HERE is a flavour of what you can expect to find in ESSEX CCC MEMORIES. Some brief excerpts from 100-plus contributors...

Ann Gray: I was fortunate enough to be at Lord's in 1979 to see Essex lift their first trophy. A friend offered to get me a ticket but, as my uncle from South Africa was visiting us that weekend, I felt I had to turn down the offer. Told my dad, whose response (bless him) was: “Don’t be daft, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, go to the game." I needed no second bidding. What an amazing day, so glad that I was there. My friend, Brian Murphy, and I walked back from Lord's to Baker Street in a euphoric haze and caught the tube there. Even now, hearing the Gerry Rafferty song transports me back to that July evening.

Barrie Peirson: Graham Napier’s 152 in 58 balls in a T20 match in 2008. To watch the ball sailing into the flats and Hayes Close houses was an amazing sight.

John Tracy: Perhaps the most astonishing thing about John Lever is that he never seems to age. I know he was always a fitness fanatic but, truly, a Dorian Gray-like picture must reside in JK’s attic, exhibiting on his behalf all the ravages of time that the rest of us visibly display with the passage of decades. Viewing him now, it’s even more disheartening for we mere mortals when one considers he’s been retired from Essex first team duties for almost 20 years, having bowled his heart out for the previous 20-plus summers from 1967. It has to be down to an eternal youth potion or a touch of voodoo’s involved somewhere, surely?

Philip Walker: For sheer class, style and grace, I nominate Kenny McEwan as my favourite batsman. Watching him made me feel good to be alive.

John Parke: One of the best knocks by an Essex bowler was Robin Hobbs' 100 v the Australians at Chelmsford in August (23-26), 1975. OK, their bowlers might well have tossed a few balls up for him but he still had to get his shots over the fielders to the boundary, which he did with regularity. The entertainment value was tremendous. That was the day of the IRA bomb scare, when everyone in the ground was told to go to the middle of the pitch for their own safety. Thankfully, it turned out to be a hoax – someone had simply walked off and left their bag behind.

Peter Edwards: How exciting it was when, in the early days, the club travelled to the likes of Gallows Corner, Valentines Park and Brentwood and a few days later, as a club cricketer, you trod the same immortal earth as your idols. Was there ever a better place than to sit in the Tom Pearce Stand, with a big cheese roll in one hand, a pint under your seat and watch on a summer's day a game of county cricket? I think not.

DATE ADDED: Tuesday 30 January, 2018

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