalps.
The 2nd XI’s second successive league title was a much closer affair. The bowling was the stronger hand in the side although the experienced captaincy of Peter Pickett (with his young and astute vice Paul Brand) was a significant factor too. Bal Singh was once again the most prolific bowler in a spin dominated attack in which the skipper, Keith Hunt and Ken Persad all contributed plenty of wickets at low cost. Paul Brand pretty much carried the seam bowling duties on his own, weighing in with 70 wickets.
The 3rd XI, led by Bob Gaylard, ran out easy winners of the Kestours 1987 Cricket League. Young Vice Captain Duarte Marques scored a hatful of runs as did another emerging talent, Robin Singh (son of Pooran), together with Dennis Hunt (brother of Phil and uncle of Keith and Anthony) and father of James – now that’s what you call a real ‘family club’!
The 3rd XI bowling was led by the skipper who took most wickets along with veteran ‘fast’ bowler Roy Braithwaite (well he had been fast – 15 or more years earlier ). Importantly for the overall strength of the club a fourth team was regularly put out. All in all the 80’s were a highly successful decade for the club wherein were sown the seeds of our current strength.
This record of the 1980s was compiled by David Basterfield for the club’s centenary book in 2008
The 1990s – a decade of consolidation and the dawning of a new era
After the Club’s great success of all 3 league teams winning their respective divisions in 1989, the feat was repeated in 1990. The Captains of the 1st and 3rd XIs remained unchanged , but in the 2nd XI Peter Pickett made way for his 1989 vice-capain, Paul Brand, to take over as captain.
The early 1990s was a good time to be playing club cricket; an era where teams played hard on the field and shared a beer off it; an era when ‘sledging’ was reminding Matthew Turnell of his ludicrous bubble perm; an era when batsmen ‘walked’ when they nicked one (although that didn’t necessarily apply to John Reeve or Steve Basterfield).
Acton’s Club Captain during this period was arguably Acton’s best ever player, the one and only Pooran Singh, whose appetite for runs, wickets, catches and trophies was perhaps matched only by his appetite for Cockspur Rum. He was fortunate in the sense that the Club were reaping the benefit of its hugely successful Colts set-up of the early to mid 80s: Pooran’s 1st XI at that time consisted of at least seven ex Colts. Meanhwhile the second eleven led by Paul Brand (another ex Colt) could count on Portugal’s no. 1 cricketer, Doddy Marques at his side. The 3rd. XI, not to be outdone, had the Millwall loving Bob Gaylard in charge of a side of grizzled veterans and hungry young Colts such as the future Club Captain James Hunt.
Another reason for the club’s continued success in the early 90’s was that there were so many characters around the place. Perhaps the biggest were the heads of the Hunt dynasty; Phil and Dennis, who ruled the banter of many a dressing room, though occasionally even they had to bow to the rapier-like wit of that cheeky scouser Mark Donachy. The late Roy Braithwaite was also revered in this period not only for his engaging charm and cricket ability but also the fact that he consistently claimed to be 37 when in fact he was pushing 60. Men like these turned many a shy retiring Colt into a confident, wisecracking man.
The Sussex Tour was also a huge part of the Club. Not only was it good socially but it allowed players, from all sides, to play together and thus continued to cultivate a great Club spirit. One of the many enduring images of the tour was a Club XI cracked with nerves as then 4th XI Captain Bob Wharf (Wharfey made Monty Panasar look like David Gower) approached his one and only 50, then the sheer joy and relief on everyone’s face as he made it . The undoubted king of the Tour was David Basterfield and his seventies loving sidekick Robert Hyde. Their unique dancing ability has been passed onto new generations of Acton players and are still being used to-day.
A move in to the Middlesex Championship, in 1993, produced the harder more competitive cricket the Club had craved. Consequently league titles eluded Acton throughout the 1990s although they came perilously close on a few occasions. Where the 1st XI, and indeed other club XIs, came short in this period was with consistency, often losing to the bottom sides.
However in Cup cricket we were a potent force in the knockout form of the game. Throughout the 90s we punched well above our weight in cup games leaving many ‘big’ Clubs with a bloody nose. There were many reasons for this; a well balanced side with match-winning batsmen in Pooran Singh, Mike Jadunath and a slim-line John Reeve, coupled with a bowling attack led by Oliver Harvey and Matt Turnell and a fit and athletic fielding unit. Also as a lot of these big games were played midweek a squad very adept at hoodwinking bosses into giving them time off – the losses of a few great aunts helped us win a good few Cup games! Two centuries from Pooran went a long way to us winning the Championship League Cup in consecutive years (1992 & 1993) – the Club’s first ever Cup Trophies.
The mid-nineties was a fairly quiet time for the Club although the 3rd. X1, with Phil Rampling as Captain, continued to be successful. However, this was an important period for the club as it was also the start of the era of the overseas player, the first for Acton being Aussie Glen Marnick. Glen was a fine player who liked a drink, and as he didn’t start work until mid-day he led many a player astray with his Sunday after match drinking exploits. Mondays were torture after a season with Glen! The Club has been lucky with its choice of overseas players but for every Glen, Dave Biddle and the comic genius that was Dan Lynch, there was a Jason Hindmarsh (couldn’t bowl overarm) or Omar Clarke (couldn’t understand a word he said) but these guys definitely enhanced the Club.
The dawning of a new era…
1998 was to be the last year of the Club as we knew it with the pavilion being demolished to make way for the Park Club (which was to be our new home). It was also to be the last season for Acton legend John Reeve who was moving to Ireland. The first team, after a sticky start, battled their way to the League Cup Final mainly due to the record-breaking form of openers Steve Basterfield and Aaron Taggart. Both made centurties in a still record 239 opening stand in the semi final and they followed that with a 132 stand in the final inwhich Steve Basterfield made another century. This set up a crushing 200 run win over Calthorpe and gave John the send off he deserved.
With the Park Club being built, the Club began a two year spell at their temporary home at Sudbury Post Office Ground. It proved to be two years of struggle although the 1st XI, under Steve Basterfield as Captain and Aaron Taggart as Vice-Captain, were just two points off winning their league in 1999. Meanwhile, as the club worked hard to survive without proper home, the rest of the Club struggled to avoid relegation. The tireless efforts of stalwarts Tony Allder and the late great John Lodge, along with the team captains, held the Club together throughout this difficult time.
The 2000s – a transformational decade
The 2000s was a transformational decade for Acton Cricket Club. At the beginning of the decade the club was struggling in the Middlesex Championship and playing at a temporary home in Sudbury. In the early part of the decade the club moved back to the Manor House grounds with some of the county’s leading facilities at its new home, The Park Club.
It then became established in the Middlesex County League – one of the strongest in the country – and, by the end of the decade, the 1st and 2nd XIs were set to both play in their respective Premier Leagues of Middlesex Cricket. Along the way it celebrated its centenary year in 2008, which provided a chance to reflect on a remarkable 100 year journey so far.
The 2000 season saw Acton CC playing away from its home whilst the construction of the Park Club was being completed. In terms of team performances, unusually no successes were recorded but the Club’s spirits were raised considerably when, late in the season, the Club were allowed to play its first match on the new facilities at the Park Club.
2001 saw Acton CC back at the Manor House Grounds playing cricket with superb new facilities on offer, both on and off the field. As word spread about the “new” club the first two years at our new home saw Acton attract new senior members and Colts. Some of these Colts proved more than useful emerging successfully into senior cricket having been given a good grounding by the Colts Manager and club legend, Matthew Turnell. Some of these players (Alex Brennan, latterly 1st XI Captain, Ben Brennan, Sunil Ghumra, Neal Valera and Ali Ahmed) would all gradually moved up into more senior cricket as the 2000 decade progressed.
The Club, at 1st XI level in 2001, benefited from the return of John Reeve after his 2 year ‘holiday’ in Ireland and the efforts of our new overseas player, an all rounder from Australia called Dan Lynch. Although the 1st XI and the 3rd XI finished mid table as we rebuilt following our period at Sudbury, the 2nd XI had a poor season and were relegated to Division 2 in the Middlesex Championship. The 1st XI, however, showed at the end of the season that there was hope for the future by reaching the final of their League Cup, but unfortunately came out second best.
2002 saw an upturn in Acton CC’s fortunes as the 2nd XI, now under the stewardship of John Reeve, with Duarte Marques at his side, won their league for an immediate return to Division 1. The 1st XI was again, as it was in 1999, runners-up in its league and the 3rd XI won its League Cup. This brought the culture of success and trophies back to the club after a couple of barren years. In total, Acton won 71 of its 112 Senior completed matches in 2002.
What followed for the 2nd XI, under John’s Leadership was 4 years of successively winning their leagues and gaining promotion, including entry to the Middlesex County League. At the end of this period, the 2nd XI found themselves in the highest standard of 2nd XI league cricket in Middlesex; Division 1 of the County League. Even then the 2nd XI competed well, finishing runners-up in the Division 1 at its first attempt in 2006.
The 1st XI, as mentioned, finished runners-up in their league largely thanks to Dave Biddle, a hugely popular Kiwi import who also worked on the ground, and Keith Hunt scoring 1,000 runs each in 2002 and Matthew Turnell (who else!) being the leading wicket-taker .
2003 saw further success for Acton Cricket Club. On their return to Division 1 in the Middlesex Championship, the 2nd XI immediately won Division 1 in 2003, and this gave them promotion into the Middlesex County League, being the first Acton CC team to do so. Donovan Fyfe and Ian Reeve (2 tons each) finished with batting averages exceeding 50 and Captain John Reeve was the major wicket-taker with support primarily coming from Sunil Ghumra and Ian Reeve. As in 2002, the 1st XI finished runners-up in its league, this time by just 4 points. Dave Biddle (again) and Steve Basterfield both scored 1,000 runs with Matthew Turnell maintaining his sport as the leading wicket-taker. As well as a good result in the league, the 1st XI won 2 cups during the season. The 3rd XI finished third in its league with Captain Mark Saggers taking 58 wickets at less than 10 runs each. The new 4th XI , playing competitive cricket for the first time, easily won Division 3 of the 1987 league. Under John Urquhart’s leadership they won 13 of their 16 completed matches. Another slow bowler, Tony Allder, took over 50 wickets in the season!
In 2004, the 1st XI finally made their breakthrough into the County League by winning the Middlesex Championship. Dave Biddle again scored 1,000 runs whilst the spin bowlers (Matthew Turnell 52 & Keith Hunt 38) took the majority of the wickets that saw the 1s win the league.
It did not take the 2nd XI long to adjust to their new environment in 2004 as they won their league at the first attempt. New names appeared at the club including most notably Steve Jones, a popular and hugely talented Aussie who would at the end of the decade lead the club’s 1st XI to the premier league.
Elsewhere that year, the 3rd XI finished mid-table in Division 1 of the 1987 league, whilst the 4th XI, having been promoted, won half of their games to finish third in Division 2 of the 1987 league.
The annual Sussex Tour, in August, saw Acton win 6 of the 7 fixtures. During these fixtures, 3 tons were scored (Alex Brennan, Steve Basterfield and James Hunt) with 5 wickets in an innings being achieved twice, by John Reeve and Alex Brennan. 2004 also Acton CC enter a Sunday League for the first time in order to play some serious Sunday cricket aside from the cup competitions.
In 2005 the 1st XI performed well in its first season in the County league finishing in third position. The 2nd XI again won their league at the first attempt and without losing a league match giving them promotion to Division 1 for the first time – a league where they would go on to become established over the ensuing decade. In their league matches alone, Donovan Fyfe, who would later lead the 1st XI in the premier league, scored 3 tons and Ian Reeve clocked up batting averages of over 50. In the bowling department, captain John Reeve took 79 wickets at 10 apiece. The 3rd XI finished mid table while the 4th XI went one better than in the previous season by finishing runners-up in Division 2 of the 1987 league, gaining promotion to division 1.
2006 saw success for most teams. The 1st XI improved on their 2005 outcome to win their league in James Hunt’s first season of leadership and, like the 2nd XI, were promoted into the County League set up. The 2nd XI, in its first season in Division 1, won only twice in the first half of the season but recovered to finish runners up.
The 3rd XI, under new skipper Peter Lawla, had a marvellous season winning Division 1 of the 1987 league and winning their League Cup, chasing a total of over 230. They won 3 more league games than anyone else, despite having 3 games abandoned. In total that season the 3rds played more than 20 games, only drawing and losing once. The 4th XI, with many colts in the side, struggled in their first season in Division 1 of the 1987 league and were relegated.
In 2007, a rain affected summer where a month went by with little cricket played, all 4 League XI’s finished mid table although the club did win the Sunday League for the first time.
The 2008 season marked Acton’s centenary year, which was celebrated in style throughout the season with the highlight being an intra-club game and dinner at the The Park Club, which was well attended by members past and present spanning more than five decades with Acton. The club also produced a centenary booklet, recording the history of the club which was distributed to all members. Tony Allder was instrumental in pulling the information for this book together and there were contributions from several of the club’s longest standing members, which can be found on the website HERE. Linda Brennan and Ben Brennan produced and designed the booklet.
On the field, the club enjoyed a relatively successful season with the 1st XI finishing mid table in division 2 of the MCCL under James Hunt’s leadership. The batting line up had a new feel about it with Donovan Fyfe (SA), Steve Jones (Aus), Rian McKee (Aus) and Yasir Mehmood (Pak) all providing plenty of runs at the top of the order. In the bowling department, Matthew Turnell was again one of the stand-out performers in all three divisions of the MCCL, and he was supported by the skipper, Andy Guiton, Keith Hunt and the emergence of two of Acton’s colts as 1st XI cricketers, all rounder Sunil Ghumra and left arm spinner Alex Brennan, who contributed 18 league wickets in his debut season after returning from university. The 2nd XI, despite finishing runners up the previous season and despite the continued wicket-taking form of captain John Reeve, suffered relegation from the premier league as they finished second to bottom. Under Mark Maksic’s leadership the 3rd XI finished 3rd in Division 3 of the MCCL at the first time of asking, with the team being a breeding ground for future 1st XI cricketers and Acton colts, notably Matthew Reeve and Tom Forsdike.
2009, and the start of the club’s second century, was a major year for the club as, under Steve Jones’ leadership, the 1st XI won Division 2 of the MCCL and were promoted to the premier league for the first time. The league winning team had a more senior feel than in previous years with Oliver Harvey and Bharat Bhushan returning to open the bowling, with Keith Hunt, James Hunt and, of course, Matthew Turnell, who enjoyed another season as one of the league’s most feared and successful bowlers, comprising the rest of the attack. Steve Jones, Donovan Fyfe and Yasir Mehmood all averaged more than 40 in the league that season to ensure that Acton dominated the league and won their most prestigious honour yet.
Opportunities in the 1st XI were limited for some of the club’s younger players with Alex Brennan, Dan Saggers, Matthew Reeve, Ali Ahmed, Alex Manning and Tom Forsdike all playing much of their cricket in John Reeve’s 2nd XI, who won promotion back to the premier league at the first attempt thanks to a dramatic final day victory at Finchley. The team had a great balance with the younger players alongside former 1st XI cricketers Andy Guiton, Ian Reeve and the skipper, who all had strong seasons. The 3rd XI again finished third in division three, missing out on promotion by one place, despite another prolific season for the skipper Mark Maksic.
So ended the 2000s: a decade of major transition for the club. At the beginning of the decade the club was struggling in the Middlesex Championship, temporarily playing its cricket at the Post Office Ground in Sudbury whilst the Park Club was developed on the Manor House Grounds. Thanks to some exceptional efforts from some of the club’s most devoted members – too many to list here – the club emerged from the decade as a genuine major established club in the county, with both its 1st and 2nd XIs to be playing premier league cricket in 2010.
This record of the 2000s was in part compiled by Tony Allder and Steve Basterfield for the club’s centenary booklet in 2008. The latter stages were compiled by Alex Brennan.
2010s – a force in Middlesex cricket
2010 saw Acton’s 1st XI compete in the Premier Division for the very first time.
With the likes of Matthew Turnell and Oliver Harvey stepping back from 1st XI cricket and former skipper Steve Jones returning to Australia, the club signed new recruits in the form of Nuno Bernardes, Darren Hooey and Marco Texeira to support its young, former Acton colts in the1st XI including the likes of Alex Brennan, Ali Ahmed, Matthew Reeve and, in the latter parts of the season, Tom Forsdike and Alex Manning. However, Acton found the new improved standard tough to negotiate with only Yasir Mehmood and overseas Ken Huckle getting to grips with the bowling, both passing 500 runs under Donovan Fyfe’s leadership. John Reeve was recalled to the 1st XI halfway through the season, with the team struggling, and offered a glimmer of hope, taking two seven wicket hauls on his way to 27 league wickets. Despite wins against Hampstead and Twickenham, Acton’s 1st XI were immediately relegated back to division two. The 2nd XI consolidated in mid-table of the premier league whilst the 3rd XI were the club’s main success story in 2010, winning division 3 under Duarte Marques’s stewardship and gaining promotion. Further consolation for the club in 2010 was a first victory in the Thameside Sunday League, a competition that Acton would go on to win again in 2015 and 2017.
2011 saw James Hunt take charge of the 1st XI again and a rebuilding effort was required following a number of departures in the prior winter. Acton consolidated in mid-table with Yasir Mehmood and John Reeve again the star performers. The 2nd XI, now skippered by Ian Reeve, delivered a mid-table finish while the 3rd XI, under Peter Lawla’s leadership, narrowly missed out on back to back promotions.
In 2012 the club lost one of its longest-standing and most cherished members, John Lodge. Lodgey helped found the colts section at Acton, which went on to produce the core of the club for many years to come. The club held a memorial game for Lodgey which featured Acton members past and present and celebrated the life of one of its great members.
On the field, 2012 was a year to forget for the club, with the 1st XI – John Reeve back in charge after more than a decade – suffering a disappointing relegation to division 3. The 3rd XI, led by Mark Williams, suffered an equally disappointing season, picking up just 17 points as they were relegated back to division 3. The 2nd XI, however, under Dan Waddell, managed to again achieve safety in the top division.
2013 saw a rebuilding exercise for Acton after the prior year’s disappointments. Hannadige Soysa joined the 1st XI as the overseas player, and made an important impact with runs, wickets and catches. Alex Brennan took the 1st XI player of the year award, with 25 league wickets and more than 300 league runs, and John Reeve was again one of the division’s top wicket takers with 43 league scalps, helping Acton to a respectable 4th placed finish. Dan Waddell’s 2nd XI had a fine season, finishing second in the premier league, largely thanks to the skipper’s runs and wickets from Keith Hunt, Josh Burrows and Ian Reeve. 3rd XI player of the year Nasir Mehmood helped Acton to consolidate in division 3 of the 3rd XI league.
Off the field in 2013, the club lost Bob Macey, its longest standing member who had joined the club back in the 50s. Bob will be sadly missed.
Alex Brennan took over the 1st XI captaincy in 2014 as the 1st XI won promotion back to division two of the league. Yasir Mehmood was the division’s player of the year as he fired 661 runs at an average of 47. Soysa, back for his second year as overseas, also passed the 500 run mark including a crucial century against Highgate in the season’s penultimate fixture and promotion decider at The Park Club. Alex Brennan, named Captain of the division’s Team of the Year, which also featured Yasir, was the top wicket taker with 39 wickets at 10 runs each, closely followed by John Reeve who ended the season again with another very impressive haul of 36 victims. The side also had a youthful feel with Alex Fell, James Fell, Tom Forsdike, Mathew Reeve and Alex Manning all making contributions.
The 2nd XI delivered a respectable 5th placed finish with Dan Waddell again in the runs, this time supported by the in-form Adam Forsdike who cemented his place as a mainstay in the side with four league 50s. Ian Reeve, Keith Hunt and Josh Burrows were again the top wicket takers in the side. The 3rd XI won promotion back to division 2 as runners-up under Hayden Glassey’s leadership, largely thanks to the wickets (40 of them at 11 runs each) and runs (250 of them at 58 a piece) of player of the season Nasir Mehmood. The 4th XI, under Anthony Hunt, were unfortunately relegated.
In 2015 the 1st XI, after struggling for long parts of the season, managed to achieve a 4th place finish as a result of winning their final four matches of the season. Hannadige Soysa was the star performer, topping the division’s run scoring charts with 640 runs at an average of 40, including six 50s. John Reeve was back as the leading wicket-taker in the side with 31 victims, just ahead of pace-man Shola Samuel-Anyia, the club’s young player of the year, who recorded 29 wickets which earned him a place in the division’s Team of the Year. Dan Waddell was again in charge of the 2nd XI who recorded a mid-table finish. Alex Manning (476), Dan Waddell (395) and Adam Forsdike (393) led the run scoring, while Nasir Mehmood enjoyed a fine debut season in the 2nd XI with 31 wickets. The 3rd XI won back-to-back promotions under Hayden Glassey’s leadership, led from the front by the skipper who scored 444 runs and backed in the bowling department chiefly by Peter Lawla with 34 league wickets. The 4th XI, however, recorded a disappointing back to back relegation. The Club won the Thameside Sunday League for the 2nd time.
Ahead of the 2016 season, the club suffered a blow with the loss of three of its most loyal and long-standing supporters in Gwen Basterfield, Audrey Turnell and Martin Saunders. Martin was the fixture secretary for Acton CC as well as the Old Vaughans football club for many years, and played an important behind the scenes role as well as being on the sidelines supporting. The club hosted an intra-club match ahead of the 2016 season, attended by more than 100 members past and present, to celebrate their lives.
Alex Brennan’s new look 1st XI started the 2016 league campaign with promise, finding runs easy to come by but wins a little more difficult to close out. New recruits Andrew Curtis, who ended the team’s highest league run scorer with 564 runs, and Lucas Carlisle showed their immense talent, while player of the season Sahil Kher started to fulfill his potential as one of the best batsmen in Middlesex, hitting a maiden league ton against eventual league winners Finchley en route to 548 runs. Yogi Mehmood again posted four league fifties, thriving in the new shorter game format, and Kiwi Steve Rae consistently demonstrated his all-round qualities as a cricketer. On the bowling side, John Reeve was again one of the league’s premier spinners, bagging 35 wickets, and Alex Brennan finished the season with four five wicket hauls and 38 wickets.
When we were good, we were very good, but overall we were too inconsistent and lacked the real overseas game changer we would have had if Madu had been able to return. At some point during the season, we lost the ability to close out tight games: in five matches where the result was in the balance in final over, Acton somehow find ways to lose them all. Small margins – some within our control, some outside – ultimately cost us our place in the league, which is amazing given we were the only side to have two players in either of the top 10 run scorers or wicket takers.
It was another solid season for Dan Waddell’s 2nd XI, in what is a strong division. As always the 2nd XI set out to win enough games to achieve safety, which we did comfortably, and at one stage looked as if we might be able to push on and challenge at the top. But we didn't have the depth of those top sides, and a few matches where we lost when we weren’t as strong as we might have been, meant we had to settle for mid-table comfort.
Stand out performances included Alex Manning’s match-winning 97 against Teddington, James Fell’s five-fer in a great win against Ealing, and Seb Warwick’s flying starts. The 2s bowling was good all season. Whenever Matty Turnell played, he was as class as ever and took wickets. James Fell was excellent. Scotty Kojak and Rob both made good contributions, as did Josh Burrows and Nasir Mehmood at various points. But the stand out bowler and 2s Player of the Year was Keith Hunt, who took wickets and always went for very few runs.
The 3rd XI started like a house on fire, brushing aside all comers in the first five weeks of the season under Hayden Glassey’s captaincy. Khan Israr led the run scoring, brother and player of the year Mushi in the wickets. For a few weeks Acton 3s were the most feared team in the league, and maybe, just maybe, back to back titles were on the cards…but as numbers became stretched and the format switched, we started to fade. Haydos handed the reigns over the Mark Maksic, but despite a few wins here and there, the season drifted to mid-table obscurity, with just a wonderful 152 from Tom Newton at Teddington in week 16 bringing excitement as the campaign closed out.
The standout performers at Acton in 2016 were Anthony Hunt’s fourth XI. Anthony Hunt’s team was rejuvenated by the return of club stalwarts Steve Basterfield, Duarte Marques, Vish Jadunath, Kash Malik and Robin Singh alongside new signing Gerry Ryan and Ian Reeve and Jav Sohota dropping down from the 2nd XI. A team with that amount of talent was always going to be a force in any 4th XI cricket, and so it proved. “Beefy” was just far too good, too often, ending with 40 league wickets at 8 runs each, and players of the season Ijazz Mehmood and Sam Withers also contributed. Steve Baz showed that class is permanent when he was able to put on the whites, with two fifties and a hundred in his three appearances.
In the Cups the 1st XI again showed their promise, but couldn’t progress as far as they might have. A crushing victory in the 2020 over Uxbridge saw Andew Curtis smash a jaw-dropping 142 in just 72 balls, while the Middlesex Cup saw Acton blast aside Premier League Twickenham in a crushing victory. In the Sunday League, Acton were again a force, but a loss in the penultimate game against Surrey Deaf C.C. ultimately cost the club’s chances of retaining its title.
In 2016, Acton headed down to Sussex for the 27th year on the spin in August, for another great week of team bonding and cricket. Adam Forsdike somehow managed to finish joint top wicket taker, Alex Manning dropped more catches than he held, Sahil scored the most ruthless ton in tour history, and Tom Forsdike threw the biggest strop seen on a picturesque village cricket ground, kicking his helmet on to the roof of a tranquil pavilion.
At the end of the campaign, the club was sad to say goodbye to a few of its members, with Steve Rae and wife Kylie returning to New Zealand. Steve was a huge part of the club in his short time here, and will be sorely missed. Dave West and Jason Walden also returned to Australia – both were brilliant in their time with Acton, on the field and off it with their fantastic support of the colts section. We also had the retirement of Pete Reeve who hung up his umpires coat after many years of great club service.
2017 saw a mixed season for Acton's XIs on the field, although there were far more ups than downs. The 1st XI equaled the long-standing club record of 30 wins in a season on their way to winning the Thames Side Sunday League (for the third time in the decade) as well as picking up silverware in the inaugural West London Whack T20 competition.
Alex Brennan's side also enjoyed a their best run yet in the Middlesex T20 knock out, advancing past premier league opposition to earn a semi-final at former two-time National champions Ealing. Despite a valiant performance, and a devastating 83 on the day from Yasir Mehmood, Acton came a close second and missed out on an appearance in the final. The 1st XI also enjoyed a solid league season, ultimately finishing in third position and narrowly missing out on promotion as the captain handed over the reigns to Sahil Kher after four years in the role.
Dan Waddell's 2nd XI maintained their position in the Premier Division of 2nd XI cricket, in part due to the performances of Josh Burrows whose 29 league wickets at 13 runs each helped the club maintain its position among the biggest names in Middlesex cricket. However, the 3rd XI were relegated from the Premier League in their second season at that level. More positively, the 4th XI earned their second promotion in two years under Anthony Hunt, also in his final year of captaincy.
Alex Brennan was again top wicket-taker with 71 at 13 runs each, closely followed by the ever-green John Reeve with 61 at 15 a piece. Sahil Kher led the run-scoring stakes with 939 runs at 49 a piece with Adam Forsdike next in line with more than 700 runs in all cricket.
Off the field, Acton was presented with yet another major change as The Park Club fell under the new ownership of David Lloyd Leisure. As the club's main facilities were closed for renovations, the spirit of the club shone through as makeshift huts, coolbox bars and marquees serviced the club for the second half of the season as the new and exciting set-up at Club Des Sports was completed...
The 2018 pre-season saw a team, led by Matthew Reeve and Scott Kojak, build a new temporary pitch-side facility for the club on the Bromyard side of the ground as we settled in to our new home at Club Des Sports. The club embraced its new-found independence in the season ahead, with the juniors section having unprecedented success (including several youngsters being selected for representative homours), and there were more on-field triumphs for the senior XIs.
The 1st XI enjoyed a highly successful, if ultimately frustrating, campaign. Under Sahil Kher’s new leadership, the team won 13 out of 18 league games (with 1 abandoned) during the course of a barmy summer. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to gain a promotion spot as the club had to settle for third place in division three for its second successive season. During the campaign there were some notable highlights with Sahil Kher (516 runs @ 40), Yogi Mehmood (462 runs @ 36) and Matthew Reeve (432 runs @ 28) all among the division’s leading scorers. Alex Brennan was again leading wicket-taker with 39 wickets at 13, including four 5-fers, whilst player of the season and new recruit Raj Raikar picked up 29 wickets at 20 a piece to go alongside his 383 runs at an average of 48. During the course of the season, Raj played one of the greatest innings in living memory for the 1st XI with an unbeaten 114 at South Hampstead in a tense run chase. Raj’s knock came off just 75 balls and featured eight towering 6s.
Away from the league, the 1s enjoyed continued success in cup competitions with a second consecutive appearance in the semi-final of the Middlesex T20, a cup run in the Middlesex Knock Out which saw a famous win away at eventual ECB National Knock-Out finalists Stanmore, and a second consecutive win in the West London Whack T20.
The 2nd XI enjoyed another fine season in the premier division, with a former Acton Colt, George Murphy, leading the charge with 462 runs at 36 a piece on his way to taking the player of the season trophy. John Reeve, back in the 2nd XI for the majority of the season, showed his continued class with another stellar season with the ball picking up 31 wickets at 10 runs a piece.
The 3rd XI enjoyed a highly successful campaign under Vish Jadunath’s captaincy, eventually winning the division 2 trophy and bouncing back to the Premier Division at the first attempt. Ian Reeve was again the star performer, picking up 47 wickets at 10 runs each. He was ably supported by Ali Sardar who took 32 wickets at 14 runs each. In the batting department, Mark Maksic led the way with 374 league runs at an average of 47.
The 4th XI enjoyed a fantastic campaign under the leadership of Peter Ruis, however promotion was denied to them as a loophole in the rules placed Highgate in 2nd place despite our 4s winning more games and securing more points over the course of the league season. Player of the season Kuntal Parikh bagged 322 runs at 36 whilst veterans Andy Guiton and Peter Ruis each passed the 20 wicket mark.
In 2019, John Reeve, Chairman, wins The Cricketer magazine’s community champion award, and has the honour of ringing the five-minute bell at the Lord’s test match between England and Ireland. You can read more about it HERE.
On the field in 2019, there was more success throughout the club. The U12s got to the County Finals, the 4th XI were runners up in their division, and the 1st XI did the double, winning Division 3 of the MCCL and the West London Whack for a third time. In addition, the 1st XI enjoyed a remarkable run in the Club Cricket Conference Cup, beating three former national champions on the way to the semi finals, where Sahil Kher’s spirited side came off second best against Bexley. Sadly, the 2nd and 3rd XIs were each relegated from their respective premier divisions.
1st XI player of the season Alex Brennan again led the wicket taking charts with 70 at 11.03, including 43 in the league and 21 in cup competitions. Raj Raikar again enjoyed a stellar all round season with 52 wickets in all competitions alongside 596 runs. He won the club’s cup player of the year award.
On the batting front, Sahil Kher (1104 at 39) and Matthew Reeve (1006 at 42) both passed the thousand run mark.
The end of the 2019 season would see Scotty Kojak, a club stalwart over recent seasons, returning to Australia. With heavy heart, everyone wished the hugely popular off-spinner well for the future.
The Captains gave their reviews of the 2019 season:
1st XI, Sahil Kher
After the highs and heartbreak of last season, the ones were always going to go one of two ways - we were either going to dominate the league or suffer a classic “second season” where we would struggle to hit the standards of 2018.
As it turned out, we were a bit of both...but with a happy ending! A strong start lulled us into a sense of complacency, which then led to a shocking run of 7 games where we lost 4 and should have lost another one. The Uxbridge defeat was particularly painful, and it was safe to say that promotion looked a distance away after the first 9, and that there were a few people at the limits of their emotional bandwidths! But a remarkable cup run (Wanstead away, Blackheath away and Hornchurch at home) lifted spirits and reminded us that we were actually a very decent side after all. Cue an unbeaten run in the back 9 (and 11 overall) including 4 wins in a row in weeks 13-16 against the teams fourth, third, first and second that effectively secured promotion. There were some remarkable performances along the way in those games - AB’s run of 31 wickets in 6 games, my 147 and 110* were alright, Raj Raikar’s consistent spells up top, Jambo leading the way with his experience when he deservedly got back into the side, and Josh Fisher really settling into his groove with bat and ball. The CCC run was also special. For a club of our size to get to the semi-finals of a big regional cup and earning the respect of some heavyweights along the way was special, and it really felt like the whole weight and history of the club was behind us for those few weeks. Next year...
Lucas Carlisle (VC extraordinaire), Matty Reeve, Josh Fisher, Alex Brennan and Raj Raikar stood out in the stats, but the secret was really that every man of the 17 who played in the league provided a big performance at some stage or the other. Experienced players like Nasir Mehmood were in and out but were excellent when picked.
The challenge next year, of course, is to build on the successes of this year. We’ll (potentially) lose a stalwart in Scotty Kojak, but players like Ammar Arshad will have bedded in, and we will look to make a couple of quality additions to our core. Players like James Kendall and Ameya Joshi have the potential to develop even more as first team players, and some more young blood would be nice. Our first target is to consolidate ourselves as a Div II side. Along the way, if we pick up a few wins early doors, there’s enough in this side for us to believe we can make a promotion push, but we’ll take it a step at a time. We’ll also focus on a couple of cups and give them a real good go. Constant development and a desire to improve have to be our mantras, but we’ll have fun and a beer after like always. I cannot wait (after a holiday, a couple of months of lying in on Saturday mornings and...er...watching QPR!)
A final word of thanks to all those who make it possible - Beefy, Hells, Vanessa, John and the Committee.
Player of the season: Alex Brennan; Cup player of the season: Raj Raikar; Performance of the season: Sahil Kher vs. Wembley
2nd XI, Dan Waddell
This season always promised to be a tough one for the 2s, and so it proved. Two poor teams were relegated last season, to be replaced by two good ones - one of them, Shepherds Bush, (who had finished 2nd to Osterley) went on to win the league. This meant our margin for error was pretty slim. Arguably, we played better cricket than the last couple of seasons (and won more points) but it wasn’t to be.
There were a number of good performances - Jambo was great with the bat until summoned to the 1s, Mitch got in numerous times without ever getting that big score he looked like getting, while Murph showed flashes of his 2018 form. Ameya showed us what he can do when he came down, while Yogi played a vintage knock v Richmond. With the ball, there were stand-out performances by Kendo v Highgate, JR at Highgate (and elsewhere), JB at home to Bush, while Mushy, Neil, Boo, Jordan and the evergreen Jambo all chipped in with good performances.
Ultimately though, it wasn’t enough to keep us up. All good things come to an end and other cliches. But next year brings new and different challenges, and hopefully a chance to compete at the top of the table rather than the bottom. I’ve no doubt we’ll relish it.
Player of the season: John Reeve; Performance of the season: James Hunt vs. Highgate
3rd XI, Reece Noble
Needless to say, it’s been a tough year for the 3’s. After winning promotion to the top division in 2018, we really struggled to be able to put together complete performances against some consistently high-quality opposition.
In saying that, we showed patches of the high-quality cricket I know we are capable of. Highlights of the season were most certainly two dominant victories against Highgate and Richmond.
Along the way we saw some moments of individual brilliance. On the batting side of things, a match saving ton to Raj Chauhan and a typically classy 100 to Dave Piper certainly stood out, with a number of other batsmen passing 50 throughout the season.
Undoubtedly the strongest facet of our game this year came from our bowlers. The consistent hard work of Neil Lederman, development of Harman as a genuine threat with the new ball and the addition of Jack to our club often had us in strong positions throughout matches.
Whilst disappointing to be back in 2nd division next season, I believe this will give us a great opportunity to get back on the winners list consistently and develop strong cricketers to further the growth of our wonderful club.
Player of the season: Neil Lederman; Performance of the season: Raj Chauhan vs. Richmond
4th XI, Peter Ruis
Another strong season for Acton IVs, finishing second, maintaining a sequence of top two for the last four seasons.
Unfortunately, promotion was not to be due to different league rules this season (our first in the Middlesex League).
123 points was a fantastic total and would have won the league in many seasons but Twickenham proved to be literally unbeatable, fully deserving the title Last ditch victories in beating both Chiswick and Indian Gymkhana stood out as our opponents clutched defeat from the jaws of victory. Batting-wise there were noteworthy performances from Nimit Arora 422 runs at 46.89, Peter Ruis 344 runs at 31.27, and Namit Pandey 244 runs at 40.67. The wickets were shared by Harman Singh 18 (12.89), Peter Ruis 14 (17.21) and Andy Guiton 13 (15.23). Individually, two centuries for Nimit Arora, 5 for 70 for Mark Doogan in his first season, and Harman Singh’s 7 for 49 were the highlights
As ever a great contribution from Acton under 18s with Miles Murphy, Ed Bennett, and Zack Maile stepping up.
Player of the season: Nimit Arora; Performance of the season: Harman Singh vs. Chiswick