No need to be stumped

In her latest sports column, Bobbie Makoni tries to not get caught out

Walthamstow Cricket Club

Walthamstow Cricket Club play in Greenway Avenue

For the past 104 years Walthamstow Cricket Club has called Greenway Avenue ‘home’.

After its inception in 1862 the club set up stumps in St James Street, Blackhorse Road and Walthamstow Girls’ School, before settling at the ground affectionately dubbed ‘Buck Walk’.

As I flip through old club photos and memorabilia with cricket secretary Jack Wingrove, he comments that much has changed. But he adds: “It’s funny to see the original committee members had as hard a time collecting membership fees as I do.”

Jack first came down to the club aged seven and has been a member for 22 years. He feels the friendly atmosphere as well as the possibilities for individual progression results in “people tending to stay”.

The club made headlines last year as it hosted the St. Peter’s Cricket Club. The Vatican’s team took on East London Multi Faith XI as part of their Festival of Light tour. Not only was Buck Walk their first stop, it was the only club ground included, with the remainder of the matches reserved for prestigious county grounds. St Peter’s came out on top, but both sides were presented with trophies from England and Essex legend Graham Gooch.

And Gooch isn’t the only international cricketer to stand at slip at Buck Walk – Essex and West Indies cricketer Keith Boyce, the first man to take eight wickets in a List A match, played a few games for the club back in the late 60s to “rectify an eligibility issue”.

While it’s always special to have a celebrity in town, former Walthamstow club captain Matthew Guest explains how building partners in the community is vital to the growth of the sport. “We’re really focused on marketing ourselves as a community club as it’s good for grassroots cricket,” he says.

The cricket club is part of the larger organisation Walthamstow Cricket, Tennis and Squash Club. Like the other sports programmes, which you can read about in my previous Echo columns, cricket has benefited from large-scale improvements to training facilities over the last few years.

As well as two Sunday friendly sides, the club currently has four teams playing in the Shepherd Neame Essex League. Both Jack and Michael encourage men, women and kids with any level of experience to come down and try the sport.

The season starts in April and continues until September. Anyone is welcome to come and support the team!

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